A while back I got a question on my YouTube channel about how to create a realistic-looking starfield on a ceiling with chalk. Although it would work (theoretically), a better solution is to use glow paint.
Q: I just came across your video on YouTube about how to create a realistic starfield with black light chalk and I would really appreciate if you could help me out.
I would like to create a starfield ceiling for my kids’ room and would like to ask if I could use the same technique you used in your video. Since it’s the ceiling we are talking about, would the chalk stick to it by just blowing the chalk on it like you did? What would be the best way to create such a ceiling?
How long will the effect last? Is the blacklight chalk permanent? Or I would have to renew the ceiling after some time?
Chalk: Not recommended!
Second, without fixing the chalk, it would smear anytime something brushed against it. (Not that a lot of things will brush the ceiling, but you’d never be able to dust or clean it without erasing or smearing the chalk.)
Third, because some of the pigment is toxic, I don’t think I’d want that dust on a children’s room, where they might breathe it if it gets stirred up.
A Better Solution: Phosphorescent Glow Paint
Here’s a better way to create that effect:
If I were doing it, I’d probably use phosphorescent glow paint rather than chalk. You could get a similar, random effect by using a stiff bristle brush and spattering the paint on the ceiling. (This is a common technique of watercolorists. You load paint onto the toothbrush and rake your fingernail across it to spatter it on the paper or canvas.)
You can buy good quality phosphorescent paint from: artnglow.com.
The paint will need to be “charged” to make the entire starfield glow. You can do this with a black light or strong sunlight (if the room has a lot of windows).
Here’s a short video I found that compares different varieties of glow paint: