May Day Ribbon Mobile

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Inside: May Day Ribbon Mobile

Want to celebrate May Day but don’t want to make a May Pole?

This simple May Day Ribbon Mobile is the perfect alternative for celebrating at home. It’s a project we’ve included in our Blue Willow Book Guide.

In the story of Blue Willow by Doris Gates, the main character Janey gets to participate in the annual May Day Celebration. (That’s all we’ll give away. You have to read this wonderful book!)

Since erecting a full-size Maypole is impractical for most families, we decided to create a project that embraces the spirit of May Day joy and celebration in the story…but doesn’t require power tools.

How to Make a Ribbon Mobile

How to Make a May Day Ribbon Mobile


  • Plastic or wooden embroidery hoop (any size)
  • Ribbon or fabric strips (in a variety of widths and lengths)
  • Jute twine (or use leftover ribbon instead)
  • (optional) Acrylic craft paint
  • (optional) Sponge paint brush
How to Make a Ribbon Mobile

Step 1: (optional) Paint the Embroidery Hoop

  • Separate the inner hoop and the outer hoop and lay on a paper-covered surface.
  • Paint your embroidery hoop in a festive color using acrylic craft paint and a sponge paint brush.
  • Allow to dry thoroughly before moving on to Step 2.

NOTE: We chose to leave our hoop unpainted.

Step 2: Prepare Ribbons & Fabric

You can use spools of ribbon, strips of fabric, or a combination of both.

  • If using ribbon, cut into 40″ – 50″ lengths.
  • If using fabric, cut fabric into a variety of 3/4″ – 1.5″ strips that are 40″- 44″  in length
  • It’s also nice to use a combination of ribbon and fabric, if you have both available.
How to Make a Ribbon Mobile

Step 3: Add Ribbon and/or Fabric to the Hoop

  • Take a length of ribbon or fabric and fold in half to find the center.
  • Tie the ribbon around the inner hoop at this center point and make a square knot.
  • Make sure the knot is at the bottom of the hoop.
  • Repeat this around the entire hoop until it is filled with varied colors and lengths of ribbon or fabric.
How to Make a Ribbon Mobile

Step 4: Attach the Outer Hoop

  • Once the inner hoop is filled, make sure the ribbons or fabric strips are evenly spaced apart.
  • Attach the outer hoop and secure tightly.

Step 5: Add the Hanging Ties

  • Cut 3 pieces of the jute twine 24″ in length. (You could use ribbon or fabric instead.)
  • Leaving a 2″ tail, tie each piece of twine around the hoop. Make sure they are evenly spaced around the circle.
  • Gather all three strings together at the top, making sure the mobile hangs down evenly. Tie all three together with a square knot.

Hang your May Day ribbon mobile from a tree and and watch the ribbons dance in the wind!

How to Make a Ribbon Mobile

Get the companion guide!

Learn more behind the meaning of this project with our Blue Willow Book Guide which is set in a California migrant camp during the Great Depression.

Blue Willow - Book Guide

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