Hey everyone! I am stoked for today’s tutorial. Or should I say… over the moon.
(Sorry, I don’t usually spout off bad puns but this one was too perfect.)
I have been wanting to do a celestial project for a long time after seeing some pretty amazing stuff on the internet. Then, I saw this picture from a 2012 winter RH Baby & Child catalogue and knew I had to try my hand at a chalkboard moon. I wanted to put something simple on my wall that wouldn’t make it too busy, so this was perfect!
I also made a video version of this tutorial that might be easier to see the techniques I used. I have the instructions written out below, too, if you’re someone who prefers reading them.
This project is much easier than it looks. Chalk is a great medium because you can create layers and erase at your liking. So don’t be intimidated! The instructions are below.
Towels/rags or a piece of craft felt
A reference photo of the moon (here’s the one I used)
A chalkboard surface (view the process of my wall here)
1. First, we have to do a little math to make sure the moon is perfectly centered on your wall (or chalkboard). Decide on the width of your moon. I chose 30 inches. You’re going to figure out how far in from each side of your wall you need to place each side of the circle. Take the width of your wall, then subtract the width of your circle. Take the number you get and divide it by two. That number is the length you will measure in from the sides of the wall. Make two marks where you measure into the center. These are the right and left sides of your circle.
2. Make a little dot between both marks to mark the center of the circle. Holding your measuring tape up, this would be half the diameter. My center mark was at 15″ because my circle was 30″ wide. Then, turn your measuring tape vertically (keeping the center point on the center dot) and mark at the top and the bottom. You should have what you see in the first image above.
(See more of my chalkboard wall: My Room Tour)
3. Now, shorten your measuring tape to the radius of your circle (half the diameter). Put the end on the center dot, and make dashes around the circumference of your circle. Then connect the dashes to create your perfect circle. You should have what you see in the second image above.
4. Making the moon look realistic is ALL about layers. For the first layer, lightly sketch out the most prominent areas of the moon (using the reference photo I mentioned above). Those would be the major dark spots and craters. Then rub the side of the chalk over the entire moon and go over it with a dry rag, felt, or your hand to smooth it out. Then take a wet rag and blot out the dark areas of the moon.
5. For the next layer (image 4), really brighten up the moon and define those dark spots. Draw over all the white areas and outline your dark spots. It’s okay if it looks like scribbles.
6. Now rub it in again. Using your hand works best at preserving the chalk and not creating a huge cloud of dust. I also decided to take the wet rag again and blot out random areas to make it more realistic.
7. For the last layer, just add layer upon layer of little white splotches and spots. Basically, I would draw over an area, then rub it in with my hand. I did this all over in different shapes and sizes to create tons of variety. Go crazy with this! The more variety, the more realistic it will look. I also defined the edges of the dark spots and craters by outlining them and blending the chalk out with my hand. Don’t forget to fill in the edge of the moon, and make the side facing the sun whiter (in my case, the right side). Once you’re all done, go around the whole moon with a wet rag to clean up the edges.
This whole piece took me about two hours to complete. Not bad for something I’ll have up for a looong time!
Have a great day everyone!