Inside: Step-by-step guide to making paper mache planets.
Paper mache planets are the answer to a fun, engaging activity to integrate arts into your science curriculum!
If you have been looking for how to do this, look no further! I’ll show you, step by step, how to create a paper mache solar system with your students.
Start by gathering your materials
This activity is a lot of fun for your students and a great way for them to show what they know about the planets after your solar system unit. It will take a few days to complete the entire project so be sure to plan the time.
- Balloons (one balloon per pair of students)
- Large Bowl
- Acrylic paints (Green, blue, red, orange, yellow, brown)
- **If you are making a paper mache solar system instead of a single planet, you will also need colored paper or other materials to create rings for Saturn and Uranus.
Make the paper mache
First, you’ll need to create the paper mache. This is very simple. Mix 1 part flour to 2 parts water. Stir until there are few lumps left in the bowl. It should be runny, not thick. You’ll need to make quite a bit to have enough for a whole class (more than I made).
I recommend filling the entire bowl to start out. Then divide it into bowls for smaller groups of students. Have extra ingredients on hand in case you need to make more!
Pass out the balloons
Next, give a balloon to each student (or pair of students if you are having them work together). Have the students blow the balloon just enough that it looks like a nice circle. They should NOT blow it up all the way, because then it doesn’t have that nice spherical shape that you need for a planet.
Hand out newspapers
Then, hand out newspapers to students and have them cut the newspaper into strips.
Once the balloon and strips of the newspaper are ready, give each pair of students a bowl of paper mache glue. (Or, have groups of 4 share). Students will dip each strip into the paper mache, covering both sides, and then stick it to their balloon.
Have students do two layers at once and then let it dry for a day. Then, repeat the next day.
When the planets have completely dried, students may begin painting their planets with acrylic paints. Students may decorate their planet(s) using paints, colored paper, or any other materials on hand. They should get creative! Students with Saturn and Uranus should have some sort of material to create rings for their planets with.
And that’s that! Your paper mache solar system is complete!
Can you guess which paper mache planet I created? …..It’s Neptune 🙂
Check out our Solar System Research Unit
If you love this activity and are looking for more curriculum for your Solar System unit, check out my Solar System Informational Text Research Unit! This unit will show your students how to use informational text to study the solar system, choose a planet to research, and focus on one question each day in their Solar System Research Journal (which is no prep and ready to go for you).
Then they will create these paper mache planets and invite parents and other classes to come to their “Planet Fair”! Worksheets, parent letters, invitations, and everything you need are included in both color and black and white. Check it out in my shop or Teachers pay Teachers store if you’re interested!
Wow!!!! This is fab!
Thank you so much for this tutorial. My soon to be 7 year old son really wants an earth birthday party and there’s not much earth party decorations in October. Plus, we had fun doing this together as a family. Thanks again!
No problem! So glad it helped you. That sounds like a lot of fun! 🙂
Love it! We’re learning about the solar system and my oldest 2 are obsessed with space. They are very excited to make these!
Glad you love it! Such a fun activity.
I have a question about letting it dry… did you put them inside a cup? Or on foil? I can’t tell in pictures. I am doing Earth this week with my 18 2nd graders. Any idea how much flour I’ll need? Trying to get a plan for materials! Thank you for inspiration… I’m so excited!
Hi Sarah! Sorry if this response is late! My son’s birthday was this week and it was pretty crazy. I had them on tin foil to dry. It’s been a few years since I’ve done this and I don’t remember exactly how much I used… I wish I’d written this a little clearer! (I’d just started blogging then and wasn’t as good at it… LOL). I’d think just a 5 lb bag would be plenty, though. If you do it- keep me posted on how it went! 🙂
did you pop the balloon or leave it?
I left it, but you can pop it once it has hardened.