How to Make a 3D Solar System

By J.S. Copper
Having students build a solar system model is a great way to introduce them to the universe.
sonnensystem image by Marvin Gerste from

Creating a 3D model of the solar system is a staple of any grade school science program. A simple trip to a crafts store is all you'll need to get started on building an accurate 3D solar system.

Identify the foam balls with their planetary counterparts. The sun is the 6-inch ball; the 4-inch ball is Jupiter; the 3-inch ball is Saturn; the 2 1/2-inch ball is Uranus; the 2-inch ball is Neptune; the 1-inch ball is Mercury; 1 1/2-inch balls represent Venus and Earth; and 1 1/4-inch balls represent Mars and Pluto. The rings circle Saturn.

Paint the planets. Using the toothpick to hold the planets and the paintbrush to apply color, paint the planets with their appropriate colors. Mercury is gray; Venus, light yellow; Earth, blue and green; Mars, red; Jupiter, bands of orange and white; Saturn, light yellow; Saturn's rings, light brown/red; Uranus, light blue; Neptune, light blue; and Pluto, light brown.

Cut the wooden skewers into lengths representing the distance from the sun. Mercury would be 2 1/2 inches from the sun; Venus, 4 inches; Earth, 5 inches; Mars, 6 inches; Jupiter, 7 inches; Saturn, 8 inches; Uranus, 10 inches; Neptune, 11 1/2 inches; and Pluto, 14 inches.

Glue one end of the cut skewers into their corresponding planets. Use toothpicks to hold Saturn's rings in place around the planet.

Glue the other end of the skewers into the sun around its center in order of distance closet to the sun. Allow the glue to dry.

About the Author

J.S. Copper began writing professionally in 2008, specializing in technology, running and health-related topics. He has worked with a handful of technology websites providing tutorials, tips and tricks. Prior to writing, Copper worked in Web design