August 10, 2010

2 fabulous space themed crafts!

We had a blast yesterday making some messy, messy craft projects to go along with our space studies!  First we made earth-like paper lanterns.  This was so, so messy!

To make the paper lanterns you'll need a balloon, tissue paper, glue or paste, water and a paint brush.  First, I had the boys tear pieces of blue paper into smaller pieces while I cut the green paper roughly into continents.

Next, the kids covered their balloon with a water and glue mixture (half and half) and overlapping layers of blue tissue paper.  You'll need about 3 layers to get a good firm hold when you pop the balloon later.  This part is messy and if you're not lucky enough to have a surface that can get as messy as you want and cleaned up later, you may want to do this one outside or over a newspaper covered surface.
Once we had 3 layers of blue, I hung the balloons from the school room blinds with a clothespin to dry.  Over time, all of the wetness accumulates at the bottom and begins to drip, so I would recommend putting something under them to catch the mess.  I opened up an old pizza box under them and it worked perfectly.  While they dry, make sure they're not against anything that cold damage them during the drying process.  When they were close to dry, we went back and added out continents.  You can barely see Africa (backwards) in this picture.  As the balloon dries, the colors become more opaque.

Tada!  Globe lanterns.  They look awesome at night with those flame less tea lights in them, but that doesn't show up very well in photographs so you'll have to use your imagination. 

The space art fun isn't over yet!  Oh, no sir-ee!  We made a sun catcher mobile out of plasticized gelatin!  Here's what you'll need for this little beauty!  4 pouches of flavorless gelatin, food coloring, plastic wrap, glitter, string and something to hang your mobile pieces on like a coat hanger or some sticks.

So, you're going to add 3 tbsp of boiling water and a few drops of food coloring to one pouch of gelatin and stir until smooth.  Now spread that out in a thin layer across a plastic wrap covered plate.  The thinner, the better.  Add a dash of glitter across the top for effect and wait.  Do this with 4 different colors on 4 different plate.

Set your plates some place sunny to speed up the drying process.  The kids took them out on the patio and watched them forever as if some magical transformation might take place before their very eyes!  So funny.

When they are firm enough that they aren't so sticky that you can't work with them, but not crispy and breakably hard, peel up your splat of gelatin and admire it!  Lovely! 
Now cut your pieces into whatever shapes you desire.  We were doing space, so we went with some stars, the traditional sun pattern, and a planet.  Please don't flip out on me for not insisting on things being to scale, or send me a rash of e-mails calling my attention to the fact that stars are suns.  I get it.  But, my detail oriented friends, this is just a fun and pretty craft project.  Not a launch into exact sciences.  Sometimes, isn't it nice to just relax and make something sparkly?  I think so.

Let your sparkly pieces dry all the way (and I do mean all the way) on the plate before you hand them.  We hung ours too soon and they curled up and then dried permanently  misshapen.  No worries, though.  They're still fun and pretty sparkly things that the kids adore. 

So, folks!  Go make some sparkly things of your own and have fun getting messy with the kiddos!

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