Autumn skies are my very favorite kind! Once September hits, we have the most beautiful sunsets, with ripples of pinks and purples. On a clear night, it fades into a soft, quiet black and the stars in the fall sky seem even brighter than usual. Inspired by the beautiful colors and night skies of fall, we made this lovely constellation process art.
Not feeling like using the usual paintbrush or stamp techniques for art, we scoured the house for new tools to experiment with, and found we had everything we needed right in our own kitchen!
This fun mixed media art project emphasizes process over product. It gives kids a great opportunity to experiment with using unique tools and explore different mediums – allowing them to open their minds to new ways of creating art.
To make your own constellation process art you’ll need:
Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*
- A Paper plate or heavy cardstock
- Acrylic or tempera paint (we used blue, black, green, turquoise, purple, pink, and yellow-orange)
- Household items you can use for painting (see our examples below)
- An old gift/credit card, palette knife, squeegee, or paint scraper.
- White washi tape, a silver, gold, or white paint pen (like this kind from Posca), a permanent marker, or a wax pencil.
- A glue stick
- Silver or gold star stickers like these (these can replace the tinfoil if you’d like to speed up the project)
- A hairdryer (for quick paint-drying)
Name-in-the-Stars Constellation Process Art Instructions:
- Gather painting tools from the kitchen
Look around the house for some regular old household items you can experiment painting with. The more layers and textures you have, the more full and bright your sky will look, so look for a lot of different items!
- Experiment with using your tools to paint, stamp and print
As a warm-up, experiment by painting, stamping, and printing with your new art tools on some scrap pieces of paper. We found that steel wool made perfect clouds of stardust. Our sponge made great abstract star clusters. We used a fork to create dotted stardust trails, and we added fun speckles and drips by flicking paint from our scrub brush. The flyswatter was probably our favorite new discovery because one good “WAAAAP!” leaves a super-cool moon-ray texture!
- Paint a background layer on a paper plate
Grab a paper plate and a tool for scraping – an old rewards card, a piece of cardboard – anything that has a nice straight, hard edge. Dot a few dark colors of paint (we used combinations of blue, black & purple, and blue, black, and green) onto the paper plate, then just pull it across your paper plate with your scraping tool. You can scrape it a few different ways, making fun swirls and textured lines of color. This is going to create your swirly cosmos background.
- Paint the edges of your plate and let dry
When you’ve finished scrape-painting the middle of your paper plate, use a brush to finish painting around the outer edge with black or a mixture of dark colors. Let dry thoroughly. To speed up the process, use a hairdryer on it for a minute or two. Now you have a cool galaxy background!
- Use household items to add painted textures to your paper plate galaxies
Now you can start adding your stardust textures! Stamp away, using different bright, bold colors and your household tools. The more layers you add. If you’re going to add your name in the center, we found it worked best to leave a darker, less textured area in the middle so your name really stands out. Once you’ve finished adding stardust and texture, let dry.
- Glue tin foil stars to the galaxy backgrounds
It wouldn’t be a starry night sky without some shiny stars, so grab a piece of tinfoil and roughly cut some star-shapes out. Pro tip – if you fold the tin foil over quite a few times, you can create multiple stars at once! Experiment with cutting out different sizes and shapes. If you would rather create a starry scene or constellation patterns without a name, you can glue on your tinfoil stars and stop right here. It looks beautiful as is!
- Use white paint, a paint marker or tape to add your name
We just couldn’t resist the opportunity to create constellations from our names. I happened to have some thin, white washi tape that worked perfectly for “drawing” our names onto the plates, but you can use a silver or gold sharpie, a white paint pen, or just regular paint and a thin brush. The key to the constellation look is using straight lines in all the letters. No curves in constellations! 😉 Have a long name that feels too daunting? Use your initials instead!
Finish up by adding stars to the ends of each of your letter lines and all the points in the letters where lines meet. Small silver foil star stickers work perfectly for this. We were so excited when we stood back to see how these had turned out! The bright colors on the black background absolutely GLOW, and it’s just too much fun to see our names written in the stars.
*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!