Try This: Make a Salad Spinner Nebulae


Try This: Make a Salad Spinner Nebulae

This #SMOatHome is part of Space Day presented by Allied Arts!

The beauty of the universe is amazing. For nearly 30 years the Hubble Space Telescope has been sending captivating images back to Earth. Some of the most breathtaking sights have been that of nebulae, or clouds of dust and gas in interstellar space. 

Some nebulae are formed by the explosion of dying stars. Such nebulae may have nesting shells, which appear as a set of rings with the remains of a collapsed star at the center. Other nebulae are seen around where new stars are beginning to form. 

You can create art inspired by these cosmic clouds, and one the special tool you need may be only as far away as the kitchen!

Try This: Salad Spinner Nebulae

Here’s what you need:

  • Salad spinner*
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Paint
  • Droppers or squirt bottles
  • Water
  • Eye protection

*It’s going to get messy, so make sure it’s ok to use it for this

Here’s what to do:

1. Gather your supplies. If you have very thin, runny paint, that’s great! If you have paint that is not so runny, mix it so that the paint is slightly more paint than it is water. The paint should be thin, yet still rich in color. 

2. Put paint into containers so you can use droppers to pick it up. Straws can be used as droppers (just place your finger over one end). Squirt bottles work very well for this too, and old, clean hot sauce bottles work great as paint squirt bottles!

3. Open the salad spinner and find the largest circle that can rest flat at the bottom. Cut circles from the paper that fit in this space. You may find that there is a plate or bowl in the kitchen that is approximately the size you need. If so, trace the plate or bowl to get a couple appropriately sized circles.

4. Place the paper into the salad spinner. Drop or squirt several drops of paint on the paper.

5. Quickly put on the cover of the salad spinner, and give it a few spins. After it has stopped moving inside open and look at the artwork.

6. Remove your creation. Place it in a safe place to dry. What would you do differently? Try it again!

What is happening:

Through this art activity, you’re creating a model that spreads paint in rays and rings. Though it’s far from perfect, it represents the energetic busts that result from a dying star and push material far into space. 

The resulting artworks may represent round-shaped nebula or shapes that are harder to define. All these shapes may be found in nebulae, because of interactions with interstellar media such as dust and gases. As far away as these interstellar clouds may seem, these energetic clouds helped create our very own solar system, our planetary home, the air we breathe, and the iron in our blood.