Thursday, January 17, 2013

Outer space nebula/galaxy paintings - grade 6 (science link)

I have been teaching my grade sixes about outer space, and I wanted to do an art project that tied in with it. Today, my best friend Liz came to volunteer in my classroom, and brought with her her expertise in painting space portraits (this girl's amazing - she needs to put together an Etsy account asap!)

Before coming, Liz asked me to buy black fabric, acrylic paint, and sponges, and said that she could show the class how to make a foolproof picture of a nebula. By delicately tapping layers of paint onto the fabric using a sponge, Liz showed my students how to create a milky, cloudy effect that emulated nebulae. The effect works best the less paint you use, and the more you tap. Some kids got into the habit of brushing their fabric using the sponge, but the fabric just soaked up the paint and left it looking streaky. Luckily, this is the kind of project that is pretty hard to mess up - even if you make a mistake, you can just dab some more paint overtop and you'll be fine. Students worked in layers, building one entire layer of color over another, until they got the right look. To finish, students used white paint to splatter on the stars.

Aren't these just incredible? I couldn't be more proud. I wish I could think of something they could make now with their fabric! For now, they're hanging on the classroom wall.


  1. Wow! What a great idea! The effect is so realistic! thanks for sharing!!

  2. Our school science teacher will love these!

  3. Our school science teacher will love these!

  4. Amazing!!!! I'm a grade 6 science and math teacher and I'm totally going to use this as an anticipatory set for the space unit!! Thank you for sharing:)

  5. Great idea! What kind of black fabric did you use?


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