Top Ten Tips For Painting With Glow In The Dark Paint

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Top Ten Tips For Painting With Glow In The Dark Paint

Click here to purchase our glow in the dark paint!

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!

  1. 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.Side by side images of a glow in the dark acrylic painting of a hummingbird, daytime and nighttime views
  2. 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.
    Comparison of various colors of glow paint over white and black background
  3. 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.

  4. 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.
    Glow in the dark heart as an example of raised edges in a brush stroke
  5. 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.

  6. 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. 
    two coats of green and aqua glow paint glowing very brightly!
  7. 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.
    star mural painting tutorial
  8. 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)
  9. 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?
    glow in the dark project ideas. resin, glass, and painting
  10. Check out all the different colors of Glow in the Dark Paint that we offer to start enjoying the magic of glow today! Don't forget a charging light 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 or tag us on social media!


We hope you found this guide helpful, but we know that there's a lot of information we didn't cover. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments, by emailing us at info@artnglow.com, or by contacting us via Facebook messenger. We love helping people out!

For a more in-depth guide on creating a glow in the dark canvas paintings, please check out our How To Guide.


48 comments

  • Ashley at Art 'N Glow

    Beth,

    The glowing effect is much brighter over a white background than when applied over a black or dark background since most of the glow you’ll see is actually reflected light. Because of this, if you want to have a black background, we’d recommend first applying regular neon paint and then coating with our glow in the dark paints, for the best results! 

    Suga,

    Our glow paints go on transparent, but not completely invisible. They could be applied on a black fabric, but the glowing effect would be much brighter over white or lighter-colored fabric.

    Paul,

    You are correct in that the object that is painted will retain its normal color during daylight with possibly a subtle change of shade based on the coats applied. Our glow paints are not completely invisible but they go on nearly transparent for the first few coats!

    Tawnya,

    It sounds like you may not be using enough glow powder in your mixture (we recommend using about 7 grams of glow powder per ounce of medium for the optimal glow) or the method of “baking” the glow powder might be burning the glow crystals. It could also be that your medium is not transparent enough to allow for a bright glow. You might consider trying Mod Podge or another completely clear crafting glue! Also, please note that our glow in the dark products are best charged using sunlight, or UV light with a wavelength of 395+ nm.

  • Tawnya

    Hello, I’m making some fairy jars with glass ball jars and I purchased some of your glow powder. I’ve read so many different ways to add the glow powder from blogs. I tried mixing the powder with acrylic paint and baking the jars and that was a glowless mess. I tried mixing the powder with gel food color and half part water half part Elmer’s glue and baked it… the jars are a beautiful transparent pink but no glow. The third way I tried was just mixing the powder with equal parts water and glue then baking them and they are a nice clear jar but only barely glows. What am I doing wrong? This is too much of an expensive project to keep messing up! Thank you… your help is greatly appreciated 😊

  • Paul

    From what I can ascertain after reading about your product, the object that is painted will retain it’s normal color during daylight with possibly a subtle darkening based on the coats applied. Is this correct?

  • suga

    Hi there, I was planning on using this paint on black fabric, trying to get the effect of the glow in the dark paint being either not visible/ barely visible during the day then being visible/ glowing at night/ in the dark (for example plain black shirt in the light and then a starry galaxy effect when in the dark); do you think this is achievable or would u recommend using the paint on top of a lighter surface; I would really appreciate your advise; thank you!

  • Beth Rosenberger

    I’m wanting to make my daughters room glow in the dark for her. I was planning on just painting it black and throwing neon paint on the walls and have a black light in her room since she’s scared of the dark and I came across these paints and read about a lighter back ground. Should I not use black as a back ground? With any kind of neon paints?

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