How to Make Glow in the Dark Paint
Glow in the dark paint can be used in all kinds of fun crafts and projects, and you don't even have to go out and spend lots of money to get some. You can make your very own glow in the dark paint right at home using a few simple supplies.
Using Phosphorescent Powder
Choose a glow in the dark powder.You can find glow in the dark, or phosphorescent, powders online or at some craft and art supply stores.
- The powders come in a variety of colors and particle sizes. Larger particles are brighter, but also make a rougher paint which can create a speckled look. Smaller particles create a smoother paint, but don't glow as brightly.
Choose a paint medium.This will be the actual paint that you mix into the phosphorescent powder. If you want your paint to be invisible in light, choose a clear paint, such as an acrylic gel. If you want to see the paint in the light, choose an acrylic or tempera paint in a color you like.
- Make sure that your paint medium works with your phosphorescent powder. For example, if you are planning to use a water-based medium, then you will need "coated glow powder" also known as "coated phosphorescent pigment". For solvent or oil-based mediums, you can use standard or uncollated glow powder.
Place your phosphorescent powder in a bowl.You'll want to place 1 part powder to 5 parts paint (or 20% by volume of glow powder to paint medium).
Pour paint into the bowl.Gradually pour your paint medium over the powder in your bowl. Carefully stir the mixture. You can add more paint to achieve a thinner consistency.
- The powder will not dissolve in the paint, so just stir until the mixture is combined and no lumps remain.
Use your paint.Most glow in the dark paints should be used immediately. Depending on your powder/medium combination, your new mix may or may not have shelf life. Therefore only mix what you can use within an hour.
- If you do want to store your paint, pour it into a sealable container and be sure to stir it well before using it again.
Using a Highlighter and Water
Open a highlighter and remove the felt.Using a pair of pliers, break open the end of a non-toxic highlighter. Remove the felt strip from the center and discard the plastic highlighter casing.
- Make sure that your highlighter glows under black lights. Test this by writing something on a piece of paper using your highlighter. Then, turn off the lights and hold the black light over it. You should see your test scribbles.
Run water through the felt.Place a cup or jar in your sink. Slowly run water through the felt strip so that the yellow highlighter liquid runs into your cup. Turn off the water and stop when the felt is white.
- You may need to do this for several highlighters in order to create enough highlighter water.
Place cornstarch in a bowl.Use 1/2 cup of white cornstarch. This will be the basis for your homemade glow in the dark paint.
- This mixture will be pretty thin. The ratio should be equal parts cornstarch and highlighter water.
Add highlighter water.Carefully pour in 1/2 cup of highlighter water and stir until the cornstarch completely dissolves.
Add food coloring.If you want to change the color of your paint, add a few drops of food coloring and stir. Add more food coloring till you achieve the desired color.
- Consider pouring your paint into a few smaller containers. That way, you can create different colors using different food colors.
Use your paint and let dry.This paint is pretty runny, so you may want to let it dry and paint on several layers. Extra layers will make the paint glow seem brighter and last longer.
Watch it glow.Turn off all the lights and make sure to close any blinds or shades. Turn on your UV-A blacklight in order to see your paint glow.
QuestionDo I have to use a black light to see this paint?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends. If you are using the phosphorescent powder, you do not need a black light. The paint will glow in the dark. If you are using a highlighter, however, you will need a black light.Thanks!
QuestionI would like to paint an exterior stone pathway with glow in the dark paint. Will this paint stand up to the elements?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMost paints will not stand up to long term exposure to the elements, but a sealant coat of acrylic or polyurethane will help.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use any detergent to make glow in the dark paint?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, instructables.com has a way to make glow in the dark with laundry detergent.Thanks!
QuestionCan I stain over the glow paint on a deck and still see the effects of the glow in dark pattern in the wood grain?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf the grain is deep enough to let the powder be flush with the rest of the deck, then I believe you could stain over it without any issue. Use a light colored stain to maximize exposure to the sun.Thanks!
QuestionWhere can I get glow powder?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can buy it from Amazon, eBay, or another online retailer. You may also be able to find it at a crafts store.Thanks!
QuestionCan you use salt instead of cornstarch?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, because the salt will mix in with the water.Thanks!
QuestionIs this paint safe to use on my body?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. It's just cornstarch and highlighter.Thanks!
QuestionDoes the glow from phosphorescent powder fade with time?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on the exposure to light and elements. It should last for a couple of years if painted on an internal wall, less than that on an external one.Thanks!
QuestionCan I make my own glow powder?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Just follow the steps carefully. Try having a friend or an adult to help you with your powder.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use the 2nd method as body paint?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes! Both methods can and are safe to be used as body paints. In addition, they both look great under a black light.Thanks!
Can I mix paint with this?
Does the power and paint method make permanent glow in the dark paint? Does it just disappear after some time and become normal paint?
What if your highlighter is not glow in the dark?
Can I use glow in the dark paint on used corks and add in my landscape instead of mulch?
Do I need to use white or the same color as the powder when I mix it with paint?
- If you have children make sure to keep stored paint out of reach; they could get sick if it is swallowed.
- While glow powders are mostly safe, they can pose inhalation hazards. Also, many paint mediums have other hazards. Therefore, working with glow paints is not appropriate for projects involving children.
Things You'll Need
Phosphorescent powder or crystals
Sources and Citations
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