How to Get a Star Ceiling That Glows With Black Light

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Star ceilings create the illusion that you're looking up at the night sky as you drift off to sleep. To apply a star ceiling that glows in black light, you'll need to use fluorescent paint. Fluorescent paint contains pigments that absorb black light and emit fluorescent light in return. Painting a star ceiling is a fun project with endless creative potential. Painting so many stars may look like a tough job, but star ceilings are easy to apply well if you have the right tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Water
  • Rag
  • Paint bottle
  • Paintbrush
  • Ladder
  • Wipe the ceiling clean with a rag that has been soaked in an isopropyl alcohol solution — one part alcohol, one part water — and wrung out well. Remove any dust or debris that might interfere with the adherence of the fluorescent paint.

  • Plan the design of your star ceiling. If you have an artistic streak, you can freehand your star ceiling. Experts recommend that you randomize the placement of your stars and their size. Consider including nebulae, comets and planets in a variety of colors. For a realistic look, include blank spaces and star clusters. For guidance, consult reference images. If artistic design isn't your strong point, there are several other options. Home planetarium projectors will project the night sky onto your ceiling. You can paint over the projected stars to achieve an accurate representation of a starscape. Other companies sell starscape stencils that can be taped onto the ceiling.

  • Lay a canvas or old sheet over the floor. This will catch any accidental drips.

  • Apply the fluorescent paint to the ceiling. Use a stepladder if necessary. For easy application, load the paint into a plastic paint squeeze bottle or old white glue bottle. Use the applicator tip to dot stars on the ceiling. Squeeze the paint out first and then dot it onto the ceiling. To vary the size of the stars, loosen and tighten the applicator tip. Keep the star sizes varied. Ideally the largest stars should be between 1/4 and 1/2 inch wide. Use a small artist's paintbrush to paint freehand stars, planets, nebulae and comets.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fluorescent paint comes in both visible and invisible formulations. Visible fluorescent paint is visible — in virtually any color — in white light. Invisible fluorescent paint is clear or white in white light. Both types glow in any color under black light.
  • Practice your star painting techniques and starscape formations on a sheet of paper before painting them on the ceiling.

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References

  • Clear Neon Labs: FAQ
  • "Guide to Home Decorating"; Coral Nafie; 2007
  • "Home Decorating for Dummies"; Katharine Kaye McMillan, et al.; 2003
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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