How to make a solar system project

Written by ryn gargulinski
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How to make a solar system project
The Sun is much more massive than the planets, and this should be reflected in your model. (Getty Images)

Outer space has always fascinated you, so it's with much glee you want to create a solar system project. You can make a solar system project that is colourful, fun and represents all the planets and the Sun --- even the dwarf planet Pluto --- with a few simple steps and supplies readily available at most arts and craft shops.

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Things you need

  • Polystyrene foam (such as Styrofoam) balls
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Glue
  • Large piece of foam core
  • Poster board
  • Paint

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  1. 1

    Gather your planets. Get a total of 10 polystyrene foam balls, sold at most craft shops, to represent the 8 planets, Pluto and the Sun. Your selection should include 3 small balls for Mercury, Mars and Pluto; 5 medium balls for Earth, Venus, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus; 1 large ball for Jupiter and 1 extra-large ball for the Sun.

  2. 2

    Make Saturn's rings. Cut a circle out of poster board that is at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) larger than the medium ball you are using for Saturn. Cut a hole in the middle of the circle so it can be placed snugly around the middle of the Saturn ball. Glue into place.

  3. 3

    Paint. Choose several colours of spray paint to colour your planets and the Sun. The planets can be painted any colour you wish, but yellow works best for the Sun, a rusty-coloured red or brown for Mars, and blue and green for Earth. Paint the large piece of foam core to represent the sky. It can be black, blue or again, any colour you wish.

  4. 4

    Set up your orbits. Draw a series of 10 dots across the foam core, starting with one dot on the far left where you will attach the Sun, and systematically reaching across the board until the dot on the far left is the ninth one, where you will attach Pluto.

  5. 5

    Attach the planets to the foam core. Snip off 10 pieces of thread of varying lengths. Attach one end of each thread to each planet and the Sun by tying it in a knot around a pin head and inserting the pin into the polystyrene foam ball at an angle. Apply glue to the pins before inserting, for a secure fit. Allow them to dry, then do the same on the other end of the thread, attaching the pin to the dots you created on the foam core. You can stick the pins all the way through the foam core and bend the ends with a pair of pliers so they stay secure.

Tips and warnings

  • Pluto is now technically classified as a "dwarf" planet. Feel free to leave it out if you would rather not include it in your project. If you do include it, there are other dwarf planets (such as Ceres and Eris) that you can include as well.

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