This year I have created this costume for my kid's Halloween parade in his school. My kid's aspiration is to become an astronaut and he is very much crazy in learning about space and new space missions. He is fond of rocket science and satellite launches. He has keen interest in the planet Mars and was curious about exploring it in future!
In order to encourage his aspiration, I have decided to create a costume with a concept that he is inspired upon. I gave him few examples from recent missions and he chose this concept - NASA's InSight landing on the planet Mars. InSight is a robotic lander designed to study the interior of the planet Mars. It is designed to measure the planet's seismology, temperature and reflexes. The mission is launched on May 5th, 2018 and expected to land on the surface of Mars on Nov' 26th,2018.
So I decided to create a lightweight planet Mars model that he could carry and the InSight lander's model as a hat, so it will look like, the lander landing on the planet Mars.
My main purpose is to involve my kid while preparing this model to enhance his creativity and STEM learning and to utilize his time efficiently.
We collected some facts about the mission and decided to create a very simple model.
This project completely took 1 day to create. I reused most of the materials like old magazines, card boards from packaging, paper cups etc.
Note: The models are not up to to scale.
Step 1: Inspired Model
This is the image of the InSight lander which I took as an example to create the model.
Step 2: Materials Used:
For Mars :
- a large balloon
- All purpose flour
- Paper towels
- Tissue papers(yellow)
- Acrylic and poster paint colors
- Large bowl( to keep the balloon in place)
- Garden thread/ropes
For the InSight lander:
- Cardboard sheets (can reuse from packages)
- Tissue paper(black)
- Aluminium foil
- Packaging tape
- Paper cup
- Craft sticks(for rolling newspapers..skewers sticks can also be used)
- Chart board sheet (Heavy utility type)
- Permanent markers - black and silver colors
- Velcro strips
- Hot glue gun
- Measuring scale
- Measuring tape
- Pen/Pencil for marking
- Paper cutting knife
Step 3: Making of Paper Mache Glue:
I followed the paper mache procedure for making the planet Mars. For this the glue is prepared in the following way:
- Add 1/2 cup of All purpose flour in 1 cup of water and mix well without any lumps.
- Bring it to boil until it reaches a sticky consistency and allow it to cool.
- Add more water if it is too thick.
- Mix 1/4 cup of regular glue to it.
This is the glue I used to make the planet.
Step 4: Making of the Planet Mars:
- Blow a large round balloon. (You can blow as big as required).
- Tie the mouth tightly with a thread.
- Lay a mat or big plastic sheet underneath to protect the floor.
- Make the balloon stand in place by placing it on the top of a wide bowl.
- Cut the newspapers into long strips.
- Dip the newspaper strips in glue paste and start pasting it neatly around the balloon.(Kids would love to do this!)
- Repeat the above steps until a thick layer of sphere is formed. (Here I used only 7 layers, as I wanted it as a lightweight sphere for my kid to carry it easily. But more thicker is better).
- For the final layer, use paper towels, as it will hide all the newspaper prints and will provide a texture, that resembles the surface of a planet.
- Cover it fully with yellow color tissue paper. This I did to create a base for my painting later.
- Allow it to dry.
- Deflate the balloon.
- Cut a circular portion from the top and bottom of the sphere.
- Paint the sphere using red and orange poster/acrylic colors.
- Attach a rope or a strap inside the sphere, to make it easy to carry.
- I didn't make it as a smooth sphere, as I wanted the surface to appear rough more like a planet.
- In the meantime while it is getting dried, I made the InSight lander hat and hand painted NASA logo.
Step 5: Making of the Mars InSight Lander - Hat :
- Measure the circumference of the head
- Cut a rectangular portion from the chart board sheet as per the head circumference measurement.
- Make it like a cylindrical circle and stick the ends together. This is the base for the hat.
For the lander body:
- Cut three equal sized squares out of the cardboard sheet.
- Take one of the square and cover it fully with black tissue paper.This is the center part of the Mars lander.
For the solar wings:
- Draw a circle with compass and cut equal sized polygon out of the remaining two squares.
- Cover them with aluminium foil and draw the markings with a permanent marker. This is for the solar wings of the lander.
For the instrument deployment arm and the support legs:
- Take the newspaper sheets and roll them with the help of craft sticks and glue the ends.
- These newspaper sticks can be used to prepare the instrument deployment arm and the support legs for the lander.
- Cut four small circles out of the black chart board sheet.
- Attach the ends of three newspaper sticks together to the chart board circle (in a tee-pee shape). Repeat it for the remaining three circles.
For the camera:
Take a small paper cup and cover it with aluminium foil.
Assembly of the parts:
- Attach the solar wings to the center part of the lander.
- Take a newspaper stick and attach the paper cup camera to it with the help of the glue. This acts as the instrument deployment arm with the camera. Attach it to the top of the lander.
- Glue the support legs to the bottom of the lander.
- Attach the cylindrical hat portion to the base of the lander.
- Make the panel markings with the silver color marker.
- The joints can be stabilized with the help of hot glue gun.
Step 6: Costume Is Ready!
The planet can be slowly passed through the kid's head and shoulder. It can be carried by holding the straps from inside.
Now with the lander hat on head, it appears like the InSight lander on the planet Mars!