I used to live in the country where I could look up at night and see a dark blanket spotted with light. There were so many stars I wondered how people used to identify constellations. Then, in 1994, I received a Box of Stars (not an affiliate link) book and kit. Since then I have enjoyed making a constellation in a jar that suits the books I’m reading, the mood I’m in, or just because I want to see it as I drift off to sleep.
Here’s how you can make one.
- A clear jar, preferably one with an opaque lid.
- A tap light (and batteries for it)
- A sheet of aluminium foil
- A ruler or measuring tape
- A needle
- A Sharpie
- A template (optional)
Step 1: Measure the jar’s height and inner diameter. You’ll need these numbers for fitting the aluminium foil.
Step 2: Fold the foil according to the height of the jar.
Step 3: Calculate the circumference (C = 2·Pi·r)
Step 4: Fold the foil for the circumference, then check the fit before cutting off the excess.
Step 5: Use a constellation template or free-hand draw where you want your stars to be.
Step 6: Poke holes in the foil to let the light shine through.
Step 7: Put the foil and the tap light into the jar.
Step 8: Make some hot cocoa and enjoy.
In the video below I demonstrate how this is done in a little more detail.