Plastic Canvas Challenge: DIY Mobile with Plastic Canvas Butterflies

 I wanted to create a decor piece that was sweet, girly and unique for my daughter’s nursery. I came up with this pretty and feminine DIY mobile as part of the Crafts Unleashed Plastic Canvas Challenge!

DIY mobile - plastic canvas butterfliesSO.  I dove in face forward to our challenge, but OH MY if I wasn’t challenged! I have never worked with plastic canvas before and to be honest — I don’t really like plastic. I started using a clear and sparkly Rex lace to celebrate the “plasticness” of the plastic canvas, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

diy mobile butterflySo I had to go back to square one and rethink the way I was using the canvas.  Instead of focusing on the canvas as PART of the end product, I started thinking about it as the SKELETON to my project. Then all the pieces began to start clicking into place.

DIY mobile - plastic canvas butterflies - Crafts UnleashedNow, once we found out we were having a little girl, I knew I wanted to go full on PINK and girly for the nursery.  No over-designed, adult inspired spaces for this room.  Instead, I wanted to celebrate the BABYNESS of this baby and add in whimsy, wonder and PINK at every step along the way.  The first thing that came to mind when I wanted a whimsical space was butterflies.  The way they flutter around the garden all summer long seems so magical, as if they have this secret world and are hurrying about their business, caring less what we lowly humans are doing.  So the very first project for this little girl’s nursery was a simple butterfly DIY mobile that hangs over the window instead of the crib.  (Crib ceiling installation coming soon!)  …and that terrible, awful, no-good plastic canvas?  It became the PERFECT mold-able, flexible skeleton for the butterflies.

Supplies needed to make your own plastic canvas butterfly DIY mobile:

Step 1.  Using your scissors, cut little notches into your fabric.  These are the starting point for ripping the “strands” of fabric.

Cut Notches in fabric Amy reneaStep 2.  Hold the bulk of the fabric tight in your left hand, then rip straight up and down each notch to create strips of fabric.

ripping fabricA little fraying is good and the look we are going for here!  If you have lots of long, hanging strings, go ahead and snip those off, but leave that beautiful fray alone!

strips of fabricThese little strips will form the wrapping ribbons for your butterflies, the backdrop for your butterflies to fly against, and also the “tail” of the largest butterfly.  Start with your butterflies, then use the remainder for the backdrop.

Butterfly Mobile BackStep 3. Simply knot them in a semi-circle around the back of the embroidery hoop!

Butterfly Mobile Strips of FabricBack to that big pile of fabric strips though…

strips of fabric 2Step 4.  Cut out your shape from the plastic canvas — in this case, the butterflies!  Start by pushing one strip through a hole in the canvas and knotting it near the middle of the butterfly.

knotting backStep 5.  Slightly bend the canvas with your first couple lengths of fabric so that they look like they are “in flight.”  This is why you need that super soft canvas as opposed to the more rigid plastic canvases available.

diy mobile Step 6.  Start crisscrossing the fabric, making sure it lays flat around the curved edges.  Knot the end pieces near the middle of the butterfly or secure with a tiny dab of glue if needed.

weaving strips of fabricStep 7.  Continue wrapping and securing your strips, essentially “bandaging” the canvas so it is completely covered.  Every few strips, make sure you wrap at least once around the middle to keep all those knots secure and hidden.

knotting back of butterfliesStep 8.  Once all the edges are “bandaged” and your fabric is showing the right amount of print (I had to work the fabric a bit to make sure those pink roses showed up!), secure the final strip on the back of the butterfly with a tiny bit of glue.  Your butterfly will be flying with its belly down and wings back, so that is the “front” side that needs to look perfect.

DSC_3501Step 9.  Add extra strips of fabric to the back of the butterflies to “fly” in the wind if you like, or simply leave them as is.

Step 10.  Secure the butterflies to your embroidery hoop with a very, strong clear thread (like fishing line or beading thread) so they look as if they are floating in air.

Step 11.  Hang the hoop from the ceiling (I used a combination of fabric strips and fishing line attached to a small hook in the ceiling) and celebrate the DIY mobile and little bit of whimsy you have just added to your space!

DIY mobile - plastic canvas butterflies 2- Crafts UnleashedCurious about those DIY embroidery hoops hanging in the background?  They are beyond simple!  Tutorial HERE!

PrintClick the image above to see more plastic canvas challenge entries!

About Amy Renea

Hey y'all! I'm Amy Renea, a freelance photographer and writer based out of Hershey, PA. I spend my days chasing children and chickens around the back yard, sipping on dandelion tea and munching on sweet potato chips. Come visit the Nest for All Seasons to learn more about my food, photography, DIY designs and modern garden living!



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