Here at Benzie Design, we know that crafts have always been an important part of every child's summer camp experience. With many summer camps being canceled this year because of the pandemic, you might be looking for kid-friendly summer crafts to do at home. We're here to help with our three-part Camp Benzie series! In today's Camp Benzie tutorial, Benzie Design Maker Team member Sue of Blue Without You shows us how to make a nature walk inspired mobile!
This week Camp Benzie is traveling to my home in the mountains of Northeast Georgia! My neighborhood actually started out as a summer camp for kids, so everyday is like summer camp here. We have a lake, waterfall, and miles of walking trails to explore! This craft is inspired by outdoor adventures and all the cool things you can find on a family nature walk. The possibilities are endless depending on the ages and interests of your children. There are lots of great resources online, like outdoor scavenger hunts and leaf identification activities. Choose a destination with a creek or waterfall for added fun (because what kid doesn’t love getting wet)! Then showcase all the treasures you find with this colorful branch mobile...
Skill Level: Beginner
Time: 1 hour plus extra time for hiking
Felt Pom Palette in Atomic Age (or Benzie palette of your choice)
Small sheet of wool blend felt in aqua and matching floss (3811)
Small sheet of wool blend felt in swan and matching floss (598)
Small sheet of wool blend felt in peacock and matching floss (3810)
Small sheet of wool blend felt in butter and matching floss (3078)
Small sheet of wool blend felt in tangerine and matching floss (741)
*Branch for mobile and leaves for patterns (from nature walk)
Scissors (these are my favorite for cutting small curves)
PDF Leaf Pattern (free download)
1. Take a hike... literally! Allow plenty of time for climbing rocks and trees, checking out wildlife and having fun! Be on the lookout for interesting leaf shapes and branches for your mobile. Younger children may want to choose leaves with simpler lines for cutting out later. I chose oak leaves because I love their shape. My branch is about 12” long but you can use longer or shorter ones depending on how big you want your mobile to be. (Tip: I cleaned, pruned and sanded mine a little but this is optional).
2. Cut leaves from your felt - Trace around your favorite leaf shapes to make a paper pattern or use the downloadable template. (Tip: a little stiffening spray will give the felt more structure if you prefer.)
3. Wrap your branch - I used 1 to 1-1/2 yards of embroidery thread for each color and secured the ends with a dot of hot glue. I found it easier to hold the thread stationary with one hand and turn the branch with my other. (Tip: I searched “wrapped branches” online and found lots of great ideas for this step.)
4. Arrange your leaves and Poms. Decide which color of thread you want to use with each leaf and cut the pieces according to how long you want them to hang. I allowed for plenty of extra thread for wrapping around the branch (see step 6).
5. String leaves and Poms onto thread with needle - I used a simple running stitch down the center of my leaves. This is a fun way for children to learn basic hand sewing. Use a pencil to mark dots down the center of the leaves for beginners. (I made my stitches about 1/4” apart).
6. Attach the strings of Pom and leaves to the branch so they hang at varying lengths. I attached mine by securing the end of the thread with hot glue and then wrapping it around and around the branch until it hung at the right length. This added some additional layers of color to the branch! Next, make a hanger out of your thread and tie the ends around the branch using a square knot.
Your mobile is now ready to hang on the wall or from the ceiling...they look so cute either way!! Best of all, this kid-friendly craft will bring back happy memories of your nature walk adventure!!
Thank you so much Sue for getting us outside on a nature walk! You can find more of Sue's work at @bluewithoutyoukids on instagram.