How to Make Glow-in-the-Dark Paint

If you have tubes of glow-in-the-dark paint in your box of craft supplies, you know how quickly the paint gets used up. Children (and adults!) love to create glowing art, jewelry, and tchotchkes that can light up in the dark. Phosphorescent paint also has many practical uses; you can mark walls and railings to help you navigate dark garages or attic spaces. You can also paint custom fishing lures or camping gear.

Most people buy glow-in-the-dark paints that are pre-mixed, but you can make your own custom paints with phosphorescent powders and clear medium.

The first thing is to buy a package or jar of pure phosphorescent powders or granular crystals. These are available from several online suppliers, such as Glonation, or at art stores. The pigments come in different colors and particle sizes. Large glow-in-the-dark particles are more luminescent, but yield coarser paint. Fine particles don't glow as strongly, but the paint has a smoother consistency.

Next, buy some clear acrylic gel medium. Thick matte gloss works best, but you can experiment with high gloss medium, and even iridescent gels. The fun part about making glow-in-the-dark paint is discovering how different media affect the paint.

In a disposable bowl, mix 3-4 teaspoons of clear medium with 1 teaspoon glow in the dark powder. If you have trouble getting the powder to blend into the medium, try adding a small dab of white acrylic paint as a binder. Mix small batches at first until you figure out the perfect ratio of powder to medium.

Use the paint on the same day that you mix it. To make the paint coats last longer, apply the paint in several thin coats, letting the paint dry completely between applications.

© Had2Know 2010