How to NAIL a professional looking night sky illusion
Jim Beatty / A
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It's the little details --- the sometimes 'insignificant' minor decor touches --- there in the background of professional attractions and displays, that help put the icing on the cake that was baked. Whether they are noticed or not... they are there regardless, appreciated by some and overlooked by many.
For example, how about enhancing your Haunt's indoor graveyard setting with a realistically three dimensional night sky illusion? The black walls surrounding the setting and perhaps even the ceiling overhead .... can easily be transformed into a subtle starry night sky, or a cosmic outer space universe for alien themed environments. Using black light and fluorescent white paint, you can nail this illusion like a pro.
Get yourself three different size new pencils (with flat head erasers) and three or four different size boxes of nails and brads, with dark colored stems. Put some of the white fluorescent paint into small one or two ounce cups, such as fast food plastic containers for catsup. With the black lights on and in place, dip the ends of the erasers into the paint and press once onto the walls (and ceiling, if applicable) like using a rubber stamp. Do this randomly with the different size erasers, using a star constellation chart or map as a guide. Create small clusters here and there---- not too many or too few. You can vary the color of your stars by mixing subtle drops of fluorescent blue into the fluorescent white paint cups.
Once you have your background 'stars' installed, you can bring the display into the third dimension utilizing the different size lengths of nails and brads. Dip the flat heads of the nails lightly into the fluorescent paint, and set aside to dry. Blocks of styrofoam make a good rest station to stick the nail ends into, while the heads are drying. When all are set up, use a rubber mallet to randomly tap the nails into the walls and/or ceiling. Obviously, it is easier to do this on drywall than on plywood. Tap the nails two or three times into place, because you want the different stem lengths exposed to create your illusion. It works best when you place your nails next to your eraser spots, to give an appearance of depth. After a little practice, you can create black light starfields that will rival expensive fiber-optic displays. Don't forget to add a glow in the dark moon (available at gift or novelty stores) and maybe some wispy airbrushed clouds to complete your overall effect.