Six Simple Steps for Creating a Planet Pour

Generally speaking, I try to find at least a small corner of beauty in all of my pours. That’s sometimes easier said than done! No matter how much I over-tilt, or whether the result is what I envisioned, there’s always at least one itty bitty part I love.

But, how do you only show an itty bitty part of your painting? My answer was to create something out of this world.

Supplies I Used: 

For this project, you’re going to be using materials you already have on hand.

  • A loved or less-than-loved pour that is fully cured, preferably unsealed (but you can still use one that’s sealed).
  • Circular objects you don’t mind getting paint on like old cups, lids, or coins. If you’re planning a piece with more than one planet, try to find objects of differing size. We’ll refer to these as “stencils” from here on out.
  • Black acrylic paint, any brand – just make sure it’s opaque.
  • Paint brush
  • White paint, any brand – you won’t need a lot.
  • Art sponge or regular sponge

Step 1: Visualize and Plan

Think about how planets look; they have swirls, spots, etc. Try to identify parts like this in your painting, then, use your stencils to plan out placement if you’re creating multiple planets.


Step 2: Outline the Planets

Once you’ve planned your piece, it’s time to paint! Place your stencils and gently hold them in place while you paint the edges of your planet. Do this by using your brush to paint right around the edge of the stencil, overlapping the very edge of it slightly to make sure your circle is intact.

Once you’ve painted a ring of black all the way around the stencil, lift the stencil straight off of the painting – do not slide it. If you aren’t confident in your ability to follow the circle outline freehand, without the stencil in place, you can leave the stencils on for the next step.


Step 3: Paint it Black

Once your stencil boundaries are clearly defined, paint the area around your stenciled circles black, taking special care not to paint within the circles or move the stencils while you’re painting. Brush the paint on evenly and carefully to avoid brush lines. To ensure a full and successful cure, only use as much paint as you need to make the background completely opaque. 

Once you’ve painted your outer space, allow the pain to completely dry– I erred on the side of caution and left mine for five days. Make sure you save your stencils for the next step!

Planet Pour2


Step 4: Reach for the Stars

If you’re looking at your painting at this point and thinking that it looks like a bunch of circles on a black background, it’s because you’re missing stars!

Before painting your stars, you’ll want to place the stencils you used back on their corresponding planets. Since you’ll paint your stars with a splatter technique, you’ll want to protect the circles from overspray.

To paint your stars, grab the paintbrush you used to paint your background black– the paintbrush which you of course cleaned and allowed to properly dry! A dry, clean paintbrush is important for this method of star-painting, since clumpy bristles will result in big blobs of stars.

Planet Pour1

Personally, I like to grab a piece of cardboard or any other “not white” surface that I don’t mind spraying paint on, so that I can practice my stars. Once you’ve got a surface to test on, dip your star paintbrush into your white paint, and then hold it as if you were going to paint from side to side. Place your thumb on the brush starting at the edge of the bristles closest to your surface, and then run your thumb along the bristles, causing them to flick. 

When you first do this, you’ll notice that the paint blobs– that’s normal. You’ll notice that by the third or fourth flick (without dipping again), your paint splatter will be much more controlled and star-like. The initial flicks should be done over a scrap surface to avoid this effect on your painting.

With your stencils situated over top of your planets, dip your star paintbrush into your white paint. Move the brush over your test surface and flick the white paint once or twice to clear any blobs. Then, position your brush over your black surface and flick the white paint to create stars. 

There isn’t such a thing as “too few” or “too many.” You decide! If you’re looking for a dense, galaxy effect, you might want more stars in varying shapes. It’s worth testing a few times on your scrap surface to see what you like best. There are plenty of ways to create galaxy scapes, like Deby Coles’ Painting an Outer Space Galaxy or Nebula


Step 5: Create Dimension

Now, it’s time to add some shading to your piece with black paint and a sponge. 

At this stage, your space piece is really taking shape, and if you love the way it looks you don’t have to go any further! But, if you’d like to give the planets a more 3D look, you can lightly dip your sponge into some black acrylic paint, and gently tap it onto the planets to create the illusion of light hitting the planet. 

My advice is to tap your sponge on a scrap surface before using it on your painting to make sure there aren’t any clumps, or that the paint isn’t too thick. You’ll want to vary the pressure of your taps so that the closer to the middle of the planet you tap, the lighter your pressure is, to create the fade effect.


Step 6: Seal and Enjoy

There are a number of ways you can seal your painting; you can use Polycrylic or even resin. 

Since resin gives pieces more depth, you can seal with an initial flood coat of resin, and then once that has cured, use the flick technique to place more stars before sealing with a second coat. This will make your stars look 3D!

No matter how you choose to seal, make sure that your piece is completely cured first – otherwise, you run the risk of smudging the stars. For a more in depth guidelines for sealing, check out How to Seal Your Paintings for a Glass-Smooth Finish.

Planet Pour3

Final Thoughts

I loved creating these pieces. It was something completely out of my comfort zone, but now, I can’t stop creating them! Make sure to share your out of this world creations with us by joining our Facebook Group.


12 thoughts on “Six Simple Steps for Creating a Planet Pour”

  1. Would have liked a video showcasing the step by step ! Instead, we are plagued by tons of distracting and useless ads.
    Poor quality tutorial !

    1. Not a poor quality tutorial. Not all of us have video set ups. This was well explained.

    2. I’m sorry that you feel that way Giuseppe – I disagree that I wrote a poor quality tutorial. I did not make a video because during this pandemic, I’m also homeschooling my children and working from home, which means I don’t have an abundance of time for video editing and squeeze in pours whenever possible.

      I hope you’re able to find a tutorial that resonates more with what you’re looking for.

  2. How did you create the planet colors? I’m not finding instructions other than outlining them, the stars and sealing. Which, btw I can’t wait to try. Thanks

  3. Hi Phyllis, this can be done over any pour, as mentioned in the material list. Just make sure it’s cured first.

  4. Perfect timing! My son has requested I do the planets for him and now I can with these instructions. Thanks for putting out step-by-step instructions.
    Will try next

  5. A Great tutorial! I would like to try this with my grandchildren. I am a novice at paint pouring. My grandchildren ask me if I graduated with Moses and is my high school diploma on a stone tablet? Therefore I have one question. How do you paint the planets? I know you said to paint the color first but how do you line up the stencils with the colors underneath them? In other words will all the planets be the color? Also do the planets have to be a light color so that the black background covers all the area around the planets? I love the creative ideas that you have used for this project. Thank you for sharing your skill and expertise in paint pouring.

    Steve Donnelly

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