Design

Anton’s Bedroom Ceiling Is the Best Part of Our Apartment

glow in dark stars

Seven-year-old Anton’s bedroom ceiling looks pretty normal at first…

best glow in the dark stars

Until you turn off the lights, when it feels like the whole universe is above you. You might as well be camping in the desert, or lying in a canoe in the middle of a Vermont lake. The stars are so beautiful, we sometimes just lie there, gazing at them.

My aunt Lulu sent the pack of glow-in-the-dark stars to Anton for Christmas. The thing that makes them so much cooler than regular glowy stars are how tiny they are. They look so real.

We might give some to Toby for his birthday later this month. And maybe some for Alex and my bedroom, too — I mean, life is short, right? Shouldn’t we all be falling asleep under the stars?

P.S. A children’s book I still think about, and Toby and Anton in conversation.

  1. nour says...

    The glow in the dark stars and planets were my companion growing up. I got over my fear of darkness thanks to them and they sparked my imagination and curiosity! They are still hanging in my old room’s ceiling and I can’t bring myself to take them down.

  2. Rachel says...

    I live in my childhood home. My sister’s bedroom has a ceiling full of glow in the dark stars that I still cannot bear to take these down. The room is now used as a guest room and our overnight guests are tickled by the surprise stargazing once they turn out the lights. Someday we will move and I’m not sure what we’ll do with these stars, but they still delight us almost two decades later!

  3. My first night of sophomore year in college, I turned out the lights and said, “What the what?!?!” Honestly, for a second I thought the ceiling had disappeared and I was somehow, impossibly, looking up at the night’s sky. Since then, I’ve put up tiny stars in almost every bedroom I’ve lived in. Not just for me, but to (hopefully) give that same moment of magic to anyone who lived there after.

  4. Frances says...

    That is lovely. I too had these in the mid 90s in my bedroom. now when we go on holiday to visit my parents interstate it’s a bit of a full circle because now my 2 boys get to sleep in my old bedroom and look at the same stars on the ceiling, they love it.

  5. Maha says...

    Hey Jo,
    You made me so nostalgic and just ordered the same pack for my sons. They share the same room so they both will appreciate sleeping under starry night. I used to have a similar ceiling back in the 90’s where it was super popular. Back then we didn’t have lot of star sizes. They were all medium and large sizes, so my mol got the glow-in-the-dark pen and she wold draw tiny dots all over my ceiling. It was so magical. Thank you for bringing back such warm memories.

  6. Lynea says...

    In college three roommates and I filled the ceiling of our hallway with these stars. You could close the doors on either side to make it very dark and the ceiling was mesmerizing. We used to invite people to see the “star-way” at parties, which very obviously seemed like a move to anyone but the 4 of us. We just thought it was really cool! If it hadn’t lead to so many funny stories I would feel bad for how confusing this was for potential beaus.

  7. Nicole W. says...

    I used to have these on my ceiling in my closet as a kid. It was a really tall ceiling. I would read in there, take naps, hide from the scary, noisy vacuum on chore weekends… oh, those were the days! Perhaps I should invest in some for my current closet? I wouldn’t mind hiding from chore days these days too, to be honest!

  8. Alyssa says...

    I put them on my four year old’s ceiling after Christmas this year and I can’t believe how much I enjoy them! It’s so magical to turn the lights off and see them – I thought I was the only adult left that felt this way! The teeny tiny ones do look like real stars!

  9. Audra says...

    I had glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling of my childhood bedroom, too! They’re actually still there, and comfort me every time I go home to visit :)

  10. Anna Shumway says...

    I had glow in the dark stars on my ceiling in HS and I would arrange the stars in the initials of my crush…my mom totally kept track about the ever-changing initials.

    • Sheila says...

      That is so sweet. We’re such goofs in love when we’re young!

  11. So cool! I had glow-in-the-dark stars above my bed during university times. Every time I wrote a test or handed in a paper (writing those was particularly hard for me), I got a new one: I would go to the toy store and pick out a small, medium, or large one, depending in how difficult the test or paper had been. Then I would stick it to the ceiling and marvel at a new star in my growing nightsky of academic achievements.

    • Sarah says...

      I love this!

    • em says...

      this is like gold stars but for grown ups 😭

    • Maddy says...

      This is so sweet! What a good way to reward yourself.

  12. Sarah says...

    We have a new baby joining our family in a few weeks and this would be a perfect gift from him to the sibs to sweeten the introduction! Thank you!

    • andi says...

      lovely idea

    • Mandy says...

      Ohh love this idea!

  13. Christie says...

    I had these on my ceiling as a kid! They are the BEST! My mom, who is super into decor, helped me put them up as a kid and I thought she was the coolest! I left them up until I went to college. So fun!

  14. Sofie says...

    I had forgotten about these; they dotted my childhood bedroom many moons ago! I’m not quite at the motherhood stage yet, but I imagine/hope that will come in the next five years of so. I’d love to surprise our future child with ceiling stars during the toddler years. Such fond memories brought back by this post!

  15. Rena says...

    I had these in my childhood bedroom, which was my parents’ bedroom before, and they had made the stars a representation of the real night sky – constellations and all!

  16. K says...

    these make me so nostalgic, they remind me of elementary school sleepovers

  17. Rachel says...

    Joanna, I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I saw you mention below the cost of that fraudulent link from the holiday guides – I still can’t believe you covered costs for folks as a result! That was so kind. My friend once shared this link with me and I wanted to pass along in case it’s helpful in future. This app/website uses AI to determine whether something is legit on an e-commerce site and I’ve felt much more informed when (mostly during the pandemic) having to buy an item only available from a maybe sketchy seller.

    https://www.fakespot.com/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you!!

    • Negar says...

      And they have an app so you can automatically check every item quickly!

  18. Emma says...

    My husband and I made some glow in the dark Halloween decorations when we were first married. And it was truly magic falling asleep to that every night. I love this so much! How long did it take to get that all up there??

  19. Kristen says...

    I ordered similar for a friends child’s 5th birthday and they were a hit! Will for sure be on my go to gift list from now on.

  20. marie says...

    duckduckgo’ing: glow in the dark paint for diy galaxy splatter!

  21. Katie says...

    We first read one of the Zen Panda books last autumn when I was looking for Halloween books from the library! It was a beautiful twist on a more classic “ghost” story for kids. I didn’t know there were others!

  22. Mel says...

    Awww!! I had these exact stickers on my ceiling when I was a teenager. I still remember buying them at the planetarium.

  23. Alyssa says...

    I always wanted these as a kid, and I was never allowed to have them. We moved a lots so I was never allowed to put anything on the walls (or ceilings). Can’t wait to stick some on my daughter’s ceiling. Life is too short to worry about something that can be fixed with a little bit of paint one day.

  24. Elle says...

    My kids had these on their ceilings and loved them. They are young adults now and the stars have fallen off over the years, leaving only lumps of the hardened sticky-tack on the ceiling. When my oldest child recently moved out, I gave the room a much-needed freshening up … I will admit there was some swearing as I tried to scrape the now-cement-like adhesive off the ceiling! I did a terrible job and ended up having to sand, patch, prime and re-paint the ceiling! Still worth it though (now that I’m done lol!).

    • andi says...

      Pro-tip: heat gun or even a blow dryer on high can work wonders

    • Amanda says...

      Haha, when we bought our new house one of the rooms had a bunch of these stars that were probably up there for 20 years. The ceiling was also painted dark blue. Scraping off the stars, removing all the tacky glue, and priming/covering the dark blue paint was a PROJECT. I’m sure the kid that lived there loved them though.

  25. cg says...

    My daughter got a set of stickers when she was five too! Now she’s sixteen. It reminds me that we should see if she wants to refresh those stickers (they do fade over the years)… and I like your idea to put them in the adult’s room too. Gonna order some now!

  26. Megs says...

    The little beach cottage my husband and I stayed in for our honeymoon (6 years ago!) had glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling in the bedroom. It totally took us by surprise when evening came and made the first of our nights together so magical – highly recommend.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so sweet!

  27. Jean says...

    Thank you for this because it reminded me of when my daughter was small and I put dozens of stars on her sloped bedroom ceiling, and I’d lie in bed with her looking at them. Happy memories.

  28. AN says...

    Inquiring minds want to know, which ones did you buy?!? If they’re good enough for Anton…

    • Nora says...

      We have those in all of our kid’s bedrooms. I love them.

  29. Nora Crane says...

    Hi there

    I’m wondering if the stars glow greenish as they appear in your photo or do they glow by whatever light charges them? I’m looking for a more blueish glow.

    Love your results!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      they’re more yellow than they look in the photo — but more green than blue, if that makes sense.

  30. RS says...

    The guest room at my in-laws house is the childhood bedroom of my husband’s sister. When she was in her teens she painted stars (and a crescent moon or two!) all over the ceiling with glow-in-the-dark paint. By day, it’s a normal ceiling, but the first time you sleep in that room it’s a fun surprise. She did this in the 70s – that’s some long lasting paint!

    • Eloise says...

      Someone did this to my freshman dorm room ceiling in the 80s. I remember shrieking with glee when I got into bed on night one (during the day all looked fine, which is probably how the painter got away with it).

  31. Lisa says...

    My husband and I are in our thirties, and we do have glow in the dark stars in our bedroom. I’d say, go for it ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awwww haha love that! :)

    • Alanna says...

      Haha same here Lisa, it’s the best!! Every bedroom needs stars.

  32. miranda says...

    would love to send some to my neices and nephews! Do you have a non-Amazon way that you would recommend?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good question! however, it’s tricky because I linked to a non-amazon online shop for a galaxy light for our holiday gift guide and it turned out to be fraudulent. I was happy to reimburse people for their purchases, but it added up to thousands of dollars. so now I’m a little nervous to recommend another site without having personally used them! you might google tiny glow-in-the-dark stars and see what comes up? xo

    • Julia says...

      I found a couple of science museums that are selling glow-in-the dark stars in their online gift shops — pretty unlikely to scam you and probably good organizations to support.
      Joanna, I actually ordered the scam galaxy light for my nephew, but was easily able to get PayPal to refund the transactions, so didn’t take you up on your generous offer. I appreciated that you wanted to make it up to people who followed that recommendation, though.

    • Kate says...

      Call around to toy stores and see if you can order from them! That’s where I got all of mine when I was a kid. Just Google local toy stores and call around!

    • Sara says...

      Joanna,
      I was one of the people who purchased one of those galaxy projectors on the holiday gift guide, and was blown away when you offered to reimburse us. Oddly enough, they continued to email me (although for obvious reasons, never responded to any of mine), and lo and behold in late March/early April, one showed up in the mail! Now we have two haha

    • Elizabethkatt says...

      I was looking into getting some of these a while back and found a lot of options on Etsy.

    • Rebecca says...

      I found some on Etsy. I haven’t ordered yet but the reviews look legit.

      Also I know Reading my Tea Leaves had a blog posting a few months ago on making your own!

    • Inga says...

      Sorry to hear that your good intentions turned into such a major expense for you, Joanna! Like many readers, I went through my credit card company to get the purchase reimbursed instead of contacting you. I would ALWAYS recommend working with your bank when issues with an order arise and the vendor doesn’t take your complaint seriously. Based on the timeline, it looks like that shitty company shipped my order the moment my bank canceled their payment so that they could appeal to the bank. In the end, I did have to pay, but (1) I got my lights (>3 months after ordering them) and (2) my fraud report caused some well-deserved hassle to the company.

  33. Sarah says...

    I put these up in my childhood bedroom as a kid during an astronaut phase, age 9 or 10. I have no idea how it’s possible, but I am a 36 year old and those stars still glow when I go home and sleep in that room!

  34. Allie G says...

    You can also buy glow in the dark paint and create a Milky Way by dipping a toothbrush in the paint and using your thumb on the bristles to “spray” the paint across the ceiling! Dip the eraser end of pencil and stamp on stars/planets. It’s invisible during the day:)

    • sns says...

      YES – my favorite way and far more realistic

    • Rusty says...

      FABULOUS DIY!!! 😃

  35. maywyn says...

    Wow ceiling. The lamps that project stars don’t look as much fun as Anton’s ceiling. What fun to create personalized constellations.

  36. Jeanne says...

    When I was in college my dorm roommate kept a jar of glow in the dark paint available. Our visiting friends would paint messages to us on the ceiling. In the day, the creamy colored paint was invisible to the school but at night we would be treated to all sorts of lovely, funny and sometimes inappropriate notes!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha that’s amazing!

  37. gk says...

    we got these star stickers for my son, too. he decided he wanted to put them on the the walls (b/c it’s where he could reach, really). i was iffy about it, but went with it. it turned out SO COOL. it feels like you’re in the stars – surrounded by them, not just looking up at a night sky.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love that idea!!!

    • Mariana says...

      My son did this too! His bedroom has mountains painted on the walls and he decided to stick the stars above them. I didn’t want to do it but now I love it, it’s so dreamy!

  38. AG says...

    Oh! I had these in my room growing up…they were such a joy and paired nicely with the glow in the dark star comforter I still have!

  39. Valentina says...

    When I was like 13 or 15 years old, my best friend did this in her bedroom, but like in another level: she first traced the REAL position of stars in her ceiling and then pasted the tiniest glow in the dark stars. It was AMAZING.

  40. Julie says...

    We just moved to a new house and did this in our boys’ room too. We painted their ceiling a dark blue and also put their horoscope constellations above their beds. I love tucking them in – it really feels like a night sky!

  41. Michelle Parks McCourt says...

    We have them too, one is a giant big G for Gus.

  42. C says...

    Oh wow, I put these up in my bedroom when I was in high school! I spent *days* painstakingly trying to replicate a constellation map I had… And then they all fell off within a week because of the damn popcorn ceiling haha.

    • Meg says...

      Oh my gosh. I’ve never done this, and yet it feel sooo relatable. Ha!

  43. CS says...

    This is so sweet- what a lovely and simple thing to bond over. When my husband and I were first married, he bought a bunch of these glow stars and put them up on our bedroom ceiling as a surprise that I discovered that evening. Even though they were just your standard sized ones (the tiny ones sound like a great idea!), they were so nice to look at. Happily married a quarter of a century later, your post reminded me of that lovely time. Thank you.

  44. Kate says...

    One night when I was about 7 I couldn’t sleep and I noticed that a mirror on my windowsill was reflecting the moon onto my ceiling. I called my dad in and we decided to mark the reflection with glow-in-the-dark stars – one at the top and one at the bottom of the oval reflection – and track the moon’s movement through the night. Dad set a timer and came into my room every 10 minutes to put on new stars as the reflection moved across my ceiling . Even after I’d fallen asleep, he came in for an hour and added stars. For the rest of the time I lived at home, and until the house got a much-needed remodel, those perfectly spaced stars glowed on my ceiling, showing exactly how much the moon moves in 10 minutes and the gentle arc it makes across the sky. I got my curiosity and love of observing those tiny, hidden, mysterious details of nature from my dad and I remember that whenever I see those stars.

    • Amy says...

      I love this story, and your dad! The part where he came in even when you were asleep to chart the moon’s movements made me tear up.

    • Maggie says...

      Wow! Beautiful!!

    • Mandy says...

      This is beautiful! What a wonderful memory!

    • Emily says...

      I absolutely love this!! What a sweet memory.

    • Louisa says...

      This is so lovely.

      I did a similar thing once – impromptu – while teaching one summer. A student pointed out a spot on the carpet. We thought it might be the sun and tracked it with chalk marks throughout the day. It was *magical.*

  45. Ileana says...

    Bought these so fast for my space-loving toddler who turns 3 this weekend! He’s starting to fear the dark, so I think he’ll love the extra light. :)

  46. alison says...

    This takes me back! I can smell the incense in my teenage bedroom…

    • A says...

      Lol same. My mom hated the incense but I thought it was soooo cool!

  47. Mandy says...

    I totally agree! Pandemic birthdays all require glow in then dark stars!! We did this for our kids last year birthday as a surprise! At night when the went to bed their shared bedroom roof lit up with all the stars! We hid constellations and also their initials up there as well!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so cute to hide their initials!