Picture of Make a Hail-Pad without any Styrofoam or Foil!
In accordance to one of the Citizen Science challenges from,  it describes to create an inexpensive and efficient type of hail-pad for organizations such as the CoCoRaHS, that can accurately display the size, orientation and number of hailstones throughout a hailstorm. This challenge caught my eye and prompted me to try and develop my own alternative design of a hail pad without any Styrofoam and foil, as apparently they have tripled in cost throughout the recent years (I've seen places that sell Styrofoam squares for as much as $5).
The hail-pad I designed has the ability to show size, number and direction of these hail-stones. Additionally, with the two-layer modelling clay system, it can be derived from the hail pad whether these stones were travelling at high speeds on their descent to earth, as they would expose the under-layer of clay in their imprints. This hail-pad is relatively water-proof and will not dry out due to reasons explained further in this instructable :)
In the end, creating one of these hail-pads costs roughly $2.09 AU ( NOTE: you can reduce the price significantly by $1.00 (therefore making it $1.09 AU) if you wish to not use the "two-layer clay" system but rather just one layer of clay, I believe it still provides accurate results). So without further to do, lets begin making one!
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Step 1: Materials Required

Picture of Materials Required
For this hail-pad, you will need roughly the following:
  • Two different coloured, medium-sized balls of soft modelling clay (approximately equals $1 each)
  • One plastic plate (approximately $0.083)
  • 20 cm of plastic wrap (approximately $0.01)
And that's really all it is!

The reason I chose modelling clay is because it is designed for handling and playing with, therefore it is not meant to harden or dry out under many conditions. Thus modelling clay appeared to be the best choice for imprinting impacts of hailstones regardless of weather and temperature.
that's wonderful
hats99942 years ago
you know, I read the contest rules and actually the ones that are made with Styrofoam and foil are cheaper.
this hail pad is reusable isn't it? just roll the clay back into a smooth pad... so that makes it a lot better than the Styrofoam ones which can only be used once =)
nice instructable!
good point.
3ddementor (author)  blissful20152 years ago
Yeah! The modeling clay is quite easy to smooth out again, and hopefully that would lead to many uses :)
Thanks for that and congrats on winning the "Make it Glow" contest :D
3ddementor (author)  hats99942 years ago
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I saw it here:,in the photo you can see the price.
3ddementor (author)  hats99942 years ago
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your idea is still quite good even though it isn't cheaper.
The text in the photo reads Large Hail >1", it appears to be referring to the largest size of the hailstone impacts.
Sunkicked2 years ago
This would be a great addition to a home made weather station!
This is awesome! Now I finally understand what a hail pad is. :D