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Let's get your questions answered about star ceilings

Have a question? Check our FAQs below.

If not, then you can also contact me at:

Email: NightSkyMurals@gmail.com

Call: 877.882.2456

Or, you can check to see if I have a video tip that answers your question.


What is a Night Sky Mural

A Night Sky Mural is a professionally painted ceiling mural that is a photo-realistic recreation of a real night sky, complete with glowing and twinkling stars.

Just like a real night sky, when there is light in the room the stars are hidden away and waiting to pop out and be enjoyed.

When the room is dark (and with UV light to charge the paint for a few minutes) the stars come out and resembles a night sky that is usually only visible in a remote location.

What are the most popular rooms for a night sky mural?

When I first started painting my night sky murals star ceilings (for friends and then as a business), I painted mostly in kid's rooms. That jsut seemed like the obvious place. I mean, people were already used to kids having sticker stars on their ceilings, so a painted star mural in the kids room just seemed to be where people thought they should go.

But, about 5 years into painting, and as the murals got a little more realistic, I started getting parents asking me to come back and paint the master bedroom as well. Now, fast forwarding another 15 plus years, the top two rooms that I paint in are the Home Theater and the Master Bedroom. Then little Johnny and Susie might get a star ceiling too,  after those other rooms are painted. 

Over the past several years I've also seen another trend starting up. I've started painting in regular rooms that people were turning into Relaxation rooms... and I would love to paint a Relaxation room for a business who is creating a room where their employees could go (who have fast-paced, stressful jobs) to escape and unwind or a few minutes to get their creativity batteries charged up again. 

Are night sky murals astronomically accurate?

Sure, they can be. That’s one of the options that we offer, but we've given our customers a new option over the last ten years, or so, that they seem to really like.

What I like to do is to have the client choose 4 to 6 constellations that they are familiar with (no matter what time of year they're out) and then I place those constellations into the mural where I think they will fit the best..

This has been very popular because when looking at the night sky as a whole it looks just like a night sky that you would see out in your favorite stargazing location, but when you start looking for the constellations, you see the constellations that you picked out for your personalized night sky.

But, whichever way you decide to have your mural painted… it will always look like the real thing.

Why are painted night sky murals Better than fiber optic star ceilings?

I wouldn’t really say that one is better than the other. There are differences, and there are times when each has it’s place.

Fiber optic star ceilings are great for areas where there will be a lot of light in a room. We get asked to paint star murals in entryways all the time. But, unless you want to invite guests into your home in a pitch black house… a painted mural just isn’t the right option for that area.

Same thing with a nightclub or hotel lobby. Fiber optics are the way to go in those areas as well.

If, on the other hand, you have a room that can be made to be dark (bedroom, home theater, relaxation room, bathroom), then a painted mural is the way to go. You really can’t get the realism from fiber optics that you can with a painted night sky. Side by side comparisons are astounding. A painted mural is light years ahead of a fiber optic star ceiling as far as realism goes.

But again, there is a place for both. We will have no problem letting you know if we think that you would be better served with a fiber optic ceiling. We’d rather tell you up front than have you discover it after we’ve finished painting.

How long to the stars glow (in both hours and years)

This is a, “That depends” type of answer.

Hours: The duration of the photo-luminescent glow is entirely dependent on your environment and your ability to control it. The darker the room, the longer (and more detailed) you will see the night sky. Under normal conditions the glow lasts for several hours after the lights go out… and chances are, you will fade long before the stars do.

Our murals contain between 15 to 20 different sized stars, and the larger the star is, the more glow pigment it has in it. So, the smallest stars may glow for up to an hour before it fades away to where you can no longer see it. Then, the stars that are slightly larger than the smallest ones will possibly glow for a couple of hours. The mural will constantly be changing as the smaller stars fade first, and the larger ones stick around for several hours.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As mentioned above, our paint will glow for hours, for someone that stays in the dark room the entire time. If, on the other hand, you turn out the lights, enjoy your night sky for a few minutes, and then leave the dark room to either go outside into bright sunlight, or even into a well-lit room, and then go back into the room where the mural is and expect to still see it, you won't. There are two things going on here that are important to understand. First is that the paint will be the brightest immediately after the lights go out and it will also lose the biggest amount of brightness during the first 10 minutes after turning out the lights. Then it will slowly and steadily lose the remainder of it's glow over the next 4-10 hours. Second, when you walk out of that room and into the light, your eyes will immediately start to close up and you will lose your night eyes. Then, when you go back into the room thirty minutes later (or whenever), you will most likely see nothing for anywhere between five to fifteen minutes. Think of walking into a movie theater during a matinee on a bright day. You'll probably have to stand at the theater entrance, eating your popcorn, while your eyes adapt to the dark and so  you don't accidentily sit in someone else's lap.

Years:  As far as how many years will the mural last… we don’t know. I’ve painted murals over 25 years ago that were still glowing the last time we checked. The pigments that we use, plus the medium that we mix the pigments into should keep your mural glowing for well over 30 years, or beyond.

Can a night sky mural be painted on any type of ceiling?

Most surfaces that we have been asked to paint on have been great for our murals. We’ve created Night Sky Murals on many types of ceilings…tape & texture, popcorn, acoustic panels, metal, cloth, glass and wood.

Chances are that your ceiling surface is in the range of possibilities... but we'll be happy to go into more detail if you want to just ask about your specific situation.

Is a smooth or textured ceiling best?

If you are redoing a room, or building a new house, and you have the choice of smooth or textured, I will always recommend texture. The reason is because the stars on a smooth ceiling will be little bumps. In the right conditions (each room is different) you may not even see them. But, in a different room with the very same smooth texture on the ceiling you might see a lot of the bumps. Each room is different. now, I have painted on many smooth ceilings over the 20+ years that I've been painting and because people knew that they might see little bumps, in the light, they weren't surprised and they were just happy that the night sky was there.

With a textured ceiling those little pretty much vanish in the light and the night sky will look amazing in the dark.

Quick note: Even on a textured ceiling... when the ceiling color is very dark, you will probably see some of the stars show up. It isn't the little bumps that you are seeing, but the difference in the paint color and the color of the glow pigments. But, what I've noticed is that most of the stars taht show up on dark colored ceilings (in the light) are the constellation stars, and I've had a lot of people say that they like that.

what are the best lights to charge the glow paint?

Most good sources of UV light will work to charge the paint (activate the pigments so that they’ll glow), but I have my favorites. 

 Let’s me explain what’s “Good” and also the lights that you should “Stay Away” from:


365nm UV blacklights – 
 - Gives off less visible light. 
 - Great to charge the glow pigments. 
 - Great for fluorescing paint/additives.
 - Best in a Home Theater where you want to see stars during a movie.
 - More expensive

395nm-405nm blacklights
 - Gives off blighter light
 - Light is more purple
 - Some materials fluoresce nicely 
 - Great in rooms where you want to charge the night sky mural and then shut off all lights and enjoy the mural.
 - Less expensive

Strip Lights
 - Great in a soffit
 - The right light strips will do a great job of charging the glow paint evenly, around a room.
 - You’ll usually use UV strip lights to charge the glow paint, then shut them off (unless they are 365nm lights), in which case you can turn them on during a movie and the paint will fluoresce nicely without a lot of extra visible light.
 - RGB strip lights are not good to charge the glow paint, but they are great to add different colors to the soffit.
 - If you’d like to put UV strip lights in the soffit and also RGB strip/rope lights too, then make sure that you have separate outlets that each go to a separate light switch (you’ll run them at different times).

Rope Lights
 - Great in a soffit, but NOT good to charge the glow paint (even if they say they are blacklight rope lights).
 - RGB rope lights, just like the RGB strip lights are great for adding different moods with the different colors, but they are NOT good to charge the glow paint.

Floodlights - Just as with the strip lights, there are some lights that are great to charge the glow paint and there are imposters. I usually have a handful of suppliers that I can refer you to if you’d like floodlights. I had a supplier who I got these lights from, but they changed the LED chip and now I can’t find the same, good chip. But, I can direct you to place or two.
 - Great when there is no soffit to put strip lights in
 - Small footprint
 - Powerful UV lights
 - True 365nm floodlights are expensive, but are great in a theater room, just as the 365nm strip lights
 - 395nm-405nm floodlights are great in all other rooms

Do the painted stars really twinkle?

Absolutely!I like to think, and will even joke around with people and tell them that it's a secret to the way that I paint... but it's not. Actually, there are a couple things that I do, that helps, but it mostly has zero to do with me.
 It has more to do with the way the glow paint releases it's glowing charge and also the rods and cones in your eyes. So, while I wish that I could say it was all me who created the really cool effect, it's really only about 5% me. 

Does the color of the ceiling matter?

Does the ceiling color matter?  Not really, but… 

Dark ceilings  
  - Not a problem  
  - Some stars will be visible in the light
  - Visible stars are mostly constellation stars and most people like the look of constellations on a dark background  

Light colored ceilings
  - Great
  - Much more difficult to see stars when the lights are on.  

A plug for texture (I like a knockdown texture)
  - The stars that are painted are basically little dots/bumps of glow paint. On a smooth surface, and with the right lighting, some of those little bumps will show up. When you have texture on the ceiling, those little bumps all but disappear. On a dark ceiling, they will hide the bumps and hide some of the stars that would be visible in the light.