By Julia Vilenica, Young Observer staff blogger
To start a space painting, you’ll need to be outdoors. Put a tablecloth (one you can ruin) on something like a card table or flat surface. Supplies needed include posterboard, and some masking tape. Put the tape on the side of the paper that is NOT shiny, and tape it to the tablecloth.
You’ll need some spray paint, too. Although I like to use a wide variety, all you really need is a black, a white, a clear and a few colors. Try to have at least one light color and one dark color. The paints all need to be shaken well before being used. You’ll need a piece of cardboard to use a a straightedge, as well as some magazine paper.
To make the planets, I use lids. Any size lid will work, but the heavier the lids are, the better they work. Make sure the inside of your lid doesn’t touch the paper, and you’re ready to go!
Put the lids on the paper (make sure it’s the shiny side). It doesn’t matter where, or how many. You can even put some off the side of the paper. I like to put mine on only the top part of the paper, so I can make mountains.
Before you can spray onto the paper, test your spray paint in a cardboard box.
This will show you how the nozzle sprays.
Over your ‘planets’ (the lids) put a light mist of black paint onto the top half of your paper.
Different paints have different nozzles. It doesn’t really matter which you use, as they’ll both work, but make sure if your spray paint has a little white piece of plastic stuck into the nozzle that you leave it there. It won’t spray without it!
Take one lid off of the paper, and choose the colors you want in your planet. Starting with the lightest color, spray a small mist onto the circle, trying not to get it in the black. Then move to the darkest color. Here, I used orange and red.
Take a piece of magazine paper, and place it onto the planet over the wet paint. Carefully, put your palm onto the paper and turn it. Pull the paper off by one edge, and throw away the paper. There are two ways to do this. If you’re good with a bottle of spray paint, then just spray the bottom edge of the planet with black and carefully put the lid back on where it was. If you’re just starting out, you may want to replace the lid first.
For the next planet, I put down a thin layer of white paint, and two stripes of grey. Using a small piece of magazine paper, I did the same thing as with the last planet. Using the grey and white, in my opinion, makes it look like a moon. I replaced the lid and sprayed the bottom edge with black.
For the third and final planet, I used lines of light blue and pink. Instead of twisting my hands when I put the magazine paper down, I ran my fingers back and forth across it. After that, I replaced the lid and put a spray of black across the bottom edge.
Once your planets are finished, and all of the lids are on, pick two or three colors and spray them anywhere you want. I chose orange and red, but other good colors for this are green, pink, and dark blues. After those colors are dry, you need to cover the whole paper with black. Don’t worry if the colors show through; that won’t make a very big difference.
If you want stars, you have a couple of options. You could use light blue, dark blue, red, white, yellow… I like to use light blue, white, and red. In this painting, I’m only using light blue. Over the cardboard box, spray the color you want for your stars onto your index finger. Quickly, before it dries, flick it onto the paper. you can create a lot of stars,
or none at all. It’s up to you.
Here’s where it gets kind of tricky – making the mountains. Spray a nice, even layer of gloss over where you want the mountains to be, and put down a piece of magazine paper. Gently but firmly, run your fingers over the paper and then peel it off. This is just your starting point- you can make the mountains any shape you want. If you have to, spray the gloss again before putting down another sheet of the paper. If you want, you can take a small piece of paper and lighten up certain areas, adding texture and shape to it.
Spray another layer of gloss over the top of your mountain. Take a tool (a small paint scraper will work, if it’s not too long) and gently scrape in little zigzags across where you sprayed the gloss, following the shape of the mountain. It takes some getting used to, but once you get it, it’s really easy.
Just below your zigzags, gently place your cardboard straightedge where you want your lake to be. I chose dark blue and light blue, but really you can use any color. Unlike the rest of the painting, start with the dark color this time. Spray it onto the paper in sort of an oval shape, not touching the bottom or the sides. Pick up the straightedge, and wait for the dark color to dry. Once it has, put the straightedge back and spray your light color into the middle of the cardboard, so that you aren’t spraying directly onto the paper, and only the mist falls down onto it. Let it dry, and then cover the sides, corners, and bottom with black.
In the same way you made your mountains, make them again at the bottom and sides. Spray another layer of gloss, and scrape the paint in a zigzag.
You can spray a white highlight behind one or all of the planets; leave the lids on and spray halfway onto the lids and halfway onto the paper. After that’s dry, you can remove your lids very carefully. Let the painting dry, and you’re done!