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Soon-to-be dad's starry DIY nursery project goes viral

Feb. 6, 2014 at 6:59 PM ET

Soon-to-be dad Brian d'Arcy uploaded a gif of the starry, fiber optic ceiling in his unborn son's nursery to Reddit.
Brian d'Arcy
Soon-to-be dad Brian d'Arcy uploaded a gif of the starry, fiber optic ceiling in his unborn son's nursery to Reddit.

On January 30, Brian d’Arcy of Philadelphia posted an animated GIF of his latest project to Reddit (see above), saying, “My wife and I are expecting our first son in June so I decided to install a fiber-optic star ceiling in the nursery I am building!” Fellow Redditors' prodding for how-to shots led Brian to create the subsequent Imgur album, My Son’s Star Ceiling, which has garnered some 300,000 views in a week. 

After finding out that a baby was on the way, Brian remembered seeing the concept of a starry ceiling somewhere, but couldn't recall where. In researching the possibilities, he quickly found pictures and how-to videos online. 

While a project like this may seem daunting to most of us, 27-year-old Brian also happens to be an engineering student. Armed with a $400 kit from Wiedamark, he told TODAY that the 40-hour installation was more tiresome than difficult. “Being by myself, the install was very tedious,” said Brian. 

“I would have to drill 10-20 holes in the room, climb up in to the attic, pull the same amount of fiber strands from the bundle, crawl over to the holes without putting my foot through the ceiling, and fish each strand through the holes,” Brian explained. “Every single strand had to be glued in place after they were installed to secure them. There are 600 strands, so even if I did 20 every time, that's 30 trips to the attic.”

Well, the epic DIY project has paid off, as mom-to-be thinks the space is amazing, according to Brian. “I'm not always the best at verbally expressing how excited I am that we are expecting, so this was kind of my way to show her,” he added.   

As for what baby boy d’Arcy may think of his new ceiling, Brian’s only wish is, “I hope he will just know how excited I am and that I'm looking forward to being a dad.” 

Take a look at Brian's breakdown of the process below or view the gallery here!

Starting out, Brian used painters tape to mark where the beams were in the ceiling (so he wouldn’t drill there), and then stapled landscaping string to create a one-foot by one-foot grid. Boo, the kitten, didn’t enjoy the process.
Courtesy of Brian d'Arcy
Starting out, Brian used painters tape to mark where the beams were in the ceiling (so he wouldn’t drill there), and then stapled landscaping string to create a one-foot by one-foot grid. Boo, the kitten, didn’t enjoy the process.


The “crappy part” of the project, according to Brian, was removing nine trash bags worth of insulation from the attic.
Courtesy of Brian d'Arcy
The “crappy part” of the project, according to Brian, was removing nine trash bags worth of insulation from the attic.


The kit Brian purchased from WiedAmark included a light source, 600 fiber strands grouped into two bundles, a remote and a color wheel that can make the stars appear in different hues.
Courtesy of Brian d'Arcy
The kit Brian purchased from WiedAmark included a light source, 600 fiber strands grouped into two bundles, a remote and a color wheel that can make the stars appear in different hues.


To keep the fiber strand bundles from tangling, Brian bound the strands every foot or so with zip ties, but covered the last 10 inches – which were then attached to the light source in the closet—with electric tape. Brian said trying pull the individual fiber strands through the ceiling without tangling was the hardest part of the project, but he found laying the bundles flat helped.
Courtesy of Brian d'Arcy
To keep the fiber strand bundles from tangling, Brian bound the strands every foot or so with zip ties, but covered the last 10 inches — which were then attached to the light source in the closet — with electric tape. Brian said trying pull the individual fiber strands through the ceiling without tangling was the hardest part of the project, but he found laying the bundles flat helped.


Brian drilled about 10-20 holes at a time, using a 1/16th bit, and then he pulled the strands (including the excess) through the ceiling until he was finished with all 600 strands. The cats continued to not be amused by the project.
Courtesy of Brian d'Arcy
Brian drilled about 10-20 holes at a time, using a 1/16th bit, and then he pulled the strands (including the excess) through the ceiling until he was finished with all 600 strands. The cats continued to not be amused by the project.


Brian saved managing the cables in the attic until the end of the process, but recommends not doing that, as it was difficult to restrain the fiber bundles. He then had to glue all 600 strands in place. In the nursery, he sprayed the ceiling with a portable Wagner paint sprayer and trimmed each strand, leaving roughly 3-4 millimeters of excess sticking out.
Courtesy of Brian d'Arcy
Brian saved managing the cables in the attic until the end of the process, but recommends not doing that, as it was difficult to restrain the fiber bundles. He then had to glue all 600 strands in place. In the nursery, he sprayed the ceiling with a portable Wagner paint sprayer and trimmed each strand, leaving roughly 3-4 millimeters of excess sticking out.


The finished product: a 12-foot by 10-foot ceiling embedded with 596 sparkly stars. (Brian broke four strands during the installation process!)
Courtesy of Brian d'Arcy
The finished product: a 12-foot by 10-foot ceiling embedded with 596 sparkly stars. (Brian broke four strands during the installation process!)

Jessica Dukes is a working mom of two. You can find her on Google+ and Pinterest.

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