August 30, 2014

Making A Moon


by Meritt Thomas

Today we’re going to be learning how to make a moon—using spray paint! Creating space scenes with spray paint is a fairly common routine among street performers. This is because spray painting is fast, relatively inexpensive, and can be very impressive. The technique I will be showing you will act as a foundation or starting point for those looking to explore spray painting space scenes. I encourage you to modify and build off of this technique to create your own awesome results. Changing paint colors, placement of stencils, and the orientation of your canvas is a great way to create new and interesting environments.


Required Materials

  • (2+) Acrylic Spray Paints (1 Black / 1 White)
  • Round Stencil (Peanut Butter lid / Solo cup / Plastic Bucket / Etc.)
  • Masking Tape
  • Glossy Paper (Magazine / Newspaper Ads)
  • Paper / Stretched Canvas / Painting Surface


  • Latex/Nitrile gloves (1 pair)
  • Full-Face Respirator Mask
  • Stretched Canvas (12″ x 18″)
  • Putty Knife / Straight Edge
  • Cardboard / Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Clear Spray Paint


Make A Moon (Supplies)

The Stencil

Let’s begin with our planet stencil. I’m going to start by taping off any holes that I might have in my lid. If your stencil has no holes, feel free to skip ahead to making your handle.

Planet Stencil 1Planet Stencil 2

First things first. Let’s cover up any holes in our lid that might allow unwanted paint to pass through.

Planet Stencil 3

Be sure to keep the tape from overlapping the edge of the lid as it will break the seal between the lid and the canvas; allowing paint to spray underneath our stencil.

Planet Stencil 4

Once our lid is sealed, it’s time for a handle. If you are using a cup or a bucket, you won’t need a handle.

Planet Stencil 5

The Handle

Cut a length of masking tape that is roughly the diameter of your lid. Next, cut a second piece of tape roughly half the length of the first piece. These two pieces will come together to form a single handle. Cut enough lengths to make one handle for each lid you plan to use.

Planet Stencil 6

Carefully place the smaller half in the middle of the larger, with the adhesive sides facing one another. This will give us something to pick up and hold onto without it sticking to our hand.

Planet Stencil 8 Planet Stencil 7

Sticky side down, center the strip of tape and secure it to the lid (leaving an arc for the handle).

Planet Stencil 9

Next, cut two lengths of tape the size of the gap under the handle. These will serve as supports to secure our handle to the lid.

Planet Stencil 10Planet Stencil 11

Repeat this step for each lid, and voila! Planet stencil complete.

Planet Stencil 12

Unlike lids—cups, buckets and other tall cylindrical objects do not need handles. Here are examples.

Planet Stencil 13


Be sure to lay out a large piece of paper, cardboard or newspaper under your work area to avoid accidentally painting the surface underneath. If you are painting indoors, make sure that the area is well-ventilated. Opening a window or a garage door can make a huge difference.

Planet Stencil 16

The spray paint I bought was on sale, and the coupon booklet will double as a source of glossy paper.

Planet Stencil 15 Planet Stencil 14

It’s always good to have the primaries, but all I will be using for this tutorial is black and white.

Planet Stencil 17

And while protection is optional, I recommend wearing a full-face respirator or dust mask if you are going to be painting for more than 5 minutes at a time. Also—latex gloves make for an easy clean-up.

Planet Stencil 18


Helpful Hint

Keep your colored caps next to their respective cans while you’re painting. This will help you stay organized, and allow you to work more efficiently with faster-drying paints.

Planet Stencil 19

The end result

Making A Moon

Finally, here are some examples of the variety of scenes that can be created by simply switching up your paint colors and stencil placement.

Making A Moon Variations

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