Eee! This idea of a constellation painting has been in my brain for way too long and I’m thrilled to finally have it done and hung! Friends, meet my new above-the-mantle painting. We’ve slowly been picking away at renovations and while we’re busy running to the hardware store for more grout or ducting (so fun, I know) we’ve neglected making our house a home. We moved in this summer… and we still have only hung one piece of art (mind you it’s a maaaassive map… the one in my welcome photo) in the whole house. It took us months to even hang curtains. So it feels really, really good to have this hanging! Plus, the copper frame ties in our copper curtain rods (finally!).
When our twins were born last year, Shane and I talked and talked about what tattoos we would get for them (we’re tattoo people by the way, we love ’em… him more than me) and although we still haven’t gotten them (all our money is going to leaky bathtubs and diapers and such) we decided on the Gemini constellation. Now, I don’t really care about astrology… at all… but we love the stars and star maps and when we get to more decorating we plan to order a star map (this would be amazing if we could afford it). And our kids aren’t even gemini by sign, but we love that gemini is twins holding hands. I had pretty much decided to get this print for their bedroom (I just didn’t like that it said ‘Gemini’ on it) when I spotted this painting on Pinterest. Light bulbs, guys. I could do that! So out of storage came a very old canvas (like, I’d bought it when I was in highschool art class and thought that I was an artist) that had been moved from house to house to house with us. It had a few dings, but it would do the job.
This is probably the easiest ‘painting’ you’ll ever try your hand at. There’s no mixing paints, no drawing (just dots- and maybe a star if you wish). It’s dead easy. Here’s what you need to give it a try:
- One Large Canvas
- Paint Spatula
- Small Paint Brush
- Black Paint (You’ll need a big tube. I used this stuff and it was peerrrrfect)
- White Paint (I used this one)
- Large Piece of Paper
- Marker, Scissors
- Picture of the Constellation you’d like to imitate
- Corner Moulding (enough to cover all four sides of your canvas plus an extra foot for corner cuts- you can buy it by the foot at Home Depot by the baseboards)
- Miter Box and Saw (this is basically the one I use- it works great for small projects like this!)
- Copper Spray Paint (My fave is this one, I used it on my curtain rod brackets too)
- Small finishing nails (mine were from a picture hanging kit)
- Measuring Tape & Pencil
Alright! Long list, but easy- easy, I promise! Let’s start with the painting, K? Open up your tube of paint and squeeze a whole bunch of it on to the center of your canvas. Have fun spreading it around with the spatula. Repeat and repeat and repeat until you’re happy with it. I think a bigger spatula would have been really nice for this- but this is what I have and I’m happy with it! Then leave that to dry and get started on your frame.
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Measure your canvas edges and write them down. Head to your corner trim and draw a line down the trim where the edge of your canvas will sit. I wanted it to be a floating frame so I measured about a centimetre (I used a tile from our bathtub reno to measure). This is where you will mark the length of your canvas edge (Aubrey helped us with this). Leave room on either side for the corner cuts. Then, line up your trim in your mitre box and gently place the saw in. Line it up so that your saw hits the spot you marked along your line. And give it a cut! Do this for all four pieces. *Update: My sister and a few friends are making this and said the most confusing part is cutting the angles! The biggest tip: you can’t re-use the angle that you cut- you need to cut two cuts for each piece, every time*
Now take your frame pieces to a well ventilated area (or your basement if you’re me) and spray paint them. Many light coats is best. While that’s drying, you can make your constellation template.
Use a large piece of paper to sketch out the constellation you’d like to use. If you were particular about the star placement (I clearly wasn’t) you could get this blown up at a copy shop. Go over it with a dark marker and punch holes where each of the stars go. Then lay it over your (dry) black ‘sky’ and lightly paint the dots through your template. Remove the template and make the dots as big or as little as you like. Throw some stars in there if it feels right. I couldn’t decide if I wanted the dotted lines connecting the stars so I left it without. Then once it was on the wall I ended up painting those in.
Let your stars dry before assembling the frame. When it comes time to assemble, lay your canvas upside down on your frame pieces (lay your frame pieces out like they’re the ‘frame’). Use your tile or whatever you used to space the frame from the canvas on all sides. Then take one of the edges and flip it over so you’re still perfectly spaced, but you can nail it in. This works because with the spacers in the other pieces won’t budge and you can line up your edge to hit the corners of your other edges (see the photo above). If you had a brand new, not warped canvas you might be able to just measure and give it a shot. Mine was warped so this was the best way to get the frame straight. When it’s lined up, put a nail in the centre of that edge. This will tack it in place but leave it moveable if you need to adjust. Do this for the rest of the edges until they’re all tacked in place. Adjust them until they’re perfect and secure them with a few more nails in each piece.
That’s it! You’re ready to hang your masterpiece. I tell ya, I’m all about art that means something to you. And this fits the bill, my friends (just like my Street Map Art). And what’s even more exciting about these photos… they’re taken at night. Like pitch black out. Because I got flashes! I’m so excited- my world is rocked. I no longer have to count on nap times to do projects. That’s HUGE! Want to know what else is huge? My dislike for that mantle. It’s changing as soon as we’re done the bathroom. I’ve decided on it. That’s actually pieces of panneling tacked on there to look like real wood. It’s bad. You can see the room before we painted the rest of the panel and I can’t wait to get that last reminder out of there!
So what do you think of this constellation painting? Does making your own art scare you? It used to scare me… because people look at it. I don’t consider myself an artist (I do consider myself a creative) so it’s a bit intimidating to put things you’ve drawn or painted or whatever out there because a real artist might see and think it’s not very good. But honestly, who cares? That’s one thing I’ve had to learn since starting this blog. Just because you or I made it doesn’t make it worth any less than if someone who does it for a living does. It may have a bit more ‘character’ but it’s special to you and your home. It’s good to embrace that- isn’t there a saying, ‘perfect is the enemy of done’? I’d rather have art in my home (because I can’t afford the real stuff) and have it be imperfect than have empty walls.
Anyways… would you try this out? What constellation would you choose?
This is REALLY beautiful. I have always liked the effect a spatula gives to a painting, but I don’t have one. Well done. Xo
Thanks so much Erin! It’s one of my favourite things in our house now :) The spatula was SO cheap- I bought it years ago and never tried it out… I’m so glad I did!
I absolutely love this! Will try my hand at it for sure – I really like the constellation Orion and think it would look great off-center the way you have done with Gemini! Love love love it!
Yay! Can’t wait to see yours (and your friend’s!) Shoot me a pic sister :)
Karisa | Petite Modern Life
This is so beautiful! Great job. I feel like I got a small art lesson that I’ve been needing. (I always wanted to be a painter, but the ducks never fell in a row, column, or circle for that matter) And your frame? Perfect! I’ll have to try out all of the above soon!
Aw thanks Karisa! I don’t think of myself as a painter at all- but I needed something on my walls! I’d love to see if you try it out :)
brie @ like-the-cheese.com
Heavens to Betsy, this is so gosh darn cute! I love it! Simply fabulous!
Heavens to Betsy- you’re too darn cute Brie!
Oh my goodness, I absolutely LOVE this painting. I’m a big fan of art on the walls, even the imperfect art I do. I think I’m going to give this one a try, but I’m not sure what constellation…
Thanks so much Havalah! I’d love to see a photo if you do… my sister is doing Orion :)
Bre @ Average But Inspired
Colleen, I heart you. You are seriously the best. This project is awesome!!
Aw, Brie! I heart you too- thanks for the support- xo