Moon Phases ‘Headboard’ DIY

I made a thing. And it’s not pineapples. *applause*

You guys, I’m so happy with the way this DIY turned out – I went back and forth on the method for a little while and made some mistakes, but the end result was just as I’d hoped.


Searching for something to fill the space above my bed, I was inspired by some beautiful images of the phases of the moon. I initially wanted to frame large prints of each phase, but since the wall beside my bed already has three chunky frames hanging on it, I decided to use an embroidery hoop as the ‘frame’ instead.

The phases are made out of black paper which I ‘marbled’ with gold nail varnish. I know that sounds desperately confusing (or at least it did to me!), so let’s get right into it.

First, you can prep your embroidery hoops, if you like, by painting them black. I used 10″ (or 25cm) diameter hoops, and bought them from John Lewis. It cost me £12.50 for all five, but this was the most expensive part of the project so I figured that wasn’t too bad!

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Next, I prepped the marbled paper. For this, you will need black paper (I used ten sheets) and gold nail varnish (you can use any brand, but just pick the cheapest you can as you’re going to be painting with it!). You will also need a shallow tin (I used a roasting tin lined with tinfoil so we don’t get nail varnish in our next roast dinner), and a cocktail stick or similar stirrer.

Fill your container with 2-3cm of water, and prepare to be utterly confused by the process of marbling. I joke, but it might help you to look through this tutorial before you start!

It’s a very simple process but I would suggest practising on some scrap paper first to help you get your head around it. First, pour the nail varnish onto the surface of the water (it helps if you move the nail polish bottle around in circles or in zigzags very quickly while you pour, rather than letting drips fall, as they’re too heavy and they’ll sink.

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Once you’ve got a good swirl going on the surface of the water, use your cocktail stick to swirl the paint even more and create a gorgeous swirly pattern (am I saying swirly too much? I think it’s the nail varnish fumes…). Once you’re happy, place your black paper flat on the surface of the water, apply light pressure, and then lift it out. The nail varnish will have stuck to the paper, and you’re left with an awesome gold marbled effect for your moon phases. The first time I did this I had the genius idea of leaving the marbled paper to dry in between sheets of tin foil (I have absolutely no idea why I thought this would be clever), it got stuck to the tin foil and I had to throw it all away. Sad face. The second time around, I was careful to let the paint dry completely, and then leave them overnight under some heavy books to flatten them out.

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NB: for the full moon you’ll need two A4 sheets stuck together in order to fill the embroidery hoop. I would advise using glue or double-sided tape to join these two pieces before marbling, so that the pattern matches up. Including these two you’ll need to ‘marble’ six pieces in total and leave four black.

Now you’re ready to construct the different phases. For the full moon, you’ve already got your two pieces all ready and marbled. For the half moons, you’ll need to stick a marbled piece to a plain black piece, and for the quarter moons you’ll need to cut the curved shape out of a marbled piece and then stick this onto a plain black piece. It’s pretty straightforward, so go ahead and get cutting and sticking. I made a template first so that the shape of the quarter moons would be consistent, and then went right ahead.

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NB: make sure you pay attention to which side your half and quarter moons are so the hook on the embroidery hoop is still at the top – you’ll want one facing left and one facing right to make your display symmetrical.

Once you’ve got the shapes ready, pop them in the embroidery hoops by carefully sandwiching the paper between the inner and outer hoops, in just the same way that you’d do with fabric. Trim the excess paper, and fold the remainder closely around the hoop (see picture).

Now you’re ready to hang your hoops on the wall. I used string and command hooks and arranged them in a lil’ semicircle (while wishing I had about four more hands!) but you should do whatever works best in your space.

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I’m so so happy with this, I’ve been dragging all my housemates into my bedroom to admire my handiwork – it was totally worth the effort and now I’m searching for more things to marble!

PV x