Black Velvet Fireworks Paintings

Fun fact: Other than school pictures, Trevor has never had a his picture taken professionally. He's never been to a portrait studio and probably doesn't know they exist. Steve takes all of Trevor's portraits here, with a black velvet backdrop. We take our own family portrait for our Christmas card, too, using his camera's self-timer. 

Every once in a while, Steve cuts off a chunk from the roll of black velvet because it's no longer pristine enough to use as a backdrop. He recently gave me a few yards, suggesting that I should come up with a craft using it. Hmm... what to do with black velvet? Paintings, obviously! But what to paint? Not Elvis. Not dogs playing poker. How about fireworks?! Yes!

I did a quick Google search to look at images of fireworks and was totally inspired. I particularly loved photos where the fireworks were reflected in water. Amongst the many photographs, I saw a few paintings as well. This one caught my eye. I thought it would be a lot of fun to make our own versions when our friends Rebecca and Cailei came over. (It's pretty much a given that if you come to my house, you'll be: a) doing a craft; b) eating something experimental; or c) involved in some sort of competition. My friends know to expect any one of those... or all three!)

Here's how my painting turned out:

Black Velvet Fireworks Paintings


Begin by using the toothpick to drag a line of white paint horizontally across the velvet. (I drew my line too high. It looks best if it is right at the bottom third.) Use a paintbrush to create the fireworks. My technique was to dip in paint, dab on the velvet, then drag outward repeatedly, so that the paint was primarily in the center of the fireworks.

Each time you create a burst, make a horizontal reflection in the water with the same color. Lower fireworks reflect closer to the white line, while higher fireworks reflect lower on the paper.

Keep adding different colors of fireworks and reflections. Don't be afraid to layer them over each other.

When you're happy with your fireworks, add contrails or stars using the toothpick. Done!

Here are the rest of the paintings. This is Rebecca's:

This is Cailei's:

And this is Trevor's:

I love how these turned out! I still have a lot of black velvet left. Any suggestions of what we should paint next?


  1. Ohhhhhh that looks amazing!!! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Beautiful! And I love all the different variations!!!
    I wish I lived near you so I could partake in at least one of your fun "get-togethers"!

    BTW - Black Velvet paintings DO automatically make me think of "Elvis" and "Dogs Playing Poker", so I thought it was funny you mentioned that! And I'm amazed Trevor has never stepped foot in a photo studio! Although to be honest, Madi hasn't been in one since started Kindergarten. I figure the school takes Professional Photos so why should I go and do it as well? Although w/ Joseph I did BOTH... I think it's the whole "second child syndrome" thing that made me I stop when Madi came along (though not intentional), LOL!

  3. Super fun! Great use of the black velvet!

  4. These turned out great. How fun they are. Great use for the old velvet.


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