Introduction: Spray-Paint Sunset

Hello! My name is Jake Kortan and I’ve been doing street art for nearly 10 years from Omaha to the Ozarks and today I’m going to show you how to make your own simple sun-set with nothing but spray-paint, a pot lid, and a couple of poster-boards. This can be a handy way to earn some extra money on the road or just a fun afternoon activity for the whole family.

Step 1: Materials

Poster Board x2, Spray Paints (R,O,Y,G,B,I,V,Black,[white optional]), Medium Sized Pot Lid

Step 2: Shake the Cans!

The first step is a simple one, but it’s easy to forget. Shake the paint cans for about 30 seconds each to make sure that the paint is ready to use when needed.

Step 3: Here Comes the Sun

Next, it’s time to get our “canvas” in order. Position the first poster board vertically and make a yellow circle, centered, about 2/3 up the paper, and about 2 inches larger than the medium pot lid. Let the paint dry before moving forward.

Step 4: SPF Pot-lid

Place second poster board horizontally on top of the first and about 1/3 the way up the yellow circle. Roughly 2/3 of our canvas should now be covered. Place the pot lid on top of the second poster board so that the poster board is 1/3 the way up the pot lid, as well.

Step 5: Paint the Sky

Now, with the bottom half of the painting and the yellow circle covered, it’s time to make the sky. For this, any colors will do. I suggest using lighter colors on the horizon and darker colors toward the top. Fill in all of the exposed white remaining on the poster board all the way up to the edge of the paper and pot lid. This will make for nice and clean lines.

Step 6: Stars

Optionally, a few stars can be added to the sky by spraying a little white paint onto a fingertip and flicking it at the top of the painting. Let it COMPLETELY DRY before moving on.

Step 7: Cover the Sky

Once it has dried completely, take the second poster board and move it up so that the painted portion is now covered and the bottom blank area is exposed. Remove the pot lid.

Step 8: Make Some Waves

It’s now time to make the water. This will take a little planning because in the next two steps the paint needs to be wet so move quickly. Using the same colors, make a mirror image of the colors used on the top. So if the top portion, from bottom to top, were orange red green, then the bottom portion, from top to bottom, would be orange, red, green.

Quickly spray a layer of blue on top of your mirror image. Then, using a finger, make broad horizontal strokes across the paper, from edge to edge, down the length of the poster board, starting from the top of your mirror image. This will make an effect like ocean waves.

It is now safe to remove the second poster board and let the painting dry.

Step 9: Make the Cliffs

After drying, take the second poster board and lay it vertically. Tear out a rectangle, from both the left and right sides, starting about 2/3 the way up the poster board. The tears should be about ¼ the way in and should slightly taper back out to the edges as it tears down through the bottom of the poster board. If done correctly, when lain on top of the painting, the second poster board should now reveal a portion of water, sun, and sky.

Step 10: Paint the Cliffs

Now, with the second poster board still on top, use the black paint to fill in these exposed bits. These will be the cliff-side silhouettes in the foreground.

Step 11: Fashion the "Pen"

It’s now time to finish with some detail work. Remove the second Poster board and tear out another rectangle, about the size of a note card. This is going to be the “fountain pen”

Fold the rectangle in half length-wise (hotdog). This will be the paint reservoir for the “pen”.

Step 12: Draw the Trees

Spray a small amount of black paint into the reservoir and allow it to flow slowly out of the pointed tip of the fold, like a fountain pen (kinda). Now use a slow steady motion to make tree branches extruding from the cliff sides towards the sun. Be sure to start from the base of the trees and work up and out so as not to backtrack over the lines.

Step 13: Time to Leaf

Lastly, fill out the trees so they don’t look so barren. To add leaves, just take some of the leftover poster board and wad it into a tight ball about the size of a silver dollar. Take the wad and dip it in some more black paint. Then, blot it around the ends of the tree branches to give the effect of rustling leaves. Add another layer of dark color to the leaves, such as dark greens or purples, along with a light top layer of white, to give them extra depth.

Step 14: Done!

Rejoice! You’ve done it! Let your painting dry and figure out where you’re going to display your masterpiece.