The Creative Process: A Unicorn Mobile
It’s been a while since I’ve desired to make a unicorn mobile, but only recently has the opportunity come up. A repeat customer wanted to order a fantasy mobile centered around unicorns, with pegasus and dragons thrown in the mix. This mobile was to be a gift for her niece who was expecting a baby girl. The baby shower was coming up on November 18th, and she wanted the mobile delivered before that date. She emailed me a copy of the baby shower invitation, and let me know that she wanted light pink, light purple, and seafoam green in the mobile, as well as some touches of gold. Swirly wires were also requested. She said I didn’t have to copy the invitation, but that I could use it as a guide. Through emailing back and forth it was also established that I could include other colors, and additional models such as flowers, butterflies, stars, etc.
This order was placed in mid October, and I had plenty of time to make the mobile. The additional models that were being considered were all things I knew how to fold, but the main models were going to be new ones for me. I had folded horses before, but never a unicorn. Knowing from experience that horses are never easy to fold due to their multiple thin limbs, I set off to find a unicorn model first. If you do a general search for “origami unicorn” your search will return many images of amazing paper unicorns, but it is not so easy to find clear directions on how to fold them.
There were two models that I came across and liked – one with it’s legs up high in an action pose, and another standing still with a beautiful mane. I liked the unicorn in action better, so I decided to try that one first. The first one I folded was too small, the second got torn in two spots, the third was too big, the fourth turned out with a giant head, the fifth was folded from pink paper and it’s head was white, and the sixth was just right – it was the right size and the folds were all good, but the paper wasn’t a pure white. I ended up folding two more in that size but with different paper, and set those three aside. As a curiosity I attempted to fold the unicorn with the flowing mane but the diagrams were blurry and I couldn’t read the instructions, so it was a disaster. My daughter loved it and asked if she could keep it, so I gave it to her and decided the other models would have to do.
Next was the pegasus. I searched online and through some books I have at home, and found a pegasus in a book that I thought might work. It turned out looking too simple and stiff next to the other unicorns in action, so I kept looking. There are some amazing origami unicorns out there, but most I wouldn’t dare attempt as I am not an origami master and spending 6 hours folding one pegasus is not my idea of using my time wisely. After more searching I decided to fold some wings separately from the horse – I wanted the wings to be gold anyways so that would be good. Next, I revisiting my horse models, and not being satisfied with any of them, I chose to use the unicorn out of the slightly different shade of white as the pegasus. Now, should I cut off its horn or just keep it? I decided to keep it and therefore my unicorn became an alicorn, with wings and a horn. An alicorn is a royal pony, so it would be a nice touch. 🙂
In the past I have folded very elaborate dragons out of foil and paper, but I needed something different since those were not very baby-friendly dragons. After some online searching I found a dragon that looked neat, but more importantly – it looked friendly. It wasn’t an overly complicated model to fold, but it took a couple of attempts to get all the folds done right. I used the three colors of light pink, light purple, and seafoam green for the dragons, and folded them in different sizes.
Having tackled the complex models, I added some butterflies in the three main colors, as well as some gold lucky stars in various sizes. I had originally thought to add flowers to the mobile, but it really didn’t need them, so I left the flowers out. The butterflies would be perfect for adding some gold touches, as I could paint their wing tips gold. I got some gold paint and tested it on a butterfly and the horn and mane of one of the “reject” unicorns. The paint looked too flat next to the shiny gold paper I had used for the stars and alicorn’s wings, so I decided to use gold glitter for the butterflies. I didn’t like the look of the paint on the unicorn’s mane, but it looked good on the horn. Since the horns would be the only things with the gold paint, I chose to add some glitter over the painted horns to give them some sparkle, as well as to help tie it all together. Now that all the models were ready, I was finally able to put everything together.
As soon as the mobile was safely tucked into its shipping box I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. It was finished in time to arrive before the baby shower, and it was perfect. This mobile took more time than I thought it would, but that is the result of wanting things done well. In the end everything looked amazing and all the time I put into learning how to fold the unicorns paid off, as they were the central figures of the mobile. The process of making a mobile is just that, a process where I keep trying different things until I find what works best. Once I find that ideal combination of models and colors, everything else is smooth sailing.