Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DIY Brass Himmeli

I fell in love with himmeli mobiles some time ago. I made one out of coffee straws for Jack's nursery and it was surprisingly easy. I loved how it turned out, but when I ran across some brass tubing at the craft store I knew I had to make another one for our living room!

Would you like to make one of your own?

Here's what you need: Brass Tubing (I found mine in the model building section of Hobby Lobby for about $4 per pack of three. I bought two packs, sized at 1/8"x12", similar to this), strong thread, a needle, a small pipe cutting tool (mine was found right next to the brass tubing), scissors and a measuring tool.

I made my himmeli late at night while my sick kiddos were resting. I knew I would end up with unattractive, poorly-lit photos of the process, so I decided to make a little chart instead. Making a basic himmeli is very easy. Once you master that you can make even the most elaborate mobile by making each piece separately and then tying together.

1. Use your handy pipe cutter to cut your pieces. For one himmeli (as shown in chart), you will need 12 pieces of tubing. You can make all 12 pieces the same size, or play around with the proportions. I chose to have the top pieces of mine be shorter than the bottom. The sizes/amounts I used for the large himmeli in my mobile were six  3" pieces for the top, and three 6" pieces for the bottom. The small himmeli included six 2" pieces and three 4" pieces. I had just enough with the amount of tubing I bought.

2. Make a himmeli base. Cut a length of thread about two feet long. Thread your needle and string four pieces of tubing on your thread, almost to the end of your thread. You will have the push the needle through a bit. Tapping the piping on a hard surface can also help bring the needle to the bottom. Once you've added four pieces of tubing, tie a double knot at the top, using the end of thread you left out and the working thread with your needle.

3. Add more sides. Add two more pieces of tubing to your working thread and tie to the bottom of your himmeli to secure. I stopped here as I only wanted three sides to mine, but you can add two more pieces of tubing and tie thread to the top to make four sides (as shown above). Remove your needle and trim all threads.

4. Connect the sides. Thread a new piece of thread, about a foot long, with your needle and tie on one of the sides where the two pieces of tubing meet. String one piece of tubing in between the two sides and tie to the next side in the same spot. Continue until all sides are connected. Trim all threads.

5. Repeat as many times as you want and then tie all of your himmeli together to make a mobile! I cut an extra long piece of thread and tied it to the top of my mobile to hang it from the ceiling.

I only had the time and materials to make a simple shape, but can't wait to make more in the future! I think a mobile would make a great baby or housewarming gift for the modern family, don't you?


  1. THANK YOU for this! I have been eyeing these simple and elegant designs and LOVE the brass one you made. Your tutorial is perfect! Can't wait to try it!

    1. Thanks Erin! Good luck with making one ;) Would love to see what you make!

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I just linked it within a post about brass Himmeli and am sure diy is a wonderful alternative!

  3. Never heard of a himmeli, no explanation given here. Can't imagine why this is a "thing".

  4. Himmelis are traditional finnish decorations usually used around christmastime. Usually made out of straw tubes, they can range in sizes from this minimal brass version to huge intricate ones. Id suggest looking online, they are beautiful and are easily handmade. IMO its cool that people have found the himmeli and are bringing it back to the modern age!

  5. Thank you! I just made one following your instructions. It is very nice, and was so simple! I put an air plant inside it and it will be a really cool gift.
    I am looking for alternative brass pipe sources other than Hobby Lobby, though.

  6. Thank you for this tutorial! I also just made one. I have a tip for your readers - to aid in getting the needle through the tubes, use a super magnet along the outside of the tubes to draw the needle through. The needle is usually steel and will be attracted, but the solid brass tubes are not, which allows you to do this. Sincerely, Rokkworks