Ceiling Project!




Introduction: Ceiling Project!

About: I am an artist, builder and teacher living in Japan.

This ceiling flip is the ultimate home decor upgrade! Here's a little back story:

I had a leaky roof window removed last year when the house got painted. Nothing is worse than a leaky window in the roof! We would've loved to get it fixed or replaced, but both were impossible....for our budget. For a new window, the roofers would've needed to make the hole bigger and when they gave me the estimate on paper, my eyeballs popped out of my head like Roger Rabbit. Almost like a joke! Like his hand couldn't stop writing zeros. So the window is long gone and we were left with a dark hallway. Without that window, the hallway is dark all day long. It's a constant game of "try and not step on a cat." The area didn't need much lighting before, so It didn't have it. I didn't realize how much sunlight and moonlight came through that thing.

Step 1: Way Back Machine

Don't judge me, but I went through a pipe lights phase....pipe lights all over the house! Next was my stained glass phase which just came back. I'm working on two new faux stained glass windows now.

By the way,I made that huge stained glass light in the picture:


Step 2: The Fix

That's the roofer closing the hole in the roof.

Step 3: The Paneling!

The ceiling was covered with a textured wallpaper that I removed. Wallpapered ceilings are the norm in Japan. You can easily panel over wallpaper if you don't want to mess with it.

If you want to remove the wallpaper, I suggest using:

-a 50/50 solution of warm water and vinegar to remove wallpaper backing.

-A wallpaper scraper

Just spray, wait a minute and scrape it off with a scraper.

I don't like using razor scrapers, because they can potentially damage the area you're working on.

The solution works well, but will stink up your house for a couple days. No joke, your house will smell like a pickle factory. I've read about non-stinky vinegar, but I live in Japan and cant find it anywhere. After removing all of the wallpaper, I sealed the ceiling with Nippon Paint Wall Sealer. It's a good sealer with anti-fungus and algae resistance properties.

For the paneling, I used 4 millimeter thick plywood. I went thin, because this ceiling is low. I cut out 13cm wide boards and just lined them up in two rows. The ceiling is about 300cm wide, so I went with two rows of 150cm boards. I didn't use any adhesives and attached the boards directly into the ceiling joists with tiny 32mm long self countersinking screws. The thin plywood is extremely light, so there's not much of a load. When picking screws, keep in mind the thickness of the ceiling and joists. I went up into my ceiling to mark the joists, but If you can't, they are usually 16in (40.5cm) off of center.

Step 4: The New Lights

These are the holes left from the old recessed lights. I liked the old recessed lights, but they were way too deep and barely gave any light. I installed twist lock sockets and they are standard in Japan. I installed supports in the ceiling and cut out bases for the sockets.

Use extreme caution with electricity!

I turned off the area at the breaker and installed the twist lock sockets. The ceiling is drywall, so I went over the area with joint compound and sanded.

Step 5: Finishing Up

I filled all screw holes with wood putty and sanded. If you're staining the wood, use a stainable wood putty. I'm not going to lie, this part is grueling! You're working over your head, it feels like there's eight trillion holes and it takes forever.

Caulk is always after putty. I used a paintable caulk and there are stainable caulks available, but I think the they are a little obvious with stain on them. You won't need to caulk everything! I didn't need to caulk most of the boards going horizontal on the ceiling. I did need to caulk all of the overlaying vertical boards and molding. If you're careful and good at caulking, you can skip the tape. With caulk, more is not better. You want to apply just enough to fill the void and smooth it down with your finger. Remove the tape before the caulk sets. Sloppy caulk jobs are noticeable especially under paint. The caulk will give it a clean and professional finish!

As you can see, I originality went with LED disks. I couldn't stand looking at them. As a matter of fact, they're almost too bright to look at. The first day was alright and then it was like being in the lobby of a spaceship or something. My cats started wearing sunglasses.

Step 6: Shadow Casting Lightbulbs!

Yeah! These bulbs are pretty dope! They run about $20 each and I've never really paid them any attention before, because light bulbs at those prices make me runaway holding my wallet.

The ones on Amazon last 25,000 hours which is how long it takes my teenage daughter to do her hair...The ones I bought are rated for 10,000 hours. Now, I'm no mathematician, but 25,000 is like a bunch more than 10,000.


The only cons I can think of are:

-They're big and hang low, so bumping them with something you're carrying will break them.

-Over tightening or too much pressure twisting them could break them.

All I needed were adapters for the sockets and for the old LED disks...I'll hang onto them just in case the sun burns out and I need to light the planet.

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    1 year ago

    Wow, those bulbs are really pretty! Gonna save those for when I update my bigger lighting fixtures :)