Glow In the Dark Paint: Everything You Need to Know

Are you looking for a way to add some extra excitement to your walls? Glow in the dark paint may be just what you need!

This unique paint is perfect for giving any room a different personality. Whether you want to create a fun kids’ room or add a touch of mystery to your living space, glow-in-the-dark paint can help you achieve your desired effect.

Straightforward, if you’re looking for a fun new project, why not try glow-in-the-dark paint? You won’t be disappointed!

Plus, it’s clear to use – all you need is a few basic supplies, and you’re ready to go.

Table of Contents

What is Glow in the Dark Paint?

Glow in the dark paint is exactly what it sounds like – ordinary paint that glows in the dark. It works very much like blacklight paint, except the effect only lasts a few hours before gradually wearing away.

This type of paint can be used on almost any surface in your home, but they are most commonly seen on children’s toys and bedrooms. Many children’s toys and specific paint effects come in glow-in-the-dark varieties to help create a more exciting atmosphere.

You may also use this paint on your bedroom walls or other areas of your home that you feel could benefit from an extra bit of mystery! This paint will make it seem like objects move around at night, which will keep kids (and adults) entertained.

Different Types of Glow in the Dark Paint

There are three main types of glow in the dark paints: phosphorescent paint, photoluminescent pigment, and dual-action formula. There are also different ways to apply this type of paint: brush-on, spray, etching pens, and markers for even finer designs and writing.

Phosphorescent paint

Phosphorescent paint is a mixture of two types of paint: the base and top layers. The base layer reacts to sunlight, making the top layer light up in its place. The top layer must also be charged if you want it to last for extended periods.

Photoluminescent pigment

The photoluminescent pigment is non-toxic and behaves differently from phosphorescent because it absorbs UV light and emits visible light. For example, white objects painted with this pigment will appear blue under ultraviolet light and glow green in normal room lighting conditions.

The dual-action formula only works when exposed directly to UV rays or blacklight but can last anywhere from 12 hours to several days, depending on how much exposure it receives.

Brush-on paint

Brush-on paint is by far the simplest form of glow in the dark paint, but it’s also the least effective. This type of paint will only work if you expose it to UV rays or blacklight for at least 10 minutes before applying; otherwise, the phosphorescent effect won’t last very long.

The best time to use this type of paint is early in the morning while the sun is still out or under a UV light during evening hours.

Spray paints

Spray paints are typically used outdoors and do not require any special preparation other than removing dust and dirt from your walls before application. Unlike brush-on paints, these aerosol cans instantly charge your walls, so there’s no need for intense exposure to natural sunlight beforehand – your walls will begin glowing as soon as the paint has dried.

Etching pens and markers

Etching pens and markers are the same pigments used in photoluminescent pigments, but they come in a formula that can be applied using a pen or marker.

These paints work best on hard, non-porous surfaces like plastic, metal, glass, or painted walls. You can also use them on fabric like t-shirts (although this process may take longer).

How Does Glow in the Dark Work?

Glow in the dark paint works thanks to phosphorescence, a process by which energy is released as visible light (and heat) after it’s absorbed. In other words, when you expose your paint to UV or blacklight for 10 minutes or longer before applying it to your desired surface, that exposure “charges” the pigment and causes it to glow once the lights go out.

The chemical responsible for glowing in some types of paint is zinc sulfide.

Within this compound are particles that absorb light when exposed to natural sunlight or UV rays before eventually releasing that energy back into the environment as visible light – often green light with purple-pink undertones similar to lightning bugs!

Because all types of luminous paint have this same chemical formula, you can use them interchangeably with one another. Still, there are some key differences to be aware of – namely, the types of light used for charging your paint cores.

Types of light used for charging your paint cores.

Charging With Natural Sunlight

One way to charge glow in the dark paint (and other types that adhere to phosphorescence) is by exposing it to natural sunlight or UV rays before applying it to a surface like your bedroom wall or ceiling. This process usually takes about 10 minutes depending on the strength and angle of the sun’s rays; make sure your wall remains exposed until dry!

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Charging With Blacklight

Another option for activating luminous paint is using black light instead of natural sunlight. Since most blacklights emit a long-wave, ultraviolet type of light that’s close to the same wavelength as natural sunlight, the paint absorbs this energy just as readily.

If you’ve ever shopped at an adult-themed store like Spencer’s, you’ve probably seen these types of lights as they’re often used to find hidden security devices (like cameras).kind

Because blacklight can be found at party stores or even some hardware stores, it’s a great alternative if you don’t have access to a window or live in an area where the daytime sun isn’t abundant year-round.

Charging With UV Flashlight

There are many glow-in-the-dark paints on the market today that specifically mention being charged with a UV flashlight! In most cases, these particular luminous paints use the same formula as paint that’s been accused with natural sunlight or blacklight, but the difference is how they’re made.

For example, some luminous paints are applied using a stencil to produce text and shapes, while others are imprinted via silk-screening (UV ink makes up the image).

The benefit of this for consumers is that you can purchase ready-to-use glow in the dark paint pens and markers. “Flash” these products with a UV flashlight after applying them to your desired surface to activate their glowing properties!

With all types of luminous paint being so easy to work with, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try incorporating it into your décor.

Whether you apply it on walls, ceilings, acrylic sheets, paper, or just about anything else you can imagine, the results will be uniquely yours and one-of-a-kind.

How Long Does Glow in the Dark Paint Last?

As is the case with most things, glow-in-the-dark paint glows brightest when it’s “fresh.” As you store your new glow-in-the-dark paint for future use, they gradually lose their ability to absorb light and glow as brightly. Of course, this is primarily determined by how long they sit in storage before being applied – if at all!

The more immediately you can activate your paint, the brighter it will glow. For example, if you purchase glow-in-the-dark stars and wish to create a spectacular night sky in your bedroom ceiling using them (which we highly recommend), then apply them immediately after taking them out of their packaging.

Because these types of products generally require no preparation or drying time before application, there’s little risk of losing strength while they’re stored on your dress.

In addition, the environment in which you store your luminous paints also impacts how bright they appear after being applied. For example, if a room lacks windows and is poorly lit, these conditions will cause even freshly-glowing products to lose much of their effect over time.

In contrast, increasing the amount of natural light within a space helps keep these products vibrant for more extended periods – so try hanging them near a window or using an outdoor UV flashlight to “charge” them!

As long as you’re aware that glow-in-the-dark paint only lasts as long as its luminescence does (which varies from product to), then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try incorporating it into your home décor.

Whether you’re creating a glowing masterpiece on an art canvas, adding an accent wall in the bedroom, or just making your child’s play set more exciting at night, these products not only look fantastic but also help you save money because they require very little light to be seen!

Is Glow In The Dark Paint Safe?

Glow in the dark paint certainly comes with its share of benefits for homeowners, but are there any risks associated with using it? Thanks to its basic chemical properties, this type of luminescent product are non-toxic – meaning that it’s safe to handle and contains no dangerous materials.

However, you should note that some glow-in-the-dark paints have radioactive materials, such as Strontium Aluminate. 

Don’t let the word “radioactive” scare you because it doesn’t mean that your paint will induce nausea or some other negative side effect whenever you apply it on a wall!

In reality, the fact that these products glow so bright without being charged by any other light source makes them prime candidates for inclusion in luminescent jewelry, road signs, and other products that need to be incredibly bright – even when you can’t see them.

Avoid Contact with Skin

When dealing with any luminous paint (glow-in-the-dark or not), it’s essential to avoid getting it on your skin because this is one of the few cases where they’re dangerous.

If you do happen to touch a wall or other surface with luminous paint on it, wash your hands as soon as possible and avoid touching your eyes until then.

Must be Used in a Ventilated Area

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, these products work due to radioactive materials within them. Therefore, never apply luminous paint without protecting your eyes, as they may emit a small amount of UV light as well!

In addition, make sure that you open any glow-in-the-dark products in a well-ventilated area and avoid using them around children.

As you can see from the above discussion on glow-in-the-dark paint, these products are entirely safe to handle while providing you with several benefits. So don’t be afraid to “charge” your home’s décor by including some luminous product in it – make sure you follow our safety guidelines and use them sparingly!

Best Glow in the Dark Paint for Walls

With so many glow-in-the-dark paints available on store shelves, there’s a good chance you’ve already come across one of their advertisements. Most commonly used for home décor, these products can be found in a wide array of colors and finishes.

Plus, some even provide you with the option to add shimmer or make your surface rough!

Here are some of the best glow-in-the-dark paint for walls.

SpaceBeams Aurora Glow in The Dark Paint

If you’re looking for a high-quality glow-in-the-dark paint that’s easy to apply and provides promising results, then this product from Alex Brands is a great choice. Suitable for dry or wet surfaces, SpaceBeams Aurora Glow in The Dark Paint can be used on wood, walls, ceilings, clothes – even your kids’ toys!

This quality paint comes with a built-in brush that lets you apply it quickly without the need for any other tools; what’s more, it provides you with three hours of bright illumination after being charged by even an incandescent light source.

SpaceBeams Aurora Glow in The Dark Paint is available in four colors: Green, Blue, Pink, and Yellow. Each jar weighs 8 ounces and costs around $16.

Black Light Acrylic Fluorescent Wall Paints

If you’re looking for an even brighter glow-in-the-dark paint, then this product from Lumipak is perfect. Offering a whopping 10 hours of illumination after being charged by a common light source, these paints are suitable for interior and exterior use as well as on just about any porous surface.

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In addition to being non-toxic and safe for kids, these paints are entirely waterproof; therefore, you can use them on clothes, furniture, appliances – pretty much any porous surface within your home.

Plus, an incredible selection of colors makes it easy to choose the perfect hue for your décor.

It comes in five different color options: Red, Orange, Blue, Green, and White. Each pack contains two 8 ounce jars and costs $30.

Black Light Acrylic Fluorescent Wall Paints and SpaceBeams Aurora Glow in The Dark Paint are both high-quality glow-in-the-dark paints that can be used on just about any surface of your home – for interior and exterior use.

DayGlo Fluorescent Enamel Paint

Unlike other products, which rely on phosphorescent pigments to create their illumination effect, this paint from DayGlo harnesses Fluorescent Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) – a chemical element capable of absorbing ultraviolet light and re-emitting it as visible light.

As you may have already guessed, this kind of glow-in-the-dark paint only works under ultraviolet light; therefore, applying it to your home’s décor will not provide you with illumination! Not only that, but its UV effect also disappears after 30 minutes of exposure to standard room lighting.

However, the most significant benefit of DayGlo Fluorescent Enamel Paint is its color-changing ability. Even though it’s only available in black, this paint changes colors depending on the angle you observe it from; hence, your creations will catch everyone’s attention!

Its Fluorescent Enamel Paint comes in an 8-ounce can and costs $19.

DayGlo Fluorescent Enamel Paint is a unique kind of glow-in-the-dark paint capable of changing colors depending on the angle you look at it from – it harnesses Fluorescent Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) to absorb ultraviolet light and re-emit it as visible illumination.

Rust-Oleum 1932830 Fluorescent Spray

Last but not least, Rust-Oleum 1932830 Fluorescent Spray is a high-quality glow-in-the-dark paint that you can apply right over your existing surface – it’s designed for cars, bikes, mailboxes, and home appliances! Plus, it’s also very affordable at just around $5.50.

Rust-Oleum Fluorescent Spray emits a bright glow after being charged by sunlight and even visible light. Plus, it’s completely dry within 60 seconds; therefore, you won’t have to wait long before assembling the object you’ve been painting.

It comes in an 8-ounce can and costs $5.50.

Rust-Oleum 1932830 Fluorescent Spray is a premium grade glow-in-the-dark spray paint designed for various purposes and emits a bright glow after being charged by sunlight and visible light.

What to Consider When Buying Phosphorescent Paint?

I was pretty impressed when I first saw that glow-in-the-dark paint for sale on Amazon, but then again – not all of these products are high quality; hence, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind when shopping around!

1. Colour and Intensity

The first thing you should always check is the color and intensity of the phosphorescent pigment. Unfortunately, not all paints are made from the same ingredients; hence, some of them might not be very bright.

The most commonly used material for such products is Strontium Aluminate (SrAl2O4), which emits a fluorescent glow in red, orange, and green colors under UV light.

However, if you’re looking for paint that emits blue, purple, or any other colored illumination, then Strontium Aluminate is not what you’re looking for.

Instead, it would help if you looked for Zinc Sulfide (ZnS) – this element absorbs UV light and re-emits it as visible illumination in yellow, green, and blue shades.

2. Quality

As for intensity, “brightest” is often used to describe high-quality paints; hence, the brighter your paint glows under UV light, the better it is.

3. Coverage

As far as coverage goes, you should be looking for a product that offers at least 100 square feet of illumination per liter or gallon – by doing so, you’ll be able to cover a large surface with ease!

4. Number of Coats

A final thing you need to keep in mind is the number of coats required to achieve the illumination effect. If a one-time application will be enough, it’s most likely an affordable product; however, if multiple coats are required, expect to pay more.

How to Apply Glow in the Dark Paint

Applying glow-in-the-dark paint is pretty easy once you know how to do it correctly! Here are some general steps for using this type of paint on any surface:

1. Clean your area

Clean your desired area with soap and water before painting to remove dust and dirt.

2. Expose to Sunlight

Expose the area to natural sunlight or UV light for at least 10 minutes before applying paint. This step is not necessary if using an aerosol can.

3. Apply glow in the dark paint

Apply your base layer of glow in the dark paint; this layer must dry completely before moving on to the next step (brush-on paints will require a bit more time to set).

It’s best not to apply any other types of paint over this base coat as it may cause your finished product to look dull and blotchy. Allow your base coat to dry for anywhere between one hour and overnight, depending on how thick you apply it.

4. Charge your Layers

Charge your top layer with UV rays or blacklight (about 5 minutes should do the trick). Apply multiple coats of topcoat paint if necessary.

5. Turn off the UV light source.

Once your top layer has been charged, you can either turn off your UV light source or leave it on as you continue to apply the remaining layers of glow in the dark paint. Remember that it’s unnecessary to charge this type of paint before each application unless you want it to last for a few days rather than a few hours.

6. Enjoy your Glow in the Dark Paint

After all your layers have dried completely, display your finished product wherever you like! Charge it under UV light whenever possible and enjoy the extra safety and convenience that comes with having a lit-up wall!

Final Note

Don’t mix different luminous paints as they will cancel out one another’s glowing effects. For example, don’t apply brush-on glow in the dark paint over painted walls or spray paint over ink markers.

Doing so will make it impossible to tell which part of your project is glowing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do glow in the dark paintwork?

Yes, they do! However, not all products are created equally – some of them will glow much brighter than others.

How long does the phosphorescent paint last?

The duration of this type of paint depends on its quality and intensity. Better-quality paints will typically glow in a range between 12 and 24 hours in total darkness, while standard quality products usually offer about 6 to 10 hours of illumination. Note that how often you charge your top layer affects the overall brightness.

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How to make the glow in the dark paint brighter?

To make any luminous paint brighter, expose it to either natural sunlight or artificial UV light (e.g., ultraviolet lamps) for at least 15 minutes before use! The easiest way to brighten your paint is by hanging it in the sun during the day or placing it under your UV lights for a few hours.

Remember that the more frequently you charge your glow-in-the-dark product, the brighter it will get!

Does glow-in-the-dark paintwork without UV light?

No, glow in the dark paint cannot be changed without some UV light source. You can try to use the sun as a light source for charging, but this will take quite a few hours and won’t produce enough luminescence actually to see your item glowing at night.

Can you put a clear coat over glow in the dark paint?

Yes, you can! This is highly recommended to protect your luminous item from being easily scratched. However, if you want to preserve the glowing properties of your product for as long as possible, it’s best not to apply any other type of paint over the first layer.

Can you use glow in the dark paint on a ceiling?

Sure thing! The same rules for regular walls go for ceilings – simply clean and expose to light before painting. For a more intense effect, consider adding some speckles or stars into your design – this will make them stand out even more against a dark background!

Is fluorescent the same as glow in the dark?

No, fluorescent paint is not the same as its luminous counterpart. Fluorescent paints glow in regular light – it’s the mixture of phosphors that produces this effect. Luminous paints require UV light to charge and glow under black (or dark) light!

Does glow in the dark paintwork on toys?

Yes, you can use luminescent paint on almost any surface, including plastic, metal, glass, wood, etc. Just make sure to clean your item with rubbing alcohol before painting to remove any oily residue. For more information about how long they will last, please refer to the FAQ section above.

How long does it take for my wall art/paintings/decorations to charge?

It depends on the intensity of the light source. If you use natural sunlight, make sure to expose your wall art for at least 15 minutes per side. For artificial lights, head down to your local hardware store and purchase a UV lamp – they cost anything between 20$ and 100$, but are well worth it!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that if your artwork has been exposed or painted on top of existing luminescent paint, this will block the phosphors from receiving light, reducing their brightness.

To avoid this problem, remove any previous luminescent material layers using rubbing alcohol before applying your new layer(s) of fluorescent paint!

Can you use glow in the dark paint on windows?

Yes, window paint is also available and can be used anywhere you like. For best results, make sure to clean the window with rubbing alcohol before applying the paint (you don’t need to use this type of cleanser on other kinds of surfaces, though).

Can you use glow in the dark paint on car headlights?

Yes, it’s highly recommended to do so. The best way to go about this is by buying cheap spray paint and giving your headlights a new look!

Can you use glow in the dark paint on car tires?

You can, but it’s not recommended for two reasons: firstly, even though the paint will make your tires stand out during the day or under artificial light, they won’t be visible at all once you turn on the headlights of your car. Secondly, regular paint must not be applied to tires, so you shouldn’t use glow in the dark either.

Can I use old glow in the dark paint on new surfaces?

No, old luminescent material will be blocked by new paint and will lose its brightness, and the phosphor effect will be reduced or disappear altogether. You should scrape it off your old surface, clean it with rubbing alcohol and then paint over the fresh layer of non-luminescent material!

Will glow in the dark wall stickers stick to any surface?

Yes, they will stick to any clean surface. For best results, use regular white glue instead of double-sided tape – it’s much more adhesive and sticks better over more extended periods!

Why is my glow in the dark paint not glowing?

There are two reasons why this might be the case: either your surface is not clean, or it’s been exposed to light (sunlight or artificial light) for too long, which will reduce its luminous power.

To avoid this problem, always clean your surface with rubbing alcohol before painting and exposing it to bright light for a few minutes after painting.

Can you see the glow in the dark paint during the day?

No, glow in the dark paint is not visible during the day. It only starts to charge up when placed under an artificial or natural light source and glows once it’s been sufficiently charged up – this usually takes 1-2 minutes, after which you can see its full potential!

If you leave your painting/decoration alone for a few minutes and then turn off the light, you’ll notice that it continues to glow for a few more minutes even though there’s no longer an external source of light shining on it.

What is the difference between neon and glow in the dark?

Neon is a gas that glows by itself, without any external light source. Glow in the dark paints are fluorescent and need to be charged up by an external light source before emitting their glow – this usually takes 1-2 minutes!


There are several different types of glow in the dark paint on the market that you can use to decorate your walls, windows, car headlights, and tires!

Glow in the dark paints come in many different colors and are generally cost-effective and easy to clean off.

Always make sure that you’re buying the correct type of paint for the surface you want to apply it on! To be sure which one’s right for you, read its label carefully or check out some reviews first before making a purchase.

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