Introduction: Easy Planet Spray Paint Art

I recently made a shelf to clear some space in my workroom, but I thought it could use some color to lighten things up. I've always had an appreciation for spray paint art, especially on the street, and after this painting project, I think that anyone with a bit of spray paint and a vision could make a vibrant piece of art without needing a fancy stencil or a set of paintbrushes.

While I chose to paint on cardboard, you can paint on anything that you want. However, if you end up painting something that isn't paper based, I would recommend using a coat of spray paint primer to make the canvas more accepting of paint before doing this art.

Otherwise, this instructable is just to have fun with spray paint and make some cool, interstellar art.


  1. Spray Paint (multiple colors)
  2. Latex Gloves
  3. Anything circular (plates, cups, buckets, etc...)
  4. Paper (preferably thick like card-stock)
  5. Magazine
  6. weights(used to hold down circle if it's not naturally heavy.
  7. Lacquer / clear coat of spray paint

Step 1: Pick a Canvas

When working with spray paint, any kind of surface works. The world is your canvas, but don't go out painting on just any walls! I would recommend starting with a flat surface if its your first time. I've found that cardboard or card stock work really well for getting a feel for spray paint art because they don't need a base coat, and absorb some of the paint initially for more vibrant, separated colors at the end of the process. However, this should work with any kind of surface, so long as it has a primer coat for your paint to stick to.

When painting, I wouldn't recommend starting with an uneven surface because a big part of the painting process is having a good seal on your planets, but if you want to go bigger and better, it's up to you.

For this project, I chose a side of a cardboard shelf I made, I then removed any big holes with strips of cardboard and, because it's paper based, I didn't need to prime it.

Step 2: Choose Your Colors

The colors are probably the most fun part of this project because no two paintings will be the same. I chose to go with a combination of purple, blue, and yellow for one planet, and red and blue for another.

I like to aim for a scheme of colors, around 2-3 different colors per planet so that the painting has a focus and the colors don't get too muddy, but you can make it however you want. Different shades of the same color work well together, like a dark green, green, and lime.

Out of all the different spray paint brands out there, I've found that rustoleum is a pretty good candidate for casual painting because it's cheap, its everywhere, and most of the cans are primers so they bond really well.

Step 3: Measure Twice, Paint Once

While a lot of artists that you may see online or on the street look like their paintings come out of thin air, they usually have a design in mind beforehand, and you should too.

Taking a few minutes at the start of the painting to plot out where you want you planets and other accessories to go helps out in the long run with "space"ing, so that things don't get too cluttered.

If you think that the lines you draw are going to show up later in the painting, you can use a light pencil or pen to plot out your target areas, but usually, if your paints are dark enough, they'll hide any trace lines.

It also helps to think of where you have a light source in your painting so that your planets can all face the same way.

Step 4: Coating Your First Planet

When doing the painting process, more is always better.

When you've decided where your planets are going to face, start with your darkest color and paint a generous coat in a c shape along the backside of the planet. You should aim to color about one third to one fourth of the circle with this color. Then, take your next color, the middle tone, and spray it over a majority of the circle. You'll want to make sure that the middle tone covers part of the dark tone, but we'll get to why in the next step.

Then, take your light coat and cover the remaining circle, along with a big portion of the middle.

Now, your circle should look like a spray paint sandwich.

For extra detail, I recommend taking a can of white spray paint and putting a few dabs of it on the side of the circle closest to your light source.

Now, you should have a total of 3-4 colors on your planet, and we can go on to getting the fine details.

Also, as a side note, make sure when spraying to go outside of the circle that you marked so that when you do the finer details, you can select from multiple areas to decide what works best for your planet style.

Step 5: How to Get a Marbled Effect

Now this is the stage where the magazine comes in.

You'll want to rip one of the pages of your magazine, it shouldn't be just paper, but have that laminated sheen that makes it shine when light hits it. The goal is that a lot of the excess wet paint that's layered, will adhere to the magazine when you put it on the paint, and, when you pull it up, you'll get cool splotches and areas of mixed paint that give the planet a more natural look.

Depending on the kind of pattern you'll want on your planet, you can fold or crumple the magazine in different ways to get different effects.

Folding if longways a couple of times can get rows of color.

Making folds while rotating the page can give you a starburst effect.

Or just laying it down flat or crumpling it can give a random, cool effect.

After placing the magazine paper down on your paint, you'll want to smooth it down so that it absorbs enough paint, then pull it up and you should have your desired effect.

If the effect isn't to your liking, you can do a few more peels, or you can wait a few minutes and recoat the planet for another attempt.

when your planet dries, use your circle template and cover the planet back up so it doesn't get ruined by overspray

Step 6: Making Your Second Planet (and Any More)

The second planet is about the same process as the first

repeat stages 4 and 5

  • Pick your colors (2-3)
  • Put down the layers of paint
  • Put a bit of white at the sunny side of the planet
  • Fold magazine paper
  • Smooth down magazine paper and pull up.

Then, after it dries a little, cover the planet back up with your circular shape and use weights to keep the edges down.

Step 7: Background

Now that your paints have dried up and you've DEFINITELY covered your planets, grab a can of black spray paint and put a generous coat across the rest of the canvas.

If you want to have a brighter portion or a nebula, you can take something like a blue or an orange and substitute it for the black in that area.

If you won't want any fancy details besides stars, you can just paint the entire background black

When the black has dried, then it's star time.

Put on one of the latex gloves that you've gathered for the project and get a can of white spray paint.

Spray a bit of paint on the tips of your index finer and your middle finger so that its a little liquidy.

Then, aim your fingers at the painting, about a foot away from the canvas and flick, HARD, the paint should splatter across the painting to look like little stars.

If you start too close or end up flicking too lightly, the paint will form larger clumps

Keep spraying and flicking across the canvas until you think that you have enough stars. Then it's time for the fins details.

Step 8: (Optional) How to Make Some Mist

Take your sheet of paper (cardstock preferred) and tear a line up around 1/3 of the way up the page longways.

You should aim to make curves and irregular shapes so it looks more natural.

Then, holding your paper so the torn edge touches the painting, take some white spray paint, and lightly spray on the edge of the town paper, it should accentuate the line while adding a light white below it.

For layers of clouds, start at the top where you want the clouds, and work your way down, this way, the tops of layers go on top of the pervious layers for a better effect.

Step 9: (Optional) Adding a Galaxy / Star Trail

If you added an area of color when putting down the black layer, good job, if not, then you can just repaint over the stars in black and add your areas of color.

Take your color for a trail and make a deep layer of color across the covered canvas.

then, take your black paint and dust it across the line so that it covers parts of it for a more star-like effect.

For a nebula or other effect, just add some stars on top of the black dusting.

Step 10: (Optional) Adding a Star

Use your white spray paint and spray a single dot where you want the center of your shining star to go.

From there, take a flat piece of paper and hold it in the middle of the white dot. Spray white on the middle of the paper so that a little overspray makes a sharp line.

From there, just rotate the paper and repeat the process until you have enough glimmer.

Step 11: Finishing Touches

Now you're done.

If you want to make the painting last any longer you can use some clear lacquer paint after EVERYTHING has dried.

Otherwise, your masterpiece is complete.

Thanks for checking out my instructable, I hope you had some fun with the process.

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