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Years ago I visited a little old lady who had a beautiful tray ceiling in her living room. From that moment on I have desired to have a ceiling like that. Our living room ceiling was covered with ugly acoustic tiles that I hated, but always trying to do my best with what God has given me I painted the design I desired on the tiles. I even went so far as to paint a shadowed band on the edge to give the illusion of a tray ceiling. To my surprise many people would reach up to touch it to see if it was actually raised or not. LOL. My ceiling was painted this way for about 10 years.
After remodeling the kitchen one year and putting in a master bath the next, My husband said it was time for us to actually put in my ceiling. I was thrilled to tears! Well I immediately decided that I would simplify the design to a plain rectangle to make the whole process simpler. As we had never done a tray ceiling before. But my children all vetoed that idea saying I must keep the design I had on the ceiling all those years. So my eldest daughter and her husband came over and helped us measure and cut and hang the new sheet rock. What a wonderful day that was for me. And I think for them as well.
To build in a tray ceiling you will need to get a stud finder and mark all the studs in your ceiling. Start around all the edges placing a mark where ever you find a stud. Then mark with a chalk line. This is a tool with powdered chalk in it and a string. You shake it then pull out the string the distance you need it. Go from one side of the room to the other, you will need two or three people to do this. Hold the string tight no each side, string directly on mark. When the string is very tight, have someone stand in the middle and pull it away from the ceiling a couple of inches and release. This will leave a line of chalk across the ceiling. This is important because you want to hang your new sheet rock from those studs. Now to create the drop we took a screw gun and screwed 1″ x2′”fur strips to the ceiling where we wanted the ceiling to drop down. Once all the fur strips are in place you can cut your sheet rock ( dry wall) to fit the areas that need covered around the edge. Once the sheet rock is all in place take a mesh tape and tape all the seams. Plaster with about a 4 ” blade at first to fill in the seam and cover tape. When dry sand it down, and then using a larger plaster knife do a second coat and smooth out as much as possible. then when dry- sand again.
The lip edge is done the same way and at the same time as the rest of the ceiling. For the lip, cut the tape to fit the tray edge. Mine is about 1 1/2 in deep. Place tape on the lip edge and putty knife on your plaster. Once plaster is dry, this will need to be sanded and re-plastered till it is smooth and has a sharp edge.
I know that most of you will not attempt to do this yourself, but it really isn’t as hard as it might seem. This ceiling was only my 4th plastering project. Pretty much once you get the hang of it you can do anything with it! Or you could hire someone to do it! The tray ceiling really adds beauty to your home. A couple years after doing my living room I also did my master bed room ceiling. I love lying in bed looking up at it. I am easily entertained I guess!
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