Gobbi Tutorial, Part I

Disclaimer: I am NOT what you would call "incredibly crafty" and I'm also pretty bad at writing tutorials (How I successfully wrote 12 Montessori albums, I'll never know).  I also haven't taken the Assistants to Infancy training, so if there's a different/better way to do this, please leave your comments below for the benefit of all readers.  

A few months ago I wrote about the Gobbi mobile, which is a favorite among babies starting around 8 weeks of age.  Several readers have asked me for a tutorial, so here goes...

Materials (can be purchased at Michael's, JoAnn's, or other craft stores):
  • Embroidery floss (aka, thread) in five ascending shades of one color (you will need 2-3 skeins of each shade).  Take a look at this list of suggested shades!
  • Five styrofoam balls, about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter
  • One embroidery needle (MUST be longer than the diameter of the balls)
  • One dowel (about 12 inches long)
  • Scissors
  • The patience of a Buddhist monk
Only one shade of floss is shown here, but you need FIVE shades!!

Instructions: (Click on pictures to enlarge)

Use the dowel to carefully bore a hole in each of the spheres.  Try to get the hole to run straight through the center of the sphere.  You can wiggle the dowel a bit as it's going in, or scrape the sides of the hole once it's made, so that the diameter of the hole is slightly larger than the diameter of the dowel (this will be helpful when threading the embroidery floss over and over again through the hole).



Prepare a long piece of floss (about 48") and thread your needle.  (Note: I've seen some people thread the entire skein of floss at one time, but I have found that it gets tangled up and frayed.)



Pass your needle with the floss through the hole in one sphere, until most of it has passed through and you only have a small "tail" of floss sticking out.  Smooth that "tail" onto the sphere (the styrofoam will help to grip the thread) and bring the needle around to the hole where you started.



Insert the needle again, pass the thread through, and make sure that you "step" on the tail with the thread that is now wrapped from one end of the sphere to the other.



Bring the needle back around, and repeat, threading it into the hole and pulling the thread through.  Try to keep the resulting strands of thread as close together as possible, so they begin to cover up the white of the sphere.



When you've used up all the thread on the needle, leave a little tail and smooth it down onto the sphere.Thread your needle with more floss, insert in the hole, and repeat the process from step #3.  Eventually, your entire sphere will be covered in floss and no styrofoam will show through.



When you are done, pass the needle through the hole one last time and leave a length of floss about 12-16 inches long (this will be used for hanging the spheres).

Repeat the entire process with the next ball, using the next shade of embroidery floss.

Click here for Part II, where we discuss hanging the spheres.  Happy crafting!!

28 comments

sdmontessoriAmber Aug 8, 2012 07:49pm
I used double sided tape all around the ball (I had no embroidery floss) and "wrapped" in a sense, the ball with ribbon and then attached the ball to the string it hangs from via hat pin...it was hard to get the ribbon to lay flat on all sides, but it worked with careful laying. I found the black and white "balancing act" mobile really hard to make...the glass ball outweighs the rest of the pieces!
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the full monte(ssori) Aug 8, 2012 07:57pm
I loved your ribbon Gobbi! It has such a beautiful sheen... Could you send me a picture so I can post it? I'm sure the readers would love to see it. And yes, making the Munari was a PAIN. And the worst part is that it's usually the one they're least interested in! :)
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Thanks for this tutorial...it does help!
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leesrecipes Aug 9, 2012 05:13pm
thank you so much for sharing! super clear and helpful!!
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the full monte(ssori) Aug 9, 2012 06:00pm
Awesome, glad it helped you ladies! :) I'll post part II soon...
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Suggested Color Gradation for the Gobbi « The Full Monte(ssori) Aug 10, 2012 01:19pm
[...] crafty reader!  If you’re planning on making a Gobbi mobile, I have some info that might come in handy (don’t hate me if you already started, because I [...]
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the full monte(ssori) Sep 11, 2012 06:03am
Yes, it is! :)
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Gobbi Tutorial, Part II (Hanging the Gobbi) « The Full Montessori Aug 21, 2012 09:02am
[...] To see Part I (Making the Gobbi mobile), click here. [...]
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I am in the process of making another one. So far, it's better than the one I made when I was in the training. Your blog instructions have helped. Thank you. I'm finding that a fellow trainees tip of sectioning it off is helpful. I'm off to the store to get a second skein of each of my colors. I hope I do better balancing my mobiles with your instructions too. Do you have suggestions on hanging mobiles from the ceiling and from walls?
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I'll email a photo if you provide me with an email.
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cynthia gilliam Feb 9, 2013 02:37pm
I just finished a blue gobbi mobile for my grandson. thanks for the clear directions.
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the full monte(ssori) Sep 20, 2012 08:33am
Akila, congratulations on your pregnancy! I hope you enjoy making the Gobbi... Best of luck with your baby!
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Hi , I am 34 weeks pregnant and I have been searching for a tutorial to make gobbi mobile.When I found your blog I was very happy.Thank you very much. Truly appreciate your efforts! Akila
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the full monte(ssori) Nov 10, 2012 09:58am
Hi Patty, I'm glad you enjoyed the tutorial and I hope your readers will find it useful!
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Thank you so much for thw tutorial, I posted over my blog here is the link: http://olivesandpickles.blogspot.com/2012/11/montessori-baby-mobile-3-gobbi.html
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godheartgirl Sep 10, 2012 10:31pm
I'm curious. Is the Gobbi mobile named for Gianna Gobbi who worked with Maria Montessori in Rome and later helped develop the Montessori based Catechesis of the Good Shepherd with Sofia Cavalletti?
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Bebês e móbiles – Faça você mesmo | educando crianças Jul 29, 2013 12:50pm
[…] tem um tutorial de móbile Gobbi diferente. Você cobre com linha uma bola com sininho dentro ou uma bola de isopor mesmo. Também […]
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The Evolution of K’s Montessori Room – Part 1 | Canadian Montessori Baby Sep 25, 2014 06:10pm
[…] mobiles for Kieran. There are 4 typical ones in the series – 1. Munari  2.Octahedron 3. Gobbi 4.Dancer. The Flowing Rhythms One seems to be popular as well. I made the first 3 with tutorials […]
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Thanks for the tutorial. I live in the UK and managed to get all the supplies from Hobbycraft. Luckily I'm only 6 weeks pregnant so may get it finished in time. See what you mean about patience! I'll post a photo when I'm done. Thanks again.
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Bruberries » Arquivos » Quartinho (Montessoriano) do Inacio Sep 25, 2014 12:31pm
[…] manual: - Tutorial passo-a-passo (em inglês, mas com muitas fotos) para fazer o móbile Gobbi: Parte I (fazendo as bolinhas) e Parte II (pendurando o móbile) - Tutorial e molde para fazer o móbile […]
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Could you use yarn instead of embroidery floss? Thanks for your instructions!
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Makeshift Montessori: DIY activities for free » mama naturale Nov 25, 2014 12:49pm
[…] The Gobbi mobile (7-10 weeks) […]
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從小開始工作~ Montessori Mobiles I Playful Chaos Feb 27, 2015 08:39am
[…] 這個吊飾很容易造,我買了5個波形“法寶”膠,途上不同深度的顏色上去。我會提議用primary color來造,因為紅,藍,黃,這三個顏色是嬰兒最先學會的顏色。我是看著這個blog來造的,無奈我不懂怎麼用毛線來造,而且很難找每一個顏色的冷線。最後用了acrylic paint來油。很難油acrylic在膠上,所以不太好看…. 不過不影響效果 […]
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The Montessori Mobile Progression: Age 0 to 17 weeks | Far Out City Oct 14, 2015 03:33pm
[…] Making your own is pretty difficult and materials might be hard to find. But, this also explains why they’re so expensive to buy too. […]
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Infant mobiles and DIY links | Everyday Begins New Jan 22, 2016 07:27pm
[…] DIY Gobbi Mobile by The Full Montessori […]
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The Full Montessori May 18, 2016 06:28am
I guess you could, but embroidery floss has a lovely sheen to it that yarn doesn't, and it makes for some very attractive and smooth spheres.
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The Full Montessori May 18, 2016 06:27am
Excellent advice, thank you!!!
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Thank you for your tutorial! If I figured out some helpful info in the process and thought I would share! First of all, I used the dense styrofoam that packing peanuts and disposable ice coolers are made of. It's a lot smoother and easier to work with and more sturdy to boot. since I had this sturdier foam I was able to drill a hole straight through the core. You were right about needing the patience of a Buddhist monk, so in an effort to speed things up I strung the entire scheme through the needle and doubled it over and tied a knot at the end twice the coverage with half the pull through.! I also used a pair of needle nose pliers to pull the needle through on the last few passes when it gets difficult. I hope that helps you other momma crafters!!!
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