Thanks for checking out our top tips on how to paint with glow! Glow in the dark paint is extremely rewarding to work with but requires some special considerations to get the best results. We've compiled this list from our firsthand experience and feedback from our customers in hopes of saving you time, frustration, and even some money. We've got lots to cover so let's get started!
Most of our paints go on nearly invisible for the first few coats. The neutral (daytime white) glow paints will go on invisible for the first two or three coats and the fluorescent colors shouldn’t be noticeable over a colored background in one or two coats but they may tint a white/light colored background. For more info specific to fluorescent glow paints please check out our blog post about their uses and limitations.
The following image has aqua, sky blue, and yellow-green neutral glow paints over regular acrylic paint. As you can see, they are invisible during the day but glow brightly at night with only a single coat.
The lighter the background, the brighter the glow. Since most of the glow you see is actually reflected light, the lighter the background color, the brighter the glow will appear. The following image shows two coats of fluorescent glow paint over a white (top row) and black (bottom row) background.
Use less paint than you’re used to. Start with less than you think you’ll need on your brush, spread it thin, and then add more paint if necessary. Painting this way will avoid raised edges that glow brighter than the rest of the brush stroke.
A great way to implement this technique and get smooth brush strokes is to place your brush in the middle of where you want the final stroke to be and then pull the paint in opposite directions to create the stroke. It's not an intuitive technique and it's definitely not the only way to get great results, but many of our artists swear by this method.
Use a black light or ultraviolet flashlight to check the evenness of the brush strokes while they’re still wet. Since the paint goes on clear, you won't be able to see if the paint you just laid down is consistently smooth or if it has slightly raised edges. You can easily check this, even in a brightly lit room, by looking at the paint under one of our UV LED flashlights (you may need to shade the image with your hand). Taking the time to do this will ensure that the edges of your stroke aren't brighter than the rest of it. You'll find yourself having to check this less and less as you figure out the correct amount of paint to apply to your brush and the canvas.
Here's an example of a stroke with raised edges. Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with this if it's the effect you're going for and everyone's preferences are different. I think it looks pretty cool and adds some dimension personally.
Let the paint dry for 10 to 15 minutes between coats. Rushing the second coat will actually remove the glow from the first coat and leave you with a dark spot. Please make sure the paint is completely dry before adding additional coats for the best results. You can also use a hairdryer on its low setting to speed up the drying process if you want.
- Many people are happy with a single coat of glow paint but if you want it even brighter you can add another coat or two for maximum brightness. Additional coats after the first 3 will not make much of a difference in the brightness of the glow.
This neon sign painting has just two coats of each color over white paint.
You can use a toothbrush and toothpicks to create three dimensional star field effects. Using paper or tape, mask off objects in the foreground so that they will appear to be in front of the stars after they’re applied. To apply the stars, dip the tips of the toothbrush bristles into aqua or green glow paint, hold perpendicular to the canvas and with the bristles a couple of inches away run your thumb up the bristles towards you, away from the painting. This will flick hundreds of stars onto the painting! Use a toothpick to add some larger stars for a three dimensional effect.
The mountains in the image below were masked off using painters tape so that the stars appear to be behind them. In both images some of the stars are noticeably larger than others which adds depth and realism to the image.
For best results, charge with an ultraviolet flashlight, black light, or the sun. Household lights will not charge the glow paint to its full potential so please charge your painting with one of our ultraviolet lights or the sun for the brightest, longest lasting glow! If you want an even more powerful charging light, here are several that we have tested and seen that they work well:
- American DJ Black Light (Amazon Link)
- OPPSK UV LED Light Bar (Amazon Link)
- Sunlite Compact Fluorescent Black Light Bulb (Amazon Link)
Experiment and have fun! The possibilities with glow paints and powders are endless so get creative and don’t be afraid to try new things. Check out our project ideas page to get inspired by tons of glow in the dark projects and guides.
Resin, glass, wax, rubber, epoxy, plastic, ceramics, safety markings, fishing lures and more are all potential uses for our products. What will you create?
- Check out our DIY Glow Painting Kit for a quick and inexpensive way to start enjoying the magic of glow! Canvas, brushes, paints, a charging light, and more are all included so that you'll have everything you need to create your own glow in the dark painting. Invite some friends over for a paint night or plan a birthday party that will be remembered for a lifetime. Whatever you end up doing, be sure to send us some pictures!
We hope you found this guide helpful but know that there is a lot of information we didn't cover. If you have any questions please let us know in the comments, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by contacting us via Facebook messenger. We love helping people out!
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For a more in depth guide on creating a glow in the dark canvas painting, please check out our How To Guide.