How to Make a Good Earth Model

by Megan Kelly
Make a model of the Earth similar to a globe using papier mache.

Make a model of the Earth similar to a globe using papier mache.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Whether you're celebrating Earth day or need to come up with a realistic model of the Earth for a science project, papier mache is a craft that is effective for making all different types of models, including models of the planets. Papier mache is inexpensive and can be done easily in your own home using objects and ingredients found around the house. Impress your classmates or friends with a realistic papier mache model of the Earth as your next project.

Items you will need

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sauce pot
  • Plastic containers with lids
  • Spherical balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Acrylic blue paint
  • Paint brush
  • Print-out map of Earth
  • Scissors
  • Reference map of Earth
Step 1

Inflate your balloon so that it is approximately 8-inches in diameter and set aside.

Step 2

Combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup water into a mixing bowl and mix it until it is free of clumps. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan and slowly mix the contents of the mixing bowl into the boiling water. Simmer the mixture for three minutes over low heat and remove from the stove. Allow the mixture to cool before using and pour into a plastic container to use.

Step 3

Tear the newspaper into strips that are approximately 1-inch thick and 6-inches long.

Step 4

Dip the strips of newspaper one at a time into the glue mixture and layer them onto the balloon. Make sure you leave no holes, except for at the base of the sphere where you will pull the balloon out by the stem once the sphere is dry

Step 5

Allow the first layer of papier mache to dry completely for 24 hours on a covered surface before applying the second layer.

Step 6

Pop the balloon with a needle or pen and pull it out of the sphere.

Step 7

Reapply a second layer of papier mache over the entire sphere, including the hole at the bottom, and allow it to dry for 24 to 48 hours on a covered surface.

Step 8

Paint the entire sphere with your blue acrylic paint and allow it to dry completely. This is the ocean.

Step 9

Scale the size of your continents by researching the square mileage of the continents in real life and bringing them down to size as compared to the 7,926 mile diameter of Earth. Because the Earth's diameter is approximately 8,000 miles, you can scale 1,000 miles to every 1-inch and use 1-inch lengths to represent every 1,000 miles on the continent.

Step 10

Print your scaled map of the earth and color each continent green or yellow with markers or acrylic paint. Cut the continents out. Younger children can cut out the basic shapes of the continents, while older children can make a more complex model by cutting the contents out with greater detail around coastlines and by adding geographic elements such as lakes, mountain ranges or major city names to each continent.

Step 11

Use another map of the Earth for reference and place the cut out continents on the Earth in their proper positions. Glue them individually to the globe using your papier mache paste. Allow it to dry for 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Parents should always assist children when cooking anything on the stove.
  • Use caution if using a needle to pop the balloon.

About the Author

Megan Kelly started writing professionally in 2007 when she was published in the anthology, "Lit Kids: Mama Bird and the Electric Rabbit" through Mill City Press. She is also a submissions reviewer and grant writer for "Spout Press," an independent magazine in Minneapolis. Kelly is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Minnesota.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images