Every year my daughter’s school holds a fundraiser wherein each class is required to create an art project for the live art auction. I find this to be very stressful! You want to find a project that each kid can participate in, but you also want it to look like art that some lucky parent would want to pay a lot of money for. This year I decided to try something completely new for my kindergartner’s class, watercolor constellations lit up with LED lights. Stars have been a hot topic in my house recently, so it seemed like a natural fit for a group of 5 year olds!
I looked online for an existing project that I could use for inspiration, but there really wasn’t anything out there designed to be a class project. I saw several LED constellation projects, but I needed to come up with a way for 23 students to contribute their handiwork. So I combined a variety of art projects into one that could work for a group of kindergarteners.
-Watercolor paper cut into 4″ x 6″ pieces
-Liquid watercolor in blue, black and purple and little salt for sprinkling
-Silver metalic marker
Once you have all of your materials, print out your constellation templates and size them to your watercolor paper. I used 4″ x 6″ pieces of paper but you can make them any size you like.
Then use a screw punch to make holes where each of your stars should go.
Give each child 1 constellation template, a sheet of watercolor paper, the star stickers, liquid watercolor in black, blue and purple and little bit of salt.
The students can use a pencil to mark where the stars should go on their piece of watercolor paper, then place star stickers over each pencil mark. Once the constellations are laid out, they can begin watercoloring the night sky and sprinkle a little bit of salt on at the end to add some additional texture.
It was so much fun to see how each of them turned out, all completely different and absolutely beautiful! I had a really hard time convincing the kids to leave their art behind, they all wanted to take them home that day!
Once the watercolor is completely dry, you can easily peel off the star stickers. Then go ahead and draw in the lines for each constellation using a silver metallic Sharpie pen. Use your screw punch once more to make a hole in each star for where the LED lights will be placed.
Start to design the layout of your final art piece by placing the constellations onto the wood panel. I chose to paint mine a dark navy blue, but feel free to make yours any color you would like.
One thing you need to keep in mind while designing the layout is where the lights will be placed, and what is directly behind your frame. Because there is a 1″ frame down the center and along the edges, be careful not to place any stars there. You also need to leave room behind the frame so that you can hide the battery pack. Once the final placement has been decided, mark the wood showing where to drill holes for each star and begin your drilling.
After the holes have been drilled, sandpaper them on the front and back to create a nice smooth finish.
Now begin poking the LED lights through the back. When you are happy with the final placement, go ahead and glue each one using your glue gun. Once the lights are glued in place, you can glue your watercolor constellations over the lights in front.
Attach the battery pack to the back of your art using velcro stickers. (This makes it easier to change out the batteries whenever necessary.)
The kindergartners were so excited and proud to show off their final artwork all lit up! Not to mention the fact that we also made the school a lot of money at the fundraiser this year. So it was a win win for everyone!
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions about this project!