Is it possible to pick the stars you wish upon and put them in a jar to keep at your bedside? Not really, but it makes a cool nightlight and how they got there makes a good bedtime story. The instructions on how to make this project are below, but the storytelling on how you bottled starlight will be up to you.
What you need:
– 1 clean, dry, and clear-colored jar (an old pickle jar or a brand new mason jar work equally fine)
– Glow-in-the-dark craft paint
– Small paintbrushes
– Paper plate or palette
– Cup of water to rinse your brushes in between color applications
– Paper towels or rags
– Optional figure to put inside jar
– Glue (to affix optional figure)
Prepare your work area. Cover work surface with newspapers or an old sheet and get the kids into clothes you don’t mind getting paint on. Keep paper towels or rags handy and a cup of water to rinse your brushes in between paint colors.
Load your palette with 1-2 colors of paint. Decide if the kids would like their starlights to be the same size or not and pick your brush sizes accordingly. Ask them if they would like to set the jar upside down on its lid or right side up. This will help you plan whether or not to decorate the lid.
With your first color, dot paint on the inside of the jar starting from the bottom and working your way up the sides. If you are using more than one color, make sure you leave room for the rest when applying each one. Try and take the time to let the paint dry between color applications otherwise, take extra care not to smear what has already been applied. Set aside and get working on the lid then let it dry at least an hour. Resist the temptation to test it with your fingers. Once dry, leave in a brightly lit area as the more light it absorbs throughout the day, the brighter its glow will be.
Let the kids draw or dot an oval or rectangle with their brush or with the paint tube tip on the outside of the jar. This will serve as a window of sorts. Proceed with the how-to steps above, but making sure to avoid the “window” and leaving it blank.
Once all the paint is dry, affix a figure of their favorite character on the lid of the jar so it shows through the window. Make sure the figure is centered in the window. If they like, they can paint the figure as well. Apply 2 – 3 thin coats of paint letting it dry between coats or you’ll end up with a sticky mess.
This project is a sure hit, the kids will not be able to wait for it to get dark (having had to wait long enough for the paint to dry) and will most likely bring the jar into the closet to see it glow. Wait for the oohs and aahs.
Ready to move beyond mason jars and puff paint? Check out Jerry’s Artarama — supplies, classes, meetups, and competitions around the community. It’s your go-to source for everything art. Pop in at 6010 N IH 35, Austin, TX 78752 (2222 and I35). You can’t miss the very large effigy of a beret-topped Jerry. Browse online at austin-jerrys.com or if you have a pressing question call (512) 420-9359. Existential questions may or may not be answered, but the friendly folks there will be sure to answer anything art-related.