How to Make a 3D Nucleus

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Things You'll Need

  • Knife

  • Large polystyrene foam ball

  • Small polystyrene foam ball

  • Craft glue

  • Paint for polystyrene foam

  • Ribbon

  • Toothpicks

  • Paper

  • Tape

A nucleus is the controller of a cell, like a captain on a ship. It is in charge of keeping the integrity of DNA and carrying out a specific function like growth, metabolic rate and reproduction. A nucleus is made up of three main parts: the nucleolus, the chromatin and the nuclear envelope. Everyday craft materials can easily provide what you need to create a 3D model of a nucleus.


Step 1

Cut out one quarter of the large and small polystyrene foam ball.

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Step 2

Glue the quarter slice of the small ball to center of the large cut ball. Hold the small ball securely in place until the glue has completely dried.

Step 3

Paint the exterior of the large polystyrene foam ball, the interior of the large ball and the small ball three separate colors. Let the paint dry.

Step 4

Glue a piece of ribbon around the interior edges of the large styrofoam ball.


Step 5

Make labels by cutting and taping small pieces of paper to the tops of toothpicks. Write the name of each part of the nucleus on the labels and gently poke the toothpicks into the correct locations on the balls.

Step 6

Inset three toothpicks in a triangle onto the bottom of the model so the ball can stand on its own.


Spray paint will melt the styrofoam and acrylic paint will resist the surface. Polystyrene foam paint is the best option for coloring the ball.


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