Monday, January 16, 2012

Creating Jupiter

Yesterday, Son #1 and I were busy creating Jupiter, so I didn't have a chance to blog.  Son #1 is in the first grade, and he is doing a planet project (and paper).  He chose Jupiter.  I wasn't surprised by his choice of planet.  He and Big Daddy have looked in the telescope and seen Jupiter and the four Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Calisto. 

Son #1 wanted to do a shoebox.  I suggested doing Jupiter and the four Galilean moons.

We bought styrofoam balls for the planet and the moons.  Next, Hubby ran out and picked up some Crayola Model Magic.  I read that this will make the planet smooth, and easier to paint on.  Ours did crack some, but I think this is because I used a hair dryer to try to quicken the drying process (if you don't use a hair dryer it can take up to 24 hours to dry).

Three of the Galilean moons, already covered in Model Magic, and the styrofoam ball we used for Jupiter.

While these were drying I had the boys glitter paint the black construction paper.  Once they had spread out the glitter, and it had dried, I began hot gluing the paper inside of our box.  You can actually buy diarama boxes, but they are fairly expensive so I just used a wine box my mother gave me.
Our background for the box.

Jupiter and two of the moons drying inside the box.

By the afternoon, the model magic was dry on the moons.  I let Son #1 paint them whatever colors he wanted.  (Make sure to use acrylic paint.  It dries within an hour.)  Our Galilean moons are very colorful, and Son #1 had a great time painting them.

While painting, I stuck a toothpick into his ball to be used as a handle, and Son #1 put them on an empty egg crate to dry.  We only did one coat of paint on the moons.

Today, we woke up and the Model Magic on Jupiter was dry, so I let Son #1 paint.  He chose apricot, nutmeg and a tannish color that we mixed together, and then red for the Big Red Spot.  We did two layers of paint on Jupiter, waiting an hour in between for the first layer to dry.

Jupiter and its Big Red Spot.

Once the moons and planet were dry, I used the hot glue gun to glue on framing hooks.  I attached clear fishing line to the framing hook, tied it, and I glued it to the top of the shadow box and used tape to help secure it as well.  I had to find a larger framing hook and a stabilizer for Jupiter, as the small one did not handle the weight.  I have read that you can also use clear toothpicks to secure it to the bottom of the diarama. I also put a hook nail into the top of the box to hold the fishing line for Jupiter to help support the weight some more.  I hot glued the fishing line into the top of the box, as well.
We made little labels for the moons and the planet.  Here's the completed project:

For some reason, I couldn't get Calisto to line up properly, but overall I think it turned out pretty well!


  1. Seems more like a project for a 30 something year old than a 6 year old...just saying...

  2. He did all the painting, and was such a big help!  We had fun, plus he loves Jupiter!!!

  3. Holy cow!!! You guys are so creative!!! That's an awesome project! (I think I'll bookmark that and steal the idea for my kiddos for later, lol!) Very cool!

  4. Thanks. Feel free to share it with friends too! He told me today that he made a 100!!! Whoo-hoo!

  5. I'm doing this project this weekend, thanks for the great idea! My son is super excited to work on this.

  6. Great! Let me know how it turns out! We had so much fun with this project!!!


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