Ceiling glitter — where to buy it — and my very pressing questions

ceiling glitterI was up at Miller Supply Co. in Pittsfield recently, picking up a framing project, and while I was there I got to talking with Steve Miller, the owner. Miller’s has been in Pittsfield for decades. I asked him whether something in an old store display was still available (it wasn’t), and then I thought to ask: What do you have left that is really really old? One of the items he pointed me to: Vintage Ceiling Glitter — in silver and gold. He has just a half dozen or so containers left and, “When it’s gone,  it’s gone,” he said. Ceiling glitter: Yes, that was sure another “thing”. 

ceiling-glitter-2-2But I have some pressing questions:

  • Golly, how do you install it? I see from the plastic container cover that guns were used — that, I get. I can go online today and see guns for blowing ceiling glitter. But “throw by hand”? You must be kidding me. What a bloody mess? How in the world? You must not only need to wear goggles but also a zoot suit. And the stuff is expensive — wouldn’t you want to collect the excess and put it back in the gun? But then, that means your entire room would need to be 100% dust free, or else you would be also collecting dust, putting into a glitter gun and spraying it on the ceiling. Maybe there is no excess? Maybe it ALWAYS sticks, as long as the surface is tacky enough (see question below).
  • Does it go on flat ceilings? Or popcorn ceilings?
  • How do you ensure that the surface is all tacky? Do you spray paint fast with a spray gun canister thingie then quick quick quick get the glitter gun up and get the glitter on? Or, do you paint the ceiling with oil paint — which takes longer to dry and therefore is tacky longer — and then put up the glitter?
  • What happens if you screw up?

This is a very intriguing product. I would love to figure out the answers to all these questions and maybe even try it — for the record — on a ceiling.

As you can see, this ceiling glitter was made, most recently at least, by Zinsser. That’s the same company that today is famous for all kinds of wall preparation solutions. I believe they are owned by Rust-Oleum. Sure enough, when I googled a bit trying to look for ceiling glitter sold today, I only found examples from Zinsser, and all the listings that I found were sold out.

Like I said, if you are in the market, you can buy the last remaining stock from Miller Art & Frame, Pittsfield, Mass. link is here >> http://www.millerartandframe.com/There is not much left, though.

UPDATE: Reader Mark quickly identified another source of ceiling glitter and glitter guns available today. He wrote:

Check this out: Glitter gun here (glitter also available on the site)

Everything you need, both professional (pneumatic) & DIY (hand-crank) guns available, as well as glitter…

Thank you, Mark!

When were glitter ceilings introduced? 

Some readers questioned whether this effect was truly “mid-century” — but we are pretty sure we have provenance back to the mid-1950s, at least. Mark says that his true storybook ranch, built in ’56-57, had glitter on the ceilings (befitting a “Cinderella!”) and Ranger Smith says the foyer of his ’61 ranch had glitter on the ceilings, too. I would guess-timate that glitter ceilings were fairly popular throughout the 1960s and even into the Liberace 1970s, but then interest faded. Even so, they seem to have been continually available.

I NEEEEEEEEED a glitter ceiling!
ceiling glitter

The glitter chunks in my relatively-old Zinsser are pretty big – notably bigger than my crafty glitter. The label says that this ceiling glitter is all-aluminum.

I may use my two containers for artsy fartsy crafty projects. More likely, I will keep them in my my museum-of-Pittsfield-hoard. My precious……

Before they moved from North Street to their new (very googie) location on West Street, Miller’s carried a lot of wallpaper. After they moved, which is after I truly discovered them, I raided their basement for many rolls of their new old stock vintage wallpaper. I have installed several patterns in the house. I adore Miller Supply Co.

  1. Colleen says:

    Just purchased a house in Tasmania Australia circa 1953 has glitter felling in games room, still getting my head around it. Leave it or paint over that is the question, does it paint over is another

      1. Donna says:

        Pam, just found your site… would Miller’s still have the ceiling glitter… I can’t find the original stuff anywhere and other glitter does not give a good effect. I love my popcorn glittered ceiling.. but need to refresh the glitter.
        Thanks for any help!

    1. Marie Gamalski says:

      Yes… you can paint over it, w/oil paint that’s what was used to adhere the glitter….sadly my Dad had the builder paint over the glitter ceilings in our house before we even moved in????

  2. Leslie says:

    We recently had to redo our basement ceiling due to a flood. Since the original ceiling was asbestos we redid however much to the surprise of the contractor ask for the same popcorn ceilings. However my husband had the “bright idea” of making it sparkly like the original mica flecked ceilings upstairs. Being a purist but not wanting to rain on anyone’s parade NOT the same look. It’s more like confetti stuck to the ceiling.

  3. Glen H says:

    Late to this piece, but there used to be a product called Glamacoat here in Oz. It was a spray on coat for walls and ceilings. I think it was coloured wood pulp and included glitter, very thin strips of coloured Mylar and probably asbestos… Anyone know about this, it’s been years since I’ve seen any?

  4. Darla Brown says:

    In the late 80’s we had a plastering guy redo our living room ceiling and I insisted it look like a cake with the little tiny peaks. When he finished the plaster which was quite a task on stilts, he asked if I wanted any glitter. I had never heard of it but I said yes and he kept asking if I wanted more and of course I said yes. It sparkled with daylight and with lamps in the evening. The most magnificent time of the year is at Christmas with the lights and the sparkle effect. I have a huge mirror over the fireplace mantle and it also catches the sparkle. Maybe old fashioned but I love it!

  5. J Veilleux says:

    It was a huge surprise when walking through the house to see the glitter ceiling in the hall. The entire house we are renovating. It’s a fun part of the house 🙂

  6. Pinky says:

    have the paint guys add it to your paint before putting it in the shaker machine….that is how I did it ….and just roll it on like normal….comes out fine

  7. Donna Schaffer says:

    My husband and I are remodeling a 1970’s mobile home and we are covering the ceiling with decorative panels, painted to match crown moulding (white), then glittered and spray sealed before installation.. Along with ribbon lights every other row connected to dimmers it should be amazing….

  8. Jocelyn Lehtola says:

    I have wanted a “glitter” ceiling in my Living room in New Mexico but had a very difficult time finding anyone that knew what I was talking about until I found this site! Many thanks for all the info but will probably try the Lowes store rather than trying to find some one to blow the glitter on.
    I remember the homes in south Florida in the 1960’s & 70’s that had glitter ceilings.. I though they were magical!

  9. JU-JU says:

    I am about to paint my bedroom and office. Thought I’d add glitter ceilings. From all these posts, the paint crystals at Lowes sounds the easiest.

    l am glad I found your posts. It provided guidance and affirmations that my intent is not outdated.

  10. Annette Robidoux says:

    My parents bought their home in 1958.. it was 4 years old at that time and had a glitter ceiling in the living room… so this predates the info you have in the article by a couple of years. I remember it fondly from my childhood. ( I was born in 1960) The home has been vastly remodeled from a tiny 2 bedroom to a 6 bedroom 2 1/2 bath 2 story house. The ceiling in the living room has been painted over.. but it still has the original decorative sculpting around it. (Not sure what you call that). I would love to have it re-glittered!

    1. Thank you, Annette, for this memory. I found it researching glitter ceilings for an art project. I, too, grew up beneath glitter ceilings, and I was born in 1954. I have parent-verification that my first conscious memory of living anywhere was of age two, based on details I can give. That ceiling was glittered; and so, supports your memory. Shine on!

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