Make a detailed model of Earth and all its neighboring planets with this quick STEM-focused project.


  • Paint (red, orange, yellow, green, bluegreen, dark blue, cobalt blue, light blue, white and black)
  • 8 small Styrofoam balls (these will be the planets). You’ll need the following sizes: 5, 4, 3, 2 ½, 2, 1 ½ and 1 ¼ inches. Make sure you have two each of the 1 ½- and 1 ¼-inch balls.
  • 10-inch Styrofoam ball (this will be the base of the solar system)
  • Coat hangers, wooden dowels or skewers (these will suspend the planets)
  • Styrofoam sheet, pipe cleaners, cardboard or colored paper (this will make Saturn’s rings)
  • Pocketknife or scissors


STEP 1. Stick the hangers, skewers or dowels about halfway through all balls except the 10-inch one.

STEP 2. Add detail to your planets by painting them. Do some research to decide exactly how you want to make each one look. For starters:

  • SUN — 5-inch ball, bright yellow
  • MERCURY — 1 ¼-inch ball, orange
  • VENUS — 1 ½-inch ball, blue-green
  • EARTH — 1½-inch ball, dark blue with green highlights
  • MARS — 1 ¼-inch ball, red
  • JUPITER — 4-inch ball, orange with red and white stripes. Be sure to add the Great Red Spot in the correct area with red paint.
  • SATURN — 3-inch ball, yellow-orange
  • URANUS — 2-inch ball, cobalt blue
  • NEPTUNE — 2 ½-inch ball, light blue

STEP 3. Make the stand. While you wait for the planets to dry, make the stand for your model. Cut the 10-inch ball in half, creating a dome with a flat bottom. Once all the planets are dry, stick them into the dome so each of them is arranged according to its order in the solar system.


Add some extra detail to your model by using pipe cleaners, extra Styrofoam, cardboard or colored paper to mimic Saturn’s famous rings.

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