This is the first time we’ve been living in a house we actually owned while having a Pending Baby, so I was very much looking forward to having a chance to decorate a nursery. As it turned out, our other renovations in the house (creating a space for Billie to move into) meant that Bear (and Grandad) squeaked in with a quick paint-job of the walls a meagre three weeks before my due date. But that was enough to get some assorted wall decals from Trademe and the $2 Shop up, along with the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star curtains that had recently come down from Beetle’s room. (Normally those wall stickers shouldn’t actually go up on the walls on so fresh a paint-job, but the nursery is earmarked for Renovations Part Two: The Rest of the House in the not-nearly-distant-enough future)
I searched online for space-themed mobiles with little joy, so Beetle and I set to making some planets out of some $2-shop paper lanterns we’d bought earlier for Billie’s room, but only got so far as stringing them up in the kitchen for a birthday party.
Here are our three planets:
This was a really easy project – all we needed was the lanterns, tissue paper in assorted colours, and some glue. We used slightly diluted PVA but anything that dries transparent would do.
We ripped up some coloured tissue paper into strips and continent-ish blobs.
For our Earthish planet, we used a blue lantern, with tissue paper in white, blue, and two shades of green.
I sat the lantern in a noodle bowl to stop it rolling around, then Beetle brushed on some glue and started sticking the tissue paper on. I think it looks best if the strips have all rough edges and none of their original corners or edges left, but I wasn’t about to be so fussy while Beetle was working on them. I’m just mentioning it in case you are making a planet by yourself as a grownup 🙂
Keep sticking on bits of tissue paper, overlapping as you go, but leaving some of the original colour of the lantern to show through (if it suits your planet). You will need to rotate the lantern as you go, and may need to turn it upside down partway through the process to ensure both hemispheres get decorated.
This picture shows our Earthish planet when Beetle had finished with it. I did a quick brush over the top with the diluted glue to smooth down the particularly woolly parts.
Since the first one was a success, I sat down and made a Saturn-ish planet while Beetle decorated one that is kind of like Venus. I like the stripy planets the best. Then we hung them up to dry.
Later on, I added a comically small ring to the Saturn lantern for added flair. After considering various complicated ways to attach a ring, I settled on making one that was too small to go around the equator, so it wouldn’t fall off. I just traced around a flattened lantern on the biggest bit of scrap cardboard I had (which wasn’t quite big enough!), cut out a circle somewhat bigger than that tracing, then cut out the hole in the middle to be smaller than the tracing of the lantern. Anyway, it works.
They are jaunty wee planets, and they make me happy to see them hanging above the Pending Boychild’s changing table.
We were aiming this project at school holiday fun and decorations in the nursery, but I’m certain a more educational tack could be taken by those with a good reference on planets and a source of different-sized paper lanterns!