Simple Himmeli Mobiles

Lesson 1/7 - Project Overview


Simple Himmeli Mobiles


Lesson Info

Project Overview

Hi, my name is robert mahar. I am a designer and maker based in los angeles, california, and we're in my downtown l a studio today, and we're going to be tackling a course entitled the simple himal ee mobile families are mobiles that have origins in finland, their traditional folk craft there originally, they were made out of straw, which is natural material hollow, similar to drinking straws. It is a quintessential christmas craft. In finland. They make them on a smaller scale, the hang on their christmas tree, and then they often combine the multiple geometric elements to create the family mobile, which hangs above the dining room table. Now, traditionally, when it hung above the dining room table, was to sort of bring about a good harvest in the coming year. And it was often said that the larger and more elaborate the mobile was that the better the harvest crop would be. Himal ee is actually a word that is a dramatic origin. Himmel on I kind of love it because himmel means sky or he...

aven, and when you look at these mobiles there a little bit ethereal, and from certain angles, they even look a little bit like constellations, so I think it's really apt, we are going to be covering the basics of him, oh, making one of the things I want to start with is going over the materials and one of the things I really love about this project is that the materials air really simple and inexpensive. So to start with, uh, I have made several mobile's out of the natural straw and it's a little bit of the challenge. I think they're really skilled artisans that know how to work with this material. It often has to be soaked and cut in a certain way, but for a little bit of a modern interpretation, I started looking around and discovered that plastic drinking straws often work justus well, they're a little bit more consistent in the manner in which you can cut them. They string together really nicely and they're available and a whole array of pretty amazing colors. Now you can make these out of actual drinking straws that you might find in your coffee shop there a little bit larger scale you could technically make these out of uneven fat herb boba straw. The one thing that you want to take into consideration if you choose to do your mobile in this scale is that your elements are going to be really large and the intersecting points where you tie all of the straws together are a little bit chunkier and a little bit more noticeable. My preference honestly, is to go with the cocktail straws these guys are a little bit more narrow, and I think when they're tied together, they come off as a little bit more elegant. The points where they intersect are a little bit less noticeable. These come in neon as you see here, they come in a different couple of different sizes. These large ones are a little bit more than seven inches long, the smaller scale ones a little bit more than five inches long, and how you work with these is really up to you. Depending on the scale of mobile that you want to create, you can take that into consideration when purchasing your materials. Now these also come in standard black, which I have here they come in red, they come in a red and white striped. Occasionally you can find them in a few other colors. I was able to find most of these at a restaurant supply store in the supply list that comes with the course. I do give a link for an online resource, but honestly, if you were to go into a search engine and type in cocktail, straw sips, terse straw, something along those lines you're going to find dozens of resource is come available for that, no, like I said, neon black, red. Those were the most common I actually was in japanese dollar store the other day here in los angeles and found them in a little bit of a smaller size, and I was excited to see them in in the blue, which I don't often see, you know, these particular ones, I think they must have been intended for juice boxes, the ends or cut it a little bit of an angle so that you could put them into the juice box, but we're going to be cutting these straws to a desired length anyway, so that's, nothing to worry about and that's also something to consider, too. If you I want to just go ahead and purchase the longer length to give yourself some flexibility. If you decide to do the larger mobile, we're going to be cutting these anyway. So if you wanted to do a smaller scale that's not a problem at all now to create all of the geometric elements that comprise the himal ee we're going to be tying all of our straw pieces together with a thread, and one of the threads that I have found to be the best for this project is it's a little bit of a heavier duty thread it's called button and craft, you'll often also see it as button. Carpet thread you'll notice when you have in your hand it is a little bit thicker than a hand sewing or machines sewing thread it's also a little bit stiffer because of the thickness so that it's easier to thread through the straws and I don't need to use a needle or any other implement in order to get them through the interior channel on the straw, I tend to work in white primarily because it disappears for the most part, and when you're hanging your mobile in the room, the white just kind of tends to get lost and fade out. Now, if you are working with save the black straws, it does come in black, and I think if you were to use a white with the black straw, it would stand out a little bit too much. But again, because we're working with such a thin material, you're not really going to see it at the corners where the straws they're tied and intersect, and you're also not going to see it so much when it is used to suspend the mobile in the room. Now, one of the other things we're also going to cover in this course are the basic construction of tassels and tassels or a really great way to ornament you're him, elise, you can hang them off of the lower portion of some of the elements, and so what you'll need to do if you'd like to make those ahs well is selection of yarn you can use any manner of yarn there's a huge variety that's available polyester cotton wool all of those will work I'm going to be using today a really thin three ply polyester it is mexican import yarn that I'm able to easily get here in downtown los angeles, but again, like I said, any of most any variety that you're going to be able to find in your craft and hobby supply store or in your local yarn shop, they're going to be great. I do find that it's often easier to work with the yard if I've got a little bowl to keep it in because during when I'm winding, the little ball of yarn starts to jump around the table unless you want to be chasing that it's nice to have that toe hold it stationary. The other two tools that we're going to be using to create the tassels are a small clip board you can find these in any office supply store it's just a little bit smaller, then your standard clipboard it measures roughly five and a half by nine and a half and then you'll need some sort of qom and that's just going to help us straighten the fibers and do a little bit neater job of finishing off our tassels aside from that a sharp paris scissors you're gonna be using these basically as thread snips, and to help with cutting the yarn. I'll show you a couple of different techniques when we get to trimming the tassels. One is using a standard paris scissors. Another is using a rotary cutter, and we'll pull that in when we get to that section. But next up, we're going to be covering the basic himal ee geometric shapes.

Class Description

Himmeli mobiles are fashionable, versatile, and surprisingly easy to make! Learn how to assemble these on-trend accent pieces in Simple Himmeli Mobiles with Robert Mahar.

Robert Mahar is an arts and crafts professional who breaks imaginative do-it-yourself projects into easy-to-follow steps. In this class you’ll learn how to: 

  • Build the basic cube form
  • Fashion variations on the cube form
  • Construct the hanging structure
  • Assemble the mobile elements
  • Create ornamental embellishments 

Robert will share this history behind the himmeli mobile and offer tips on the variety of materials you can use to assemble one. 

Learn how to make a traditional mobiles that can be styled into elegant focal points in Simple Himmeli Mobiles with Robert Mahar.



I'm not a crafter but watched this out of curiosity and did not even know what a Himmell mobile was. I have to say I've become a Robert Mahar fan. He explains some of the history behind the Himmell mobiles and makes things simple yet goes into details and gives tips that make for a very neat and lovely and fun art piece. Love the idea of making one of these to hang plants! I will keep an eye out for more of Robert Mahar classes as I love his instruction.