Want to turn a simple sheet of paper into some 3 dimensional magic? If you have little astronomers in the making, this easy planet craft for kids, Paper Planets, is a great exercise in paper crafting AND looks pretty cool as a hanging decoration in any future astronaut’s bedroom!
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I first stumbled across this idea in one of my favorite books The Best of Making Things: A Hand Book of Creative Discovery as part of their the 3D paper objects section. I thought these looked wonderfully “cosmic” and had the double bonus of being an excellent fine motor skills craft.
Planet Craft: Paper Planets
- Colored Paper
- Circular objects Used to trace circle shapes
- Hole Punch
Optional to make it glow:
- Glow-in-the-Dark Paint
- Q-tips or paintbrushes
- Step One Trace circular objects on your paper. We used some cans and food containers. Cut out circles.
- Step Two Fold one circle in half.
- Step three Cut a slit down the center of the circle stopping short of the edge by about 1/4″.
- Step Four Cut slits in additional circles.
- Step Five Take an uncut circle and begin sliding the slit circles onto it.
- Step Six Continue adding slit circles until you get the shape you want. If you cut different sizes of circles you can layer them on the main disc.
- Step Seven Add a little glue if you want at the connection points to secure everything in place.
- Step Eight Optional Using a Q-tip or paintbrush add glow in the dark paint to your finished planet. Your best bet for glow in the dark effects is to paint dots of paint onto the planets. We tried painting some of our circles with a coat of paint so that the whole planet would glow evenly but when the paint thins out it’s less effective. The paint does not dry entirely clear so make sure you paint it on nicely. I obviously didn’t do that here!
- Step Nine Punch a hole in the top of the main disc
- Step Ten Thread your string through the hole and hang.
What I found most valuable about this paper planet craft was the introduction to 3D forms using a simple 2D material: Paper. Most people do not think of paper as a 3 dimentional material but with a few cuts and folds it is one of the best materials you can use to quickly and easily create interesting 3 dimensional shapes.
If this project piques your child’s (or your own) interest in what you can make with PAPER check out these 60 Rockin’ Paper Crafts for even more projects to try using this humble material.