DIY Star ceiling PANELS for drop ceiling. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I must say having never worked with fiber optics i was intimidated doing them myself but thanks to this forum and the great people here, i gained confidence and decided to give it a shot.

Mind you, this is a DIY star panel using a fiber optic light KIT. basically the fibers are already attached to the light box so its a bit less of a hassle. At least for me. This is the kit i bought. sells for $179 comes with plug in which works for me since i have a outlet in the ceiling. This kit comes with 200 fibers, radio remote and twinkle lights. I was covering NINE 2' x 2' panels so that would give me about 22 fibers per panel with 2 panels having 23 fibers. obviously you can get a kit with more fibers but for my 36 sq foot space this is fine.



Because these fibers come without a coat, i needed to seperate 22 fibers into 9 groups. not a problem. Just put plastic strip bind them together.



Next i realized that since the kit comes with the fibers already attached to the light box, and the panels are seperated by the drop ceiling grids, i couldnt attach the fibers to the panels first like most do here. I had to mount the box first then feed each group of fibers down each panel grid:


Next the marking of the stars themselves. I used 2' x 2' thin wood panels from home depot. although i didnt take a picture here, i cut a sliver from each side of the panel because I figured after i glue the fabric on, it may be to tight. Glad i did this.

Next the fun part. For me anyway smile.gif. marking the holes for the star placements. I didnt use a constellation just random. dont think i had enough fibers anyway. What you decide to do is completely up to you.


quick test to make sure the fibers go in the holes without a problem.


Next i spray glued on the fabric (valour black from Joann's fabric and craft store), cut to size and wrapped a little lip of the fabric and also spray glued that to the back



Next thing i had to tackle was trying to figure out how i would now start feeding the fibers through the panels. If you notice, some fibers are hanging about 5 foot from the floor. I figured maybe i would put the panels on a ladder and work that way?

Before i attemped anything though, i wanted to see how the panels fit with the fabric on. They looked great and fit perfectly. ALSO, to my surprise, i realized i could actually start feeding the fibers to the panels with the panels ALREADY ON the ceiling. I had more than enough headroom to stick my head up there.
So i took my tape, a led flashlight (to see my markings) and got to work. I guess i"ll do this for the remaining panels too and upload the final cut.

I stopped with 1 panel and will finish off the rest in the next couple of days.


What do you guys think? any questions? I'm so glad i decided to take this on. Would have cost me little over a thousand to buy them from a HT company.

Oh and a shoutout to KenLerch who helped answer questions about the star panels before i started.
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post #2 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 07:55 PM
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I might have read through your thread too fast, but I didn't see you mention doing anything to keep the fibers in place. If you haven't already, I'd suggest you get some epoxy. The stuff from the big box store that has two tubes that mixes as you apply it seems to work great. Just put a dab on the hole and on the fiber and it'll lock into place so that when you trim the fibers back they don't pull through.
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post #3 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamprey View Post

I might have read through your thread too fast, but I didn't see you mention doing anything to keep the fibers in place. If you haven't already, I'd suggest you get some epoxy. The stuff from the big box store that has two tubes that mixes as you apply it seems to work great. Just put a dab on the hole and on the fiber and it'll lock into place so that when you trim the fibers back they don't pull through.
Hey thanks for the tip. I read about the glue and the hot glue method. I also read about the taping method which is what I did. Each fiber is taped down pretty good. I even attempted to push it back in to see if the tape would hold and it did.

Don't think its enough? Think they will eventually go back it?
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post #4 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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maybe i should. doesnt hurt to glue it down. I'd hate to have done all the work and have the threads go back in. Dont have epoxy handy atm though. May use a hot glue gun i have.
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post #5 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 09:38 PM
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I'd rather be safe than sorry. smile.gif I tended to tug on mine while insalling them as I didn't have a drop ceiling,but you might be ok.
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post #6 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
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No you're right. This is how they are taped.

And now they all have a dab of glue smile.gif
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post #7 of 33 Old 05-18-2013, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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TEDIOUS!
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post #8 of 33 Old 05-19-2013, 03:49 PM
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I'm excited to see your finished results!!

Thanks for posting this.. I love the idea..

Lane
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post #9 of 33 Old 05-20-2013, 01:28 AM
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Love the write up, im looking at doing something similar but i think getting stars done randomly could backfire if unlucky! ive seen rooms done by shops and they have uses stars in random order and didnt really have that nice affect that i was expecting, most likely because the stars were evenly spaced...
It doesnt look right when evenly spaced.

If i end up doing mine, i will follow a chart to minimise that problem.
Looking forward to seeing how your's comes out
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post #10 of 33 Old 05-20-2013, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAZMAN808 View Post

Love the write up, im looking at doing something similar but i think getting stars done randomly could backfire if unlucky! ive seen rooms done by shops and they have uses stars in random order and didnt really have that nice affect that i was expecting, most likely because the stars were evenly spaced...
It doesnt look right when evenly spaced.

If i end up doing mine, i will follow a chart to minimise that problem.
Looking forward to seeing how your's comes out

For sure. i did my best to not have the stars evenly spaced. I clustered some in 2 or 3's an inch apart while others like 6 inches apart. Definately dont wanna go with the evenly spaced look. Looks great so far.

only 3 more panels to go but i had to stop because i ran out of fabric. The store where i got the fabric is also out of stock. They have a delivery coming this week. rolleyes.gif

I timed it abiout 45 minute for each panel to put the fiber thorugh, tape and glue
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post #11 of 33 Old 05-23-2013, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
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finally done threading and gluing the fibers. i'll be ready to do the final cut in the morning. suggestions on cutting? nail clipper? flush to the fabric or have them stick out a tiny bit?
they are all the same thickness. should i mushroom some? if so, how? use a lightbulb? dont wanna risk burning the fabric.
thanks smile.gif
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post #12 of 33 Old 05-24-2013, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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All done. looks great and the twinkling really makes it pop. Only thing im chaning is putting felt tape on the grids. currently its black duct tape and its to shiny.



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post #13 of 33 Old 06-19-2013, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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wife loves it. Guests love it! So glad i took this on. I'm thinking of possibly getting another 200 fibor optic threads to cover another 9 panels
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post #14 of 33 Old 06-24-2013, 02:52 PM
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Cool !

-


"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #15 of 33 Old 06-27-2013, 08:12 AM
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awesome. did you end up letting them "stick out" a little as to not burn the fabric?

are those just a normal drop ceiling? I'm going to be building a room from scratch and wondered how drop ceilings worked for a HT?
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post #16 of 33 Old 06-27-2013, 10:51 AM
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Awesome job! i was kicking around this idea also. In the end it would have been too much of a hassle for me. My issue is i only have about 1.5 inches of play above my drop ceiling. I wanted to gain maximum headroom when i installed my ceiling therefore i had to sacrafice dead space above. I wish I would have just paid or negotiated a extra 8in row of block on top of my standard 8ft foundation when our house was being built. Looks awesome!
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post #17 of 33 Old 06-28-2013, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ike12 View Post

awesome. did you end up letting them "stick out" a little as to not burn the fabric?

are those just a normal drop ceiling? I'm going to be building a room from scratch and wondered how drop ceilings worked for a HT?

Thanks
Yes a few stick out a tiny mm. Others were cut flush. cut em all with a nail clipper. Those that stick out a tad do appear brighter so i got a nice variety of brightness.
The drop ceiling is a normal 2x2 drop ceiling. It was installed before i even thought of putting in a HT so i didnt wanna tear the whole thing down. (Wifey probably wouldnt approve)

I'm not an audiophile so i cant really tell if its a benefit or not but i figure the fabric i used for the 9 tiles would help with the sound. I also hear standard drop ceiling panels help with the echo.

Everything sounds great to me so smile.gif
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post #18 of 33 Old 06-28-2013, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dukedallas2005 View Post

Awesome job! i was kicking around this idea also. In the end it would have been too much of a hassle for me. My issue is i only have about 1.5 inches of play above my drop ceiling. I wanted to gain maximum headroom when i installed my ceiling therefore i had to sacrafice dead space above. I wish I would have just paid or negotiated a extra 8in row of block on top of my standard 8ft foundation when our house was being built. Looks awesome!

I'm guess the 1.5 inches you're reffering to is from the top of the drop ceiling panel to the bottom of the floor joist right? your joists should be at least 8"inches deep no?

Youre in the same situation as me. I also wanted high ceilings. Mine is only 2 inches from bottm of joist to top of panel. Honeslty i can barely pull a standard panel out without breaking it. Not sure how the installers managed to get em in.

The wood panels i used for the star ceiling are so thin its makes it super easy to install even with only 2 inches to play with. my suggestion, buy just one 2x2 wood panel, install it in the place of the one standard panel and check to see if you think you'll have a problem installing a star ceiling before you go ahead.
Chances are, you may be able to. GL

Here is example of the 2 inches i had to play with
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post #19 of 33 Old 07-01-2013, 05:00 AM
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Thanks Linkseo! And yes I have just enough space to slide a tile across the 1.5 inches is from the bottom of the joist. I didn't realize yours was such a tight fit also. i am very happy with the height of the ceiling you don't feel that closter phobic feeling when in the room. I have insulation in my joists and also 6mil plastic covering the whole area. So I don't have easy access to the inside of the joists. Might be a fun fall project.
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post #20 of 33 Old 07-01-2013, 02:15 PM
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My deviation from the theme, burlap coated fiberglass 24x24x4" panels replacing the tiles, very quiet upstairs, it will get better once I finish wall panels too.

The lights are generic with halogens on Lutron dimmer, every seating position has dual lights so no shadows.
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post #21 of 33 Old 07-27-2013, 11:08 AM
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Linkseo, where did you mount the LED light engine ? I was wondering how heavy it is and how much support it needs. Ive never touched one so it may sound like a silly question .. but I assume that its too heavy to be attached to the grid, or rested upon one of the wooden tiles.

Im also wondering how long the fiber optic strands are.

Thanks for sharing your project with us !
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post #22 of 33 Old 07-28-2013, 05:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tech Newbie View Post

Linkseo, where did you mount the LED light engine ? I was wondering how heavy it is and how much support it needs. Ive never touched one so it may sound like a silly question .. but I assume that its too heavy to be attached to the grid, or rested upon one of the wooden tiles.

Im also wondering how long the fiber optic strands are.

Thanks for sharing your project with us !
hey thanks. the light box was a tad heavy. not sure how much exactly. but i do know a drop ceiling panel and even the grid can hold it since while soing a test i rested it on both. but to feel secure i screwed it on the side of a joist. it has screw holes. the strands are 7' each if i remember correctly.
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post #23 of 33 Old 08-08-2013, 10:19 AM
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I was wondering if you'd mind answering one more question for me. What are the pieces of wood that you bought at home depot called ? Is it 1/4 inch birch project board ? I just need to know what to ask for when I go. Thanks
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post #24 of 33 Old 08-08-2013, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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i cant remember the exact name of the wood. however i think i still have a sticker with the name of it on the top of some of them. i'll check tonight and let you know. otherwise, im going this weekend and i'll snap a pic for ya.
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post #25 of 33 Old 08-12-2013, 10:48 AM
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Thanks a million !
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post #26 of 33 Old 08-15-2013, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a million !

Sorry my trip to HD was canceled and i havent had a chance to peak my head in the drop ceiling to look for a barcode/brand for ya. As long as you get a light wood (about the same weight as the standard drop ceiling panel youre good. It would be wrapped in fabric anyway. just make sure its thin (see my pics) to work with easier wink.gif
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post #27 of 33 Old 08-26-2013, 04:44 AM
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Thank you for the post I really want a star ceiling but thought it would be beyond my technical reach (or budget. Thanks!

Can I ask where you ordered the kit from?

Also is there a heat issue from the light box? I thought I read somewhere that these needed an extra fan and ventilation or some such complicated set up.

Thanks for the thread! smile.gif

Thank you in advance for the support of this great community. I will be sure to pay it all forward as I build my skill set!

Big Felter's home theater build thread
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post #28 of 33 Old 08-26-2013, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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i ordered mine from amazon because i like amazon and i think it was under amazon prime at the time. 200 light fiber optic.
heating is not a problem. its a small unit. 6x3 or something like that. With little vents on the side. it barely gets warm though. even so, i mounted it in a row of joists that didnt have insulation but again, that much open space wasnt really needed. smile.gif
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post #29 of 33 Old 08-26-2013, 08:22 PM
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Awesome thank you very much smile.gif

Thank you in advance for the support of this great community. I will be sure to pay it all forward as I build my skill set!

Big Felter's home theater build thread
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post #30 of 33 Old 01-05-2014, 07:58 PM
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Hey there - thanks for the post. I am about to take the economic route and do the same approach but had a question - what did you do with the grid face down after you installed the panels? Are they still exposed or did you spray paint them black to add a better blended feel with the black background of the LED kit?

 

- Thanks, Phil

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