This Painted CD Garden Mobile is a terrific group art project for kids to work on together It’s a great way to upcycle your old CDs and DVDs into a beautiful piece of garden art too. Kids can decorate their own CDs individually, and then you can string them together to make a colourful mobile to hang in your outdoor play space or classroom.
We love crafting with old CDs and DVDs, so I have a big stack of them in the craft cupboard. CDs are fun and easy for kids to decorate, and it’s always rewarding to repurpose something destined for the trash into something eye-catching and beautiful.
In the past, we’ve used old CDs to make Christmas ornaments, mandalas, Easter crafts, and wind chimes. I’ve even written a tutorial showing how to make mosaic tiles from old CDs and DVDs.
I think this colourful mobile makes a beautiful addition to our backyard play space, and it may just be my favourite CD project yet.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you know how much we love making homemade ornaments to hang in our backyard. We recently retired our rainbow wind chimes (they were starting to show their age), and we miss the pop of colour they used to bring to the corner of the yard that houses our playhouse and sandbox.
I thought it would be fun for the kids to work on a collaborative project to make something new and colourful to hang in that space.
The CDs seemed like the perfect option. Each child could paint a few CDs of her own, and we could string them together to create a piece of art to hang like a mobile from the branch of the tree beside the playhouse.
Great group project for art class or craft camp
Your kids can make this mobile at home by themselves of course, but it really is a wonderful group project for art class or craft camp because every child plays a part in the finished project.
Every time I look to the back of the yard and see our cheerful mobile swaying in the wind, I’m so impressed that such a simple project produced something so cheerful and pretty.
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Supplies needed for this Painted CD Garden Mobile:
How to make our CD Mobile:
Paint your CDs
We began by having a big ol’ paint fest at the craft table. We gathered up a bunch of acrylic paints in bright colours for the kids to decorate their CDs with. We chose acrylic paints because they hold up well for an outdoor project and also because the colours are rich and the coverage is great. If you’ll be hanging your mobile indoors, you could use tempera paint for this project.
The kids had a great time experimenting with different colour combinations and various techniques to make the designs on their CDs.
Some of the techniques and designs to try:
- rainbows and colour wheels
- splatter painting (made by tapping the paintbrush karate-chop-style)
- dipping the handle of the paintbrush in paint to make polkadots
- swirls, stripes and checks
The kids painted both sides of their CDs, allowing one side to dry completely before flipping it over and painting the other side. You can use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.
Varnish when dry
When our CDs were dry, we gave them a coat of acrylic craft varnish.
This protects the paint from scratching off and is important for protecting the CDs from the elements if you’ll be hanging them outdoors.
The varnish will also give the CDs a nice sheen and make the colours really pop. We used a satin finish craft varnish.
Paint a colourful stick to hang your CDs from
Next, we needed to figure out how we were putting this mobile together.
At first, I thought we might hang the CDs randomly at different heights from a coat hanger or from 2 criss-cross sticks like we used here with our pinecone mobiles.
Then I remembered we had some nice, long branches that I’d set aside a few weeks ago after my husband trimmed our maple tree. One of these sticks would be perfect. We could tie our CDs in rows and hang them across the length of the stick.
In its natural state, the stick looked pretty boring, so we painted it with bands of bright colours, adding a thin black strip in between each colour.
Stringing the CDs together
To turn our painted CDs into a mobile, I laid the stick and the CDs in the grass, and played around with the placement of the CDs to make sure any that were very similar wouldn’t be directly next to each other.
When I was happy with the arrangement, I used fishing line to attach one CD to the stick, and then I hung a couple more CDs below it. Our two outer rows have 3 CDs in each of them, and the middle row has 4.
An alternative to fishing line:
You could also use strong twine or black yarn to tie your CDs together if you don’t have fishing line. Dental floss works in a pinch too!
Then, I strung a piece of fishing line at each end of the stick to hang the mobile in our tree.
Doesn’t it look lovely?
It makes me so happy every time I look to the back of the yard and see that pop of colour and all of that beautiful art work swaying and twirling in the breeze.
More homemade ornaments to make for the backyard:
Summer Stars (with twigs and raffia)
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.