How to Paint Your Room Like the Night Sky

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Mix clear glaze with paint to create star clouds.
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Painting your room to look like the night sky allows you to bask in simulated celestial beauty no matter the weather. The types of paints to use depend on whether you want to experience sky scenes during the day or just after dark -- some glow-in-the-dark paints are practically invisible during the day, allowing you to add starry scenes to your walls and ceilings without changing your current wall color.

Readying the Room

Before painting begins, wipe down all the walls you wish to paint from top to bottom with a dust cloth or static duster. If you're painting the ceiling, wipe the ceiling down as well. Move all the furniture away from the project walls -- or out of the room entirely if you'll paint the ceiling. If you can't move some of the heavier furniture out, cover it with plastic dropcloths or tarps to protect it from ceiling paint. Tape off all areas you do not wish to paint using painter's tape, such as baseboards or corners where the wall and ceiling meet. Cover the floor near each project wall with a dropcloth.

Wall-Color Conditions

For a true night sky effect even during broad daylight, paint the walls -- and ceiling, if desired -- in your favorite night-sky shade, such as indigo. Create a dusk or twilight effect with an ombre paint finish, requiring only dark-blue paint and white paint to create all the shade variations. Mix some of the dark blue paint into a tray of white paint to create the lightest blue shade for the bottom of each wall. Paint the band of light blue as high as you would like it up each wall, or along one side of the ceiling. Mix in more blue paint for a slightly darker shade, blended into and extending up from the lightest band of color. Paint the upper areas of the walls -- or the area of the ceiling farthest from the simulated sunrise or sunset -- with the dark blue paint, with no white paint mixed in. If you only want the stars to be visible at night or under a black light, there's no need to paint your walls blue; this also helps keep the room from feeling too dark or dreary.

Selecting Your Star Paints

The paints you choose for the stars determine how much -- and when -- your room will look like the night sky once the project is complete. Regular acrylic craft paints in light shades create stars that are visible even during the day. Darker acrylic colors and clear glazes come in handy if you wish to create deep-space scenes such as galaxies and nebulae that are visible even during daylight against dark wall paint. If you want the stars to be seen only when the room is dark, opt for glow-in-the-dark paint that dries clear. Some versions are available in craft stores, but be sure to read the bottle first to make sure the paint is not visible during daylight hours. For surreal night-sky scenes, opt for luminescent paints that glow under a black light. Many luminescent paints are also visible under traditional lights or in daylight, but glow even more when lit with a black light.

Creating the Sky Scenes

To plot constellations on the wall or ceiling with accuracy, project a sky chart onto the surface using an opaque or overhead projector, or draw the dots for each star on the wall or ceiling using colored chalk, filling them in later with the desired paint. Use the tip of a round artist's brush or the end of an unused pencil eraser dipped in paint to create somewhat large, specific stars. For distant, random stars, dip a toothbrush in the desired paint, and then rub your finger or thumb across its bristles while holding the brush near the desired surface, moving your arm a bit as you work. Practice your technique on scrap paper or cardboard to get a feel for it first. Create nebula and ethereal effects by mixing colors such as red or orange with bits of clear glaze. Brush a bit of the paint onto the wall, then rub your finger through the mixture to create gaseous star clouds. Flick specks of white, yellow or pale blue atop the nebula or galaxy to create the stars. Flick bands of paint on the walls or across the ceiling to emulate the look of the Milky Way on a clear night.

references & resources

Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.

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