Today I have a tutorial for creating your own constellation artwork! One of our favorite bedtime books is Dream Animals, A Bedtime Journey. It is such a sweet book with beautiful illustrations by Emily Winfield Martin. I have wanted to create this project for a couple years and finally got around to it last week. I am thrilled with how these two canvases turned out! Using a few simple supplies, I was able to recreate some of the fun constellation animals from the book and add one of my favorite quotes from the story.
The starry night sky is sponge-painted with acrylic paint and the constellations are added with sparkly embroidery floss and a silver Sharpie! You can free-hand a favorite quote or do what I did and create a stencil using a cutting machine. The different textures of this artwork look amazing up close. This artwork is perfect for a child’s room or nursery :) Below is the tutorial to create your own!
Supplies Needed for DIY Constellation Artwork:
- Two stretched canvases, each 6″ x 18″ – I found mine at Target, in the craft aisle, available as a two-pack for $10!
- Acrylic paint in blues, purples, and greens
- Sea sponge
- DMC Light Effects Floss in Silver
- White colored pencil
- Silver Sharpie
- 1 straight pin and 1 pushpin
Step 1: Paint the canvases using acrylic paint. I started with a navy blue and rubbed it on using the sponge. Once the canvas was covered, I went back and sponged it using an up-and-down motion to create a cool texture.
Next, I worked in a lighter and darker blue using the sponge. In some places I kept the sponging lighter, letting the white of the canvas come through a bit. In other places I layered it a bit heavier.
Add in purple and dark green paint, blending them in with the sponge. The pictures show paintbrushes and small pouncers, but I ended up just using the sea sponge the entire time.
Make sure you don’t forget the sides!
Once the first canvas is finished, move on to the next canvas, working in the same way. Below you can see the beginning of the second canvas. I brushed the paint on lightly with the sponge and then went back and added texture.
Step Two: Let the canvases dry overnight and then add the animal constellations. I created templates in Photoshop based on the book, Dream Animals, A Bedtime Journey, and printed them out. You can create your animals in Photoshop or hand draw them. You will want a template so you don’t make any mistakes on the painted canvas.
I transferred my animals onto the canvas using pins. I have used this method before when pencil transferring or a light box doesn’t work. First, lay your template on the canvas and add pieces of tape to keep it in place. Use a pushpin to poke holes through the stars of each animal constellation. Once the holes were poked, I went over them with pencil on the back of the canvas. I also connected my dots with pencil on the back of the canvas. This helped because sometimes it was hard to find the holes I had just poked. I did one animal at a time.
Once the holes are poked, use embroidery floss to connect them. The floss is beautiful and has a lovely sheen and sparkle, but it can be tricky to use. I used two strands at once and tried using a small needle with a large eye. Use a simple running stitch.
After the stars are connected, it is time to add the animal outline. To do this, I taped my template back on my canvas, matching up the holes so it was in the right spot. I then used a straight pin and poked holes all along the animal outline. My holes were pretty close together, especially around tiny parts or curves.
Remove the template and then trace along the pin-dot outline you just created with a white pencil first, then a silver Sharpie. If you are having a hard time seeing your pin-dot outline, hold the canvas in front of a window or light and you will see all of the pin dots. I used a white pencil first just to make sure I had a nice outline before using the permanent Sharpie. Don’t forget to add a Sharpie dot where each star would be! I did this at the very end of the project.
Step Three: After the constellation animals are finished, add the quote. My favorite lines of the book are at the end, “Or will you sail on moth wings, To the edges of the blue…To find the very moon and stars, Are waiting just for you? Whatever dream you visit, When night replaces day, Your furred, or finned, or feathered friend, Will surely know the way. Sweet Dreams!“.
My initial plan was to add the quote in white vinyl using my Cricut Explore. Half-way through, I decided it wouldn’t be the right look. Instead, I used the vinyl cut as a stencil after removing all of the letters. I traced the stencil with Silver Sharpie. The Sharpie bled a little under the vinyl, so I had to go back and touch everything up, but I love the hand-written look of the Sharpie.
Add dots and little “x” marks all around the canvas using the silver Sharpie. The canvases are finished! I love how magical they turned out. You can mix these up using any animal you want or any quote. I can’t wait to hang these up in my son’s room :)
Thanks for visiting me at BugabooCity! Next week is Harry Potter week here on the blog, so I’ll be posting some fun DIY Harry Potter crafts! :)
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