July. Time for barbeques, sparklers, and of course, the anniversary of the 1947 Roswell crash. I knew that was high on your list of celebrations!
What could be more exciting? Government coverups, weather balloons, alien autopsies: awesome! The Smithsonian magazine has a good article commemorating the seven-odd decades since the crash, if you want the “facts.”
On the off chance you wish to create your own UFO crash – for the 4th of July or Halloween, or your school’s Scholastic Book Fair (like I did) – I’m here for you. You need a decent UFO to complete the whole Roswell look. No problem. This UFO is easy to make and comes out looking really sharp, in a retro, Lost-in-Space kind of way.
Hopefully, you have some amazingly creepy translucent aliens that you already made from a previous post. Did you miss that post? Go back and check it out.
Two child-sized round plastic saucer sleds – I used Paricon Flying Saucer Sleds, the largest (26 inch diameter) and cheapest I could find in the summer. You probably have a few hiding out in your garage!
Shiny/metallic silver spray paint – I used Rust-oleum
Drill and four pop rivets
A plastic salad bowl: opaque if you can find one. I used a clear one from the Dollar Tree and wet sanded to make it opaque (tell you how in a minute).
700 grit wet/dry sandpaper and soapy water – if you need to sand your bowl
White fairy string lights – Like these on Amazon
Blue glowing neon wire – This worked great
AA batteries (for your neon wire)
How to Make It:
Peel any stickers off your sleds.
Go outside and put down a drop cloth where you plan to paint. Put your sleds on the drop cloth and spray with the silver paint. You only need to paint the convex side – the side that curves out. Be careful, however: the paint scratches easily because it is covering that slippery plastic.
When your sleds are dry, you are going to attach two of them together, with the sides curving out. We used a drill and four pop rivets.
Now, work on your dome. Take any stickers off the bowl. If you have an opaque bowl, great: you don’t need to do anything! If you have a clear plastic bowl, use some wet/dry sandpaper and a little soapy water and gently rub the moistened paper over the inside of the bowl until it has a nice opacity.
Take some saran wrap and wad it up to fill the inside of the bowl. This will allow some support for your lights to spread out inside, so they do not all fall to the bottom. Wind your white string lights through the plastic wrap, getting them in the middle, top, and sides of the bowl. I ended up using four strings to get a nice glow.
Carefully put a little hot glue around the edge of the bowl and quickly and carefully flip it over and attach to the center of your UFO, leaving space for the edge of the light wires and battery packs to hang out. (Don’t worry: you will cover these up with aluminum foil later).
Now, take your neon wire and carefully thread it into that indentation between the two discs. Every few inches or so, use a tiny piece of clear packing tape (which I’m sure you have left over from making your aliens) to secure it. Depending on the length of your neon, you may go around the UFO a little more than one time.
You did it! Turn on your lights and have fun. Set your scene with crumpled aluminum foil to make it look like a crash site. Put a piece of the foil over the controllers for the white fairy lights to hide them.
We had some beat-up paper mache rocks left over from a production of The Pirates of Penzance which also added to the scene. I used green strobe lights that matched the rocks and aliens, and found a large old tumbleweed that I broke up to make it look more desert-y.
Adding to the look: purple fairy lights on black paper with cut-out planets are in the back, along with a shiny silver curtain over the window. The kids loved it.