- Acrylic paint in the following colors: Black, white, pink, blue, yellow
- Paint brushes: Fan brush, large artist brush, small artist brush and a small angle brush
- Canvas (I will be demonstrating on canvas, but the hero will be on paper mache letters)
- Paper-maché letters in the word of your choice - I will be using “LOVE”
- Painter’s tape
- Cheap toothbrush
- Paper plate (to act like the palette)
- Water (to thin paint and wash brushes)
- Paper towel
- Square (or ruler)
First, I’m going to teach you the technique. Once you learn this, you can apply it to any surface. In this case, paper maché letters.
1. I’m using a 36 x 24 inch canvas. I recommend putting a drop cloth on the floor.
2. Put a daub of each color on the paper plate as a palette. (not touching)
3. Use painter’s tape to create a clean line at the bottom. We will be painting horizontal lines only at this point. This area is for your trees, so leave as much room as you would like (to be determined by the size of your canvas).
4. Make a one-inch horizontal white stripe across the bottom.
(thin with water so the paint isn’t too thick.)
5. Moving upward, add a pink or magenta stipe.
6. Add a blue stripe as the next layer.
7. Add a wide black stripe as the next layer (which should take you to the top.)
8. Dip the bristles end of a wet toothbrush in the white paint.
9. Flick the brush to create little white spots (these will be your stars). It doesn’t have to be perfect – some stars are brighter and larger than others,
10. Using a small artist brush, draw a squiggly, vertical line up your sky in the color you want for your northern lights. They are typically a pale yellowish green or blue/red which creates a purple/pink aurora. Draw two or three of these lines. Change the colors so they aren’t all the same.
11. Using your small, angled brush, daub it in the same color as the line and whisk small lines outward from the squiggly base (about an inch). Repeat, the entire length of the line, alternating back and forth from your line to create the illusion of movement
12. Repeat with the other colors on the “light” lines.
13. Using your fan brush, paint dark silhouettes of small pine trees at the bottom of the canvas. Use the fan part to make the branches.
14. Continue until you have many trees. Keep them small since the northern lights should be our main focus and light up the entire night sky!