How to Paint a Constellation on Furniture

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Bring the inspiration of the summer night sky into your home by painting a constellation directly onto a piece of furniture. With the use of a printer, projector and paint, you can enjoy looking at your favorite star groupings year-round on a dresser, tabletop or other furnishing.

Constellation dresser
Constellation dresser (Image: Primitive & Proper)

Things You'll Need

  • Paper copy of your constellation
  • Transparency sheet
  • Transparency marker
  • Overhead projector
  • Chalk (optional)
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Plastic cup, foam or plastic plate, or paint palette
  • Artist fine-tip paintbrush

Tip

  • Overhead projectors can be rented at most public libraries or schools.

Step 1: Plan Your Design

The first thing that you need to do is select a piece of furniture for your constellation.

Tip

  • A dresser with a nice flat facade makes a perfect candidate.

Constellation dresser before
Constellation dresser before (Image: Primitive & Proper)

You also need to choose the constellation you wish to replicate on your piece. Images can be found in books, online or in magazines.

Tip

  • The size of the original picture of the constellation does not matter as you will size it to fit your furniture with your projector later.

Image and transparency sheet
Image and transparency sheet (Image: Primitive & Proper)

Finally in planning your design you will need to decide if you wish to paint your piece with a prior to adding your design. If you wish to do that, allow it to dry fully before you proceed to the next step. The dresser used here was painted black for a solid background.

Step 2: Trace

Place a transparency over your image. Using a transparency marker, begin marking all of the stars of your constellation with dots.

Marked dots on constellation
Marked dots on constellation (Image: Primitive & Proper)

Trace the outline of your constellation.

Traced outline of constellation
Traced outline of constellation (Image: Primitive & Proper)

You do not need to trace the lines to connect the stars of the constellation. You will later use this image as a guide to connect the dots.

Step 3: Set Up the Projector

You will want to work in either a dimly lit or dark space so that you can see your image readily. Set up the projector so that it faces the piece of furniture and use the knobs (according to your projector) to enlarge or shrink the image to size on the piece. Focus it sharply.

Projector set up
Projector set up (Image: Primitive & Proper)

Make any adjustments you need to before painting.

Tip

    • You can be creative here; you do not have to center your image, and you can size it however large you'd like it to appear on your furniture. 
    • If you want to check how it will look before painting, trace the design with chalk, and make any needed adjustments to size, then wipe off the chalk before painting.
Projected image
Projected image (Image: Primitive & Proper)

Step 4: Paint the Constellation

Squirt the craft paint into a plastic cup or onto a palette or paper plate. Using a fine-tipped artist brush, begin painting the stars and the outline of your constellation, following the guide of the projector image.

Painting the projector image
Painting the projector image (Image: Primitive & Proper)

Continue painting until the entire outline of the constellation is formed and the stars are all painted.

To give it more of a night-sky look, you may add tiny dots for stars around your image.

Night sky dots
Night sky dots (Image: Primitive & Proper)

Tip

  • Allow this to dry before connecting the dots so that your hand doesn't smudge wet paint and blur your clean lines.

Finally, use the original paper image as a guide to connect the dots, forming the technical shape of the constellation.

Tip

  • To protect your hard work, use a finishing wax or topcoat to protect your paint.

Complete constellation
Complete constellation (Image: Primitive & Proper)

This one-of-a-kind piece of furniture can be the focal point of your space, giving you a look that is out of this world.

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