Tutorials for making a Solar System model are always popular on Crafts ‘n Coffee. I think it’s a universal school project, and at some point, almost everyone makes a model of the Solar System. I already have instructions for a Solar System Poster, and a “Real” Solar System Model, and today I’m sharing one more option – a Solar System Mobile. If you’re frantically looking to make a Solar System the night before the project’s due (uhm, nobody does that, do they??), I hope three’s the charm and one of these three DIY Solar System models will work for you. Read on for a giveaway, too . . .
To make a Solar System Mobile, you’ll need:
- STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam:
- Balls: one each 5”, 4”, 3”, 2 ½”, 2”; and two 1 ½”
- Sheet: ½” x 5” x 5”
- Acrylic craft paints: yellow, orange, dark-blue, blue-green, cobalt-blue, light-blue, red, black
- Wood dowel, ¼” x 30”
- Black string or yarn
- Thick, white craft glue
- Tools needed: Scissors; serrated knife*; teaspoon; wood skewers; stiff paintbrush; several jars or glasses, including one with a 3″ dia. mouth
*CAUTION: Only adults should use a serrated knife.
To make a Solar System Mobile:
1. Roll one of the 1 ½” balls on your work surface, compressing it to about 1 ¼”.
2. Using a sharp pencil, trace around the 3″-dia. mouth of a jar or glass on the ½” sheet of STYROFOAM Brand Foam. Draw a second, 4” circle around the first circle. This will be Saturn’s ring. Use the tip of the serrated knife to cut out the ring (NOTE: Have an adult cut out the ring; do not let a child use the serrated knife). Use the bowl of a teaspoon to smooth around the inside and outside edges of the ring.
3. Follow this handy dandy chart for painting your planets. Before you start, insert a wooden skewer into each foam ball to use as a handle while painting. After the balls are painted, place the wooden skewer into a jar or glass while the paint dries.
4. Paint the wood dowel black.
5. Cut the black yarn or string for hanging the planets. Each length should be 2-3” longer than the last, so that the planets hang in a diagonal line from the sun to Neptune. Tie the strings onto the dowel, making sure each string hangs several inches longer than the one before. Secure each string with a dot of white craft glue.
6. Tie a knot at the end of each string.
7. When the planets are dry, remove the skewers, arrange in the proper order going away from the sun (refer to the handy dandy chart). Glue the knots into the skewer hole on each planet. Test hang the mobile to be sure the planets will hang without bumping into each other. Let glue dry thoroughly.
8. Label each planet. Kathleen printed out the names of each planet, and then glued the tags at a slight angle onto the dowel.
9. Tie a long string to either end of the dowel. Find the place on the string where the dowel hands straight and hang the mobile from that point.
And now you’re done and everyone can go to bed!
To help make this even easier, I’m giving away two Solar System kits! Keep the kit on hand and you can easily wrap up the assignment before bedtime. To win a Solar System kit, tell me about the last project you made with STYROFOAM Brand Foam. Leave the details below by next Monday, January 20, and I’ll announce the winners on Tuesday, January 21.