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Project

Solar System Mobile

This colorful solar system mobile is a stylish addition to any nursery and an excellent way to introduce older children to the planets.

Introduction

Materials

  • Large circle cutter
  • Small circle cutter
  • Craft paper or cardstock
  • Bone folder
  • Binder clips
  • Sewing machine
  • Leather needle
  • White thread
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive tape roller
  • Lighted star form
  • Seam binding
  • Fabric glue
  • Snips
  • Monofilament
  • Planet labels template

Steps

  1. Step 1

    For each of the nine planets, use a circle cutter to cut 12 circles from craft paper or cardstock of desired colors. Suggested color palettes and diameters are as follows: Mercury: 4-inch circles in oranges, yellows, and browns Venus: 5-inch circles in yellows, greens, and white Earth: 5 1/2-inch circles in white, blues, greens, and browns Mars: 4 1/2-inch circles in reds and browns Jupiter: 9-inch circles in reds, oranges, and browns Saturn: 8-inch circles in yellows and browns Uranus: 7-inch circles in light blues and purples Neptune: 6 1/2-inch circles in light blues and greens Pluto: 2-inch circles in purples and dark blues

  2. Step 2

    Divide each group of 12 circles into two stacks of six circles each and, using a bone folder, score and fold the top circle of each stack in half. With small binder clips, secure each stack together.

  3. Step 3

    Fit sewing machine with a leather needle and thread with white thread. Set machine to a long, straight stitch and sew through center of each stack of circles, using fold on top circle as a guideline.

  4. Step 4

    Tie off beginning and end threads by hand and trim with scissors. Using adhesive tape roller, attach corresponding stacks of six circles together to form stacks of 12. Fold top and bottom circle of each stack in half and, using adhesive tape roller, secure folds together, hiding the seam line. Fold and fan out all circles until each planet is as spherical as possible.

  5. Step 5

    Wrap lighted star form with yellow seam binding, securing ends to form with fabric glue. Using snips or scissors, remove zip ties that secure strand of lights to metal form as you wrap. Be sure to wrap form completely, including the power cord.

  6. Step 6

    Using fabric glue, attach a 30-inch length of seam binding to each of the five bends in the center of the star form and wrap around the bend a few times to firmly secure. Allow glue to dry completely.

  7. Step 7

    To create mobile hanger, bring all five lengths of seam binding together about 20 inches above the center of the star form and tie in a knot, making sure the hanging form is level. With scissors, trim remaining ends of seam binding from knot.

  8. Step 8

    To hang planets, first tie monofilament around the center seam of each planet, and then tie monofilament to one of the various bends or points of the star form. Length of monofilament should correspond with each planet's respective distance from the sun, with Mercury being closest to the form and Pluto being the farthest.

  9. Step 9

    For the rings around Saturn, cut two of each of the following in the same color palette indicated in step 1 above: a 11-inch circle with an 8 1/2-inch circle cut from the center (1 1/4-inch ring); a 10 1/2-inch circle with a 9-inch circle cut from the center (3/4-inch ring); and a 10-inch circle with a 9 1/2-inch circle cut from the center (1/4-inch ring). With the adhesive tape roller, tape these rings together in the order that they were cut, making two sets of concentric rings.

  10. Step 10

    Using adhesive tape roller, tape these two sets of rings wrong sides together, sandwiching four short pieces of monofilament between them. Tie these 4 pieces together at a point in the center of the ring, leaving about six inches of length for each. Trim the remaining ends of monofilament from center knot and hang rings over Saturn.

  11. Step 11

    For the rings around Uranus, cut two 8-inch circles from white paper and cut a 7 1/2-inch circle out of the center of each. Using the adhesive tape roller, sandwich the two white rings together, securing them to the monofilament about 1/4 of an inch above Uranus.

  12. Step 12

    Download and print out two copies of planet labels template on cardstock. Cut out each star with scissors, and using adhesive tape roller, sandwich each star label around monofilament, about 1/2 inch above each planet.

  13. Step 13

    Plug in your mobile and enjoy.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, March 2011

Reviews (3)

  • 12 Apr, 2011

    I couldn't find a 30 inch star, I only found an 18 in star. Can anyone help?

  • 10 Mar, 2011

    In the mobile's star labels, Pluto is noted as a dwarf planet.

  • 10 Mar, 2011

    Cute project. However, my 1st grader knows Pluto is no longer called a planet, and that our solar system only contains 8 planets. This wouldn't pass his muster.