Introduction: Model Earth

About: The ACC Group has 9 schools in 5 states of Australia which are focused on academic improvement, student wellbeing and character development.

This model Earth is satisfying and enjoyable to make and very helpful for when learning about Earth Sciences.

There are gasps of delight when a UV torch is shone on the model and the hidden tectonic plate edges glow brightly.

A segment can also be removed which allows you to see the internal structure of the Earth including the Inner Core, Outer Core and Mantle.

Once finished the model makes a wonderful addition to the Science classroom or to a shelf in a bedroom amongst a child’s other treasures.

This model earth could also form a valuable component of a Science Fair Project as it is sure to attract the audiences attention when the UV light is shone onto it.

This project will take about 3 hours to complete.

Mr Jacob Strickling is an online science teacher with Australian Christian College.



  • Styrofoam ball with approximate diameter of 11 cm
  • Timber base
  • Wooden Skewer
  • White, blue, brown, green, yellow, orange and red paint
  • Printout of the Earth’s continents
  • Paper stick glue
  • Invisible Paint which glows in UV light
  • Printout of the circular internal structure of the Earth


  • Drill with bit the diameter of the skewer
  • A variety of paintbrushes
  • A plastic cup with water
  • A plastic plate
  • A marking pen
  • Scissors
  • UV Torch
  • A sharp, thin, serrated knife

Step 1: Making the Base

Drill a hole into the centre of the timber base almost all the way through.

Cut the wooden skewer about 10cm long.

Push the skewer into the hole, leaving the point upwards.

Push the Styrofoam ball onto the skewer.

Step 2: Painting the Ball White

To achieve a nicer and more permanent finish, paint the entire ball with white paint.

Step 3: Painting the Oceans

I think it’s better to paint the whole ball blue before painting the land masses. It gives it a more professional finish. Use a mixture of blue and white paint and introduce variations into the colour scheme to give it a more natural look.

Step 4: Painting the Continents

Printout the pdf of the Continent Printout and cutout the continents. Use the stick glue to put them in place around the earth.

Use the marking pen to trace around them and then pull the paper cut-outs off.

Paint the continents using the brown, yellow and green paints.

Step 5: Painting the Edges of the Tectonic Plates

Tectonic plates image source:

Using the Tectonic Plate Map to guide you, a fine paintbrush and the Invisible Paint (which glows in UV) carefully paint the edges of the tectonic plate onto the Earth.

Use the UV torch to help you see where you have painted.

Step 6: Creating the Inner Structure

Use the knife to carefully cut a segment of the earth out. I chose the Pacific Ocean Zone as there was little land mass.

Cut-out the circular Inner Core, Outer Core and Mantle and use them as templates to mark out the structure of the Earth on both the model Earth and the segment. Use the yellow, orange and red paint to complete the structure.

Step 7: You've Finished!

Now you can use your model to help teach a class, use in a Science Fair Project or decorate a Science Lab or room.

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