For those who want their walls to have a unique appearance, glow in the dark paint is one way to express your creativity.
Although this type of paint has become popular in recent years, glow in the dark paint has been around for quite some time.
Understanding what it is, how it works, and where it can be used can provide you with many creative ideas.
Here in this article, I will help you walk through all the things you need to know about these fun paints along with a few questions you may have in mind about them.
What is Glow in The Dark Paint?
This is paint that is infused with phosphors that trap sunlight and glow for hours afterward in the dark.
Phosphors have been used in paints for quite some time, most notably by the military before it made its way to the civilian world.
– How Does It Work?
The phosphors that infuse the paint are activated or charged by ultraviolet or UV light that mostly comes from sunlight.
Unlike most artificial light that contains little to no UV, sunlight is generally the preferred method of charging the phosphors.
This means that you set the object which is covered in glow in the dark paint outside for three to four hours.
Once charged, it should glow for the same amount of time. This also means that walls that are outside your home can be charged by the sun before they glow at night.
– How to Use It For Walls?
Maybe you want to put them on the walls of your kids’ room. Yes its an exciting idea!
No matter you want to paint the fresh walls of your room or want to renovate the old walls, there are options available.
In most of the cases, glow in the dark paint that is applied to walls is generally done in the form of a painting or mural.
While you can paint a wall a solid color, it is far more creative and interesting to create a mural instead which combines different colors of glow in the dark paint.
This can be a good option for those who want to save themselves from hassles of repainting and the high costs involved.
For painting, specially developed paints are available in the market that you can try. Make sure that you apply them right – if you want to glow them bright.
If required take the help of an experienced painter to know which one is the best option for you.
– How to Remove It from Walls?
When the paint no longer sustains its glow or is no longer needed, it can be removed just like any other paint.
While wall murals are pretty easy to remove; if its a paint you will need to loosen and scrape the paint away before applying another type of paint to the wall itself.
– Can You Repaint It Over The Paint?
It is possible to paint over glow in the dark paint, but you will need to be sure to completely cover it with at least two to three coats.
This is because the phosphors in the invisible glow in the dark paint may still receive enough light to obtain a charge and glow behind the new paint.
So, you will need to add extra coats to ensure that the phosphors are totally covered.
Although the paint has been around for decades, there are many people who may not know how long it lasts, how to charge the paint, and what are the best options – when it comes to buying them for home use.
Let’s get all of these details in our article below – I bet you will love reading them…
The Lifespan of Glow in The Dark Paint
Does It Last Forever?
This type of paint is infused with phosphors which are energized by ultraviolet or UV light.
Since UV light is part of sunlight and even the artificial lights from light bulbs, it provides the energy that charges the phosphor which results in a glow that lasts for hours between charges.
However, phosphors will eventually lose their ability to hold a charge so wear out with time. This means that you will need to add a new coat of glow in the dark paint every so often.
How long the charge lasts will depend on how many times the phosphors have been exposed to UV light.
A typical can of glow in the dark paint will be good for up to three years on average.
As long as the paint is not exposed to sunlight, the phosphors will remain in good shape for up to five years with high-quality brands.
Paint after Application:
On a good, smooth surface, glow in the dark paint may last up to 10 years.
If you add a sealer that helps prevent the phosphors from breaking down, then the lifespan may increase to 12 years. However, at some point, it will begin to fade.
Paint after Recharging It Once:
When you first charge the paint with sunlight, it should glow in the dark for up to four hours.
This means that if you put an object with glow in the dark paint outdoors, you will need to keep it out for the time recommended by the manufacturer of the paint.
Best Glow in the Dark Paints You Can Try For Walls or Outdoors
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How to Charge Glow In The Dark Paint?
Properly charging your paint is important so that it does give off that eerie glow. Here are a few ways by which it can be done.
Sunlight or Solar Power:
Many people have this mind, whether they can actually use solar power to charge glow in the dark paint or not.
but believe me, it’s pretty simple and it does work. You just need to place the object that has glow in the dark paint outdoors in the sunlight for three to four hours.
That should fully charge the paint so that it will glow about that long at night. There are other methods you can use to charge the paint as well.
Admittedly, artificial light does not have nearly as much UV light, which means that sometimes it will work and sometimes it will not.
LEDs, for example, will probably not work, especially on an invisible glow in the dark paint that is meant to be charged by sunlight.
A cheap or even average glow in the dark paint will probably not work at all when charged in this manner.
You should always check the instructions on the side of the paint before purchase.
That will tell you what is needed to charge it and how long you should expect it to last.
Is Glow In The Dark Paint Safe for Kids?
Glow in the dark paint is as safe as any other paint that comes into contact with kids.
This is because the phosphors themselves are harmless as long as they are not ingested, just like the toxic elements that are part of virtually all manufactured paints.
There are green or environmentally friendly paints on the market, but the general advice is that kids can paint with relative safety using the glow in the dark versions as long as they do not ingest the paint and clean up afterward.
It is recommended that with any paint you use gloves, goggles or eye protection, and a mask when applying paint from a can.
You also need to be in a well-ventilated area that will disperse any toxic or unwanted elements that leak into the air.
Be sure to clean up afterward to remove all the paint from your clothes and skin.
Using small amounts of glow in the dark paint, such as from spray cans, for example, may not need as much protection. However, like any paint, they need to be applied with care.
Once the paint dries, it is like any other paint in terms of its possible danger to children and adults.
Can I Use Glow in The Dark Paint Outdoors?
Absolutely you can use glow in the dark paint outdoors. In fact, it is designed to be charged by the UV rays of the sun.
This means that you can cover your exterior walls or objects with the paint and watch them glow at night.
There are some items that you may want to see at night, such as the edge of sidewalks, the concrete driveway, or objects that are suspended and can be run into accidentally.
By using glow in the dark paint on them, you can easily see and avoid them at night.
Few Other Creative Uses To Use The Glow Paint Outdoors
There are many ways to use glow in the dark or UV paint creatively outdoors as well.
If you do not want to use glow in the dark paint the year-round (on your walls) you may use it only for certain times of the year, such as Halloween.
Halloween is the holiday most commonly associated with glow in the dark paint, although Christmas is another bright, colorful holiday when it can be used.
You can create many spooky ghosts and monsters using this type of paint on the body. Or to spray paint specific objects for art and craft works.
Keep in mind that if the use is temporary, then you may want to use water-based paints that can easily wash off.
Or, you can purchase paper or other temporary covers so it can be painted and then removed when no longer needed.
How to Make Glow in The Dark Paint at Home?
Do you want to make some really cool glow in the dark paint but you’re just not sure how it’s done?
Well, you’re in luck because it’s actually relatively simple and we have two different options that you can use to make it.
All you’re going to have to do is decide which one of these options you like best and just get going.
We’re going to talk about two of the most common and easy options because we know that you probably don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on glow in the dark paint, but you still want to get the same effect.
Well, it’s actually relatively simple to do and you’ll be able to create any look that you’re going for. You just have to take a few minutes and maybe a few simple ingredients to get it done.
The first method to make DIY glow in the dark paint is one that requires a little more specialized ingredients, but it’s still going to be easy to get through.
The second is going to use ingredients that you likely already have lying around your house anyway.
Using Phosphorescent Powder
First up, let’s look at the most common method used to create a glow in the dark paint.
It involves something called a phosphorescent powder, which is basically glow in the dark powder. You can actually buy it just about anywhere and they come in different looks and colors.
If you choose a large particle pack you’ll get a bright color with a speckled look. Smaller particle packs create a less vibrant glow but look more smooth when finished.
You’ll also need to choose a paint that you’re going to use as the base for your phosphorescent powder.
Also, make sure that the paint and the powder that you choose are going to compatible.
An acrylic gel is great for paint that you want to appear invisible when the lights are on. Acrylic or tempera is great if you want to have a color.
- Mix 5 parts paint to 1-part powder in a small bowl or container.
- Stir together until well mixed (mixture will not dissolve together).
- Paint your walls.
Just like that, you’re going to be all set and you’re going to have a glow in the dark paint.
You can use it to paint the entire wall in your space, to paint patterns or for anything else that you like. This method, however, is not the only one.
Using a Highlighter and Water
One simple method of getting a UV paint in a relatively unique (but inexpensive) way, is to use a highlighter and some water.
This method is actually really simple because you’re going to use just a few basic household ingredients. You choose a highlighter that you like the color of and get started.
- Remove the felt strip from the inside of a highlighter.
- Put the felt strip into a bowl or small container and run water over it until the color has all bled out.
- Mix ½ cup of white cornstarch with the water until the cornstarch dissolves.
- Add a small amount of food coloring to get the color that you want.
- Paint your walls.
Just like that, you’re going to have a UV paint that you can use however you like. It’s going to be super simple to use just like it was super simple to make.
Now, you’re not going to have quite the same quality with this type of glow in the dark paint as you will with the one that you created with phosphorescent powder, but it’s still going to look cool.
If you’re looking to get a great look and create a glow in the dark result for your space or really for any purpose, you can use either of these methods.
You’ll also find other options out there, besides just buying already made glow in the dark paint.
For those who are looking to save a little bit of money and want to make sure they’re getting something that still works, take a look at either of these or even try out both and see which one works the best for you and your purpose.
Tips for Choosing The Best Glow in The Dark Paint
If you are not sure or if you do not have time to make the paint at home, you will surely like to buy them from the market.
Well, when buying there is no hard and fast guideline for choosing the best paint since it will depend on how you want to use it.
Few things that you may need to consider while choosing the best glow in the dark paint are:
The first tip is that if you want the paint to be permanent (or at least longest-lasting like Aurora), use an acrylic-based version that is waterproof.
If you just want it to be temporary (like body paint), then a water-based version is recommended.
While blue, orange, and green are the most common colors, you can find many others (like invisible) when searching for the right glow in the dark paint.
This means that before you start your search, it’s best to know what you want.
While glow in the dark spray cans has their uses, it’s generally easier to fill tubes with the paint so you can apply it the way that you want.
You can even purchase a set of tubes specifically for glow in the dark paint that is quite affordable.
Is Fluorescent Paint And ‘Glow in The Dark’ Paint Same?
Many times, people who want to use glow paints for walls (or make-up) find something known as UV or fluorescent products that are different from the so-called glow in the dark paints.
In general UV/fluorescent paints are usually triggered by long-wave ultraviolet (UV) radiation or black light in the room.
This means Fluorescent paints does not glow in the dark, but it only works intensely under fluorescent black lights.
Whereas on the other hand, glow-in-the-dark paints may work without a blacklight.
Simply saying, UV glow paints may fluoresce under black light but fluorescent paint does not shine in the dark.
The Bottom Line
Glow in the dark paint has gained some popularity in recent years, despite the fact that it can be expensive.
But the fact is, glow in the dark paint is perfect for wall murals, painting specific objects, and they even have practical uses as well.
So why not try them out and have fun when you are just planning to renovate your dream home.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls. He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.