Photo Negative Mobile Activity

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Updated on Apr 4, 2014

Turn old film negatives into a positive-ly fun craft: a photo negative mobile! Back in the old days, before digital photography, photographs were made from negatives; the original image captured on light-sensitive paper. Though most people have made the switch to digital, many people still have boxes of negatives lying around. Make art into more art with this fun film craft.

What You Need:

  • Old strips of film negatives
  • Scissors
  • Three pieces of yarn, approximately 12 inches each
  • Pipe cleaners, or circular object like an old DVD, compact disc, or circular piece of plastic
  • Invisible tape

What You Do:

  1. Help your child find and collect some old photo negative strips. If you don’t have any, try asking a grandparent or older relative.
  2. Your child can cut the film strips. She can either cut them all to the same, length, or cut them to various lengths for variety. Now’s a good time to grab a ruler and practice measurement: measure twice, cut once!
  3. Next she can connect a few pipe cleaners into a circle shape, or find a circular object such as an old DVD or compact disc, to hang the strips from.
  4. Help her arrange the film strips to hang from around the edges of the circle.  Pieces of invisible tape will help her to connect one end of each film strip to an edge of the circular object or pipe cleaner circle.
  5. Help her tie three pieces of yarn at evenly-spaced intervals around the pipe cleaner circle (or taped to the edge of the circle if using a DVD, compact disc, or plastic circle). Join the three pieces of yarn together above the circle and tie them together in a knot.  This can be used to hang the mobile.
  6. Once it’s finished, she may wish to hang the mobile on a porch, under a tree, or elsewhere outside where sun can glint through the negatives and the wind can rustle them. Hanging it inside near a window would also be an attractive location.
  7. Enjoy the mobile and feel good about recycling potential trash into art!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

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