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DIY Night Light Canvas (a fancy, grown up version of light bright!)

FINALLY. You don’t think I have *just* been caring for a newborn & toddler, do you? Well. Mostly I have, but I have been able to sneak in a few projects here & there. Finding the time to blog them is a whole different story… You’ll be seeing more instagram pictures on here than I’d like. Anything square is IG. :)

This project has been on my to-do list since I first saw it in Blueprint (RIP) in 2007. Yep. That’s my original copy, complete with red ink stain & all! This was going to be on the feature wall in my nursery if caroline was a boy…but…she wasn’t! & I decided to wait to use it should I get the chance to decorate another nursery. & hip, hip hooray. I DID! It’s now all over pinterest & my version was additionally inspired by Kelly’s ombre version. I cannot tell you how much I love it. I spend plenty of time staring at it in the middle of the night. & I could not be happier with how it turned out! Here’s how I did it:


  • canvas (mine is 24×30″)
  • white twinkle lights (found mine at target in the garden section, 100ct)
  • acrylic paint in desired color/s. (You’ll need white & at least one colored shade if you want to do the ombre effect–ombre means “shaded or graduated in tone” just in case you aren’t familiar with the term)
  • paintbrush
  • water in a squirt bottle
  • exacto knife


  • I wasnt sure what I was going to do with the colors, so I grabbed a few from my stash & started to play. I ended up squirting white on one end & orange on the other.
  • I started on the orange side & worked the paint over towards the white, but not all the way. I washed the brush clean, then started on the white side working towards the orange. I did this over & over until I had the colors blend just the way I wanted to. I also squirted the canvas with water a bit to help the paint blend better.
  • once the top was dry, I painted the edges of the canvas celedon green, just to cover up the runny orange.
  • I then took it up to the nursery to decide which color I wanted on top. White it was!
  • I marked the middle of my three “fireworks” and started poking holes with the exacto knife.
  • After the holes were pierced, I punched the twinkle lights through & just kept going until I liked the pattern. I kept a rough count of the lites, knowing that I should split them into thirds for each firework, a little heavier on the top & bottom two.
  • Once it was done, I used an extension cord to reach the lites on the back of the canvas & put them on a remote for an extra easy on/off during those never ending nighttime feedings.

I can’t tell you how much I love it! The best part of the whole thing is how affordable it is–the only new supplies I needed to buy were a canvas & lights. I got the canvas half off at JoAnns Fabrics ($25) and the twinkle lights were $5 at Target. The rest was stuff I had laying around the house.

& now on to decorating the last wall in the nursery! I’ve got three of four done…yea!!

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  • Rebecca - Beautiful!! I love it! What a fun idea- how fun that you held onto it and can finally use it :) I love your blending work and the color scheme is perfect. Hope all is well!ReplyCancel

  • Kat L. - Hi!
    this is my first comment, but I’ve been lurking around for sooo long. You are truly inspiring and I love reading your blog. I’m just showing some love and to say keep doing what you’re doing because we all really appreciates it! thanks again for sharing your amazing inspirations!


  • stacey - i have an extra canvas that has been laying around in the garage waiting to be given life…looks like it’s gonna get it’s chance :) thanks for sharing! can’t WAIT to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Morgan @ A Bright Idea - What a great project! Perfect as a night-light for a nursery! Going to have to try this. Check out the artwork page on my blog, I have some gradient work I recently did. I love to paint.

  • Beth - Absolutely love this project! I’m almost done with the painting part…now to mapping out the lights…this is where I sweat a little lol..the gradient is so preg hormones keep saying “don’t screw it up!” lol Thank you for the idea!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - Hi Shawna,
    First let me say, wow, you’re impressive…in so many ways. I’m always impressed by the doers/the crafters since I’m far less so.
    Could you possibly post or send me a photo of what this looks like behind the canvas? I’m such a newbie to crafting and even with your step by step, I’m a little unclear of how this all goes together. And do you mean you have this sucker on a remote control? ; ) I would LOVE to attempt this but I wouldn’t even know what type of paint to buy!
    Thanks..and thanks for posting such fun ideas!

    • -shawna- - Thanks, Shannon! It’s installed on the wall and a bit fragile to get on & off. I literally just poked the twinkle lights through little holes in the canvas. It’s all wires in the back, that go in circles from the inside to the outside of each firework. :) You can just get the little bottle of craft paint from michaels/hobby lobby. I used the brand Folk Art. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Kayla - I just tried this amazing project, it took me a couple times to figure out the painting part but I finally got it, and I think I strung them to sloppy in the back because I couldn’t hang it but I took another canvas I has and put them together then hung it and it works perfect ! Thank you for sharing, I tried to tag you on Instagram to give you credit but I couldn’t figure it out but I will !ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Hi Shawna!
    I just completed this project and it is on in my little boy’s room as I type. I have another canvas and I think I am going to try another one for my new little boy that should arrive in December.
    How long do you keep your canvas on at night?ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - Only long enough to feed & rock to sleep. I actually don’t turn it on for the middle of the night feedings anymore because it is a bit bright! I use it mostly as I am getting him down to sleep at night. :)ReplyCancel

  • Project 52 | THIRTY ONE » styleberry BLOG - […] wall while I am sitting in that chair nursing…but I get to stare at the beautiful quilt & canvas night light instead. Not a bad second choice! […]ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - I made one of these today. The painting turned out fine, but I am unhappy with the way the lights turned out. The way the “fireworks” turned out looking kind of cheesy. Do you have any tips or tricks for helping me run lights into the right look? Yours turned out much better than mine and I really like the idea and would like to try again.ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - I poked the holes first, so I could design them in a nice shape, then started in the middle, making circles. :)ReplyCancel

  • DIY Sparkly Night Light Picture - […] I spend waaaayyyy too much of my time there and I’m glad I do. Today I found this amazing sparkly night light picture. I’d like to say that I want to make it for one of my daughters but really, I’m […]ReplyCancel

  • Kasha - Do you ever worry about the lights getting too hot on the canvas? Worry wart here!ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - I only leave them on for his 20 minute-ish dreamfeed now. (see a previous comment for the specifics). I figure if they are ok for a christmas tree, probably ok for a canvas!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - I have heard that using LED lights is far safer where heat is concerned. Any thoughts? Also, is there not a device specifically designed to punch holes in canvas? I saw something mentioned on Pinterest but I cannot find it now, when I need it! I was wondering if you used gesso to keep the holes from expanding/tearing? I love this idea and am already planning a design to use for my daughter’s bathroom as a nightlight.ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - LED lights would be great–I just can’t find any with a glow as nice as regular lights. No clue on a canvas punch. Gesso would definitely strengthen the canvas, but I bet it would still stretch. :)ReplyCancel

  • Rio - Omg, i love your work! I remember my grandma used to have a painting exactly like that, but it was pink instead of orange, and without the lights.
    Can you tell me more how did you blend the color ? I tried to blend it exaclty like what you said, brush from the white side towards the orange and orange side towards the white side, but i turns into a light pink… And i tried to wash it with water but i made it worse… ;(ReplyCancel

    • -shawna- - Try a different hue? A pinky orange will tint toward pink! Slow & clean brushes were my trick!ReplyCancel

  • Crafty Time: Night Light Canvas | Things To Do Yourself - DIY - […] DIY NIGHT LIGHT CANVAS (A FANCY, GROWN UP VERSION OF LIGHT BRIGHT!) […]ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Lovely! I have a few of these at home in both white and black canvas. I also found that leaving the canvas unpainted and taping down the lights behind the canvas creates a shadow vine effect that is also appealing depending on your design. In response to those above looking for a canvas punch, I used my kitchen thermometer which worked PERFECTLY :) Best wishes!ReplyCancel

  • 5 Cool Things for San Antonio Moms This Week: More Blogs! | San Antonio Mom Blogs ™ - […] styleberry BLOG I learned about Shawna‘s blog from a fellow soccer mom at my daughter’s practice (thanks, Danielle!). styleberry BLOG showcases Shawna’s talent for design and photography as well as her passionate love for her daughter and all things DIY. Don’t miss her post on creating beautiful, yet inexpensive, lite-brite-like canvas art. […]ReplyCancel

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