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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Making Art Together

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Mobile Tutorial

Here in The Studio we often use tissue paper for a variety of creative projects because it is accessible for so many ages, and it connects so well with Eric Carle’s artwork. When looking at all the collage illustrations by Eric Carle we are always so amazed at how versatile the simple materials that he uses really are. The textures and delicate shapes that he can achieve with such a fragile paper are quite surprising and there is something so magical and eye-catching about the crisp bold shapes and colors in his works of art. This project will help you create a light-weight mobile to hang in your classroom or home. Follow the steps below!


Materials: 8.5"x11" Clear Transparency sheets (sold at office supply stores for photocopiers), Mod Podge, Paint brushes, Tissue paper (white or in the colors of the fruit), Tempera paint, Scissors and optional Circle Cutter by Fiskars, Fishing line, Bookmaker's Awl tool (or something to punch a small hole), and Sticks.

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We were interested in ways to keep the tissue paper’s translucence and lightness, but because this type of paper is so delicate we thought about trying to strengthen the paper by gluing it to the clear transparency sheets.  Mod Podge is a useful glue because it will work with a range a materials and it can be found in most craft stores.  We started by putting a layer of Mod Podge on the transparency and laying a sheet of tissue paper on top.  We experimented with using both white and colored tissue paper and both look beautiful painted.  Make sure the tissue is securely attached by adding more Mod Podge on top and let the glue dry.  We then added a second layer of tissue paper on the back of the transparency sheet so that the mobile would look the same on both sides as it turned and moved. 



After the glue is dry the tissue paper is ready to be painted.  We had fun mixing the colors right on top of the tissue paper.  Children can help with painting the papers in fun colors. Once the sheets are dry they are ready to be cut out into the fruit shapes.  We made two red sheets, one green sheet, two purple sheets and two orange sheets for the five different types of fruit in the book. Feel free to make your mobile pieces any color, size or shape to make it unique!


After cutting out the basic shapes of the fruit we added extra little details like stems, seeds and leaves to make it look more like Eric Carle's illustrations in The Very Hungry Caterpillar.


To make the holes in the middle of the fruit we used our Circle Cutter by Fiskars.  You can see our post about other good circle cutting tools here. An Xacto knife would also work fine. Remember to use a self-healing mat under your paper so you don’t cut into your table.



You can then use an awl or other sharp pointy tool to make holes in the top and bottom of the fruit shapes to connect them on the mobile, again with a self-healing mat under your working area.


Once the holes are in the fruit then the shapes can be connected with the fishing line.  You can configure your mobile however you would like and it can be a challenge to get everything to balance.  If you want ideas for mobiles here is a good diagram of some different options for designing your mobile.  You can find the middle balancing point on the stick by balancing the stick on one finger.  Once you find the balancing point with your finger you know where to attach the fishing line. Have fun creating!




We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 




Catherine Stone
Wednesday, July 7, 2013 - 11:23 am
I love this. Because of Eric Carle, I began experimenting with painted tissue paper and create a lot of papers which i use when I teach (kids and adults at a non-profit, Carlisle Arts Learning Center) and in my own art work. I love the use of the transparency and have new ideas poppin'! Thanks!
Sarah Johnston
Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 11:28 am
We're so glad that our mobile tutorial gave you some new ideas for using painted tissue papers and transparencies. Please feel free to share any of your teaching ideas with us too!

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