Editor’s Note: This awesome star ceiling project article was written by my friend Peter who completed this project completely on his own. He explains how much it cost, how he did it and the time it took. He took all the pictures as well! I only edited it for formatting here and slightly for grammar and continuity. Great article and great job writing it! Thanks Pete! ~ Phil
Just getting started and looking for ideas? Read my introduction to ceiling stars first.
Total cost was about $635.
I have the 600 fiber optic strand version (Wiedamark 600 Strand LED Star Ceiling Kit) (pictured) which comes with 2 x 300 optic strands and a twinkle wheel with programmable twinkle speed.
The 600 star version has three sizes fiber optic cables: 0.75mm, 1mm and 1.5mm to create the effect of nearby and far away stars and the price was $369 when I bought it.
Typically you can cover 150 sq ft with 600 stars and the 8ft circle in this project has a very high star density. Other options are 200 6.5′ Strand RGB LED Star Ceiling Kit and anything in between, based on your choice, preference and wallet.
Star ceiling kits normally come with a remote control that lets you switch the stars on/off as well as ‘freeze’ motion or twinkle and change intensity.The money I spent only includes materials, excluding tools.
If you want to mount this to the ceiling by yourself, you will need to spend around $60 more on two 10ft and two 6ft chains with more details later on how I used those to mount it by myself.
You can click on the supplier links above to see each item image. Notice that instead of standard ceiling hooks, I choose the more robust RDX 360 degree swivel punch bag steel ceiling hook from EBay (pictured right). Standard ceiling hooks may be sufficient but I just wanted the best possible and safest solution. Peace of mind is priceless!
For my star ceiling I used the 600 Strand LED fiber optic star ceiling kit, but you can go as big or small as you like and for a good star effect you rally only need 4 stars / sqft so it all comes down to preference.
So, for my star field I went all the way with 600 stars over ~50sq ft and a density of 12 stars / sqft and a 32’ waterproof LED strip light for backlighting the entire starfield to make it look more dramatic and possibly more realistic.
By now you should have worked on a star map on paper and know exactly which star layout you want and how many stars you will create. If you want to look for your own star map, google “september sky star map” or just “star map” (check out images for the results of that search here) and you will be offered hundreds of options. It may be nice to include your own constellation. You will need to remove (or add) stars to match the number of fiber optic cables in your kit of choice.
I included the star map that I used for my star ceiling which has ~600 stars (I believe it may be 627 actually) and found a neat trick to translate that into a drill map on the two pieces of MDF:
First of all, divide the star map in 12×12 squares and do exactly the same on the two MDF pieces as shown. I used one of the 2×2 by 8ft wood pieces and a sharpie. It matched exactly the lines in the drawing after taking accurate measurements.
Once that is done, you grab a cup of coffee and look at one square at a time and draw in the stars one at a time just by looking at the estimated place in the square on the drawing. Use a blue sharpie for the blue dots (Milky Way) in the drawing and red sharpie for the red dots in the drawing (constellations).
The Milky Way stars (blue) will be drilled with the 0.75mm drill bit. The constellation stars (red) will be drilled with the 1mm drill bit.
If you choose the same 600 fiber optic lighting kit as I have, you will have 440 strands of 0.75mm, 140 strands of 1mm and 20 strands of 1.5mm. The drawing will actually have roughly 330 Milky Way stars and 270 constellation stars. Just pick 20 random constellation stars on the two MDF boards that will become nearby 1.5mm holes and some of the red constellation dots will get the left over 0.75mm strands. It doesn’t need to be totally accurate, no one will notice!
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Everything should be working by now and it will look like a giant spider web!
The following method allows you to install this ceiling by yourself, without help from a friend. Buy two 10ft chains and hook them up to the ceiling hooks and to the two remaining board hooks. Lift the board up a little and tighten the chain. Do this one step at a time until you have the board perfectly horizontal. Count the number of shackles for each of the for four chains.
Use your ladder as you move clockwise around the disk, one shackle at a time (no more than ONE!). If you move more than one link at a time, you may create stress in the disk and one of the other hooks may inadvertently become loose and unhook which may cause the whole thing to come down.
It is recommended to have a friend help you out but I was able to do it by myself and in an hour or 2 I had it all the way up to the ceiling. Make sure the fiber optic cables are not crushed against the ceiling.
Best of luck!