This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you.
Did you know the first-ever glow in the dark paint was invented around 100 years ago and it contained Radium? Thankfully, in the past 40 years or so, alternative methods to create the best glow in the dark paints have been explored and they are safer and more readily available. So, where would this paint come in handy? Well, it could be a special feature for a party or event. Glow in the dark paints can also brighten up school projects or other crafting ideas. Many of these paints work best when applied to hard surfaces such as ceilings or walls, but there are also certain ranges that are safe for use on the face or body too. In this article, we will be discussing glow in the dark paint products in detail, so that you have all the information before starting your project.
Table of Contents
- 0.1 Glow in the Dark Paint Explained
- 0.2 Types of Glow in the Dark Paints
- 0.3 Top Brands for Glow in the Dark Paints
- 0.4 Best Glow in the Dark Paint for Solid Surfaces: AURORA Bright Green
- 0.5 Best Glow in the Dark Paint for Skin: MIDNIGHT GLO UV Body Paint
- 0.6 Best Value: NEON NIGHTS Phosphorescent Glow Pigment
- 0.7 Tips for Using Glow Pigment Powder
- 0.8 Buying the Best Glow in the Dark Paint for You
- 0.9 Start With Your Walls
- 0.10 Creating Your Own Glow in the Dark Paints
- 1 Frequently Asked Questions
Glow in the Dark Paint Explained
Like all paints, the glow in the dark variety has a few different options to consider before deciding on which one is best suited to your needs. These paints come not only in different mediums, but also different colors, consistencies and each with their own specific glow and quality. Below are some different types of glow in the dark paint:
- Glow in the Dark Paint: This paint consists of phosphors crystals that are charged with a light source and this is what gives them their glow. Glow in the dark paint may not be very effective when used on small and detailed surfaces. Ideally, it should be used over a white or light-colored background for best results. This specific type of paint will shine in natural light or UV and blacklight. You can choose between the best glow in the dark spray paint or brush on paint.
- Neon Paint and UV Reactive Paint: Also known as fluorescent paint. These are the brightly colored options that glow by reacting to a blacklight. This has become a huge trend in nail polish recently. This paint type is charged by UV rays and won’t glow without them.
- Day-Glow Paint: Used mainly in advertising, this paint comes in bright red and orange varieties. Its vibrant colors are luminescent.
Now that we better understand the available paint options, we can narrow down how to find the best glow in the dark paint for you!
Types of Glow in the Dark Paints
With so many varieties of glow in the dark paint, it is important to know the composition as well as what surfaces your paint will be best suited to. Each paint is designed for a different purpose or project. Some will be the best glow in the dark paint for walls, while others are best suited to paper projects or fabrics. You can also look out for the best glow in the dark spray paint. There are also some brands known for being the best outdoor glow in the dark paint. Certain ranges are specifically made safe and non-toxic for use on the body, nails, or your face. These are usually cosmetic grade and most of them are washable.
For crafting and surface projects, there are two main groups we discussed, namely washable and glow in the dark acrylic paint. These two options may not appear to be very different, but the choice on which to use could greatly impact the outcome or lasting effects of your project. Therefore, we have outlined the pros and cons of each below to make this a little easier:
Water-Based or Washable Glow in the Dark Paint
Glow in the Dark Acrylic Paint
Acrylic paint is usually chemical-based and is the best glow in the dark paint for walls and other permanent design projects as it is more durable and lasts longer.
Top Brands for Glow in the Dark Paints
Once you get in on this trend, you will realize glow in the dark paints have endless possibilities, if you know how to use them correctly. The main factor in deciding on the correct paint medium for you would be the surface you want to paint on. As not all paints will have the same outcome or finish and some will need extra drying time or even sealing coats applied. The strength of the glow you would like to achieve is also important as well as the duration; how long do you want that glow to last? With this in mind, we are going to discuss two categories:
- Best glow in the dark paint for fabrics and solid surfaces
- Best glow in the dark paint for the skin
Best Glow in the Dark Paint for Solid Surfaces: AURORA Bright Green
Many know this as one of best glow in the dark paint products available right now. Manufactured by Space Beams, Aurora Bright Green glow in the dark paint, is made specifically for fabrics and painting designs on solid surfaces like rock, glass, wood, plastic, and metal. This paint has quite a thick consistency which allows you to use it as is, otherwise, you can easily add a little water to thin it out. But it can also be thinned out for finer work by adding a few drops of water to it. Always add water or any other thinning agents slowly as you do not want your paint to run. Once applied, it should dry within 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the thickness of your application and the number of coats applied. If properly cared for, your designs will last for years and around 10 seconds of light exposure will produce a glow of up to 12 hours.
Although it is not meant for the skin, Aurora Bright green can be used for just about any other project, it is also known for being one of the best outdoor glow in the dark paint brands. For best results, apply your glow in the dark paint to a light or white background at a thickness of around 3 mm. This brand may surprise you with its glow even when wet. Remember, if using on an outdoor project apply some varnish or other sealant over your design once dry to protect it.
Best Glow in the Dark Paint for Skin: MIDNIGHT GLO UV Body Paint
Midnight Glo UV Body Paint has one of the best glow in the dark face and body paint ranges. Their range includes eight funky neon colors: green, pink, orange, blue, purple, white, red, and yellow. What makes it so fantastic is that no scrubbing or harsh chemicals are needed to remove it from your body. Midnight Glo is a washable glow in the dark range, therefore it is easily removed with soap and water. Although these products are never safe for use around your eyes.
Another important factor to consider when using washable body paint is whether it can withstand your bodies’ perspiration. Well, this one can! When attending an event with black lights or UV lights, they will set the designs off to glow on your skin. Midnight Glo UV Body Paint is really smooth, it has a creamy consistency that will give your skin a bright glow of its own and is quick and easy to apply. Keep in mind, Midnight Glo UV Body Paint is quick-drying and if exposed to your clothing it can stain. This range offers a few different sizes as well as color combos to choose from when making your purchase.
Best Value: NEON NIGHTS Phosphorescent Glow Pigment
Glow Pigment or Glow Powder usually comes as a colorful fine substance and is ideal for larger projects or as a more cost-effective choice. Each package of Neon Nights phosphorescent glow pigment comes as a 35-ounce bag with a choice of two different colors, blue and green. These are ready to mix with a binding agent of your choosing. Some examples of good binding agents are varnish, lacquer, paint, and polyurethane. The great thing about using a pigment powder is how versatile it is, you can also mix it with other mediums such as plastic, wax, glass, nail polish, chalk, clay, ink, glue, silicone, epoxies, spray paint, and many more.
With this brand, it is best to use uncolored binders for indoor projects and solvent-based binders for outdoor ones. To use the glow-in-the-dark powder, take one-part powder and mix it with two-parts of your chosen binding agent. Using this ratio when mixing, will ensure your product lasts you a long time. Remember, your design or paint will need to charge before you will see the results. You can do this by placing it under a UV light or using natural lighting.
Tips for Using Glow Pigment Powder
The next time you need something to spruce up an event, why not give glow in the dark paints a try? Add a little something special that your guests will not be forgetting anytime soon. Here are a few tips to get the best and the brightest glow in the dark paint using pigment powder:
- Ensure your glow pigment is labeled ‘phosphorescent’ or ‘glow in the dark’ as this type of powder will glow both under a black light as well as when the lights have been switched off. The makeup of this pigment is different from those labeled “black light glow”, “UV glow” or “fluorescent” specifically. As this variety will not glow in the darkness.
- For a brighter glow apply your glow in the dark paint over a light background like white, as it will reflect the light.
- Do not add water to your glow in the dark powder as it will cause it to lose its glow
- A tip to remember, glow powder is supplied in various particle sizes. The bigger the particle, the brighter it will glow, although you may lose out on a smoother finish.
- The color of the particles is also important, blue and green last longer and will glow brighter.
Buying the Best Glow in the Dark Paint for You
Now that we know what types of paints there are, we need to consider some other important key factors before making a purchase. These include:
The best glow in the dark paint for you, will depend on the type of project you have in mind. Some projects will be permanent and would be placed outdoors such as sign work. This would then require a long-lasting, outdoor suited, medium. One of the best being glow in the dark spray paint, that will not get damaged or fade over time. So, what other options would be suitable based on what we have reviewed?
We already reviewed the benefits of acrylic glow in the dark paint as well as the pigment powder and washable glow in the dark paint. Good to know is that the acrylic type is easily absorbed by most surfaces making it stick. On the downside, these usually require spirits or thinners to remove once dry. The water-based or washable glow in the dark paint variant is of course, much thinner and is great to use for kids’ projects and special events, as it is so easily washed off with soapy water. The pigment powder can be added to different bases to best match your project requirements and is known to produce the brightest glow in the dark paint results.
So, if you are looking for the best glow in the dark paint, one that will last and glow brightly for years to come, then acrylic, glow in the dark spray paint or the pigments and powders are your best options. Whereas, for temporary or short-term use the water-based or cosmetic grade option is the answer.
Strength or Brightness of the Glow
All glow in the dark paints will need to be charged, either by direct sunlight or UV light, and the glow strength could be affected by a few things including, the composition of the product, consistency once mixed or even by the strength of your chosen light source. UV flashlights are a quick way to charge your paint as it can be done in seconds. There are certain glow in the dark paints that naturally emit a strong brightness while others provide a softer, more pastel type of glow.
Variety of Colors
Most glow in the dark paints come in one color, original. Which is usually like a milky off-white or even subtle yellow color. Depending on your design ideas, you may want or need more colors than that. Nowadays we are lucky enough to have options, especially when shopping online. When picking your colors, try to remember that blues and greens generally provide the best glow in the dark shine, while hues like reds, pinks, and purples will look better in the daytime, their night time glows may be a bit dull when put to the test.
Before picking, the best glow in the dark medium for you, you should also consider how long you want your design to glow. For an emergency sign as an example, you would need it to glow for the foreseeable future. But for a children’s sleepover or a concert, you would want to be able to wash it all off when you are done. The more permanent and high quality the paint, the pricier they tend to be. This explains why the best glow in the dark paints can last up to 20 years.
Size of your Surface Area
Depending on the size of your project, you may need a larger quantity of paint. The average size for glow in the dark paint is a 0.75-ounce bottle. These are better for smaller projects like stars on the ceiling or various other craft ideas. For bigger projects, however, the 1 fluid ounce bottle would be enough to cover about two square feet of surface area.
Safety of the Paint
How safe is your glow in the dark paint? Naturally, this is determined by the type of paint you pick and what it consists of. As we highlighted with acrylic-based glow-in-the-dark paints, these are not safe for use on the body or face, and if used this way they can cause serious harm. Even cosmetic grade products that are labeled as glow in the dark body paint should test a small area on the inner arm before applying to any other areas. People with skin problems or irritations like eczema should be extra careful when using this type of paint, as the different ingredients can further irritate or harm the skin.
Start With Your Walls
Applying glow in the dark paint for walls is easy and can be done by almost everyone. Just like any paint job, there is some preparation to consider beforehand though. You need to prepare the area and consider the best way to get that long-lasting glow. Let’s take a look at the steps below:
- It would be beneficial to work under a UV light so that your paint can charge during the design process enabling it to glow later on.
- Ensure your surface is dirt-free and smooth.
- Try not to apply your glow in the dark paint to a dark background, give your surface a primer coat of white or another pale color to see the best results.
- Allow 15 to 20 minutes for the paint to dry between each coat.
- Try and keep the number of coats to two or three at the most to avoid your paint being too thick. The more coats you apply the thicker your paint and this may affect the outcome.
- Coat with a clear varnish or an epoxy protector over the finished product to seal and preserve your design.
Creating Your Own Glow in the Dark Paints
Yes! It is possible to create your own glow in the dark paints at home! This is a fun way to ensure that they are safe and non-toxic. Here are some advantages for making your own glow in the dark paint right in your kitchen:
- Only uses 3 readily available ingredients
- Quick and easy
- It Will last long if stored well
- You will be able to customize the colors you want
- By controlling the ingredients, you can ensure safety control
Quick and Easy Homemade Glow in the Dark Body Paint:
- 2 tablespoons of cold cream (thick non-fragranced lotion can be used as a substitute)
- 4 tablespoons of corn starch (unscented talcum powder can be used as a substitute)
- 2 tablespoons of your preferred glow pigment
- *Optional food coloring (or homemade dye)
In this easy recipe, each simple ingredient has an important purpose. The cold cream is what makes your paint smooth and easily spreadable. It also protects it from cracking and peeling The corn starch acts as a binder which helps the paint stick to and dry on your skin, it will also help to increase the brightness of its glow when under UV light. Then, the most important of these ingredients is, of course, your magical glowing powder. This will determine the color and strength of your glow.
Follow these simple steps to ensure the best results for your own glow in the dark body paint. You may find this is a fun exercise for the kids to join in on too!
- First, measure out and stir the corn starch and cold cream together until smooth. If you want to try making different colors, then you can divide the mixture into several small containers such as an ice cube or muffin tray.
- Now mix in the glow powder a little at a time. Remember to place a blacklight or UV light there to charge the pigment so it will glow. Now you can turn off the lights and see how your body paint glows in the dark!
- Now, you can assess whether you need to add more powder to give your paint a brighter glow, more cold cream to give the paint a smoother finish, or more corn starch to thicken it up if it is slimy or runny.
- Now that your paint is ready you can store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Just keep a plastic covering on top. To apply it use a make-up sponge, a paintbrush, or your fingers.
- This will wash right off when you are done with it.
Remember, when purchasing colored pigments, under normal lighting they will look different than the color they are when glowing. You can also change the color of your paint by adding some food coloring or powdered paint. Just remember that adding more color may reduce the glow of your final product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Glow in the Dark Paint Unsafe?
There are certain types of glow in the dark paints that can be harmful to your skin. That is why it is important to always look carefully at the product information before buying it. Cosmetic companies are the safest option when trying to find the correct formulated products for application on your face and body.
What is Glow in the Dark Paint?
Most glow in the dark paint is manufactured using luminescent phosphors particles in the paint. These particles are charged under a UV light or sunlight and can then hold the charge and glow for a certain amount of time.
How Long can the Paint Hold its Glow?
It all depends on what type of product you are using, some of the glow in the dark paints that are applied permanently will begin to fade after a time, but the high-quality ones can last for 20 years or more. On average most glow in the dark paints, spray paints, and powders will hold a glow for up to 24 hours at a time.
Why Does my Glow in the Dark Paint Not Glow?
These types of paints need to be charged before they can glow and must be exposed to some form of light like the sun or UV light. If the paint is applied indoors then the ordinary indoor lighting should be sufficient to charge the paint and cause it to glow.
What is the Difference Between Fluorescence and Glow in the Dark Paint?
Fluorescent paints will only glow when a UV or black light is turned on them. Most of the fluorescent paints are body, face paint, and nail polish. Glow in the dark paint glows in the dark, but it first needs to be charged, and then it can glow without the need of a continued light source.
Glow in the dark paint is a fun and exciting medium for all kinds of uses. If you are looking for a really special effect, then be sure to give glow in the dark painting a go!