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

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  • 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 (Part 2)

After having so much fun making a mobile based on the fruits in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I decided to make a second mobile with all the junk food that the caterpillar eats in the story...

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I used the same materials to make this mobile so if you want a more detailed explanation of the process see my first blog post.  Here in The Studio we have all the food that the caterpillar ate hanging in our windows with our two mobiles.  We hope you can stop by to see them in person at The Carle or maybe you will be inspired to make your own mobile using painted tissue paper on transparencies.

I started by covering five sheets of 8.5" x 11" transparency with Mod Podge and laying a sheet of tissue paper on top.  After the Mod Podge was dry I added a second layer of tissue to back of each transparency so that both sides could be painted.  I made two yellow sheets, one white, one red, and one green to make the different foods that the caterpillar ate.  Because the food items were such different shapes and colors I decided to make some sketches on regular paper to help me plan out how to fit the shapes on the tissue papers.  I used the cutouts of my sketches as templates to cut out the tissue paper into each of the main food shapes.  I put the chocolate cake and cherry pie on white tissue paper; the ice-cream cone, Swiss cheese, lollipop and cupcake on yellow tissue papers; the pickle and leaf on green tissue paper; the salami, sausage, and watermelon on red tissue paper.

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Once the basic shapes were cut out then it was time to use tempera paint to add all the details to the food.  I used the illustrations in the book as a reference as I worked because it is amazing to see how many colors Eric Carle used in each of the foods.  I tried to paint similar colors at the same time to make the painting go faster.  For example, I started with all the warm yellows and tans in the ice-cream cone, the Swiss cheese, the pie crust and the cupcake.  Then I could add the darker browns in the chocolate cake and the lollipop stick.  The painting does take the most time because you will want to paint both sides if you are making a mobile.  If you plan on hanging your food creations on a bulletin board or other wall then save some time and only paint one side.

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I used a colored pencil to draw the lines on the ice-cream cone and the sprinkles on the piece of chocolate cake instead of painting them on with a brush.  photo7

After all the foods are painted and dry you can cut out the holes the caterpillar ate.  You can do this with scissors or with a hole punch like the  Circle Cutter by Fiskars.  If you want to read more about the hole punches we use and like in The Studio take a look at this blog post.  Use an awl or other sharp tool to make small holes to hang the foods in your mobile.

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Now you should be ready to assemble your mobile using fishing line.  After stringing the fishing line through the small holes I made with the awl I tied at least three knots to make sure the connection point was secure.    I started by connecting the chocolate cake, ice-cream cone and pickle and then did the same with the remaining foods.

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Once you have the food connected the way you want then you can start attaching each line of food to one of the sticks you are using for your mobile.  You could also use wire or any other rigid material as a the structural hanging point for you mobile.  Remember to find the balancing point by balancing the stick on your finger and then you will know where to attach the fishing line.  I found working on a large table top or even the floor helps keep the fishing line from getting tangled.    Hang your mobile up and enjoy your artwork!

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We love hearing from our readers and like to learn about any modifications or versions that other people try out.  Please write a comment if you made your own mobile and were at all inspired by the ones we have hanging in The Studio.

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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. 

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