How to Make a Sphere Out of Paper Plates

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According to Chuck Bueter, a member of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association who manages the DePaul University Paper Plate Education website, the paper plate is a comprehensive modeling tool that can easily represent geometrical shapes. These spheres have a wide variety of uses, from educational purposes (learning about spheres and diameters) to making paper ornaments for a party (attach the spheres to strings and hang from the ceiling). This sphere takes only a few minutes to complete.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 paper plates
  • 10 bobby pins
  • Fold one paper plate in half. Bring the right side over and fold so that it divides the semicircle into 1/3 and 2/3. Crease the folds when the edges line up. Repeat for the other side. when you unfold the plate, you should have six equal segments divided by three diameters (lines that reach from one side of the circle, through the center, and to the other side). It should resemble a pizza cut into six pieces.

  • Locate the ends of one diameter (the edge points, at opposite sides of the plate). Bring these two end points together, and pin with a bobby pin. Repeat Step 1 and 2 for four more plates.

  • Pin two of the plates together. Pick up two plates and hold them so that their straight edges are together (the plates only have one straight edge, where the center of the sphere will be). Pin the top and bottom edges together with a bobby pin at each end. Repeat this step for two more plates.

  • Pin the two sets of plates together. Hold the straight edges together, and pin and the top and bottom with a bobby pin.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have bobby pins, use a dab of hot glue or a small piece of clear tape to hold the ends together.
  • Do not use very thick paper plates; they won't fold properly.

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