Ceiling murals are artwork painted directly onto the ceiling. There are several famous examples of these murals, including the stars on the main concourse ceiling at Grand Central Station in New York and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling mural in the Vatican. Though ceiling murals are painted, there are different methods to create the art, which include trompe l'oeil, fresco, stencils, and decals.
Murals created using the trompe l'oeil method are eye-catching because they appear three dimensional. The artist uses this method of precise imagery to create an optical illusion and make the ceiling seem larger and the subjects look alive. The Jesuit Church in Vienna, Austria, contains ceiling murals that looks like golden domes when in fact it is barely vaulted.
Murals painted in the fresco method are done with a mixture of paint and plaster. The fresco method was popular during the Renaissance period and many churches throughout Europe have fresco ceilings. The artist adds pigment to a thin layer of plaster and paints in small sections. As the plaster dries, the pigment binds to the plaster and forms a permanent image.
Today's artists often utilize modern techniques to create ceiling murals. The use of stencils and decals are considerably less expensive and less time consuming. This makes it more attractive to individual homeowners who wish to have ceiling murals in their homes. The most common rooms for ceiling murals are nurseries, children's rooms, and master bedrooms because the artwork will be seen as the person lies in bed. Common mural themes include stars or constellations, clouds, and angels.
Artists who create ceiling murals using stencils start with a specific design and either order a custom stencil or hand cut their own. The stencil is then taped on the ceiling with removable tape and and the artist follows the stencil to paint the outline. The remaining image is then filled in with paint by hand. Typically, stencils work best for a simple repeating design such as clouds, vines, or flowers.
As laser art techniques become more advanced, decals are used more often. The decal technique for ceiling murals is similar to decoupage techniques where a thin glue material is painted over the decal to adhere it to a piece of furniture. The laser images have a high level of definition which makes them a good choice for homeowners who want a professional piece of art without having to invest in a muralist.