Starry Night Paintings & Dioramas

These cool paintings are inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting, The Starry Night.


  • Canvas

  • Black acrylic paint

  • Rubbing alcohol (91% isopropyl)

  • Paint brushes

  • Glow-in-the-Dark duct tape

  • Glow-in-the-Dark paint

  • Paintbrushes

  • Miscellaneous materials

  • Glue

  • Spray bottle

  • Cardboard box


  1. Water down the black paint to a thin consistency.

  2. Cover the canvas with the paint very quickly.

  3. Use the spray bottle to dribble/spray some drops of the rubbing alcohol over the wet black paint. Watch as the paint and alcohol mix

  4. Paint the inside of the box black.

  5. Let the canvas and box dry overnight.

  6. Trim the canvas if necessary and tape or glue to the back of the box to create a background.

  7. Use the glow in the dark paint and duct tape to create a starry scene. With other materials, add other objects to the scene---just remember that they won't glow.

  8. Take the diorama into a dark place to see the scene glow.


  • Test out the project several times to make sure that the alcohol will react correctly. It can be tricky.

  • For another project, create just the canvas as the cover for a book about constellations.

Artist Biography Books

Artist biography books are a fun way to teach kids a little art history. These books contain a short biography of an artist to read aloud, an example of their work, and the bookmaker's interpretation and impressions of the artist.

We make one book about each artist, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. We used photocopies of a book's (see Sources below) biographies and painting examples which were then cut out and glued to the book pages. Tweak this project to your heart's content, though. Two ideas are to make one book including both Picasso and Matisse, or include little biographies about other artists.


  • Several sheets of construction paper (depending on how many pages you want in your book)

  • Paper scraps or drawing materials

  • Stapler w/ staples

  • Glue sticks

  • Print outs of biographical information, Picasso painting example, etc. (See Sources or click image at bottom for PDFs)



  1. Fold a few pieces construction paper in half (short end to short end) to serve as the outer cover and pages of the book. Tuck them inside each other and staple along the inside crease.

  2. Using the example painting as a model, decorate the cover in the style of Picasso. Using the paper scraps makes a more interesting visual than markers, but use anything.

  3. Cut out and paste the biography and painting example inside the book.

  4. On the last page, write your thoughts about Picasso - do you like his art work? How did you use his ideas/style in your own artwork on the cover?


  • Book: " What’s the Big Idea?: Activities and Adventures in Abstract Art” by Joyce Raimondo

  • For more artist biographies, check out these websites: