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How to make a 3D solar system model

Updated February 21, 2017

3D models can help students gain a better understanding of a subject such as astronomy. In order to teach your students about the alignment and order of the planets, it can be helpful to instruct them on making a handmade model that contains all of the major bodies of the solar system. To make a 3D solar system model, it is necessary to follow a few standard guidelines so the planetary bodies resemble their actual counterparts.

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  1. Paint the large foam ball yellow. This will be the sun.

  2. Paint one of the medium balls with brown, red and orange stripes. This will be Jupiter.

  3. Paint one of the medium balls tan with a brown stripe around the middle. This will be Saturn.

  4. Paint one of the medium balls green. This will be Uranus.

  5. Paint the last medium ball blue. This will be Neptune.

  6. Paint one of the small balls brown. This will be Mercury.

  7. Paint one of the small balls light green. This will be Venus.

  8. Paint one of the small balls blue and green. This will be Earth.

  9. Paint the last small ball red. This will be Mars.

  10. Paint the extra small ball grey. This will be Pluto.

  11. Cut 10 pieces of twine to measure 20 cm (8 inches) each.

  12. Hot glue a piece of twine onto each foam ball.

  13. Hot glue the other ends of the twine to a yardstick in their correct order: the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

  14. Allow the paint and hot glue to dry completely before displaying the model.

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Things You'll Need

  • 10 polystyrene foam balls: 1 large, 4 medium, 4 small, and 1 extra small
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue stick
  • Twine
  • Yardstick

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