After the white came three coats of red. No real reason why, I just wanted to make sure the white was totally covered. I used acrylic paints I already had, I didn't go out and buy anything fancy.
Once the "oh my word it's making my eyes hurt" red was good and dry, I used some sandpaper and roughed it up around the edges. I wanted to give it a distressed look. I found out that my sandpaper was a little bit too soft of a grit to really do much damage, but you live and you learn. Once I was done sanding, I wiped it off then used some watered down burnt umber colored paint and painted over it.
Then I wiped it off with a paper towel, and repeated that process three or four times until I could see bits of brown showing up in the sanded off parts.
I did the same sort of thing with the mat, only I used blue paint. I was able to take the mat apart so I didn't accidentally paint the white. Once I was done, I just hot glued it back together. Then I cut a piece of patterned paper to fit the opening and made the star. Super easy. You can find the directions for the 3-D stars here. I cut a few stars out with my cricut using the George cartridge, but the first one was the perfect size. I'm sure there are several cartridges you can use, it just needs to be a symmetrical five-pointed star for it to work.