Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Stars at Night

Exploring the night sky with a Star Nightlight

When my girls were young and we were living in Brooklyn I started a group called Little Hands Art, the group would meet each week with our children who ranged in age from baby to about 3 years old read a story/learn a song and make a related craft. It was great, I made some of my best Mommy friends here, the kids socialized, we talked and the kids got creative. So as I started blogging again this year I thought it would be fun to encompass this idea once a week into one of the posts I write. The idea being to highlight a book or two, talk a little about the book and then share a craft inspired from what we've read. 

So for this first week I decided to choose two of D's and my favorite books. 

We chose 'Stars' by Mary Ray & Marla Frazee and 'How to Catch a Star' by Oliver Jeffers both available on Amazon (Not affiliated).

If you haven't come across these before I highly recommend them both, they are beautifully illustrated books (in fact I think Oliver Jeffers is one of my favorite children's writers) and both stories follow children who LOVE stars very much and would like nothing more than to capture a star of their own. 

D likes them because the kid loves space. Stars, planets, the moon, aliens, spaceships and robots you get the picture and this is why these are some of his favorite stories.

In the book 'Stars' the reader is invited to 'make a special star to keep in your pocket' and while the story takes you on a journey showing you all the different places you may find a star in the world around you it reminds the reader to never give away the special star you keep in your pocket. The story ends with a night sky lit with fireworks and reminds the reader that even when you can't see the stars anymore they are still there.

In the book 'How to Catch a Star' the little boy after failing to reach the star himself comes up with a plan to capture one. The story flows very sweetly through the thoughts of a child and ends when the little boy finds a star all of his own on the beach.

After reading these books with D I asked him to look at them again because we were going to recreate the night sky.


You will need:

Water colors
Paint brush
Water color paper
Pin / Needle
LED light / flashlight

Step 1

We began by brushing the entire piece of paper with water. Not soaking it but it should all be wet.

Then I asked D what color the night sky was, he looked again at the books and then began using the dark blue, purple and black paint.

You want to have them completely cover the paper without creating any pools of water.

Step 2

Once the painting was complete I had D sprinkle salt over the wet paint. When using water colors sprinkling salt creates a great texture effect as it dries which is perfect for the night sky. It is best to use this effect on darker colors as the salt absorbs the color where it lands and creates a lighter spot on the paper.

I had D sprinkle the salt all over his picture, he loved this part but tried to limit it somewhat as this is one of those times where less is more and I didn't want him to over do it.

We then left the picture to dry.

Step 3

Once the paint was all dry I helped D brush the salt from the picture. As you see below with the before and after picture, it leaves the perfect effect for the night sky.

Before brushing off the salt

 After we had brushed off the salt

We could have worked on it like this but I had already decided I wanted it to 'shine' for him.

Step 4

The next step was to make lots of tiny white holes in the paper so the light could shine through the paper. To do this I had D poke a pin into the paper, he got done with this step pretty quick so I helped him out.

Step 5

After we had enough holes poked into the paper I rolled it into a cylinder shape with the painting facing out and secured it with a stapler.

Step 6

Heres when the magic happens, his little face was enthralled. We placed an LED light inside the tube (I had a bright flameless candle left from the holidays, a small flashlight would also work). 

D loved how the light shone through just like a starry sky at night.

We took it into the dark, even better. 

I love how the different paint colors, salt marks and holes all give extra depth making it far more like a galaxy full of stars.

How pretty is that? D was super excited with his new night light tonight

No wonder so many artists and scientists were guided by the stars they are so beautiful.

"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, 
but the sight of the stars makes me dream."

Van Gogh

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