By: Kathlenn Horner


Papier Mache Earth Globe Windsock
Global Astronomy Month AstroCrafts

¬≠Earth Globe Wind Sock LOW Res  Earth Globe Windsock
Created by Kathleen Horner

"Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people"
Green Cities Campaign

It's Global Astronomy Month here at Astronomers Without Borders and what better way to celebrate than to get in touch with our home planet, Earth, the little blue marble suspended in space in perfect balance.  April is going to be an exciting month for all of us in the global community with Astronomers Without Borders Global Astronomy Month offering exciting and unique astronomy-related programs for everyone plus it is also the month we celebrate Earth Day; a wonderful coincidence!  On April 22 people all over the world will be taking action on behalf of the environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970 and over the years spread throughout the world with organized events in 141 nations. It is a day where we focus on solutions to climate change, find ways to promote sustainable communities and energy conservation, plant trees, celebrate with songs and art of the Earth and center in on many other environmental activities. It's also a day for self-examination; for each one of us to discover a way to play a larger part in the healing and recovery of the Earth's endangered environment.  Scientists today are proposing a new name and description for the era in which we are living.  It is called the Anthropocene period.  Humans influence upon the Earth have become a geological force to such a powerful extent that the evolution of Earth and the global landscape has been dramatically re-shaped and changed.  It's time to move forward and take action. To get involved on a local basis, click on the official Earth Day 2014 web link below.

So with all this said, what better way to get inspired and honor the Earth by creating an Earth globe of your very own (see above photo). Even better, make this project a family event! By creating an Earth globe and hanging it in your home or yard, it can serve as a potent daily reminder of the preciousness and fragility of our home planet, Earth.  One sky, one Earth, one people.

Let's get started!

Materials you will need:

*  Inflatable punch ball balloon, inflatable beach ball (I prefer these best as they have a perfect round shape) or round balloons. (Your choice of size)
*  Flour
*  Water
*  String
*  Tape
*  Scissors
*  Acrylic Paint or Tempera Paint (Blue, Yellow, Brown, White, Green)
*  Brushes (wide and narrow)
*  Thin Wire or Fishing Line
*  Nylon fabric, parachute fabric (weather resistant)
*  Ribbons 1 1/2"- 2" wide (optional)
*  Stirring spoon
*  Small bowl or cup to hold balloon
*  Spray can/can of semi-gloss sealant/varnish
*  Hot Glue, Tacky Glue

You can choose to create a full Earth globe or a windsock Earth globe.  You can make both if you like.  If you choose to make a windsock, you will need to cut out the top and bottom for the wind to blow through.  I like the windsock idea as it look really wonderful when a big gust of air sends the colorful ribbons flying.

This project will take a little longer since it includes using papier mache which takes a day or two to dry. It's messy fun, but worth the effort once you have created your globe.  Papier mache is really a form of sculpture so think of it as that.

1. Make a simple, thin paste from flour and water. Mix 1 cup of flour into 1 cup of water until the mixture is slightly thin and runny.

2.  Blow the balloon/ball up to desired size, seal and set into small cup or bowl to steady your balloon as you apply the papier mache strips.  

3.  Cut or tear up paper into 1 1/2"  to 2" wide strips. Dip into papier mache mixture, cover strips completely and remove excess mixture with your fingers  and begin placing on balloon/ball. It's best to follow a criss-cross pattern in application of the strips for a sturdier base.  Keep doing this until you have two layers of papier mache completely covering the balloon/ball base. Be sure to leave a 1 1/2" hole at the top to remove balloon/ball after it has dried. Run the palm of your hand over the globe to remove excess mache liquid and smooth any gaps in the strips.  

4.  With a string tie the balloon to the top of balloon/ball and hang in a warm sunny area.  It's best hanging out in the Sun so make sure you have some sunny skies ahead before starting this project. At times the balloon/beach ball will deflate slightly so the quicker it dries the better. Sometimes the papier mache mixture will accumulate at the bottom of the globe as it is hanging so intermittently check it and run your hand over surface to remove any excess mixture.  

5.  After your globe is dry, puncture the balloon/ball and carefully pull it out.   If you are making a windsock earth globe, cut a 3 1/2" wide hole at top and a 4 1/2" hole at the bottom.

6.  You can do two things:  You can print out a free template of the Earth on your printer or try your hand at drawing the continents free hand onto the globe base.   If you want to get a more exact layout, you can use this handy free template of the earth's globe at this link:
For northern/southern hemisphere.

7.   After you have printed the templates out, cut around the continents and use the cut outs as a pattern to trace onto the earth globe base.  Applying some tape to keep them steady on the base will help.  Use a pen or dark marker to trace the continents.  The globe base will be a little bumpy and not perfectly smooth so you'll have a slightly irregular tracing, but that's okay. Next comes the painting. Become an artist and loosen up when you begin applying the paints to the continents.  Your work does not have to look encyclopedic!  Just an artsy idea of continents on the globe will suffice.  You can also add swirly clouds to your Earth globe for a more realistic look, too.   Below are two links of the Eastern and Western hemisphere of the Earth for you to study and get an idea on how to apply and mix your paints. and

8. Allow globe to dry.  Spray or apply with a brush outside surface of globe with two layers of  polyurethane semi-gloss sealant.  For windsock,  apply sealant inside and outside with two layers.  Be sure to wait at least an hour between applying the two layers of sealant.  If you are making a wind sock earth globe, poke three holes evenly spaced at the top around the opening.  This is where you will fasten three strings of fishing line, string or thin wire.  Take the three strands about 10" up from the hole and tie together in a secure knot.  Depending on how you will hang the globe, you will need either an 'S' hook or some other fastener.   I skipped the hardware and just tied my windsock onto a tree limb in our backyard.  

9.  Lay out the fabric and cut out strips of runner ribbons to whatever width you prefer.  My ribbon runners were 32" in length and about 2" in width. I cut out eight ribbons. After you have cut out the ribbon runners, place one end of the ribbons along the inside edge of the bottom hole for the windsock working your way around the opening and attach them with hot glue or tacky glue.  I chose green, white and blue and used parachute fabric for my runners, because it is waterproof and weather resistant.  Most fabric stores carry parachute material and other outdoor fabrics.  You can use ribbons, but just remember to take it inside if it rains.

Earth Globe Examples

Earth Globe (Top: Basic papier mache ball drying in the Sun, Middle: Eastern Hemisphere, Bottom: Western Hemisphere)

2013 AstroCrafts Projects Review

In case you missed our posts of Astronomers Without Borders AstroCrafts projects from last year (2013), here are several craft projects plus one showcased for February 2014 shown in the photo below and a direct link to an archived page of the articles.  Loads of neat and unique how to make astronomy-related crafts for the whole family.  Take your pick!   

Astrocraft Photo for blog
2013 AstroCraft Projects

2013 AstroCrafts Archive

Here's wishing you a wonderful time of new discoveries and adventures during Global Astronomy Month.  And if you do create an Earth globe, please feel free to share a photo with us on the Astronomers Without Borders website photo gallery page. 


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