How to build a black hole for a science fair project

Updated April 14, 2017

A black hole contains so much mass that an object within a certain distance cannot escape its gravitational pull; a feather would weigh as much as several billion tons near the "surface" of a black hole, according to Wichita State University. Although building a functioning black hole is currently impossible, you can create, by stretching fabric, a black hole replica that demonstrates the effect of gravity on the perception of light.

Remove the staples, using your flathead screwdriver, that attach the canvas to the stretcher bars on your stretched canvas.

Staple one side of your stretch fabric to the back of your exposed stretcher bars, in the same way that the canvas originally attached.

Pull your fabric across the open surface of the stretcher bars and staple the fabric to the remaining three stretcher bars. Ensure that the fabric is flat but not tightly stretched.

Draw large dots, circles and lines on the surface of the stretch fabric, in a fairly even pattern, using your white paint pen. These dots and lines represent light reflected off of objects in space.

Place your heavy weight in the centre of the surface of the fabric. The stretching of the fabric represents the stretching of time and space around the black hole. As objects approach the black hole, increased gravity causes the light reflected by them to take longer to reach the viewer.

Pull the weight in the centre of the fabric, creating a funnel on the surface. Tie your rubber band around the weight, so that it closes the fabric and prevents a viewer from seeing the weight.


A winning science fair project may procure college scholarships, such as the £650 scholarship offered to science fair project winners at Temple University. Louisiana State University lists the following requirements for winning science fair projects: creative and original research questions, an organised research display, the ability to comfortably discuss the information on the display, repeated measurements and the ability to differentiate accurate results from skewed results.

Things You'll Need

  • Stretched canvas
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Black stretch fabric
  • Stapler
  • White paint pen
  • Heavy weight
  • Rubber band
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About the Author

Donny Quinn has been writing professionally since 2002 and has been published on various websites. He writes technical manuals for a variety of companies, including restaurants, hotels and salons. Quinn is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English at Georgia State University.