How to make Glow in the Dark Paint

This information page does not replace the Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). It is intended to provide guidance and tips for making your own Glow in the Dark Paint.

Techno Glow primarily utilizes acrylic latex paint medium for our glow in the dark paint. The following instructions focus around acrylic latex paint medium unless otherwise indicated.

  1. Choose the color and granularity of the glow in the dark powder appropriate to your project. Larger particle sizes generally glow longer, but the resulting paint will not have as smooth a finish as finer particles or smaller micron sizes. Protect the powder from moisture by storing in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Clumping or yellowing can be indicators of the pigment powder being exposed to moisture. Continue to avoid exposure to moisture until the powder is mixed with the paint medium.
  2. Obtain the needed primer, clear medium, and possibly a clear top coat. Feel free to have your local hardware store contact us with any technical questions they might have. We also carry a wide variety of paint and other mediums that works very well with our products. 
    • Primer – Choose the primer made for the substrate you will be painting. A white primer will facilitate the highest glow, while a dark primer will reduce or absorb the luminosity.
    • Paint Medium – Paint should be clear so that color pigment particles don’t interfere with the glow. Clear acrylic latex paints, polyurethane, solvents and resins are some of the best mediums, though other paint mediums may be used with success. Remember that more viscous mediums do a better job of holding the pigment in suspension without need for an anti-settling agent. 
    • Top Coat – The purpose is to seal and protect the luminous paint layer, although not necessary most of the times. Top coats can be most anything clear (polyurethane or acrylic) to protect the finish without interfering with the glow. Avoid paint with high UV filters in order for light to penetrate through to charge and discharge the powder. A lot of paint mediums that do include UV filters works just fine.
  3. Prepare the surface you are going to paint. Be sure that the surface is clean and dry. Apply the primer to the surface and allow primer adequate time to fully cure before painting. Plan for the amount of glow in the dark powder and paint medium you plan to use. You should only mix as much as you plan to use immediately, because if left sitting, the medium can settle or set up and make using the paint difficult. It is important to not leave the paint open for long periods of time to avoid drying up.
    • We recommend mix ratios between 15% to 33% powder to paint. In general, ratios with more than 33% powder to the mix don’t gain enough brighter glow to justify the cost of more glow powder. Examples:

      20% = 1:5 = 1 oz. Powder to 5 oz. Medium
      25% = 1:4 = 1 oz. Powder to 4 oz. Medium
      33% = 1:3 = 1 oz. Powder to 3 oz. Medium
      33% = 1:3 = 42 oz. Powder to 1 gallon (128 fl. oz.) Medium

      Generally, the higher the ratio of glow in the dark powder to medium, the brighter the glow and potentially a longer glow. Testing different ratio's are recommended for commercial and manufacturing purposes. Multiple layers always enhance the glow. If possible, we suggest using plastic, ceramic, or glass mixing containers and utensils.

      For resin and epoxy the 20% ratio works well. Pigment will settle to the bottom leaving you with a nice clear top that can be sanded and buffed to your liking.

  4. Carefully mix the glow in the dark powder with the paint or resin medium.
  5. You can either add powder to paint or paint to powder. If you place the powder in the mixing container first and then begin adding paint until you achieve the glow and consistency you need, you will have greater control. Starting with the paint in the mixing container and adding your estimate of the required pigment also works just fine. For small quantities, stir the pigment and the medium with a wood or plastic stir stick (coffee stir stick, chopstick, skewer, or the end of an artist’s paint brush). For larger quantities, using a power drill and a paint mixer available from a local hardware store. The power drill will allow for thorough mixing/stirring at higher speeds. Mixing two different colored pigments together does not usually get the desired result or work out well. Be careful not to grind the glow powder as it will cause the glow to be reduced, and may lead to the pigment deteriorating and not taking a charge. If the paint becomes too thick to apply, you can add a small amount of water or flow extender available from us or at a local building store.
  6. Apply multiple thin coats of paint (3-4 mil). Many folks have had good success applying 3-5 coats. Stir and/or shake the paint thoroughly before applying. Paint can be applied with brush, roller or paint sponge. Paint can be applied with paint sprayer, providing it is less viscous or has been thinned with an extender product. For small areas, you may be able to reduce the time between coat applications by using a hair dryer on the first couple coats. After that you should allow the paint coats to cure naturally. If you have some paint remaining, you can use the container lid or cover the container with clear plastic wrap from your kitchen. It is also good to label the cup with a marker because in the light, there is little difference in the color between several of the pigments.

If you have further questions you can contact us for assistance.