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Star Ceilings... Painted vs. Fiber optics

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by nightsky, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. Jim Kerr

    Jim Kerr New Member

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    Can you please call me - 916 662 6195
    JAMES KERR
     
  2. JLPOOL66

    JLPOOL66 New Member

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    Your thread is very informational... thank you for sharing your info and experiences! Now for some advice. We have a small room in the basement (10.5x 10) with a drop ceiling (2x4 panels). There is a recessed flourence light in the middle of the ceiling ( this use to be my husbands office). We have converted this into his mancave where he watches all his sports and sci-fi's. I would like to create a star ceiling for him. Originally i was looking into fiber optics, but you are right, expensive. Looking into other options led me to your thread. so here's my questions:
    1. will stencilling stars/mural onto paintable grey/black/white wall paper work? then cover the ceiling panels with the stencilled wallpaper ( ithought this would make it easier to paint on mural this way.)
    2. since there is some light from the tv, which paint is the best to use, brand/colors, etc.also which stencil to use?
    3. i read about the black lite to help elumiate the stars since there is tv light in the room, so i'm thinking of a shallow soffiit around the perimeter of the room to install black lite (rope style). i really liked the ceiling with beams in the ceiling,i'm thinking of covering the grid up with wood to create that look.
    4. lastley can i paint onto the flourescent's acrylic light cover with this paint so i don't have a "black hole" in the middle of the mural.
    what are your thoughts and suggestions.?
    any insight is greatly appreciated
     
  3. hunter1

    hunter1 New Member

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    I am a professional artist and Mural painter, however this is the first home theater star ceiling I have done .
    I was going to paint a day sky for when the lights are on and a night sky for when the lights are off.
    The theater is being built with a sofit and a trey ceiling with inset black light rope inset around the whole thing.
    I have done a lot of work for this client and they have 100% confidence in me but I would like some advice on products etc.
    Do I have to keep the base mural very light?
    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  4. Villaflorccr

    Villaflorccr New Member

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    Hi! I'm really interested in your design! Where are you from? How much do you charge?
     
  5. Villaflorccr

    Villaflorccr New Member

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    Hey guys! I absolutely love this idea and would love to try it out. Does anybody know where to get the glow in the dark paint used? What brand is it? Thanks
     
  6. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Hi David...
    Sorry for the delay in getting you answered. I just haven't had access to the forum, to be able to answer, for some reason. Hopefully, I will be able to reply from here on out. We'll see.
    As for soffits, you would need to talk with a contractor about that. I usually just suggest them and the homeowner will then talk with the contractor.
    But, if you are still looking into having a soffit built, then when you speak with someone about building you one.... you will want to consider a few things.
    • You will need power up inside of the soffit to plug in any black lights that you put up there
    • To be effective, the soffit will need to be below the ceiling by a minimum of 12".... but 18" to 24" would be the best. (If you have a huge room... the the last two number are a must)
    • The soffit in the picture you mention is down 24" from the ceiling and out from the side walls 36".
    • Depending on how far you come out from the wall... the bottom of the soffit could be a great place for LED lights that you could put on a dimmer for subtle lighting around the room.
    • The inside bottom of the soffit should be on an angle, no just flat. I would angle the inside bottom, from the front edge angled back to where the ceiling and side walls meet. This will work great to angle your black lights so that the light shoots out toward the center of the ceiling in the middle of the room.
    • When you paint your mural (if you DIY, or if you have someone paint it for you) then have the stars go back to the side walls, not stop at the front edge of the soffit. That just adds a dimension to the 3D effect.
    If you want, I recorded a little video about soffits (I plan to do a better one as soon as I have time) that you can watch. Actually, I have one that is even worse, as far as entertainment value... but it is with the owner of that ceiling that you mentioned. I will put links to both videos.
    Here you go. Videos about soffits: ( I will try and embed the videos so that you can stay in the forum. IF they don't work... then the links will be below)


    Regular links to the same videos:


    Black Lights:
    As far as I know... black lights, and most other fluorescents (including CFL lights) are not dimmable. Some CFL light are these days, but most will burn up quickly if you try to use them on a dimmer.
    What you are looking for in a black light (or fluorescent light) is the light wave to be in the 360ma to 400ma range. The closer to 360ms the better. For some reason, that light wave is what activates the pigments in the paint which, in turn, creates a nice star ceiling. Don't spend too much time studying the light waves. What I have found is that most black light will work just fine. I did find a company that says they sell the most powerful black lights in the world... and if that pans out, I will let you guys know where you can find them. For now, I am still researching them.
    I have been experimenting with LED UV lights and have, within the past month, found some exciting things. I have gone to companies that specialize in LED lights and have experimented with all types of them over the years... and nothing works like a good ole black light. But, from what I stumbled upon this past month, there may be hope of having LED UV lights that will work, and will be dimmable, cooler, and easier to work with. Again, I will keep testing and let you guys know.
    I hope this answers your questions. If you are already beyond this stage... then it might possibly help others with the same question.
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
    quote name="DavidBick" url="/t/304549/star-ceilings-painted-vs-fiber-optics#post_3804410"]Really interesting posts, Jeff.  I'd love to recreate the look of the first ceiling you showed... where do I start?  How does one get a soffet?  Are they sold prefab or do you have to start from scratch?  Also, how was the black light done?  In other words, what kind of black lights do you buy that are not only dimmable but able to be controlled via Luton/X10?  
    Thanks!
    [/quote]
     
  7. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    i Brian... Thanks for your comments. Hopefully, I will be able to help people out with good information. Please ask questions if you have 'em.
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  8. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Hi Wayne...
    You can find good paint from many places on the net... just do your due diligence and research them. Most places will use the same (or very similar) pigments in their paints... but the difference is in the amount of pigments that they put into their paint. More pigments = brighter glow and longer lasting glow. But, it also means that with more pigments in the paint (at least paint that is supposed to dry clear) the greater chance of the stars being visible in the light, which is what you don't want.
    I don't sell my paints to anyone, and don't advertise this, but for people of this forum (or others where I try and answer questions) I will do it for you guys. But, again, there are many places that will sell you good paint. I know that Glow Inc (which someone else already advertised in this thread) has good paint. Also, a company called Ready Set Glow has good paint. I used to think that RiskReactor had good paint, but was disappointed in some of their paint, and in some of their hype. Most of those places will have thinner paints than I use. I like my paint thicker. I used to buy it from online stores, or other suppliers before the Internet grew.... but I decided that to get what I wanted out of my paint... I needed to mix my own. But, for most people, one of those other stores, mentioned above will do you right.
    So, hopefully that helps you out.
    Oh, you mentioned something about "Cosmic Clouds". Were you talking about the paint, or a stencil for that?
    I don't know of any stencils for that, but the same places I suggested for paint should be able to sell you paint for those. Just figure out what colors you want them to be and buy it. Then you just need to figure out how to paint one. I have pained them in the past, but avoid them if at all possible these days. I now will only paint in the Milky Way (pretty much every mural) because I want to paint realistic murals of the night sky, as you would see from earth. I stay away from deep space paintings. To me, they look too cartoon'ish, so I leave that to others to do.
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  9. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Leo.... Good post. Wildfire, I have found, has good quality lights but I have not looked into their paints. From what I have seen, they do more with paints that glow under a black light, then disappear when the lights are turned off... as opposed to glow paints. For anyone with artistic talent... this would be a great option. You could paint a really cool mural on the walls, ceiling... anywhere that would only be visible under black lights. And, from what I remember... then have different colors, so full-color paintings would be very possible.
    Definitely a place to look into. As for their black lights... they seem to be some of the best available (at least according to their advertising). Most black lights will do a good job at charing glow paint, but if you have a large area to cover, but limited space to put black lights... then Wildfire might be worth looking into.
    Thanks Leo!
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
    quote name="Leo Kerr" url="/t/304549/star-ceilings-painted-vs-fiber-optics#post_3813162"]I'm not a star-ceiling expert, but I can offer some advice that I hope isn't too far out-of-line.
    On a paint-perspective, there's a maker of theatrical black-light paints that (allegedly) go on clear.  They're Wildfire.
    On a light perspective, I've run into a lot of black-light fluorescent fixtures, and, in my humble opinion, they're Evil.  I'm not sure how controllable they are via Lutron or X10 systems, but I'd look into some of the UV LED solutions out there.  Look at a DJ lighting supplier, some Best Buys, or, of course, The Big Google.. the ones I'd look for would accept DMX control, but most people don't want to muck around with that.  (Though if you've a spare computer, there are some nice little USB to DMX adapters..)
    Leo
    [/quote]
     
  10. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Hi Ray...
    I just answered a similar question about paint... (so you can check out one of my new answers right above this one)... but here is a suggestion if you are looking into painting a star-ceiling (and if you haven't already done it).
    Get some good paint - staying away from sulfur based paints that only last 20 minutes or so.
    I would suggest staying away from multi-colored murals. Use Aque and Blue and call it good. Most other paints of different colors don't glow very long and aren't very bright. Aqua is the best choice, IMHO, and a little blue thrown in just to add a little color would be fine.
    Good luck with your mural...
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  11. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Hi Richard.... Thanks for your nice comment. Yes, that other forum's thread has over 75,000 hits on it and a lot of people are getting involved and offering suggestions.
    I will try again, to help people here. I am just not as free to offer advice here, so I only check in from time to time. I will be happy to help out here too. Let's just see how things go. :)
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  12. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Hi Peter.... Let me state this again, for everyone who has posted questions and comments in this thread, that I am so sorry for seeming to have abandoned you guys. It wasn't my intention.
    And,, thanks for your "WOW" comment. :)
    Painting a mural would definitely be easier to experiment with than F.O... then, if that doesn't work for you, you could always go that route.
    As I mentioned in a question I just answered... if you will look a couple of questions up above, i go into the paint question. I also answered, in passing, the question about different colors in a mural. But, let me do that again for you here. IMHO, I would stay away from different colors, at least if you want your mural to look natural. When you go outside and look up at the sky you don't see 10 different colors and that is why I stay away from many colors. Now, to to have full-disclosure here, I will say that I am color-blind, so maybe you see more colors than I do. :)
    If you are going for deep-space objects with nebula and things... then different colors are probably OK. But for what I do, and most people want to accomplish... then Aqua and Blue are your best bet.
    Now, as for practicing in your closet first... YES!!! Closet first, then Utility room, then bathroom, your neighbors ceilings... all before you try it in a room you really care about. :) Even when I train people to paint these murals... I try to get them to practice, practice, practice. Most won't do that and their murals suffer. So, good call on the closet first.
    If you mess that up and want to find someone in your area... I can probably suggest a painter or two who will do a decent job for you. But, there are many who will tell you that they will do a mural like everyone else that paints... but that is so not true. If there are 50 painters in your area who do these types of murals... you might find one, maybe two who will do a nice job. That is just what I have discovered.
    And, for your DIY project... stay away from places offering FREE instructions. They will tell you that these murals are easy to do and that they will give you the techniques needed to DIY. But, they are mostly offered by companies who want to sell you paint... so they sat down for 15 minutes or so and came up with a set of instructions. Trust me... they are terrible. And, I have pictures to prove my point.
    If you are still wanting to try a mural... then let me know and I will try to give you some good pointers.
    And, so you know, I am in Houston probably 3 or 4 times a year. Dallas, Austin and San Antonio too. I was sit in Amarillo a few months ago. So, if it comes down to not being able to find someone, then let me know and I would be happy to help you out.
    When I read Houston.... Rudy's BBQ popped into my mind. I love working in Texas and plan most of my jobs there around Rudy's locations. :) Seriously, they have some good BBQ!!!
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  13. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Hi David...
    Kirtland is beautiful this time of year. I was just up there painting a little south of you about a year ago. Lived in WA for a few years and loved the summers.
    The house I painted in was a good sized place there in Medina, right on the lake. That's all I can say about that job. ;-)
    If you haven't yet, but still want to... you should go for it. As I mentioned to another poster... practice first. Then a little more, then go for it. There is a stencil that I would suggest using as your basic mural first, then adding more, freehand, afterwards if you want more. There are a lot of stencils you can find on the Internet... but most are worthless and they charge a lot for them. I can let you know which to get if you want to contact me. It isn't the most expensive, it is basic... but it'll get you a good foundation of your mural. many people leave it at that... and then others will add to it. It's all up to you, but the stencil will at least get you a good start.
    Go for it!!!
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  14. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    OK, I want to answer this post by the drive-by poster in detail. Please bear with me.
    True... and I mentioned them above in another answer that I gave. You can also get good paint at a place called Ready Set Glow (www.ReadySetGlo.com). There may be others and I can research it for anyone who would like. I can also help you out with paint if you don't want to go to one of those places too. My business isn't selling paint or other products, but I can be talked into it. And, it will be as good, or better than the other places. My paint is specifically made for star murals. But, I am sure that the other guys will sell paint that will work just as nicely. In fact, I just painted a mural for a customer in Florida who bought paint from Glowinc and I was very impressed with it. I saw it in the bottle, not on his ceiling because he'd followed their "free" techniques and was embarrassed by what he turned up with.
    Yes, they sell good paint. So do others.
    I just mentioned the experience of one customer of mine who'd used their free techniques. He ended up painting over what he'd painted and called me. Having painted star-murals for over 20 years (close to 25), I can tell you that what is offered there are not what you want. They are there to get people thinking they can paint murals... and then they sell them the paint needed. They are a paint store first, with ideas and techniques for projects, to give them a reason to buy paint. But, as I mentioned above... they do have good paint.
    Learning to paint a star ceiling on that site would be like learning to paint the Mona Lisa from kids learning to finger paint. My $.02, for all it's worth.
    I know of people who will give you techniques (example... the link posted by the drive-by guy), others who will charge you $99 and still others who will charge prices all the way to $35,000. If I were doing a mural for myself, I would get a stencil and paint it... and be done with it. It will be basic, but it will be nice. If you are wanting to do this as a business... I would stick with someone who charges between $2,000 and the $35,000. I also will teach people whenI have time... and I charge somewhere in the middle. Just be careful and do your due diligence.
    Since our drive-by poster suggested starting out on paper first, then moving up to a spare bathroom... I would also suggest that the paper be toilet paper. Then, you can just flush it when you get frustrated with the outcome.
    I would suggest starting out on an old piece of sheetrock or paneling. It's larger and similar to what you will actually be painting on later, unless your theater ceiling is covered with paper. Practice on material that's as close to what your project will be on in the end.
    (Sigh) This guy sounds like someone new to MLM who knows everything about a subject that he knows nothing about. You actually can get what you pay for. And, from what I saw on the link he posted... $4 would actually be way overpaying. For most of what is on the market, that I have seen... $4 is a little pricey, but there are some muralists work that I have seen that I would consider to be worth well over his $4 suggestion. But, they are not the rule, but the exception. In the spirit of full disclosure, I charge between $7 and $12 per sf. And, I am busier than I can handle right now.
    What? This is NOT rocket science??? What will I tell my wife? OK, very true, this really isn;t rocket science. But, there are things that a good painter of star murals knows that enable him to paint an incredibly realistic mural. I have a guy working on my basement right now (no, he isn't a rocket scientist) who gave me a bid to finish a few rooms downstairs, plus cut a hole in the concrete foundation and add stairs leading out of the basement. In talking with him... I decided that I needed to talk with someone who actually did footings, walls and stairs. While my inside guy is a master at putting up 2 x 4 walls, running electricity, and has great ideas... he made me nervous about doing a retaining wall and stairs outside where my kids would be playing. So, I opted for the expert to do the outside stairs... which effectively tripled the cost of finishing the basement. But, it will be worth it and I will enjoy those stairs, with no regrets for years to come.
    A funny thing about it is that another friend told me not to spend that kind of money on those stairs. I listened, but went the way I felt most comfortable. BTW... the guys (who are tripling the cost of my basement are not rocket scientists either. :)
    I think anyone interested should go over and see what they have to offer. For paint... they are good. But, be careful of what they teach as far as painting instructions. Just as a case-in-point... let me show you samples of what those techniques produced over at that link:
    Example #1
    [​IMG]
    Example #2
    [​IMG]
    Example #3
    [​IMG]
    Example #3
    [​IMG]
    Now, let me show you what the difference is between those techniques and some that I use (only to illustrate the difference since he questioned what professionals charge)
    Night Sky Murals Example #1 (Amarillo,TX ceiling with lights on)
    [​IMG]
    Same ceiling with lights off:
    [​IMG]
    NSM Example #2 (Theater room ceiling w/lights on)
    [​IMG]
    Same theater room ceiling in dark:
    [​IMG]
    NSM Example #3 New York theater ceiling
    [​IMG]
    I didn't want to slam the guy.... but you can't just come in and make statements, run away and then expect to not be challenged.
    I hope this hasn't offended anyone.
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  15. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Renee... That's Cookie Dough, not cookies!!! Please get it right. It sends shivers up my spine whenI see perfectly good cookie dough being put into an oven! :)
    I would be happy to help you out. Why don;t you write to me and I will see what you need, if you want to do this yourself, or I can possibly find someone in your area for you who would do a nice job for you. Or, Starman (from a previous post has some great ideas. :) (I was joking)
    I am also talking with a couple customers in Arizona now who might have me come out. So, maybe I can help you if you'd like. The problem is that AZ is HOT from January to the middle of December, so your house would have to be icy cold and there would need to be a large bowl of cookie dough. Actually, I am trying to cut back... so only one bowl would be fine.
    Thank you for your very nice comments!
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  16. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Good questions....
    Hey, even a small home theater is better than nothing. I think that if a house has an extra room that a Home theater should be what goes in there. It can be so many things. One, obviously a theater room. It can also be a get-away-from-the kids (or wife) room, a relaxation room, a planetarium... many things. So, a 12 x 14 is awesome!
    The tropical theme is nice and yes, a star ceiling would go well in there. Just know that if the ceiling is also dark... you would probably see some of the constellation stars when the lights were on in the room. Usually that doesn't bother people... but I wanted you to understand that.
    A suggestion on your posters. Have you considered having your posters printed up on a cloth and then mounted over acoustic panels? So, they could serve as posters and also sound proofing.
    Any star ceiling, whether you were to paint it or someone that does this for a living, would definitely open the room up and make it seem like there was no ceiling. And, if you were to bring it down the walls slightly, it would even open the room up more.
    I can't talk price or doing the work for you. So, if you could look up my website... my email address is on there and you can write to me and we can talk about it.
    Thanks!
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  17. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Here I get in trouble if I answer someones question about price... yet this is the second person to advertise and not offer anything other than that. Hmmm...
    It is true that fiber optic ceilings are nice, when done right... just as a painted ceiling is nice when done right.
    As I mentioned in this thread... Fiber Optics run circles around a painted ceiling if there is a lot of light on in a room, but they are more expensive and require more maintenance, holes to be drilled and wires.
    A painted mural runs circles around a fiber optic ceiling if it is in a dark room. Other than the hassle of charging the paint up, which if planned ahead, can be an easy process.... the painted murals (when done right) kick booty in realism over a FO ceiling.
    Two similar examples:
    First, the fiber optic ceiling
    [​IMG]
    Painted Night Sky Murals ceiling:
    [​IMG]
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  18. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Hi Carlos.... Good questions. Thanks!
    The color that the customer used was, I think, called Sky Blue but I can't be sure. I just went through all of my emails and couldn't find the exact color, but... I do know that it was a sky blue and it was by a well known paint company.
    The paint that I used is some that I mix myself. I can't get paint, like I need it, from a store. So, I mix it up before each job. If you need some... email me and we can see what we can do.
    Black lights do NOT need to be on a dimmer... in fact that would ruin them.
    Please let me know if this leaves you wanting for more answers.
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  19. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Hi Kelly..
    I live in Salt Lake City, but do about 99.5% of my work around the country and lately other countries too. So, Chicago is not a problem. To get me to come out to
    your area... you'd need to contact me from my website. I can't go into that in here. I am trying to answer questions for DIY'ers and help people to realize that this
    product exists.
    If you have the height... put in a soffit and put power up in there. Then you can add black lights, LED lights and anything else up there that you want.
    For your son's Star Wars room... this would be perfect! Actually, these are perfect in any room. But, a Star Wars room... Absolutely.
    If you want to do it yourself... please contact me and I will try to give you pointers
    I will tell you, though, that I am very behind on answering emails. I am training my daughter to answer the first emails to come in. That should free me up
    to do other things. But, write and I will try to get back to you as quickly as possible. There's a form and email address on my web site.
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     
  20. nightsky

    nightsky Active Member

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    Hi James... I will try to get to you ASAP. I can't promise when... but it might be quicker if you will contact me from my website and I will try to get back to you. For now... text messages are the best way for me to communicate with people... as long as they are short messages.
    Jeff
    Night Sky Murals
     

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