How to paint a star/night-sky themed nursery that will last until high school.

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Before I even had kids, I started painting my guest room in a star/night-sky theme because I am really, really, REALLY nuts for outer space and all things star-related. Like the "all-I-ever-wanted-to-be-was-an-astronaut-ever-since-I-was-a-little-girl" sort of obsession that has just grown stronger with time. Since I couldn't name my children after stars (I dunno--Moonbeam Stardust does have a nice ring to it!), I settled for naming my ferrets after stars: Castor, Pollux, Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Vega. Turns out, near the end of painting my guest room, I found out I was six weeks pregnant with my first child and quickly turned it into the baby's nursery. Three children later, this nursery has been the perfect room for both my girls and my boy to grow up in. It has a non-babyish quality to it that will allow my 3-year-old son to stay in it until his teenage years, when we can add a cool metal desk made out of tool chests topped with a laminate counter, pushed up against a metal bulletin board on the wall.

Oh, and the best thing of all about this room: GLOW IN THE DARK accurate representation of the night sky! That was a must for this room, because how can a star/night sky themed room NOT have stars and planets that glowed in the dark when you shut the lights off? Another positive feature of this glow-in-the-dark room: no need for a night light. My children have never needed a night light in this room, since the stars glow brightly when the lights are shut off, and then dim over time to complete darkness by the time they fall asleep.

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boocat26 days ago

Papyrus font is cool. What else are you going to use in this application that has any real character, half-uncial? Love this. You - and it - are amazing.

MikeM611 month ago
A beautiful job. I did a star ceiling as well and attempted to do glow paint. I was disappointed at the intensity of the paint. The project succeeded without it. You can see the results here: http://m.instructables.com/id/NEW-DAD-TAKES-A-STAR-CEILING-TO-A-NEW-LEVEL/
But I wish I could have found a way to insensify and prolong the glow effect.

I might look into DIY-Guy's suggedtiin from the comments below.
jscott432 months ago

We love it , can't wait to try this ourselves.

DIY-Guy3 months ago

This is still one of my favorite instructables!
Old style glow paint does fade pretty fast. Some people like a long lasting glow. In our home we have a jar of pigment powder that we hit with an ultraviolet laser from time to time and it glows all night.

If you want pigments that will glow for up to 12 hours, check out what this company says. (Disclaimer: I use their pigments but an not associated with the company except as a normal customer.)

"Natural light-storing
rare-earth mineral crystals form the basis of GloTech's photoluminescent
products. These crystals are non-radioactive, toxic-free and harmless,
and can be recharged an infinite number of times. GloTech's premium
grade photoluminescent pigments are of the highest quality with
excellent afterglow effects, acknowledged to be among the best and
brightest in the industry. They are utilized in the manufacture of our
complete range of products including:

Photoluminescent Powder Pigments

Photoluminescent glow-in-the-dark powder is actually
called phosphorescent crystals or pigments. This powdery substance
absorbs light and then re-emits it over a length of time. This occurs
when electrons absorb energy in the presence of light and move up to a
higher orbit. In the absence of light energy, these same electrons fall
from a higher energy level to a more stable energy level. When this
occurs, they emit energy in the form of visible light. No chemical
reaction actually occurs.

There are basically two types of photoluminescent powder.
The first generation of photoluminescent powder that has been around
for many years is Zinc Sulphide. The afterglow characteristics of Zinc
Sulphide have much to be desired and is commonly used in the manufacture
of toys and many non-critical application areas. GloTech supplies the
latest state-of-the-art photoluminescent powder pigments that glow many
times longer and is many times brighter than the first generation Zinc
Sulphide and second generation Strontium Aluminate. They come in a
variety of colors and different particle sizes to suit many

45-85 um or 200-300 mesh size - Large

* Relatively large particle size

* Very high afterglow intensity

* Suitable for many applications such as brush painting, spray painting, candle making, and glass molding"

A starry night ceiling has been on my "to do" list for 11 years for the kids. Have had the glow in the dark paint and stencils just sitting there. This has inspired me, plus the boys' room is already painted a lighter blue! One step done. We just spent two weeks at a lake cottage in Canada where we star gazed and enjoyed the Milky Way every night. This is just perfect!

kellechu (author)  thebeatonpath1 year ago

I'm so happy that you are going to do it! I have projects that I have put on hold for years and years as well. Kids grow up so fast and the projects I have in mind would be too young for them now. :( I'll have to wait for my grandchildren to complete some crafts (or nieces and nephews).

This is still, by far, the BEST tutorial on the internet! I have one last question. What is the purpose of the glazing component? Does it enhance the paint somehow? Just don't want to mess this up!

kellechu (author)  thebeatonpath1 year ago

You are too kind! That is a really good question and I should add it to the body of this instructable so others know the reason behind it as well. The purpose of the glazing component in faux finishing/faux painting is to extend the drying time of the acrylic paint and make the paint color more transparent. This helps to be able to continue to blend larger sections together as you move across the wall. This is also the reason that you want to be able to finish at least an entire wall in the allotted time--and not stop halfway through--because the acrylic paint (even with the glazing compound) will dry completely and you will not be able to blend the joining sections together seamlessly. You will be left with a darker edge in that case, where the other paint just layered on top of the dried paint instead of blending in with it. If you think you can only do one wall a day, put blue painter's tape on the other wall edges, even the finished 'faux'ed walls, to keep the new paint from just sitting on top of the old dried paint and showing a funky darker edge. I hope this helps explain the reasoning behind it, and not just raise more questions!

That makes perfect sense! THANKS for the detailed info.

priril1 year ago

Wow. This is so cool! Great detail to the room, too!

kellechu (author)  priril1 year ago

Thank you. I'm glad you like it!

Thatdan1 year ago
My son would love that in his room I'm going to have to try it
kellechu (author)  Thatdan1 year ago

Awesome! I hope you do! My kids love the room and they have a space station tent in one corner for play. The furniture and toys can be switched out as they get older. I was thinking of painting the Millennium Falcon (small) or the Death Star (small) on the blue wall, just to give something new to look at in the room and to nerd it up some more!

Great job, this is super pretty.

kellechu (author)  mikegalloway1 year ago

Thank you!

JanM11 year ago

Wow i want to use your great idea for the inside of my camper van It is so awesome!! Thank you!!!!!

DIY-Guy JanM11 year ago

Very funny to paint the inside of a *camper* with the night sky!
I go camping to SEE the night sky. :)
Keep it up!

kellechu (author)  JanM11 year ago

I'm so happy that you are going to do it--it is a very easy painting effect. The outside of my car has a pretty bad paint job, my husband was joking that I should sponge paint the night-sky onto it as well. I think I'd have to research automotive paint first! Post a picture of your camper when you do it! I would love to see how it comes out.

well done!
kellechu (author)  motorbikematt1 year ago

Thanks! I hope the newly posted video will show people how easy it really is.

jwilson321 year ago

wow, that is an amazing project. Kutos to you!

kellechu (author)  jwilson321 year ago

Thank you!

patsheldon1 year ago

omg wow, SOoo much better than generic nursery themed rooms. Very refreshing. I absolutely love it!! I will be making it!

kellechu (author)  patsheldon1 year ago

Yay! Excited for the company of another nursery room decorated in a starry-night theme (without having to pay for a muralist). We are going to raise a generation of kids who love outer space and sci-fi. My plot to take over the world one nursery room at a time is working!

sweet paint job!

JanM11 year ago

Wow i want to use your great idea for the inside of my camper van It is so awesome!! Thank you!!!!!

tvega1 year ago
kellechu (author)  tvega1 year ago

I'm glad you like it!

jmyers11 year ago
This is so cool!
kellechu (author)  jmyers11 year ago

Thank you!

At Liberty1 year ago

This is *glorious*!

kellechu (author)  At Liberty1 year ago


spylock1 year ago

Very good stuff.

kellechu (author)  spylock1 year ago

Thank you!

You have very fortunate children. You did a remarkable job and I love that you made the night sky accurately; what a great idea to splatter paint for the Milky Way! Your directions are great (especially if you have ever painted using any of the glazing techniques); I agree with gravityisweak that a demo video would only make it better. Any suggestions on how to convince my wife that I should do this with my home office?

kellechu (author)  tpeterson19591 year ago

Video posting shortly! I was going to use this guest room as my craft room before I found out I was preggo and turned it into the baby's nursery. Soooo, she should totally let you paint your home office like this! The kids shouldn't get all the fun, you know?

bagnitsch1 year ago
you went above and beyond on this project. so awesome.
kellechu (author)  bagnitsch1 year ago

Thank you. In all honesty, it was my guest room that was going to be my craft room, so I was going above and beyond for me! The kids always get the spoils of my craftiness (and my would-be craft room).

I think I'll also paint their door as the Tardis! WOO HOO

kellechu (author)  thebeatonpath1 year ago

Ha--I love it! That is so creative!

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