Introduction: Make Your Own Exploding Star! (supernova)
What's more exciting than a countdown to an explosion? What's better than an EXPLODING star? Not much!
Top three reasons to do this instructable:
- it's fun and easy to build
- it's awesome to see explode
- and best of all you can make 10 of them
for under $10.00*!
Pssst, your friends will also think you're a genius.
So what are you waiting for? Let's jump right in and make one of the coolest projects ever.
(if you are under 18 years of age parental guidance is suggested)
Step 1: A Little Info
Among the largest known explosions in the universe are supernovae (exploding stars), which results when a star explodes from the sudden starting or stopping of nuclear fusion, and gamma ray bursts, whose nature is still in some dispute.
Step 2: Materials and Tools
The materials and tools that you need to make one exploding star are:
- one sheet of yellow construction paper
- two boxes of STICK matches(60+ match's)
- three cotton balls
- a marker or sharpie
- good scissors
- clear plastic scotch tape
If you do not have these materials around your house they can all be found at your local crafts store or Wal-Mart.
That's it. That's all you need to make an exploding star!
(Hint: construction paper, stick matches, and cotton balls normally do not come in small quantities, so I normally have enough to build several stars)
Step 3: Cutting Out Your Star Mold
Grab your sheet of yellow construction paper and square it by measuring both edges and cutting one to the length of the other. Then fold it in half perfectly then turn it 90 degrees and fold it in half perfectly again. Then grab the corner which was at the center of the piece of paper and measure 3/4's of an inch along one edge of the paper and mark it, this will be dot one. do the same on the other edge, this will be dot two. Fold in half diagonally so that the centers of all the edges meet and then unfold so that you leave of visible line between the corner that was at the center of the piece of paper and the corner opposite it. Then measure 2 inches along the line starting from the corner that was at the center of the piece of paper, this will be dot three. Connect the dots one and three and the dots two and three with a sharpie or a marker. Cut out along lines and unfold. you should have a nice four pointed star. Now take your star and trace it out on a sheet of yellow construction paper. Cut it out and you should have another star the same size as a previous one.
(Hint: don't worry your head off if the stars aren't exactly the same. it doesn't really matter and it's gonna be blown up anyways!)
(In case you're wondering why I chose a four pointed star, I chose it because it's easier to cut out and to stuff as you'll see later in this instructable. If you want to you can make a five pointed or six pointed star.)
Step 4: Filling Your Mold : Part 1
In order to understand this next step you need to understand the autonomy of a four pointed star.
- There are eight sides to a four pointed star, two on each point.
- The place where the two sides meet on each point is called a tip.
- In the very center of the star there is a square, this is called the center.
Now that you understand the autonomy of a four pointed star we may proceed with this step.
Take your clear plastic scotch tape, which should be 3/4's of an inch wide, and take off four 2 inch long strips.
(Note: it does not have to be exactly 2 inches. Within a quarter of an inch is fine).
Then cut your two inch long strips of tape in half longways so that you have eight strips of 2 inch tape approximately 3/8's of an inch wide. Store these strips of tape on the side in such a way where they won't get dirty.
(Tip: I store my tape on the side of the table I'm working on)
Then take your two papers stars and lay them one on top of the other with the side with the most sharpiy marks facing the inside so that the sharpiy marks will be less visible. Now select one of the points and apply the tape on one of the edges so that the tape runs along the whole length of the edge and so that half of the tape covers the piece of paper facing you and half covers the piece of paper facing opposite you. Do the same with the other edge on the same point. Now slip your finger in between the two paper stars and into the point we just taped. You should feel an empty pocket.
(Tip: if your finger is too big to fit inside or get to the pocket use a stick as a replacement finger for all uses that require your finger).
Stuff that pocket with cotton up to the center but leave the center empty as we need room for the match head's. Repeat this process of taping the edges together and stuffing with cotton on the point directly to the left or the right of the one you just finished.
Step 5: Filling Your Mold : Part 2
Now take another piece of tape and tape, on a new point, the edge closest too the other taped points. ONLY DO THAT ONE EDGE. Now lay cotton in the valley that you just created by taping only one edge remembering to leave the center empty. And now tape the other edge of the point, being very careful not get any cotton on the tape or else it will lose it's bonding ability. Now you should have three points taped and stuffed and only one point not taped or stuffed (technically the center's not stuffed either but I don't count that). Now you are ready to go on to the next step.
Step 6: The "explosives" and "fuse"
Hi again! I just want to congratulate you for making it this far, And to tell you that you're almost done with your exploding star. So let's jump right in.
Take your two boxes of match's and cut all the heads of the matches off and put them in the center of the star. SAVE ONE OF THE OUTER COVERS OF THE MATCH BOX'S.
And for the fuse take a piece of cotton, unroll it and then twist it. You only need about a two inch length.
(Hint: don't make your fuse to thick. About a 1/4 inch fuse is best).
Oh! I can hardly wait, were ALMOST done.
Step 7: Finishing Up
Take the last point, yes the LAST point and tape one of the edges. Then take your fuse and embed one tip into the match heads. And leave the other end hanging outside. (Tip: I used a stick to embed the fuse).
Now stuff the valley whe just made by taping one of the edges with cotton, and then tape the LAST edge up to the fuse. DO NOT TAPE OVER THE FUSE.
You are now done with your exploding star! Congrats!
But we still need to see it Explode!
Step 8: Setting It Off
In order to set off the star we need to make a stand for the star do this by taking the outer case of the match box which you saved, setting it upright and cutting down, on one of the wide sides till about 1/4 inch away from the bottom. Leaving about 1/4 inch in between the cut and the corner do this same thing on the same side but on the other corner. then open the flap created till the top edge of the flap touches the ground.
Whew! Didn't quite get that explanation? Thats OK. There are photos to demonstrate how to make this star stand.
Next up is safety I'm going to make this plain. When setting this off follow these rules
- Do it outside
- Have water on hand
- Stay a reasonable distance away(at least 5 feet)
- Don't set it off when it's windy
- Don't do this close too ANYTHING flammable
- Have fun but be safe
These rules are for your own safety and the safety of others follow them.
When I made my first exploding star I set it off at my dad's house. Inside. my Dad, my Brother, and I were all watching when the star exploded. It scattered fire all over the metal pan we put under it. I wanted to put water on the fire so it would go out. But my dad didn't want me to put water on it inside because that would make a lot of smoke. So I had to take it outside and deal with it there. Moral of the story. Unless you and the people you live with (if there are any) don't mind smoke, set it off outside.
SETTING IT OFF
Set your star inside the star stand and light the tip of the fuse.
(Tip: I like to put a sheet of tinfoil under for easier cleanup)
(If under 18 adult supervision absolutely required)
That's it. Watch as your star starts to burn. You're expecting it but when it blows it's a surprise.
After explosion put out all fire and dispose of properly. Any negligence on your part can have disastrous consequences. Be thorough.
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Step 9: Room for Experimentation
There's lots of room for experimentation with this project. You can make a five pointed star, a six pointed star, put in more matches, put in less matches, use orange construction paper, use white construction paper, paint your star before you blow it up, set off ten at a time, make a smaller star, make a bigger star. Whatever your mind can come up with. Just remember. Be safe.
And I hope to be building with you again :)
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