How to Create Ceiling Art

This unique mobile makes a memorable focal point.


This unique mobile adds movement and constantly changing pattern to an ordinary ceiling.

This unique mobile adds movement and constantly changing pattern to an ordinary ceiling.

Materials and Tools:

jig saw
paint roller/brush
nail gun
screw gun
sanding blocks or belt sander
large protractor (or string and pencil for arching circle, if necessary)
booker rod (1/4 inch)
12 washers and nuts to suit booker rod
two 4'x4' sheets of 1/2-inch MDF (medium density fiberboard)
3/4" wood screws
wood glue


  1. This artwork consists of five concentric circles that fit inside one another. The "outline" of each circle is 3" wide. The largest circle has an outside diameter of 3-1/2 feet and an inside diameter of 3 feet 3 inches. The next largest circle has an outside diameter of 3'2" (to allow for a 1" gap between the circles for movement) and an inside diameter of 2'11". The rest of the circles are proportionately smaller. You may make the artwork as large or as small as you like, as long as you allow the 1" gap between each pair.
  2. Mark a center point in the middle of your sheet of MDF and draw every circle from the same center point. This is important to achieve symmetry and to make the artwork move within itself. Use an awl or nail to strike the central hole from which you will run your protractor pin. (Note: If you're using pencil, nail and string — although it's harder to be accurate with that method — this is where the nail will sit.) Repeat this process to draw a second set of circles in each size.
  3. Use the protractor to draw the largest circle. Continue drawing the rest of the circles, making sure each is 1 inch smaller than the previous one. (NOTE: For ease of assembly, draw a center line straight through the center of your circles before you cut them out. That will help you to line them up when you drill the pivot holes.)
  4. Make a starter hole for the jigsaw using a spade bit and drill. The hole must be big enough to fit the jigsaw blade in to start cutting. Cut out the circles, starting with the largest one. Make sure to stay outside the pencil line. (Depending on your skill level, you may clamp both sheets together and cut them simultaneously.)
  5. Use wood glue and a nail gun to attach every pair of two circles of the same size. You can also reinforce with wood screws. 
  6. Sand the edges of the circles to make sure they are rounded. We clamped a belt sander to the table with small quick release clamps so that we were able to freely maneuver the large circles. The sanding motion must be fluid to avoid flat spots in the circles.
  7. Lay the circles inside each other. Use the centerline we drew earlier as your guide, and carefully drill a hole through the head and foot of each circle, drilling in from the outside edge. The holes must align for proper insertion of the booker rod, which will pass through the plate and attach to the back of the plate with nuts and washers. Prime and paint the MDF circles.
  8. Cut out a 16"x12"x1-1/2" piece of MDF for the ceiling plate. Prime and paint it.
  9. Assemble the artwork from the bottom up by first threading the booker rod through the bottom of the circles with washers as spacers: booker rod, washer, largest circle, washer, next largest circle, washer and so on. Once you have threaded the bottom of the smallest circle onto the booker rod, add a washer and a nut to the end of the rod, which you will tighten later to hold the tops of the circles up against the plate. Continue threading through the tops of the circles until you reach the top of the largest circle. Add a washer to the top, then thread the booker rod through the ceiling plate. On the back side of the ceiling plate, attach the artwork with a washer and a double nut.
  10. Push the tops of all of the circles up against the ceiling plate and affix them closely together with the nut we put in the inside of the smallest circle. Spin the circles to make sure they pass freely through one another. Finally, at the bottom of the largest circle, attach a washer and a double nut to hold the entire artwork together.
  11. Screw the ceiling plate to a ceiling rafter with 3-inch screws.


lumber — Jaeger Lumber

paint — Ace Sensations Ceiling White flat
Ace Hardware

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