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Sep 17

Maker Monday: Homemade Constellation Viewer

Posted on September 17, 2020 at 10:54 AM by Jenny Levins

For this maker activity, we will be using very simple materials that most people have around the house.

The supplies you will need are:
  • 1 cardboard tube
  • 1 pencil 
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • Tape
  • Flashlight
  • Plain paper
  • Construction paper or card stock
  • Images of constellations (details on this below)

Step 1.

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The first step is to lay your tube, circle sound down on your plain paper and trace the circle shape. This does not have to be perfect. You just need this to get the size of your constellation right.

Step 2.

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Next you will want to find an image of a constellation. You can do this many ways. You can find them in a book and sketch them on your paper. We found it easiest to trace the constellation. Using a mobile device, we did a google search for “Simple Constellation Images” and zoomed in on the constellation to fit the size of the circle. We laid our paper flat on top of the device and traced the dots. Super easy!

Step 3.

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Using your pencil, poke holes in the dots you drew and then cut your circle out. You can skip this step if you drew your constellation on card stock. We found that the plain paper was not thick enough for the desired effect at the end. 

Step 4.

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Next, we traced the circle on to a dark piece of card stock and traced the dots again. Dark paper works best to block out the light, but use whatever you’ve got at home. Then, you are going to poke holes in the dots on your card stock. Try to make the holes a little bigger so the light can really show through. We also found that making the circle a little bigger than the size of the tube helps. We’ll explain why you should do this in a few steps.

Step 5. (Optional)

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This next step is not necessary, but makes the finished product look a little better than a plain cardboard tube. We laid our tube flat onto a piece of construction paper and measured the length of the tube. We then cut that out and wrapped it around the tube and taped it into place. You can leave it just like that, add stickers, or color it. Decorate it as much as you like. 
Finally, you will take your constellation circle and tape it to an open end of your tube. Try not to cover any of your “star” holes with tape. 

Step 6.

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Finally, take a flashlight and point the light through the end of your tube that is open. Go into a dark room and turn on your flash light. As you can see from our picture, some the light came through the sides, but you can avoid that happening by making you circle a little bigger than the tube. 

We hope you have fun making your own constellation viewers at home. If you would like to share your constellations with us, email your pictures to Kelli Goodwin at kelli.goodwin@co.iredell.nc.us

?If you are interested in learning more about constellations, check out these books through the library:

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