constellation canvas night light

pin it graphic from pinterest

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!

blank canvas in packaging

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.

blank canvas coated in black with small white dots

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.

more galaxy features added to black canvas

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.

using a projector to trace image of constellations

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.

projected constellations on canvas

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.

lights added to traced constellations

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

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

easy diy constellation canvas hung up in kids bedroom

…and all lit up!

constellation canvas lit up in kids bedroom

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.

lights blurry and close up

Not  bad for less than $10!

daytime and nighttime examples of constellation canvas

signature of Heidi from Happiness is Homemade craft blog

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  1. 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! 🙂

    1. 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! 🙂

  2. 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. Really spectacular! I love this idea. I was an astronomy junkie as a kid and would have adored this.
    Great work!

  4. What a fun idea for a little one’s room! I could totally see this above my son’s bunk beds too :o) Pinning!!

  5. That is AWESOME! My little boy would absolutely love this! Every night he wants to go outside to see the stars. Pinning!

  6. I love this idea! My son wants a Star Wars/out of space themed bedroom and this would be perfect.

    Anne xx