Glow FAQ

What is special about Art ‘N Glow’s phosphorescent pigments?

All of our glow in the dark materials are made with the latest technology.  Unlike the glow in the dark that you’ll find in children’s toys, our glow in the dark pigments are made from rare earth aluminates and glow up to 10x brighter and longer than traditional zinc sulfide glow in the dark materials. 

Further, all of our powders are encapsulated for use in water based mediums.  This means that you can buy any of our glow in the dark powders and be confident that they won’t deteriorate when added to a water based medium such as acrylic paint.  Some of our competitors sell uncoated powder which will not work for water based applications.

What makes your paints different from the other glow in the dark paints on the market?

First, almost any glow in the dark paint you find in a craft store will be of the zinc sulfide variety which barely glows at all if we’re honest.  All of our paints are made with our rare earth aluminate powders and are made specifically for use by artists.  Whether you are painting a mural, canvas, model, or anything else, our paints go on smooth and dry completely clear when used as directed. 

We benchmarked standard acrylic paints when designing our line of glow in the dark paints so that you have a great alternative to the thick and grainy paints of our competitors which were developed primarily for use in ceiling murals and industrial applications.

What can I use your glow in the dark powder for?

As all of our phosphorescent powders have a waterproof coating, they can be used for any application that you can think of.  Our powders can be used in resin, wax, blown glass, plastic, solvent and water based paints, plastidip, rubber and many more applications.  To get some ideas of what other people are doing with glow in the dark paint and powder, please check out our project ideas page and follow us on Instagram and Pinterest to see what our customers are doing and upload photos of your own works of art!

Are your powders safe?

The most amazing thing about these glow in the dark powders is that they are derived from naturally occurring elements that are completely nontoxic and definitely not radioactive.  The inspiration for our store came from nature and science and we find it amazing what these naturally derived materials can do while being completely safe.

Please keep in mind though that just like any other fine powder, you’ll want to avoid inhaling or getting the pigment in your eyes as it may cause irritation. 

How are your paints and powders packaged?

Our powders are packaged in various sizes of zip lock bags which you’ll definitely thank us for if you don’t use all of your powder in one sitting.

Our paints are packaged in 1 oz. containers for quantities of 1 to 3 ounces.  Any multiple of 4 ounces will be packaged in 4 oz. jars.

How long does each color glow?

Due to their unique crystalline structures, each glow in the dark color has a different maximum brightness and glow time.  The neutral colors that glow green and aqua are the two brightest, longest lasting colors available anywhere.  You can see more specifics on all of the colors on their individual product pages.

How hard is the paint to clean up?

All of our paints are water-based acrylics and are easily cleaned up with soap and water when still wet.  Once dry, they are difficult to get out of fabric but usually pretty easy to remove from non-porous surfaces such as wood, tile, glass, and even leather and vinyl.  Little drops can usually be “picked” off of these surfaces with a fingernail and the remaining residue cleaned up with rubbing alcohol.

Do the paints and powders smell?

Our paints don't have much of an odor and smell just like any other acrylic paint does.

Our neutral powders don’t have any smell at all but the colorful pigment in the fluorescent powders does have a bit of an odor to it.  Once mixed with a medium like paint, resin, plastic, etc. the smell goes away.

What is the best way to apply glow in the dark paints? (i.e. in the dark, under black light, etc.)

This one is really up to you and we’d love to hear what method works best for you.  There are several different ways to paint with glow paint and which one is best will vary from project to project.

  1. The easiest method is to paint over a surface in normal light. With this method, you won’t see the final result until you charge the paint and turn the lights out (a fun surprise in itself) but you can easily embellish existing paintings or images and paint outdoors using this method.
  2. If you want to see exactly what your work is going to look like when it’s done, you’re going to want to be able to see the glow effect in real time as it is being applied. These paints glow for so long that you can sit in a dim room (a small amount of light is ideal so that you can easily see the underlying image), charge the paints with a UV light for a few seconds, and then apply them while they are still glowing.  This is probably the ideal middle ground and the method that most people will use.
  3. If you plan to create a lot of glow in the dark art, you may want to invest in a fluorescent black light fixture. You can get a 24” black light for less than $20 which you can position right above your painting.  This will keep the paint charged for the entire session and give you a little light to see the underlying image as well even in an otherwise completely dark room.  Yet another option that is even cheaper, you can purchase a compact fluorescent black light bulb and screw it into a standard table lamp for a similar effect.

How do I charge my glow in the dark items?

For the best performance, we recommend using either our UV flashlights or sunlight for the fastest, brightest charge.  Black light tubes are also great for charging but are less focused than LEDs so may take a little longer (they’re also a lot less convenient). 

If none of the above options are available, then holding your item close to a household fluorescent light (tube or spiral) will charge it too. 

Most regular LEDs and typical tungsten light bulbs (hot white wire in the middle) do not give off the wavelength of light needed to charge glow in the dark items.

Do I need to worry about the wavelength of the UV light I am using to charge my paints and powders?

First, we’ll let you know that all of our black lights are perfectly safe to use.  There are more powerful/longer wavelength black lights that ARE dangerous and are intended for commercial use only.  These are not the kind of lights we use, sell, or recommend!  DON’T USE THEM!

The two wavelengths of UV light that we recommend are 365 and 395 nanometer.  We won’t bore you with the details, but to put it simply, 365nm puts out slightly less visible light and therefore appears a darker purple than 395nm ultraviolet light.  365nm is what you will find in clubs, bars, and bowling alleys and is typically created by straight fluorescent tubes.  395nm is what almost all of the UV blacklight LEDs available on the market output and this includes both our keychain and 9 LED flashlights.

Okay so now that I know way more about the wavelength of ultraviolet lights than I ever wanted to, why does it matter to me?

You will have great results with both 365nm and 395nm lights during painting and charging, but there are a few noticeable differences.  Since 395nm lights (LED) put out more visible light than their 365nm (tube) counterparts, the light has more pink to it (visible white plus purple equals pink).  Really the only time that this will matter is when you are painting under black light instead of in the dark.  The dark blue glow pigment may be washed out by the pink light where it would be visible under 365nm light.  You will also be able to see more of the really fine details (like splatter stars) under the 365nm black light.  That said, unless you are a professional needing the absolute best setup available, either option will work just fine.  You can also turn off your UV light at any time to see the full effect of the glow that was just applied.

How many times can the phosphorescent pigment be recharged?

Our paints, powders, and other glow in the dark products can be recharged millions of times.  Even after ten years, they will retain 90 to 95 percent of their original light storing and emitting abilities.

Any other tips on how to get the best results when painting?

Painting with glow is always fun but you can optimize your results by following these tips.

  1. When possible use our paint over light or white surfaces. This helps them to "disappear" in normal light and also will make them glow brighter in the dark.  The white background acts as a reflector both when storing and emitting light which equals a brighter glow than you’ll get on a darker surface.
  2. Depending on the result you are going for, you may want to apply multiple coats of paint. Do not expect to lay one coat of paint down and have a perfectly opaque glowing brush stroke.  The nice thing is that you wouldn’t really want that anyways unless you were painting the hands of a clock for instance.  Instead, you will be able to add shading and finer details by varying the thickness of the paint.  In fact, some of the best work we’ve seen uses only very light applications of paint which allows some negative space and 3 dimensional effects.
  3. Glow colors don’t mix like regular colors do so adding yellow to blue won’t make green. Instead, you’d see the individual blue and yellow crystals if you looked close enough.  A cool effect for sure, but color theory doesn’t work with glow.