Glaze adds a translucent quality to gaseous objects in a space mural.

How to Paint a Space Scene Wall Mural

by Kathy Adams

A space-themed wall mural provides a focal point for a family room or your child's bedroom, setting the vibe for the entire area. Rather than paying an artist to paint the scene for you, create the art yourself using techniques the pros use, such as copying existing artwork with an overhead projector. Glow-in-the-dark or luminescent paints give your art an out-of-this world appearance that's sure to delight the astro enthusiast of any age. Some glow paints are barely visible during daylight; this paint provides a "surprise" addition of stars that appear to show up at night, much like an actual night sky.

1. Space Background

The largest portion of paint used for a space scene, or almost any mural for that matter, is the background color. An all-in-one primer/paint tinted in your favorite outer space shade, such as indigo, serves as the base coat for the entire project. If you'd like to create a bit of a sunrise or sunset effect, as if viewing space from the surface of a mysterious planet, mix consecutively more white or light-colored paint in with your base color as you work your way down the wall; the bottom area near your planetary surface will have that otherworldly glow. Using yellow instead of white creates a greenish tint when mixed with dark blue or indigo paint; experiment with colors for the perfect spacey atmosphere.

2. Projection Method

If you'd like to recreate a particular space scene on the wall, or if you've perfected a sketch that's worthy of being blown up mural size, set the art on an overhead projector, shining it on the wall until it's the desired size. Projection, which ensures the proportions on the wall will be true to the original image, is ideal for complex objects such as asteroids, satellites or spaceships. Chalk provides an erasable medium for tracing the elements in the image, such as a spaceship, satellite, planets or asteroids. Turning that chalk drawing into a mural is simply a matter of tracing, then filling in the chalk lines with assorted appropriate paint colors.

3. Nebula

A nebula or star cloud is a group of gaseous clouds that may be green, yellow, blue, red -- virtually any color or combination of colors the eye can see. Recreate that look by mixing your favorite vivid shades of acrylic paint with acrylic glaze. The glaze creates that transparent look necessary for a nebula. Dipping a brush into one color, making an arc on the wall, then doing the same with a second color just beneath the first, creates the basis for the nebula. Rub the colors together a bit, looking at actual space imagery to recreate the desired affect. Use luminescent paints that light up under a black light for an even more stunning effect.

4. Stars and Galaxies

No space scene is complete without stars, but painting each star dot by dot is a tedious process. A more natural and speedier approach is to flick the paint onto the wall. A toothbrush or any other brush with fairly stiff bristles dipped into your chosen star color, such as luminescent light blue or yellow or a glow-in-the-dark paint, acts as the star creation tool. Flick your finger across the paint-loaded bristles while moving your arm to create clusters and bands of stars. If you've ever seen the night sky on an incredibly clear night, you may have noticed the band of stars in the sky from our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Flick a thick band of stars onto the wall to recreate that look. Don't forget to add some stars to the nebula as well, both by flicking and by intentionally painting on some deliberate dots.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images