Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

topic posted Thu, April 3, 2008 - 4:53 PM by  offlineDana
Hi there all you creative people,

A friend and I are working on an art project and I was wondering if any of you knew of any cheap somethings made of glow in the dark or blacklight/UV responsive material? Cans? Bottles? Metal? Wires? Or a place where we could get blacklight paint for cheap or anything else that would work in this way??

Any info would be much appreciated, thank you!
posted by:
Los Angeles
  • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

    Fri, April 4, 2008 - 6:48 PM
    when i was in college we used to put the core of a highlighter into empty vodka bottles with some water for fun blacklighting effects... (highlighters are UV reactive and reasonably cheap - great for drawing on things, persons, or soaking in water to make UV reactive liquid...)
    • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

      Fri, October 31, 2008 - 11:04 AM
      Dani, that is SO AWESOME!!! I wouldn't have thought of putting the core into water. Brilliant! ( And so simple )
      I've wanted to design a UV reactive fountain, but finding multiple colors of stuff to flouresce hasn't been an easy task. You just handed me the holy grail!

  • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

    Sat, April 5, 2008 - 3:23 AM
    Well there is always Urine...

    But that being said... The cheapest way to go on paint is Tempra at any art supply..

    Any white will glow so that is an easy one. Behr Ultra Pure white seems to do really well. I suggest also using a white primer behind any paints ya go with. Most Flourecent paints are very translucent so getting them to cover anything but white is a bitch.

    A little pricier are Artist's acrylics..Liquitex makes a decent line... Advantage is they are really reactive so you will get a really nice glow off them... Again over white or a non reactive version of the same color like Flourecent green over Kermit the frog green

  • Unsu...

    Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

    Thu, April 10, 2008 - 5:29 PM
    can you give me an idea what you're using this for, like, the purpose or size or shape? might be able to offer some suggestions then.

    glow in the dark is very different from blacklight responsive. Do you need one or the other, or both?
    and by "glow" do you mean something that once exposed to light will show in the dark for a period of time (that yellow/green color)?
    or something that's actually illuminated with a power source like LED or EL wire?

    there's a thread with some links to resources on this tribe that might help: or maybe one of the other tribes on glow/EL.
  • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

    Fri, April 11, 2008 - 2:38 PM
    UV reactive:

    Most laundry detergents glow. Mix with some water and put in a clear plastic/glass bottle, and the whole thing will glow.

    The chemicals inside some glowsticks also will react with UV, after the glow in the dark action is gone. Recycle your old glowsticks, or just the chemical inside (but beware, while the chemical claims to be non toxic, I've never smelled anything as bad, and it stains like crazy!).
    • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

      Wed, April 16, 2008 - 7:39 AM
      Glow sticks can be your friend or a nightmare. Not all glow sticks are made the same. In college we'd be partying, put a tiny hole in one end of a glow stick then splatter it on the walls in a dark room. It's like standing inside your own universe. We did that dozens of time with no problem.

      Then a couple years ago we wanted to show this affect to a friend so we broke open a couple and went to splatter. We discovered that what ever brand we were using made the air very acrid. It burned our eyes and lungs and was so intolerable we had to leave the room, close the door and could not enter the room again for at least a couple days after the room aired out from the open window. Two days to air out. "non-toxic" doesn't necessarily mean non-irritating.

      Not all glow sticks have the same chemistry. Try a couple brands if you want to go this route and test them in an open space before using.

      Also we learned that the brand we were using in college would actually etch plastics. We had picture frames and CDs, and CD jewel cases permanently etched from where small droplets of glow stick fluid would land when we splattered them. Test the fluid on surfaces you don't care about and keep it away from your beloved belongings.
      • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

        Wed, April 16, 2008 - 2:00 PM
        ah yes. a friend of mine used to have a sub-basement in his house that we would turn the lights out in, splatter the walls and us with slashed open glowsticks, and play hide and go seek. or hide and glow seek as i called it. damn fun! but one year the glowsticks we used burned our skin if it got on there. and it left streaks on the cabinet we'd left them to sit on. crazy stuff. but still damn fun!
  • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

    Sun, April 20, 2008 - 2:00 AM
    Urethane or Epoxy with UV protectant lights up fairly well under a black light. It's not as reflective as blacklight paint, but may offer more of the underwater effect you are looking for because of the way it refracts the light with a thick coating.
  • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

    Sun, April 20, 2008 - 3:37 AM
    I'm always on the lookout for glowy things - so I second the idea of carrying a portable blacklight - you never know what you might find. I take one with me when I go in to craft, fabric, art supply, and home improvement stores - and of course, yard sales and the Goodwill bins ;^) Besides fabric and paint, I've found fluorescent glue, ink, tape, fishing line, yarn, wire insulation, rocks, glass, and household chemicals.

    Some fluorescent things show better phosphorescence (they glow longer after you remove the light source) if you charge them up with shortwave UV light instead of longwave UV light (regular blacklight). Please be careful to wear some kind of eye protection with shortwave light, though - regular glasses work fine - to make sure you don't sunburn your eyes.

    • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

      Sun, April 20, 2008 - 7:08 AM
      >>Please be careful to wear some kind of eye protection with shortwave light, though - regular glasses work fine - to make sure you don't sunburn your eyes. <<
      If you are far sighted, the glasses will amplafy the light, like a magnafying glass, which is in essence what farsighted ( reading) glass's are. other clear lenses do nothing to block short wave light, ONLY DARK TINT WILL STOP IT. Elactric welders emmit short wave light and a lot of it. You can't see through the glass unless you look directly at the sun.
      Or you could simply not look at the black light ! Where did you find a short wave light that powerfull, and portable ?
      PS a tanning light is predomitly short wave
      • Re: Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight... cheap!

        Tue, April 22, 2008 - 11:21 PM
        Oops - I hope I didn't create too much confusion!

        My warning about protective lenses was in the context I'm most familiar with: using shortwave light to show the fluorescence in some rocks. With that limited exposure (in which you aren't looking directly at the UV source), glass or plastic lenses are plenty of protection for your eyes. Cheap polycarbonate safety glasses are lenses are great.

        Dark lenses for welding or tanning are essential - but these are situations in which you're looking right at the UV source, or being exposed to it for a long period of time. I was talking about the shorter, much less direct exposure I'm used to using - and should have made sure my context was clear. In general, it's a *bad* idea to look directly at shortwave light (or be "bathed" in it) without serious UV protection!

        Magnifying lenses increase the apparent size of an image to the eye.
        They *don't* increase the amount of UV light available to the eye.
        (If they did, powerful shortwave UV lamps would be very cheap!)
        I've bought my shortwave lamps on eBay - please message me if you
        want to know more.

        - Brenda -
        • Safty, was ; Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight

          Tue, April 29, 2008 - 7:35 AM
          Magn. lenses also mag. the light , that's what a visual image is. Ever cook a cricket on a sunny day with one ?
          And clear lenses do zilch, zero , na-da, to stop UV rays, unless specificaly made for that purpous, and they MUST be marked as such . Even then they do very little. That's why they don't make "clear" sun glasses
          Safty glasses can be for protection from . sparks, dust, chems, or UV. Or any combo . So freely giving advice on the subject, with your very limited experance of low wattage bulbs shinning on rocks, is missplaced, and inapproaite.
          one can make suggestions, offer ideas, share experance, etc. But when it comes to the absaluts of offering " factual" statments concerning safty you must know what you're talking about. Ohterwise people could get hut, based on your advice.
          No protection is needed from the very low watt. you are using. As does not the home black light.
          And if you were using a UV blocking lenses, you wouldn't be able to see the fluoescence in the rocks.

          ,Safty is an issue we often deal with in the DIY tribe, for obvious reasons. Greatest among them is the neophite that is seeking basic knowlage. They may assume that the person offering the safty advice knows what they're talking about, even when they don't. And we have a lot of begginers comming here to learn to be DIY'rs. The outcome for this bad advice can lead to a very bad day. It's one thing to screw up a project based on bad advice, quite another to be injured, possably severly.
          I'm sure many here are aware of my "Big hammer" ( don't get too excited ladies !), approuch to safty issues. But after 30+ yrs. of watchfullness, I can proudly say that none of my people have ever been seriously injured, and only a few have had minor injuries.
          Better to bruse an ego, than loose an Eye.
          So to anyone offering advice about safty, or projects with safty concerns, stop and think , " should I realy suggest this is right, concidering the possable concaquence ? ". And not make statments like,
          "glass or plastic lenses are plenty of protection for your eyes. Cheap polycarbonate safety glasses are lenses are great." They are not, they're only cheap.
          • Re: Safty, was ; Glow in the Dark/ Blacklight

            Tue, April 29, 2008 - 8:15 AM
            OK, just to clarify: ordinary glass is opaque to UVB and UVC, and only partially transparent to UVA. This is a material property of glass. Fortunately black lights are primarily UVA, so you can see their effects through glass.

            so yes - ordinary clear lenses can stop UV, provided they are glass. if they are not, then they require special treatment.

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