Star Ceiling – Fiber optics vs Painted
A star ceiling is a definite plus for any home theater or bedroom... but what is the best way to go? Should you install Fiber Optics or have the ceiling painted (either by yourself or by a professional)? Well, that depends...
(Mural by Night Sky Murals. Black lights help this painted mural shine brighter when there is light in the room)
(This home theater is in California and was really fun to do. The owner built the soffit, on an angle, for the black lights and the stars to show up throughout the movie. I have a special mixture of paint that I use in home theaters for those who want to have bright stars during the movie. Otherwise, with the lights off... the theater looks like the ceiling has been removed and the stars are more subtle.)
(A Fiber Optic Ceiling with black lights around the edge for looks only)
Of course my view is going to be a little biased... but I will try to be fair to all three options.
First, lets go over Fiber optics. They are great to view in almost any light. This is a big “pro” when compared to a painted ceiling. A painted mural acts just like a real night sky and disappears in the light. Fiber optics can still be visible in the light.
When there are lights off in the room... the fiber optics are visible and beautiful. When the lights are on... they are still visible and beautiful. And, you can even make them twinkle.
But, there are some downsides to fiber optics too... The "Cons"
But, they ARE nice and the big advantage is that you can see the stars at any time you want basically.
Now... what about the painted Night Sky Murals... DIY and Professionally installed?
Well, here is where I can speak with more authority.
Let's start with the DIY Option. This option can be both good and bad. Bad if you have no talent as an artist and you just throw up some paint with a paint brush. (I have seen, and painted over, many a ceiling where the owner, or their friend, tried to paint the night sky with glow-in-the-dark paint) It looks really easy, but there are definitely some techniques that need to be learned first.
But, if you or a friend are an artist and you want to freehand it... then go for it. And remember... you don't have to fill every inch with stars; You can always add more stars later if needed. Don't try to go too crazy at first. Paint... step back... look... and then paint some more.
There are also stencil kits that you can purchase on the Internet. Out of the 4 or 5 different stencils that I have researched... there is one that is much better than the rest, and it isn't even the most expensive. So, do your due diligence or email me and I will steer you in the right direction. If you have more than one or two rooms to paint... you will be sore after painting with the stencil. Just sayin.
The ”Pros” for the DIY option:
The “Cons” to the DIY option:
Now.. ”The Professional Option”. Are they really that expensive? Here's the quick and easy answer... Some are. Some aren't. And, by the way, I am. (But, I am a lot less than having fiber optics installed)
A quick word about “Professionals” here. There are many people/companies that will teach others how to paint a star mural. One problem is that most of them have never even painted one themselves. Usually they are either companies who want to sell their glow paint (so they teach you a method which creates a need for their paint, and they usually are terrible techniques)... or they are just lazy people who see a good idea and try to capitalize on someone elses success by marketing a “Star-Painting Business Kit” themselves. And, as a result, the people they “train” have learned really bad techniques from these non-skilled, snake oil salesmen. So you want to be careful who you hire.
Here's are two examples.
This first picture is of a mural that was done by one of the popular companies painting and teaching others to paint these murals. Please don't ask who did this because I won't name them. I show it only to make the point that you need to check around. This picture was taken with a black light on because they probably didn't have a camera with a long shutter exposure. Thus, the background color. BTW... the picture at the beginning of this thread is of one of my murals with black lights on too.
(Another unknown "Professional's" mural)
This next picture is of a mural that I painted on a really nice ceiling with big beams in it.
(Mural by Night Sky Murals)
Having said that... I have seen some work done by other artists that really surprised me, because the murals they painted were actually really nice. They were much better than I had expected them to be after hearing who they'd learned from. But these murals were, for the most part, painted by people who were already muralists before they ever decided to add “star mural” ceilings to their portfolio.
So please be careful when hiring an artist and try to see their work first... or at least have them drop by with, or send you a sample of their work that you can look at. I mean... do you really want to spend all that time decorating your theater room... only to have an amateur come in and destroy your ceiling? There are good artists out there... but you need to search to find them.
As for the cost... You can find people who will throw some paint up on your ceiling for anywhere from $1 to $4 per square foot. My prices start at $6 per sq. ft... and can go as high as $12 per sq. ft. depending on the detail and preparation before I can paint. I'm more expensive than most, but I am fair and the value that you get, I think, comes out to be a better deal.
OK... here are the “Pros” to having a professional paint the mural:
The ”Cons” to having a painted mural:
Here is what the painted murals look like in the light and in the dark. Again, we do have a special paint (and others might have something too) that will allow the stars to glow under a black light in a semi-lit room.
OK, I tried to give a fair overview of some different options for a star ceiling. But, whatever option you choose... get a star ceiling done. They are so incredibly relaxing and romantic. You've designed everything for the light... now just do this one thing for the dark. You will be so happy you did.
If you have a day-sky (blue sky and clouds) painted on the ceiling... then get a night sky painted on top of that. When the lights are on, the day-sky will be visible. When the lights go out... the night sky will appear. It's very cool!
OK, I have gotten many questions about the murals from people who are building home theaters... and home theaters are probably my number one area to paint in.
Please ask any questions that you have and I will try to answer them for you.
If you are in the building stages.. and can still add in wiring to power some lights... I can tell you where you should have them placed. If you can still add a soffit around the top... I can give you good ideas about how to build that too.
So, if you are considering stars in your ceiling.. ask away and I will try to help you out.