• American Girl Doll Crafter

DlY Doll Space Shuttle Tiles - Doll STEM Camp 2018

In order to develop a rocket, another special type of engineer must be involved- the mechanical engineer!

Although they help make many parts of a space shuttle, these designers create one small piece that makes a big difference.

When a rocket leaves or enters the atmosphere, large amounts of heat are created. The rocket could catch fire, burn, or even explode if there is not a proper protection system. However, thanks to the work of mechanical engineers, the shuttle's temperature is now kept under control through the Thermal Protection System, or the TPS. The TPS is made up of thousands of plate-sized tiles that prevent the rocket from overheating during launch and re-entry, while also protecting it from the cold of space. Each space shuttle contains more than 21,000 lightweight tiles that have the ability to deflect the harsh temperatures. Think about it- all of this was done by mechanical engineers!

Luciana worked with shuttle tiles at Space Camp, too!

Mallory stopped us in front of the ISS and pointed to two metal trays embedded in the side of the spacecraft. “The purpose of the experiment is to test different materials to see how they perform in space with all the UV radiation and exposure to extreme temperatures.temperatures. Your job is to take ten new material tiles”—she opened one of the metal-toolbox-looking containers on a tall table in between the two metal trays on the ISS—“ and find each tile’s correct place on the tray.” She pulled out a metal tile with a bunch of switches on it and fit it into a rectangular spot on the metal tray. And then she pulled out a different tile, this one full of wires and shaped like a triangle, and measured it up against a few places on the tray until she found where it would go. “After you’re sure of the fit, secure each tile with this adhesive foam.” She held up a canister with a spray nozzle. “It’s like a puzzle,” Meg said, nodding. “Exactly,” Mallory said, smiling. “A space puzzle.” -Taken from Luciana by Erin Teagan

The next step in launching our own doll rocket is developing the shuttle tiles, just like a mechanical engineer!


  • Foam board

  • X-acto knife or cutting tool

  • Small mosaic tiles or beads

  • Wooden spool

  • Small drink straw

  • Paint

1. Carefully cut a 4 x 3 inch rectangle of foam board. This will serve as the shuttle tile tray.

2. Place the mosaic tiles in different patterns for the shuttle tiles.

3. To make the spray foam bottle, paint your wooden spool any color of your choice. Cut your drink straw to measure 1.5 inches, the slide through the spool. Add stickers for the label or paint your own design.

There are many creative ways to play with this DIY. Here are just a few fun ideas!

Can you arrange the tiles in an ombre order?

Your doll is assigned as the mechanical engineer- which tiles would work best for her rocket? Smooth or rough? Gray or blue?

Try different patterns! How many tiles can you fit?

For pretend spray foam, use slime you have on hand or make slime by following the recipe from our Doll Rover Slime Arena!

Look who is in the lab- it's Ella and Luciana! The two campers share their tools as they patch shuttle tiles together.

"Would you pass me the spray foam, Luci?"

"Sure thing, Ella."

Squirrrrrt! Ella adds a small drop of spray foam to secure her tile.

"Great job, Ella!" Luciana says with a high-five.

Ella smiles and gives her a high-five back. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Don't forget to enter our American Girl STEM Prize Package Giveaway!

If you complete a craft or want to share a photo of your doll at camp, snap a picture and send it in or share on Instagram using the hashtag #DollSTEMCamp2018 to be featured in the Camp Recap each Sunday!Email:

#stem #stemdoll #STEMCamp #DollSTEMCamp2018 #stemcampforkids #girlsinstem #DollSTEMCamp #dollstemcamp #americangirlSTEMdoll #STEM #dollcrafts #craft #crafts #agcrafts

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