A+ science project: How to make a model of an atom (and the gift card winners)

The last few weeks of school seem to go on forever, don’t they? And then there are the last-minute projects . . . I hope today’s tutorial to DIY a model of an atom will help ease the pain! When you hear “mom, I’ve got a science project due tomorrow”, Crafts ‘n Coffee has you covered! Thank you to Linda Valentino for today’s tutorial on how make a Lithium Atom with balls of STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam. (Need more ideas? Check out the DNA Model, Animal Cell Model, Plant Cell Model and Solar System models, too.)

DIY a a model of an atom

To make a model of a Lithium Atom, you’ll need:

  • STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam: Six, 1-1/2” balls and three, 1” balls
  • Metal rings, two
  • Wire, 26-gauge in silver
  • Monofilament (clear) nylon thread
  • Acrylic craft paint in red, blue and yellow
  • Toothpicks
  • Straight pins
  • Thick, white craft glue
  • Tools needed: Scissors; plastic knife; paintbrush

To make a model of a Lithium Atom:

1. Push one ring into the other and center. Wrap wire around joints until secure. Squeeze glue onto wire, and let dry.

2. Insert toothpicks into the foam balls, and use the toothpicks as handles. Paint the balls:

  • 1” balls red
  • Three 1-½” balls blue
  • Three 1 ½” balls yellow

3. Build the nucleus:

  • Dip both ends of a toothpick in glue.
  • Insert one end in a yellow ball and the other end in a blue ball.
  • Tie a 15” length of nylon thread around the exposed toothpick between the two balls, leaving one end as long as possible.
  • Trim off the shorter end, and dot knot with glue.
  • Repeat, making a second pair of blue and yellow balls.
  • Using toothpicks and glue, join together the two pairs of blue and yellow balls to form a group of four. Position the balls so that the nylon threads are on opposite sides.
  • Insert one end of a toothpick dipped in glue into the last yellow ball.
  • Push the toothpick through the group of four balls, and add the last blue ball on the other end.

4. Add the electrons:

  • Using the plastic knife, carefully cut the red balls in half.
  • Center two pairs on one metal ring, and glue the halves together.
  • Center the last pair on the second ring, and glue the halves together.

5. Center the nucleus in the middle of the rings. Tie one nylon thread to the top, and the other to the bottom. Trim off ends, and add a dab of glue on each knot.

6. Optional: If you’re going to hang your model, loop nylon thread through a ring for a hanger.

How to make a model of an atom

It’s been years (decades!) since I’ve had a science class, and I had to look up Lithium to find out more about it. Turns out it’s the lightest metal and the least dense, solid element, but it sure has powerful properties!

About four more weeks till school is over . . . How’s the school year going in your house or your neighborhood? When is the last day?

I also have the winners of the three, $25 gift cards. Thank you to everyone who shared their crafts. I love reading about what you’re making! The winners are Katiria, Debbie Kaste and Yolanda. Please contact me for the details, ladies.

Happy crafting!



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27 Responses to A+ science project: How to make a model of an atom (and the gift card winners)

  1. Amy Clayton-Odom says:

    Where did you get the metal rings?

  2. ! Thank you, and I wish you the very same!

  3. ! 🙂 I always loved the school projects, didn’t you, Angie?

  4. markmhamann says:

    ! Congrats to the lucky winners and Happy Mother’s Day to you Sharon!

  5. DevBlog says:

    ! Congrats to the lucky winners and Happy Mother’s Day to you Sharon!

  6. Computer says:

    ! I wish that Science Projects were this much fun when I was in school and my kids were in school!

  7. CraftyB says:

    Great project for the kids, thanks!!

    • Sharon says:

      Glad you like it! Be sure to bookmark it — you never know when you’re going to get a last-minute request! Happy crafting! Sharon

  8. Debbie Kaste says:

    Thank you for drawing my name in the give away. Sure made my day:) Love the ideas on Craftsncoffee, so inspiring. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you for your sweet comment, and congratulations! I have the best and most creative readers, and I loved reading about everyone’s crafts. Happy crafting! Sharon

  9. Angie Anderson Dyer says:

    Congrats to the winners: Katiria, Debbie Kaste and Yolanda! I wish that Science Projects were this much fun when I was in school and my kids were in school! I love the step by step easy directions The photos really add the visual details to create a masterpiece! Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to all!

  10. annehaun says:

    Congrats to the lucky winners and Happy Mother’s Day to you Sharon!!

  11. Congratulations to the lucky winners! Happy shopping!
    My grandson did this project last year for school! We had lots of fun making it! Will see if we have any pics to share! TFS and have a great weekend! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!

    • Sharon says:

      Your grandkids are lucky to have a crafty grandma! I bet he got an “A”. I’d love to see a photo, please share if you find it. Have a beautiful weekend! Sharon

  12. Cindy deRosier says:

    Very cool! School ends 6/9 here, then Trevor is officially in middle school. I can’t believe it!

  13. Wow – where was this when I needed it -like 5 years ago(LOL) – now its Physics and no fun projects – Have a great Mother’s Day !

  14. Katiria says:

    OOH I love it! This is the perfect project. This reminded me of the solar system project my son made years ago just for fun. It’s still hanging from his ceiling. We used galvanized wires to make it a spiral shape and we balanced it perfectly. This looks like it would be great to make over summer break. School ends in 3 weeks. Thanks Sharon 🙂 I hope you have a lovely Mother’s Day.
    Congrats to my fellow winners Debbie Kaste and Yolanda.
    And I hope every mom gets to feel loved and appreciated this weekend – and everyday;)

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you for the sweet Mother’s Day wishes for all! I hope it’s a wonderful day for you, too! I’m glad your son has enjoyed his Solar System — it’s a keeper! Happy crafting, Katiria. Sharon

  15. LisaM6 says:

    The dates vary from next week for my college girl, June 3d for the senior in high school, and June 7th for my 6th grader. I know now the youngest will have a new science teacher next year so this will be on our project list.
    Congrats ladies for winning the gift cards!

    • Sharon says:

      Yay, you’ll soon have a full house again (or is your daughter working/interning out of town?). I think my daughter wraps up finals the first week in June, and then the summer scramble starts. I’m glad you’ll bookmark this one, and look for another tutorial next week . . . 😉 Happy crafting! Sharon

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