According to Professor Thorsten Trupke of UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, glow-in-the-dark or phosphorescent paint has a different kind of glow called luminescence. It creates this light using luminescent phosphors that are made from a mixture of chemicals. This causes the paint to illuminate for up to 12 hours after sufficient exposure to light.
Glow-in-the-dark or phosphorescent paint has a different kind of glow called luminescence. It creates this light using luminescent phosphors that are made from a mixture of chemicals.
Professor Thorsten Trupke
UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering
Nowadays, there are lots of variations of glow-in-the-dark paints that are aimed to give you more choices for creativity. It ranges from paints with specs of luminous glitters to glow-in-the-dark spray paints and body paints. Despite the differences in their forms, they can deliver exquisite results aesthetically under the right conditions.
However, if you have a more specific reason for the use of glow-in-the-dark paints, there are lots of considerations to have before choosing among those different glow-in-the-dark paints. For instance, not all kinds of paints like this can be applied to the skin as some of them can harm you. With this, it is always best to check if the paint is safe for your skin. Loof for water-based forms which can be easily removed and washed through water and soap.
If ease of use is your main concern, opting for spray paints like the Rust-Oleum 278733 would benefit you the most. This is very ideal for individuals who practically just intend to give the surface a coat of paint. Without the need for a brush, you can paint any object in a matter of a minute.
Fluorescent paint is a good alternative for glow-in-the-dark paint. It is another type of luminescent paint that glows through exposure to long-wave ultraviolet radiation. However, unlike phosphorescent paint, it needs continuous use of black-light in order to achieve the glowing effect of the paint. Nonetheless, fluorescent paint is still a good choice as it comes in two types: visible and invisible. With this, you have the choice if you want the paint itself to be visible under normal conditions or not.
One good example of visible fluorescent paint is the Neon Nights Fluorescent UV Body Paint Set. It comes in different colors of paint and due to its vibrant colors, it can function as a regular body paint under normal lights. Once exposed to a black light, the colors would be enhanced, leaving the surface with excellent glowing neon colors. On the other hand, if you fancy discrete paints that will only show under UV lights, Glomania Fluorescent Invisible Neutral Acrylic Paint Set is the best choice.
To give you more details about them, here is the comprehensive review we conducted to make things more convenient for you. After testing and comparing them, we offer you the collective insights of our experts about each item.
Best Glow-in-the-Dark Paints Comparison & Rating
1. Neon Nights Neon Acrylic Colors
Tanvas, Wood, Plastic, and Metal
20 mL bottle for each color
Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Purple, and White
This glow-in-the-dark set from Neon Nights is certainly the best pick due to the number of colors included in the purchase and so as the great consistency of the paint itself.
It comes in a pack of eight 0.7 fluid ounces of neon acrylic paint colors. The colors include red, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and white.
The paints can be used on almost any surface and the vibrance of the colored pigments is unbeatable. Under normal light conditions, the colors can function as striking colors that can be compared just to any other paints on the market. Once charged and put under darkness, the paint can glow for up to 12 hours.
However, the performance of the paint still depends on the thickness of the application that users would prefer. In relation to this, we suggest giving the surface 3 to 4 coats, especially if you want the paint not to appear translucent when viewed under daylight. Moreover, using a white primer on dark surfaces before application would result in the five-star performance of these phosphorescent paints!
2. StarMaker Crystal Glow-in-the-Dark Paint
2 fluid ounces
Available in Blue, Aqua, and Green
It might not have the solid, bold colors of other glow-in-the-dark paints but when it comes to beauty, it certainly impresses! It is available in 3 colors (aqua, blue, and green) that all come in a faintly translucent white color under daylight. Nonetheless, the colors of the paint aren’t the main attraction here: it’s the crystals that give the paint a distinctive glow in the dark!
Compared to others like Rust-Oleum 278733 or Neon Nights Neon Acrylic Colors, the luminescence of the paint in the StarMaker Crystal Glow-in-the-Dark Paint is scattered. It won’t be as bright as its competitors but the beauty it offers can’t be outweighed.
The pure strontium aluminate doped crystals glow like fireflies which makes the paint an excellent choice for different art projects. Moreover, as said, the paints come in a white mixture which allows them to be easily concealed on a white surface (or surface with white primer) during normal light conditions. With this, you have yourself a glow-in-the-dark paint that will surprise anyone once darkness sets in!
3. Rust-Oleum 278733 Specialty Spray Paint
Plastic, Vinyl, Ceramic, Wood, Metal, Drywall, etc.
10 fluid ounces
Applying paints can be terribly tedious, especially if you need to use brushes and you want to assure that the layer of paint is perfectly even. In this case, this Rust-Oleum 278733 Specialty Spray Paint will save you.
Not only does the paint come from a well-trusted brand, but the quality of the paint itself also offers great quality. The 10-ounce spray paint is oil-based so using them on surfaces like plastic and vinyl is possible. It can also be used on almost any other surfaces such as ceramic, wood, metal, drywall, plastic, and more.
When exposed to the right amount of light, especially UV lights, the coat can illuminate the surface for 4 to 8 hours. Under normal lights, we noticed that the coat won’t provide too much glow you would expect from the paint. However, when we gave the surface 3 layers of paint and exposed it to a UV light bulb for at least 3 hours, it managed to attain the indicated 8-hour longevity of luminescence. But is it worth it? Definitely! The glow is far more attractive compared to the uneven light distribution of most paints applied using a brush. Truly excellent.
4. Neon Nights Fluorescent UV Body Paint Set
20 mL bottle for each color
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink, and White
As mentioned, not all glow-in-the-dark paints can be applied to the skin as they can harm you. Well, this is one of those that you can use safely. Another product from Neon Nights, a respected company of luminescent paints, this fluorescent body paint set offers 8 colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, and white. With this, they can give you a wide variety of options to create majestic patterns on your face and on your skin.
We also love that the pigments of each color are strong enough that in just a single application, the paint can leave notable marks right away. As for the consistency of the paint itself, we just noticed that using it would take you a couple of spreads in order to achieve an even application of colors. Achieving it can somehow be tedious, especially if you are planning to use the paint for professional makeup effects. But all in all, the vibrance and the glow of the colors under a black light are truly overwhelming. The colors are very distinctive and don’t fade even a little!
5. Glomania Invisible Fluorescent Neutral Acrylic Paint Set
0.5 fluid ounce each color
Green, White, Red, Orange, Blue, and Yellow
This invisible fluorescent acrylic paint offers 6 colors for each set, including green, white, red, orange, blue, and yellow. Given its ‘invisible’ nature as fluorescent paint, the mixture comes in semi-transparent white paint. Applying it to white surfaces or anything with white primer would be very beneficial. Nonetheless, once exposed to black light, the colors are stunning and strong!
The paints also leave a glossy finish or effect on the surface. Although it is suggested to apply at least 3 layers of coats for optimum results, be aware that the thicker your application is, the more visible and the more obvious the texture would be. If that is not an issue for you, we suggest applying it for a couple of layers to get the best glow possible.
Furthermore, the quality of the paints is stellar. They are made from strontium-based rare earth elements and are non-toxic at all. They also have a glow lifespan of over 10 years which is absolutely great! The consistency is also impressive since it can be thinned down for use with airbrushes. With the right thinning medium, professional painters would love the effects it could bring to their art pieces.
Best Glow-in-the-Dark Paints - Buyer's Guide
It is best to first identify the main purpose of why you would purchase luminescent paints. They come in a variety of forms that are meant to be used on specific projects. For instance, there are specific paints that can only be applied on surfaces like wood, stones, and plastics but won’t be advisable for fabrics. There are also choices like Neon Nights Fluorescent UV Body Paint Set that are applicable to be used on the skin. Using paints that are not labeled for skin use can cause irritations leading to injuries.
The thick consistency of paints sometimes leads to challenging application. For instance, the Neon Nights Fluorescent UV Body Paint Set has to be applied multiple times to attain the even color you need. This is why it is suggested for such paints to be applied using brush paints instead of the traditional use of fingers. For big projects, look for paints that can be thinned like the Glomania Invisible Fluorescent Neutral Acrylic Paint Set. You can also opt for spray paint options like Rust-Oleum 278733 for easier application and faster results.
Keep in mind the two differ a lot in terms of how they glow. Glow-in-the-dark paints or phosphorescent can be charged using lights (but preferably black or UV lights) and will automatically glow under lights for a specific amount of time. Once they are charged, they can glow in the darkness without the continuous aid of any light source.
On the other hand, fluorescent paints rely on black lights to glow in the dark. They can’t be charged. Instead, the UV or black lights help establish the black-light effect or glow of the paints by exposing them to long-wave ultraviolet radiation. In this regard, without a proper lighting tool, fluorescent won’t glow at all. Furthermore, if you intend to use such a kind of luminescent paint as room decor, you need to use a black light source turned on to see them glow.
Typical paints come in a wide variety of colors and so as glow-in-the-dark paints. However, for artistic purposes, effects, and bigger art projects, it is best to know what you really need. Do you need a colorful set of paints? Then, products from Neon Nights would be the best as the sets commonly come in 8 colors. However, colorful paints are not applicable at all times to some individuals. This is where invisible fluorescent paints come into action. Since they come in semi-transparent white forms, they can be concealed easily on white surfaces. On the other hand, the invisible appearance of the StarMaker Crystal Glow-in-the-Dark Paint is also a notable item to have. Far from the solid colors of other paints, this one delivers a glittery-like appearance that can be compared to the scattered glows of stars and fireflies at night.
Best Glow-in-the-Dark Paints - FAQs
The glow-in-the-dark paints can glow for more than 12 hours, provided the thickness of the paint is substantial and the charging time of the paint is sufficient. Also, it is more advisable to use true black lights for optimum results.
No, there is no need to charge fluorescent paints. They need a continuous source of UV lights in order to be viewed or glow in the dark.
The charging time of the paint and the light source used will have a direct effect on the performance of the paint. It is suggested to expose the glow-in-the-dark paints to true black light for several hours to get the most favorable results.
Glow-in-the-dark paints usually last for at least 10 years. It can also last up to 12 years if there is a sealer integrated to prevent fast deterioration of phosphors.