Idea 30: Observatory


Crafty Time

By Dave Pierik, Shelton-Mason County Journal


From Happy Tree Observatory, astronomers study planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies and comets.

Tools: compass, ruler, scissors, paint brushes, marker. Optional: craft knife or old steak knife

Materials: 2” craft ball, mason jar ring, oat milk lid, Pringles® can, straw, cardboard, flat toothpicks, masking tape, white glue, baking soda, paint. Optional: rubberized craft foam sheet

Cost: about $1-$3 including paint and glue   Time: two to four hours or so

1. Entry level

Measure Pringles® can, 2” height from bottom. Mark in several places. Follow marks with masking tape. Carefully cut along the edge. Test fit regular mason jar ring oat milk lid (inverted) and craft ball.

2. Telescope dome

Keeping the ball intact, wrap the craft foam halfway around and mark it. Cut two lengths, ¼” wide, to that mark. Glue the two parallel strips halfway around the ball. Hold in place with masking tape and set aside to dry.

3. Walkway & doors

Trace the bottom of the can over cardboard. Measure 2 ½” and mark, then use compass to mark a 5” circle, so there is a circle in a circle. Glue the pieces together. For doors, measure a 1 ½” wide x 1 3/4” tall rectangle; mark a line down the middle. Use compass to mark top curve and craft knife to score the middle. Bend to fit, glue in place. Cut toothpicks and glue on for door handles.

4. Paint

Add 50% white glue to white paint to prime everything. Let dry. You can add more glue and dust with baking soda to fill small gaps; just blow any excess away. Paint the telescope and opening black, and water down black to bring out detail, then drybrush white. Paint the door blue. Paint the door handles, dome opening, and telescope highlight silver, and the sidewalk grey, with tan details.

5. Happy Tree Observatory

The Happy Tree Astronomy Club meets at night, unless it’s too cloudy.

What would you like to see next in Crafty Time? Visit for more photos and project ideas.  Please email your feedback to or call 360-426-4412. Visit our office to see the display!

What’s up?
The Happy Tree Astronomy Club recently upgraded the old observatory.
“It was upgrade, or rebuild. We didn’t have the budget to start over,” said Carol Diggens-Starr, club president. The club meets for stargazing at 10pm each new moon, unless it’s too cloudy.
–Happy Tree Times

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