Building a model of the solar system is a great project for students of any age who are studying astronomy. Astronomy enthusiasts can also benefit from making their own 3-dimensional model of our solar system simply as a fun project or a display piece for a collection. You can create a 3D model simply or you can make more elaborate models with moving parts. You can complete a simple model in the space of a few hours.
Choose a piece of plywood that is big enough to support all of the planets in the model-making project. There are eight planets in the solar system and the sun will be included in the centre.
Spray paint the plywood black to mimic the night sky. If desired, use glue and glitter to create a background of stars on the plywood.
Choose eight styrofoam or polystyrene balls of differing sizes. Use the largest one for the sun, while the others should range in size with Jupiter being the largest of the planets.
Spray paint or colour the balls to match the planets' appearance. For example, Mars should be red, while Earth should be blue. Color each of the planets to create a more realistic model.
Cut nine or more pieces of heavy duty craft wire to 6 or 8 inches long. Paint them black. Cut nine styrofoam blocks, 1 to 2 square inches, and paint them black.
Place a piece of craft wire into the bottom of each planet and the sun. The wire will support each of the planets. If necessary, add a second piece of wire for extra support.
Place the other end of the craft wire into the styrofoam blocks. These will be the bases of the planets and support them on top of the model.
Glue the bases to the board. Place it in the centre of the board and arrange the planets around it according to their order. Leave several inches of space between each planet. Allow the glue to dry before moving the 3D model.
Things you need
- Spray paint
- Glitter (optional)
- Craft wire
- Styrofoam balls
- Styrofoam blocks