DIY Canvas Constellation Night Light

Sawyer, my six-year-old, sleeps on the top bunk bed. Last summer his little brother got his bottom bunk turned into a pirate fort, and Sawyer has been wanting something special to decorate his own bunk ever since. We put up some glow-in-the-dark stars, but it still wasn’t really cool enough.

When I ran across some large canvases at a local swap meet for only $1, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them!

I started by giving my canvas a coat of spray primer since these aren’t ordinary canvas. They’re made to be hung outdoors, so the “canvas” part is actually a textured vinyl. I used a plastic primer, and then spray painted the entire canvas flat black.

After the black paint dried I took the canvas outdoors on a windy afternoon and sprayed it from about 10 feet away with purple, blue, neon pink and white paint to give it the effect of a galaxy. I varied the pressure that I put on the nozzle so that I ended up with some splatters that look like larger stars.

I printed out a black & white transparency of the Northern Hemisphere constellations and projected it on to my canvas. I fiddled around with the placement until I liked the way it looked, but I didn’t pay much attention to the direction that anything is facing – just what I thought looked best.

I started by drawing all of the dots/stars first, and then I went back in and connected them with a metallic silver Sharpie paint marker.

Count your constellation stars and determine which ones you want to make glow – the strand of lights only has 100 bulbs, so you may need to omit a few. I chose not to light up anything that came too close to the edges of my canvas.

Use an Xacto knife to cut a small “x” in each of the constellation stars that you want to light up. Push through the tip of a fairy light from the back of the canvas. When I was finished, I taped the back of the canvas to hold the lights in place.

I love how much the little lights remind me of Lite Brite pegs!

Ready to decorate Sawyer’s top bunk…in the daytime…

…and all lit up!

I’m pretty sure that I could fall asleep to this soft twinkle every night! The fairy lights actually have 8 different settings, so you can set them to fade, twinkle, blink and something that flashes so quickly it might be seizure-inducing. We put ours on both a dimmer and a timer so that they’re not too bright, and they come on automatically at bedtime.

Not  bad for less than $10!


  1. says

    where did you get the lights like that… I’ve never seen any with settings?

    Martha ([email protected])

  2. Lisa Bellot says

    Love this! My son loves Star Wars so I’m thinking about “updating” his decor with minimal expense and this is a perfect addition. Thanks!

  3. emma says

    Where did you find the fairy lights for this project? and how did you get them to stay in place? I am doing a similar project with a youth group and I am having difficulty finding fairy lights and tape that will allow them to put the canvas on the wall. The wire for the lights all seem to stick out too far any help you could offer would be much appreciated! :)

    [email protected]

    • says

      I got my fairy lights from Amazon, Emma. Here’s the link: The lights are pushed in through the back so that only the tips come through the front of the canvas. I cut the slits just large enough for the light tip to fit through, so I didn’t need any tape to keep the individual lights in place. The remaining cord was taped to the back of the canvas with Gorilla Tape (also available from Amazon here: – it’s quite strong, so it will hold down almost anything! :)

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