Introduction: Backlit Decorative Star

We have had a faded metal decorative star hanging over our garage door from several years now. Exposure to the elements caused the original coloring to fade so I decided to make it all pretty-fide. With some creative re-use of paint, Christmas lights and thin MDF board I already had on hand, I put this little puppy together. It was actually a really quick project and one of the few that actually turned out exactly as!

Step 1: Painting

First I found an old can of paint left over from touching up our house's trim. I used this to paint the basic color of the star so that it matched our house better. You can see the stamped pattern in the metal. This was acrylic paint that stuck to the metal really well, plus the brushes were easy to clean off.

High light the raised pattern with a lighter, more contrasting color using a fine paint brush. In this case I had a color very similar to our external primary color and my son (unknowingly) donated one of his water color brushes - thanks little man!

Take your time, go slow, and just a minimum amount of paint on the tip. Again, this was acrylic.

Step 2: Reflective Backing

Spray the inside of the star with spray adhesive. Here I used Elmer's spray glue.

Press aluminum foil all along the inside. The hang-over foil is easily removed with any sharp knife.

I cut a slightly smaller sized star out of the MDF wood. Not shown here since I didn't think to take pictures during this step, was to test fit the star and make some of attachment between the metal and wood sides. The wood backing should not be visible from the front, and will server several functions:

1 - it will be the mounting place for the lights

2 - it will serve to mount the star to the wall

3 - create additional reflectivity

Because the metal star was ever so slightly warped when I traced the outline, and the need to provide a gap big enough allow the light through, the wood backing shape turned out to be kind of skewed. Just test the fit a few times and make an off-set block that will allow for about a 1/4"~ish gap (heavy on the "ish") all the way around the star edges.

Glue more aluminum foil to the wood backing side that will be facing the INSIDE of the metal star, so that you have two shiny surfaces facing each other.

Mount your Christmas lights! We had blue ones in abundance, and of one string only half worked anyway, so I just cut off and used the working half. Using a staple gun I lined the edges of the star so that the bulbs did not poke out past the edges, then just kind of carefully bunched the remainder so that is was more-or-less evenly dispersed.

Drill two small holes on the metal star where the mounting block will be and use small wood screws to secure the backing to the metal star.

Run the lengths of wire to an outside light - make sure it is turned off first - and wire it into the existing exterior lights, then you are done! Enjoy a unique external decoration to your house at night!