Three’s the charm: Three ways to make a Solar System model (and a giveaway)

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 . . .

One more way to make a model of the Solar System. Always good to have on file!

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
  • Teaspoon
  • 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”.

Close up detail of Saturn in the Solar System Mobile.

You’ll cut out Saturn’s ring from the 1/2″ thick foam sheet.

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.

How to make a Solar System Mobile. Tutorial on

Solar System Mobile by Kathleen George.

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.


Solar system kit giveaway

I’m giving away two Solar System kits.

Happy crafting!


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34 Responses to Three’s the charm: Three ways to make a Solar System model (and a giveaway)



  2. Pingback: Planetary and Solar System STEAM Activities | F.E.S.T

  3. Mariana says:

    Hey Sharon where and i get all those materials from i have to do a school project this weekend

    • Sharon says:

      Hi, thanks for stopping in. You’ll be able to find these supplies at Jo-Ann Stores, Michaels, Hobby Lobby or other craft store. WalMart should carry most of the supplies, too. Happy crafting! Sharon

  4. Vanessa says:

    Looks fun … At my nieces birthday party we had loads and the children built many things including snowmen, snowballs and some made animals that had so much fun

  5. tamesha says:

    Hi i need to make a solar system when can i buy this thing from ………………….. thanks

    • Sharon says:

      You can find the balls of STYROFOAM Brand Foam and the Solar System Kits in Walmart, Jo-Ann Stores, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Thanks for stopping in. Sharon

  6. kate says:

    i’m here on a wet english sunday – and guess what, last day of the half term holiday and my daughter has said she needs a solar system for homework !!! thank you for the sizes we went a bit off piste and made it out of pom poms with saturns rings a ring of crochet – quite proud of us x

  7. amanda says:

    I made a styrofoam fruit tree for a Christmas party!

  8. asweetberry1 says:

    I made a Christmas tree with Laura Kelly buttons! It was the first time I had worked with Styrofoam and it was so much fun! It became my center piece and the kids loved it! My six year old would love to have the solar system! 🙂

    • Sharon says:

      I remember your button tree — berry sweet! Thanks for stopping in. Sharon

      • Anupama says:

        please inform me where do I get this kit? please mention the price also

      • Sharon says:

        The kit is sold at Michaels Stores, Jo-Ann Stores and WalMart. You can also purchase it online on Amazon. The price will vary according to where you purchase the kit. Thanks so much for stopping by. Sharon

  9. melle e says:

    We made snowballs and snowmen! We added extra large sparkly.white glitter with spray adhesive. Then I have all the kids a pile of scraps and scissors and they made scarves and hats. Tiny plastic carrots leftover from Easter crafts became noses. Black beads became smiles when pressed into the foam. 🙂 shiny blue and green beads for eyes. Felt for hats. Tiny ribbon rosebuds to make Mrs. frosty!

    What fun they had! And they got to take them special ornaments home. We make something every year after thanksgiving dinner is done. 🙂

    • Sharon says:

      Your snowmen sound adorable! I love your crafty, Thanksgiving tradition and I bet your family does, too. Happy memories. Thanks for sharing. Sharon

  10. ColleenB. says:

    Oh my goodness. I remember having to make the solar system in school but back in my day they didn’t have these nice kits that they do now.
    Back in the 60’s we Actually had to work to make our projects. Now they have kits to where all you have to do it take it out of the box and put together.
    Last thing I had made using Styrofoam was a topiary tree for Christmas

    • Sharon says:

      I know, the creating is half the fun. People are so pressed for time, however, and kits and “component crafting” help them create quickly. Some teachers don’t allow the kids to use the kits, so they’re still creating from scratch (sometimes). Sharon

  11. annehaun says:

    Oh would my little grandson love this solar kit. I used styrofoam balls to make Christmas ornaments – lots of ornaments!

    • Sharon says:

      It would be a fun project for you to do together. If he’s a Star Wars fan, you should check out the Star Wars solar system Jessica made for her son over at Mad in Crafts. It’s so creative. Thanks for stopping in. Sharon

  12. LisaM6 says:

    Now I wished I had that kit back in the day with my oldest. Saturn sure would have looked better.
    I made one of the welcome winter signs on burlap with the Styrofoam balls for the heads of the snowmen in mittens. I am going to try to make ornaments now just with the balls and mittens. Great tut as always.

  13. lesley says:

    i used the 2″ balls to wrap fuzzy white yarn around for snowballs at christmas….they were a huge hit!

  14. Lynda Atwood says:

    The last project I made ( I’m still working on it) was the pine cone wreath that you shared. I got busy with the holidays and family illness, so I haven’t finished it, but I will. We would love a solar model kit. ( and I promise we’ll finish it.) lol

    • Sharon says:

      I’m so glad you tried the wreath, and I know you’ll finish it in time for next year. I bet it’s beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Sharon

  15. Awesome!!! My soon to be 10 year old grandson and I have been talking about making a solar system for a few months now but I just don’t have the money to order the stuff we need to do it right now. He is a very scientific kid and loves anything to do with solar systems. He would love it if I won this kit so we could FINALLY make a solar system!!! Winning this would make a little boy’s dream come true and we would have so much fun making it! Thank you for the chance to make my grandson’s dream come true!!!

    • Sorry, forgot to write what the last project I made with Styrofoam brand foam. I made a 3 tiered cake pop holder for my other grandson’s birthday. I made 50 cake pops for his birthday and I made the holder in the shape of a mountain for the dinosaur cake pops to live on until they were devoured!! Thanks again for the chance to win the Solar System Kit!!

    • Sharon says:

      Thank YOU for stopping in, Barb.

    • Katiria says:

      My son and I did this exact Solar System craft about a year or 2 ago. I won it right here from Sharon and I can vouch for it! It’s a ton of fun my son chose to do it in a spiral form instead of straight. We took some wire from the garage that was strong enough to hold all the planets and not sag down. We curled it into a spiral and poked the planets through. It’s hanging from his ceiling right now!
      The last project I made was the little New Year’s champagne glasses from They were quick and easy.

      • Sharon says:

        Thanks for sharing, Katiria. I remember when you won the kit! So glad your son still enjoys it. Thanks for chiming in — maybe you’ll win kit #2. Sharon

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