Origami Sonobe Units – Mobile

Origami Mobile Baby, Origami OrigamiTree.com

Origami Mobile, Folded by Jenny W Chan. Decal from Bobee, LLC.

I’ve always been extremely fond of Sonobe units. They were my first exposure to modular origami as a child, and I’ve been making them ever since. I love models created with these units because they’re sturdy without the use of glue. I used to make them, toss them up in the air, hit them against walls, and they still held their shape! Plus, they just look nice. 🙂

One of my former teachers (now friend and role model) is having a baby in September! I wanted to make something special and unique to decorate the nursery with, and asked her to pick two colors, along with a pattern. She chose yellow, turquoise, and stars.

I thought that finding paper would be easy. I’d just go to Michaels, head on over to the scrapbook section, and call it day. But to my disappointment, it was harder to find nice patterned paper with stars than I expected. I went to Blick Dick, Michaels, and Paper Presentation, and still wasn’t happy with the selection. All of the star-patterned papers either didn’t have the right color scheme, or just weren’t nice at all. I very much wanted a plain yellow sheet, but they didn’t have those either. Whattt?!

In the end, I settled for a rather busy (and colorful) star pattern from Michaels – not my favorite, but it was the only one with potential, haha. I loved the yellow chevron pattern from Michaels, but I wasn’t sure if it would go well with the stars. But after hunting for paper for two days, I just had to let it go and work with what I had. In the end, I think the mismatched patterns actually look pretty good. Or am I just biased and crazy, LOL? 😛

5 Origami Sonobe Baby Mobile Origami OrigamiTree by Jenny W Chan

Finding plain, foldable, turquoise paper was also a challenge. I chose 32-lb metallic turquoise sheets from Paper Presentation. I initially wanted something shinier and more glittery, to attract the baby’s attention (Sara Adams from Happy Folding’s advice!), but because the yellow chevron and star patterns were already so busy, I couldn’t make it any more cluttered than it already was. By the way, glitter is great, but make sure it doesn’t SHED. I hate glittered paper that rip/shed when you fold it. Yes, I said “hate.Certainly not a word I use very often when it comes to crafting! 😉

4 Origami Sonobe Baby Mobile Origami OrigamiTree by Jenny W Chan

32-lb Metallic Paper, Utility Bone Folder from Martha Stewart

For the baby mobile, I opted for six 12-unit sonobe models. I dangled them from teal and yellow ribbons at varying lengths which I purchased from Michaels for just 50-cents a roll! WOW! Such a great deal! I didn’t know they were so inexpensive. I was ready to spend a lot more. Now I want to go back and buy more colors, haha.

6 Origami Sonobe Baby Mobile Origami OrigamiTree by Jenny W Chan  3 Origami Sonobe Baby Mobile Origami OrigamiTree by Jenny W Chan

To attach the sonobe units to a string for hanging, I double-knotted (or triple-knotted) some LARGE buttons to one end, and then slipped the button into the model before closing it up again. You can find buttons from old clothing, or from the extra buttons you get from purchasing new clothes if you don’t want to spend any money. This method works very well (better than just knotting alone, or using a bead). The last thing I want is for the models to fall off and hit the baby on the head. Oops, LOL. 😛 You can also glue the units together, but I didn’t use any.

7 Origami Sonobe Baby Mobile Origami OrigamiTree by Jenny W Chan Origami Sonobe Baby Mobile Origami OrigamiTree by Jenny W Chan

Paper Sizes:

  • 12 Turquoise: 2.5″ (makes 1 model)
  • 24 Turquoises: 3″ (makes 2)
  • 12 Yellow: 3.5″ (makes 1)
  • 12 Yellow: 4″ (makes 1)
  • 12 Star: 4″ (makes 1)


2 Origami Sonobe Baby Mobile Origami OrigamiTree by Jenny W Chan

Finished & Ready to Package! 🙂

Below you’ll find a video tutorial on how to create an icosahedron using 30 units should you want to create something similar. The 30-unit construction involves making “5 points.” The 12-unit construction involves making “4 points.”

I’ve yet to create tutorials for other variations, but will in the future, I will (it’s on my very long to-do list). 😉

You may also choose to create models with 3 units, 6 units, 12 units, 30 units, 90 units, 270 units, etc. Personally, I’ve never tried making models with 90 and 270 units, but that’s only because I’m lazy. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in seeing how the stores I mentioned above look like, watch my Ultimate NYC Paper Tour with Sara Adams (from Happy Folding) HERE.

P.S. I also plan to do an unboxing/review for the Martha Stewart Utility Bone Folder. Stay tuned!