Starry Night STEAM Art Project for Kids

|

A gorgeous science project meets art project for kids to learn about Vincent van Gogh, this Starry Night Craft for Kids incorporates homemade borax crystal stars into a mixed media art project.

A gorgeous mixed media art project to teach kids about van Gogh, this Starry Night craft for kids incorporates an easy grow-your-own-crystal science experiment that double as gorgeous, sparkly stars in the final art project

Starry Night Craft for Kids

Vincent van Gogh once said, “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”

About the inspiration for his famous “The Starry Night” oil pastel painting, Vincent wrote to his brother, “this morning I saw the countryside from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big.” (The morning star being the planet Venus.)

This Starry Night craft is a great way to introduce children to the gorgeous artwork of van Gogh, learn about the solar system, engage in a fun science project and make a beautiful piece of art!

  1. Learning About van Gogh and his Artwork

While there are many great resources for kids to learn about van Gogh and his work, I highly recommend this free resource from Tate Kids (hosted by the Tate Modern Museum of Art).

If you wanted to add a musical element to this art project, you could listen to Don Mclean’s Vincent (I like the Lianne La Havas cover version), but it does speak about van Gogh’s struggles so another star-inspired song may be a better choice for your children.

We actually gave this to my mom as a Christmas gift and Ella called it “Oh Holy Night.” I think it goes perfectly with the first lyric in the song, “Oh holy night the stars are brightly shining,” and it also gives a great opportunity to talk about the Christmas Story.

You can also read one of these books about Vincent van Gogh:

2. Learn About the Solar System

You can go as deep as you want about this, or just stick to learning about the aspects of the solar system that are shown in the painting.

I think it would be really fun for kids to go out and look at the night sky or visit a planetarium before making their art.

3. Star Borax Science Project

I love the mixed media and 3D effect that our borax stars add to our Starry Night painting, but the best part about them is that they are a science project all on their own!

Growing your own Crystal Stars is an easy chemistry experiment that also allows kids to learn about crystal formation. Basically, you make a very saturated water-and-borax solution that (as it cools) starts to form crystal particles on whatever is added to the water. We’ve done this experiment with egg shells and pipe cleaners, and I really enjoy that we can make the pipe cleaners into a variety of shapes to grow crystals on.

You can delve deeper into the concepts of solubility, states of matter (liquid vs solid), recrystallization, and suspension. You can read more about borax crystal experiments on Steve Spangler Science.

4. Make your art!

I describe below all of the steps for making the crystal stars and painting your canvas.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is to have fun and allow children to make their artwork their own! While they can look at other star paintings or pictures of the solar system for inspiration, just like van Gogh did his own thing and painted the world “as he felt it,” I think it’s important to allow children to experiment and make their painting unique and special to them.

We experimented with color mixing, using different sizes of brushes, different brush stroke techniques, layering paint, etc.

Check out these other gorgeous Starry Night Crafts for kids:

Materials Needed for our Starry Night Craft with Borax Stars

  • Pipe cleaners (silver, yellow, white or gold)
  • 3 Tablespoons Borax powder <– you can also use this to make slime or homemade laundry detergent
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Mason jars
  • Chopsticks or skewer sticks
  • Dental floss or string
  • Large canvas
  • Blue paints (variety)
  • Yellow paints
  • White paint
  • Metallic paint, optional
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint tray
  • Rag
  • Container of clean water for washing brushes
  • Hot Glue <– if making with kids, a Cool Temp Hot Glue Gun can make the process less daunting

Tip: you can make as much of the borax solution as you need, keeping the 3Tbsp borax powder to 1 cup of boiling water ratio.

We usually use these sturdy plastic lunch trays for almost all of our craft or kitchen activities, as well as in our Montessori practical life activities. Ours have lasted for over 6 years and are still going strong, plus they are so great for containing messes and allowing the kids to set a project to the side while it dries (or if you have to clear off the table for supper). For this craft, the canvas was too big for our trays, so we had to use newspaper to protect our surface.

How to Make Crystal Stars with Borax and Pipe Cleaners

Shape your pipe cleaners into star shapes.

Use a piece of dental floss or string to tie the pipe cleaner star to a chopstick or wooden skewer stick. (You will want about 4″ of string between the two.) Set aside.

Boil your water and pour into a heat-safe mason jar.

Stir 3 Tablespoons of borax powder into the water and stir well. Keep adding borax powder into the solution until no more borax powder will dissolve (you may have some settled at the bottom of your jar and that’s okay.)

Slowly lower the pipe cleaner stars into the solution and set in a safe place overnight or for up to three days.

Try to ensure that none of the pipe cleaners are touching, or you will have to break some of the crystals off when separating them later. (Using multiple jars can help with this.)

Remove the crystals carefully and dispose of the borax water. (It can be great if you have an ant problem outside, or add to laundry for a freshness boost.)

Let the crystals dry on a clean surface until ready to attach to your painting.

How to Make a Starry Night Painting

Place the canvas on a clean, protected surface (we covered our living room floor with newspaper).

Set out the paints, a variety of paintbrushes, a container with clean water and a rag.

Let your child fill their canvas with their starry night painting. If you are using a large canvas, this may take a couple of sessions.

We just used acrylic paints, but you can experiment with oil paints or oil pastels, if desired.

Let the painting dry completely overnight before attaching the crystal stars with white glue or hot glue.

 

Pin this Easy Starry Night Painting for Kids:

How to make a Starry Night craft with kids to teach them about van Gogh, plus how to grow crystal stars to add to your Starry Night painting for some added magic

Grab your free printable instructions for our Easy Starry Night Craft with Crystal Stars:

Yield: 1 painting

Starry Night Craft Project for Kids with Borax Crystal Stars

Starry Night Craft Project for Kids with Borax Crystal Stars

A simple art project for kids to learn about van Gogh's starry night which also includes a science experiment of making crystal stars.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Difficulty Medium
Estimated Cost $5

Materials

  • Pipe cleaners (silver, yellow, white or gold)
  • 3 Tablespoons Borax powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Large canvas
  • Blue paints (variety)
  • Yellow paints
  • White paint
  • Metallic paint, optional

Tools

  • Mason jars
  • Chopsticks or skewer sticks
  • Dental floss or string
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint tray
  • Rag
  • Container of clean water for washing brushes

Instructions

How to Make Borax Crystal Stars

  1. Shape your pipe cleaners into star shapes.
  2. Use a piece of dental floss or string to tie the pipe cleaner star to a chopstick or wooden skewer stick. (You will want about 4" of string between the two.) Set aside.
  3. Boil your water and pour into a heat-safe mason jar.
  4. Stir 3 Tablespoons of borax powder into the water and stir well. Keep adding borax powder into the solution until no more borax powder will dissolve (you may have some settled at the bottom of your jar and that's okay.)
  5. Slowly lower the pipe cleaner stars into the solution and set in a safe place overnight or for up to three days.
  6. Try to ensure that none of the pipe cleaners are touching, or you will have to break some of the crystals off when separating them later. (Using multiple jars can help with this.)
  7. Remove the crystals carefully and dispose of the borax water. (It can be great if you have an ant problem outside, or add to laundry for a freshness boost.)
  8. Let the crystals dry on a clean surface until ready to attach to your painting.

How to Make a Starry Night Painting

  1. Place the canvas on a clean, protected surface (we covered our living room floor with newspaper).
  2. Set out the paints, a variety of paintbrushes, a container with clean water and a rag.
  3. Let your child fill their canvas with their starry night painting. If you are using a large canvas, this may take a couple of sessions.
  4. We just used acrylic paints, but you can experiment with oil paints or oil pastels, if desired.
  5. Let the painting dry completely overnight before attaching the crystal stars with white glue or hot glue.

Pin this Project for Later

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

I hope your kids love making their own Starry Night painting as much as Ella did! I think it turned out beautifully and we had a lot of fun making it and learning along the way.

For more mixed media art projects for kids, check out our Starfish Art Project or our Crayon Drip Rain Cloud craft.

How to make a Starry Night craft with kids to teach them about van Gogh, plus how to grow crystal stars to add to your Starry Night painting for some added magic   A gorgeous mixed media art project to teach kids about van Gogh, this Starry Night craft for kids incorporates an easy grow-your-own-crystal science experiment that double as gorgeous, sparkly stars in the final art project  This Christmas art project incorporates art history, a simple grow your own crystal science project and a mixed media art project - and can incorporate learning about the Christmas Story and meaning behind Oh Holy Night  This Christmas art project incorporates art history, a simple grow your own crystal science project and a mixed media art project - and can incorporate learning about the Christmas Story and meaning behind Oh Holy Night

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.