Extra Large 3D Model of Jupiter

It’s time to turn the form we made in the previous post into Jupiter.  For our purposes, we wanted to create half of the southern hemisphere.  This 3D model will hang from the ceiling and against a wall in the main stairwell of our church.  Because of the path the VBS participants will take during VBS, the first glipse of Jupiter will happen from the top of the stairwell.  So, we wanting the famous red spot to be visible on the right side of the model, but you can adjust that based on your placement.  We used images like this one from NASA as inspiration for the design.  We also looked as some of the enhanced images found on pinterest.  We wanted to make sure we were creating a colorful design, so we leaned heavily into the orange color of some of the enhanced photos.  

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Materials Needed for the Project

Starting with the Base Layer

The first order of business is creating the base layer.  Since we want colorful planets for our design, we used orange kraft paper as our base layer.  That way, all of the undertones for the planet will be orange. 

To start the paper mache process, we made a mixture of one part school glue and one part water.  We also created a supply of paper pieces by ripping the kraft paper into large pieces (about the size of a piece of paper to start).  Instead of dipping the paper into the glue mixture, I prefer to paint on the paper using a mod podge technique.  We painting on a layer of glue right onto the plastic wrap, place the paper on top, they painted the paper with the glue mixture being sure that the paper gets saturated.  The form is a little bumpy because of the balloons underneath, so the trick to to try to span any valleys created by the balloons rather than following the dip if possible.  Smoothing out the bumps and lumps gets easier as you add layers.  We worked from the top down, making sure that the papers significantly overlapped the section under it.  We also brought the orange paper around the edge of the form so that edges were well finished and the frame was hidden.  

We did two layers everywhere and three layers in some areas that were more lumpy to smooth them out.  

Jupiter Frame Plans

Use these plans to build the PVC frame for and extra large model of Jupiter.  Sign up for the email list to stay up to date on the latest projects.  

Creating the Distinct Sections of Jupiter

With the base layer complete, we started to section off the model into the distinct strips seen in the photos.  We used white tissue paper as the first layer in the wide, light-colored stripes on the planet.  The gray and beige tissue paper were used as the first layers of the south pole (the top of the model in the pictures).  Cream tissue paper was used for the first layer in the section with the red spot as a way of toning down the orange base layer, and beige tissue paper was used as the first layer in the strip near the equator to tone down the orange base layer.  

Adding Testure and Movement

Layering materials and colors is a great way to create texture and movement in the model.  This can be done with the streamers and tissue paper ripped into strips of various widths.  Typically, I like to have at least three colors or three shades of the same color to help create depth. One reason I liked working with this curated pack of streamers is that I could get a variety of colors and shades that coordinated together.  The set of streamer colors will help create a more cohesive look in the end.   In the white sections, the white tissue paper was one color, then we also mixed in cream and touches of beige.  For the orange stripes, we layered in cream streamers and tissue, beige tissue and orange streamers (this orange was a little more rusty colored than the orange kraft paper). We used the burgundy and rusty orange streamers to create the giant red spot.  

When your adding layers and texture, it’s important to avoid obvious patterns and regular waves.  Try to imaging stipes of clouds that suddenly emerge and quietly disappear.  Similarly, swirls should be random rather than at regular intervals.  We found the best way to add the layers of tissue and streamers is to bunch the paper, and sometimes twist the paper before putting it in place.  After deciding where to place the strip, we would paint the area with the glue mixture, add the new paper layer and repaint SOME of the new layer with the glue mixture.  By leaving some of the strip unpainted, you will get another element of texture within the strip.  


Adding the Finishing Touches

At this point we’re almost done, and it’s time to step back and add the finishing touches.  We had two goals, add some cohesive flow through the layers and add the final whispy layer of texture with tulle. 

To add cohesive flow through the layers, we incorporated small amounts of color from the darker layers into the lighter layers.  We added some touches of gray into the white sections and the upper orange section.  We also added a few strips of the burgundy to the south pole and equator areas.  We also added some strips of burgundy to the orange section to balance out the red spot.  

We used gold tulle to soften some of the transitions between the sections and to add another layer of texture to any area that looked a little flat.  

In most of my projects, I like to add a contrasting color for more depth and interest.  In this case, we added light blue tulle with glitter.  The light blue color helped to soften the contrast between white and orange, and the glitter added an extra bit of interest to the model.  In fact, we liked the addition of sparkle so much that we are considering adding more glitter with spray-on-glitter glue.  More to come on that later!  For now, we added the light blue glitter tulle  at the transition points between the sections.

Once the model is dry, we will trim the outside edges. Also, while we were working on the model, some of the balloons popped and allowed the shape of the frame to become visible.  Before hanging the model, we will add more crumpled paper in order to smooth out the surface once again.  

The model will be hung with fishing line tied around joints and looped onto command hooks.  The command hooks will be hung on the walls and ceiling in the stairwell. 

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