Your Starry Night

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your starry night

Part of our series of DIY art activities for kids.


VincentCantSleep book

vincent can't sleep

By barb rosenstock
Vincent can’t sleep . . . out, out, out he runs! flying through the garden—marigold, geranium, blackberry, raspberry— past the church with its tall steeple, down rolling hills and sandy paths meant for sheep, He dives at last into the velvety, violet heath, snuggles under a blanket of sapphire sky, and looks up, up, up . . . to visit with the stars.

Vincent van Gogh often found himself unable to sleep and wandered under starlit skies. Those nighttime experiences provided the inspiration for many of his paintings, including his most famous, The Starry Night. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime—but he continued to pursue his unique vision, and ultimately became one of the most beloved artists of all time.




  • One sheet of watercolour paper (8.5x11” or larger is recommended)
  • One sheet of black construction paper (recommended that it is the same size as the watercolour paper)
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Water soluble paints
  • Crayons or oil pastels
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • White pencil crayon
  • Optional: Cutting mat, ruler and xacto or craft knife

WHAT to do

1. Our inspiration for this project is Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Think about Van Gogh’s technique and use of colours. Notice the swirls and small brush strokes that create a sense of movement.

2. Take your pencil and sheet of watercolour paper. Begin to lightly draw your own outline of the sky’s swirls, stars and moon.


3. Grab your crayons or pastels and draw small strokes outlining and filling in the swirls, stars and moon. You can also colour in bits of the landscape in the foreground.


4. With your selected paints, begin to paint your sky directly on top of your drawing. MAGIC! The paint does not cover your crayon/oil pastel drawing because the paint is wax resistant!


5. Have fun painting the entire piece of paper! Try and use different shades of blues, purple and yellow as well.

You can also create a gradient effect from top to bottom – a gradient is a slow transmission from light to dark or vice versa.


Set aside to dry.

6. While your painting is drying, begin to think of what cityscape or buildings you would like to be included in your Starry Night. Remember, this is your recreation of the Starry Night – make it personal to you!

Possible ideas:
  • Your favourite city
  • The city you live in
  • Your house and the neighbouring homes and trees surrounding it

7. Grab a piece of black of paper and stencil or draw your cityscape. It is recommended to use a white coloured pencil to see your image clearly. However, a pencil will work okay too.


8. This step requires adult supervision: With scissors or an exactor knife, cut out your drawing.


9. Take your cut-out drawing and line it up with your painting, placing it where you would like it.

10. Carefully flip over your painting and cut-out and draw a line on the back of your black cut-out if there is any excess paper that needs to be cut away.


11. Flip your painting back to face you.

12. Grab your gluestick and apply a nice layer of glue onto the back of your cut-out. Glue it down onto the bottom front of your dry painting.


13. Feel free to go back with an assortment of your colour crayons/oil pastels and create more lines and texture over the dried painting.


14. Voila! You have made your own Starry Night!



1. Mount your work on black foamboard or create a frame and decorate the frame with more stars.

2. Write a story about your neighborhood.

3. Put a special star where your neighborhood can be found on your city scape outline.


1. Write a song about your neighborhood or about Toronto and then record it.

2. Write a poem about The Starry Night, and recite it to your family.

3. Write a scene or skit about two people who live in your neighborhood who help others.

4. Write a list about different characters who work at night.

For example, doctors, nurses, delivery people, security guards, truck drivers.

Write a short story about how one of these people are helping the city of Toronto.


We'd love to see your Starry Night paintings! Leave us a comment below or share them with us on social media.