Unique 2D Textured Planets

In the previous post we explained how we created the textured 2D planets that were hanging in the hall for our space-themed VBS.  We used a paper base that resembled a stuff pita pocket, then used a modified paper mache method to create texture and color variation.  That worked well for Mercury and Venus, however, we had a couple of planets (and the sun) that needed some slight modifications to the process to make them fit their location.  Be sure to read the previous post to become familiar with the foundational techniques used to create the planets. 

For the Earth, we wanted to highlight a specific location to help with our discussion of missions.  For the Pink Planet, we wanted a semi-3D model that would give the impression of a full 3D model without doing the full thing.  Finally, for the sun, we wanted the light from the window to be able to shine through without seeing the stuffing inside the pocket.  Below we will briefly explain some of the differences in the methodology used for each component.  We’ll start with the Sun, then discuss the Earth, and we will finish with the Pink Planet

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Creating the Sun

Specific Materials Needed for the Sun

The base of the sun is a single circle rather than the two circle pita pocket used in the textured 2D planets.  We opted to only do a single layer and not add the stuffing so that the stuffing would not be silhouetted by the light coming through the window.   The texturing for the surface of the sun was done much the same way as Venus.  The goal for the Sun was to create a mottley appearance that varied between yellow and orange.  The part that makes the sun unique is the yellow cellophane that surrounds the edges.  To accomplish this, we cut the cellophane into 6″ x 6″ squares, gathered the cellophane into a bunch at one end, and stapling the gathered end to the back side of the circle so that the translucent cellophane sticks out from the edge.  We continued to staple sections of cellophane around the entire circumference of the Sun.  To cover the staples we glue yellow crepe paper bunches around the edge on the front side of the circle.  

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Making Earth Look Like....Earth

Specific Materials Needed for the Earth

  • Light Blue Kraft paper 48″ x 200′ roll
  • Selection of blue tissue paper
  • Selection of green tissue paper
  • Beige tissue paper (optiona;)
  • Colored paper for a flag (optional)

The tricky part about making Earth is that it is so recognizable, and people have expectations.  We wanted to highlight Myanmar, our focus for the Missions Group.  After following the process for making the stuffed pita pocket base, we hung the base on the wall.  We used a digital projector to project Google Earth onto the base.  We were able to trace the continents and islands.  To highlight Myanmar, we traced the borders on the planet base, then we also traced it onto some white paper that we covered with colored paper to resemble the flag of the country.  

After we had the continents and islands traced, we started addin the tissue paper using the modified paper mache technique outlined in the previous post.  We used three colors of blue (light, med, and dark).  We used the dark on the outside edges and moved towards light near the islands and land.  The transition between the meedium blue and the light blue was done buy adding a layer of medium blue on top of light blue.  Our land masses contained a lot of dessert areas (Middle East, NW Australia, Mongolia, etc), so we chose to use beige tissue paper, but you could easily stay with green for the land masses.  You could also add clouds if you want.  

Making (the Real) Pink Planet

Specific Materials Needed for the Pink Planet

In our VBS we generally try to follow things actually found in God’s Creation.  So, you can imagine how excited we were to discover this fun colorful planet called GJ-504b.  You can read about it in this NatGeo Kids Article.  

We wanted this planet to lean a little more toward 3D than the other textured planets because it was going to hang from the ceiling in our lobby area.  Instead of making a flat pita pocket as we did in these textured planets, we made the base circle much larger than the top circle.  For the filler, we used a variety of sizes of balloons to create an inverted dome.  

We used the modified paper mache process discussed in this post.  We added orange stripes using orange streamers.  

To hang the planet, we used packaging tape to reinforce 5-6 spots evenly spaced around the circumference.  In those spot, we punched a whole about 1.5″  in from the edge.  We used heavy duty fishing line to hang the planet from anchor points in the upper walls of the lobby.  

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