Idea for a budget starlight ceiling - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-08-2013, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
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So I was talking in earnest about doing one of these with a professional installer, and he talked about how they drill hundreds of tiny holes in the ceiling from the attic to run the little fiber optic wires, making a beautiful starlight ceiling at the mere cost of 8k for an 8x12 area... When I came to, I had a much simpler, and cheaper idea you could do yourself, I might be talking out my rear here, so thats why I'm bouncing it off you guys.

Make a big frame of the area to light(say, 8x12), with a solid backing. Paint the backing black, attack the backing to the ceiling. Run the tiny fiber optic wires through a single hole hiddent in the frame you built, and tape them in place where you want them, then cover the wires and backing with a thin black fabric, like speaker grill cloth. The lights should shine through the fabric just fine I would think... Any reason this wouldn't work?

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post #2 of 8 Old 01-09-2013, 04:52 AM
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I think you'll get a lot of bleed through using fabric. The fiber optic lights do lose some light through the sides unless you were to cover each individual fiber optic strand.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-09-2013, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Ahso, the fiber optic strands aren't totally dark eh?

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-17-2013, 12:28 PM
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an 8x12 star ceiling can be done for much less than 8k if your willing to put in the time to do it yourself. Mine is about 7x15 ish and was under 1k in supplies. Those Fibers arent cheap. and for a starfield that size, your going to need quite a bit of fiber. The basic process i followed was to drill holes in a sheet of mdf. glue GOM fabric to the mdf, then feed the fibers through the back side of the mdf. the panels are then attached to furring strips on the ceiling so there is a gap for the fibers. But, now that I've built one myself I'd say that If I were to do one for anyone else, given the time it takes, I wouldn't do it for less than 5k. so 8k for a pro to do it for you might not be that out of line.


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post #5 of 8 Old 01-18-2013, 06:22 PM
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Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper just to install these (they come up to 4' by 8' panels)
http://www.htmarket.com/startile.html

Not that I've ever installed one...

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post #6 of 8 Old 01-22-2013, 07:52 PM
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I'm amazed at the price that "professionals" will charge to do this. If you have attic access already just do it yourself.

I have done two (last house and current house) and both were in the basement. The basements were unfinished when I started but it's much harder in the basement because you don't have any real access to it. With attic access it would be a piece of cake.

Both times I bought this kit and installed it myself. The kit was a little more than $300 for me to get it shipped to Canada.

Move all the insulation in the attic out of the way, drill tiny holes everywhere you want a "star" (only takes about an hour to drill a few hundred holes), put a fiber in each predrilled hole, use construction adhesive (or similar) to secure each fiber in place (in the attic), put the packs of fibers into the light source and tighten the screws. Put the light source somewhere in the attic with some ventilation and away from the insulation, plug it in and you're done. Comes with a handy remote that turns the lights on and off and a twinkle feature.

For me, I was drywalling the ceiling anyway so it only cost me $300 for the kit, $5 for some construction adhesive and $20 for the beer. With an attic you could have it done within a day.

I attached a picture of my current basement ceiling. I ran all the fibers like I described above, put crown molding all along the side, spray painted (using a professional paint sprayer) the ceiling flat black and then simply cut all the fibers about 1/4" away from the ceiling. The great thing about these kits is that you can paint right over top of them and when you cut the end of the fiber it will shine out again. Also, like all fiber optics, the fibers themselves do not heat up, just the light source.

Trust me, do it yourself, try it, you'll be glad you did. Msg me if you have any questions.

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post #7 of 8 Old 01-24-2013, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Thats an interesting way to do it, and I do have attic access. Clearing away the insulation will be hell though, we have 12 inches of it, and putting back would be worse lol. Also not sure how to define the border as I plan for the entire ceiling to be flat black as well. I'm keeping it in mind though. Oh I assume that remote is RF?

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post #8 of 8 Old 01-25-2013, 11:14 AM
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Yes, there is definitely some work you have to put in but it's a nice clean look. the remote is RF so no worries there.

I have a couple ideas for you to define the area. The first is simply to affix some moldings to the ceiling to define the border. I did this in my last house but it was mostly because the star ceiling was a different color than the rest of the ceiling. Here's a pic (not great quality but you can see what I mean).



The second option would be to do a "floating bulkhead" type idea. I was seriously considering this option in my current HT. It's a great choice because it allows you to add some rope lighting if you want and it also would be really easy to hide the fiber optics above the bulkhead. When I was researching doing this I found a forum and I think this guy did a good job. It's a little more time consuming but looks good as well.

Here's the link to the thread. Lots of good pics.

Hope this helps.
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