Glow In The Dark Paint: A Short Introduction
Glow in the dark paints instantly adds an extra dimension to any project. But there are so many to choose from! Well – don’t worry, whether you are a part-raver or a crafter, we have a selection of great paint picks for a variety of use cases.
In this in-depth review, we’ve picked the top-performing products for all the major buyers of glow in the dark paint. We have options for body painting, UV and blacklight paints, fabric paints, pigments, and high-quality crafting paints. Further down the page we’ll go into the major differences between them all, and help you choose which one is right for you.
Let’s get right into it!
The 10 Best Glow In The Dark Paints For 2021
Best Body Glow Paint
2. UV Glow Blacklight Face and Body Paint
⤍ Perfect for body painting
⤍ 6 colors included
⤍ Ideal for parties and concerts
Type: Blacklight Body Paint
Size: 6x 0.34 fl. oz.
Colors: 6 (included)
If you’re attending a party or going clubbing, nothing ups the ante like blacklight paint. UV Glow is one of the market leaders, and produce this particular product specifically for that use. Skin-safe, you can happily apply the blacklight paint to your body and create any pattern imaginable.
For partygoers, the assortment of 6 colors in this set is also a great addition, as you won’t need to purchase separate tubes with different colors.
Best Fabric Glow Paint
3. Neon Nights UV Fabric Paint
⤍ Blacklight/UV paint for fabrics
⤍ Set of 8 Neon colors included
⤍ Very affordably priced
Type: Blacklight Fabric Paint
Size: 8x 0.7 fl. oz.
Colors: 8 (included)
Some folks prefer to simply paint their clothing rather than going all-in with the body paint. This blacklight UV fabric paint kit is perfect for partygoers and includes 8 bright colors at a great price.
If you’re aiming for more long-lasting fabric paint, then check out some of the other fabric paint selections. This particular product is great for a one-off party, but you’ll need something more substantial for longer-term use.
Good For Crafts & Painting
4. FolkArt Neon Glow Acrylic Paint
⤍ Glow in the dark acrylic paint
⤍ 8 colors included in the pack – great value
⤍ Works on a wide range of materials
Type: Acrylic Glow In The Dark
Size: 8x 2 fl. oz.
Colors: 8 (included)
Another great option for painting and crafting, FolkArt has a wide selection of paint products in their range. The Neon Glow acrylic is a true glow in the dark paint – it charges from light sources and then emits a gentle glow in the dark.
With a sturdy acrylic formulation, you get a very high-quality finish with this paint, and you can use it on wood, metal, and a variety of other surfaces. The 8 different colors included in this pack are also a huge plus: they are a great selection of different shades. We love the glow in the dark blue the most!
Great 2-in-1 Paint
5. Neon Nights 2-in-1 Glow Paint
⤍ Clever glow in the dark & blacklight 2-in-1
⤍ Great selection of 8 colors
⤍ German-made quality
Type: 2-in-1 Acrylic Glow/Blacklight
Size: 8x 0.7 fl. oz.
Colors: 8 (included)
Neon Nights have a wide range of glow in the dark products – but these combination paints are definitely the most intriguing. Featuring a very clever formulation, these paints glow in the dark and also shine neon under UV/blacklights. For most other manufacturers, this functionality is a choice of one product over another – so Neon Nights have been very clever to combine them into one formulation.
These German-made paints also feature an attractive set of 8 different colors. The acrylic formulation makes them well suited to more permanent craft projects. Buyers looking for body paint should take a look at other paints in this review.
Great For Body Painting
6. Midnight Glo UV Reactive Body & Face Paint
⤍ Non-toxic blacklight neon body paint
⤍ Wide variety of colors and bottle sizes
⤍ Easy to wash off and made in the USA
Type: Blacklight Face & Body Paint
Size: 6/7/8x 0.75 or 2 fl. oz.
Colors: 6/7/8 (included)
Clubbers and partygoers get ready: if you are looking for safe, non-toxic neon body paint then this is a great choice. Available in two sizes, with a variety of different paints, Midnight Glo’s UV Reactive Body & Face Paint is extremely popular with costumers and ravers alike.
This formula complies with ASTM D-4236 and is formulated here in the USA. With no toxic fumes and easy washing, it’s a very safe option to put on your skin.
The color options are also great – with a choice of 6, 7, or 8 colors in two sizes of bottle. Whether you need a large supply or a few bottles for a single event, there are options for everyone. Obviously, you want to be careful with anything you are going to put on your skin, but with over 1000 happy reviews, Midnight Glo’s UV Reactive Body & Face Paint is a great choice.
Great for Long-term Fabric Use
7. Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint
⤍ Hardwearing washable fabric paint
⤍ Great for making long-lasting designs
⤍ Less flexible than other fabric paints – suited to sneakers
Type: Glow In The Dark Fabric Paint
Size: 4 fl. oz.
Colors: 9 (sold separately)
One of two fabric glow paints from Tulip, the Dimensional range of glow in the dark paints produces a hard-wearing surface that is washable after application. Unlike many other paints that are designed for single-use applications, Tulip’s paints are made for longer-lasting fabric designs.
Although slightly more expensive than other options in this review, this paint is a great go-to for things like sneakers that require less flexibility than other materials. There is a huge range of colors available, so the sky is really the limit for your glow in the dark fabric projects!
Great For T-Shirt Designs
8. Tulip Soft Glow In the Dark Fabric Paint
⤍ Flexible finish fabric paint
⤍ Thinner than Tulip Dimensional paint
⤍ Suited to t-shirts and garments that need flexibility
Type: Glow In The Dark Fabric Paint
Size: 4 fl. oz.
Colors: 6 (sold separately)
The second of two glow in the dark fabric paints in Tulip’s line, the Soft Glow in the dark paint produces a more flexible finish than it’s cousin. This makes it better suited to fabrics that are likely to move like T-shirts and other clothing.
Just like it’s cousin, there is a huge range of colors available – more so than other brands. Some reviews have noted that this paint is much runnier than Tulip’s dimensional paint, so takes multiple layers to make an opaque finish. That makes sense given its flexibility requirement, and you should assess your needs before choosing between the two.
For more permanent fabric craftwork, Tulips paints are definitely the go-to – and although slightly pricier than the competition the results are worth it.
Great For Crafters
9. Art ‘N Glow Glow in The Dark Pigment Powder
⤍ Add glow in the dark to a variety of materials
⤍ Can be added to resins, varnishes and other paints
⤍ Extremely versatile for experienced crafters
Type: Glow In The Dark Pigment
Size: 12 grams
Colors: 11 (sold separately)
Art ‘N Glow’s Glow in The Dark Pigment Powder is a little different from other options in this review, as it is a pigment powder rather than a paint. This means you can insert the glowing effect into a wide variety of materials, including glass, resin, murals, paintings, and jewelry.
It can be mixed into any type of paint, making it extremely versatile, and allowing you to create any type of glow paint you want (oil, spray, etc.). Perhaps more exciting is the ability to incorporate it into a variety of other resins and finishes for a cool glow in the dark twist.
While this isn’t a great option for party-goers, for experienced crafters the sky really is the limit with glow in the dark pigment powder.
Great For Kids
10. Creativity for Kids Glow In The Dark Rock Painting Kit
⤍ Everything you need to make glow in the dark rock designs
⤍ Kid-safe paint formulations
⤍ Fun crafting project for kids and the whole family
Type: Rock Painting Kit
Colors: 6 (included)
Something a little different for our last selection – here we have Creativity for Kids Glow In The Dark Rock Painting Kit. Aimed at making fun projects with kids, this kit contains everything you need to get started.
When choosing paint projects for kids, it’s always good to know that the paints have been designed with kids in mind to ensure they are as safe as possible. You never know where they can end up, so easy and safe washing is a must.
The glow in the dark rocks you can create with this kit also makes a really nice lasting memory that can be a part of your family for years to come. It has even become popular to leave the rocks around the garden to make little moments to be discovered at a later date!
What To Consider When Buying Glow In The Dark Paint
Choosing the correct paint for your application can be a little confusing. In this section, we’ll take a look at the key things to consider when looking at glow in the dark paints to help you make the best choice. Generally, it’s hard to say any one particular product is the best – as in fact, what is best for one person isn’t always the best for another.
Blacklight/UV vs. Glow In The Dark
People often confuse Blacklight and Glow in the dark, but they are in fact very different. Glow in the dark paints and materials charge up during the daylight and then emit a glow when it is dark. They emit the glow entirely on their own, without reflecting light from anything else. Generally, they are less bright than blacklight neon reflections.
Blacklight or UV paints and products reflect UV light giving a neon appearance. This is especially bright in the dark, and you often see the effect used in nightclubs, concerts, and raves. The crucial difference is that these paints are reflecting UV light shined onto them. If you turned the UV light off, the material would not emit any glow.
You will often see Blacklight and UV used in performances, parties, and clubs, where the normal glow in the dark is not bright enough. For crafting work where you don’t have a UV or blacklight available, then glow in the dark is a better choice.
What You Are Painting
As with any paint, it’s important to consider what you are applying it to. Manufacturers specially formulate paints for application to various different surfaces. For use on furniture or walls, you might be better looking at chalk paints. Apply them to the wrong one, and you will find they can peel, run, or sometimes not stick at all.
Acrylic paints are the best all-round option and provide the most durable finish. That said, they are not the best choice for body painting, because they can be harder to wash off. For body painting, you should use a specific body painting glow in the dark paint.
Finally, fabric paints are the best option for painting clothing and other materials. They allow for a degree of flexibility without the paint cracking. This is very important with clothes as they stretch and move much more than other surfaces.
More expensive fabric glow in the dark paints will last through washes. Cheaper options work well for one-off outfits but often will not respond well to laundry day.
There is a whole bunch of glow in the dark paint colors out there. It’s worth thinking about your application to decide what might look best. For party-goers and people making single-use costumes, it’s often better value to choose a kit that includes several different colors. Some include up to 8, and you can pick and choose what suits your design best.
Manufacturers typically sell higher quality glow in the dark paints individually, so you will need to know what colors you are looking for. Although they are typically more expensive, you get a much better finish which will stand the test of time.
Check out our best airbrush compressor review if you are interested in art and different techniques, such as airbrushing. If you’re using paint brushes, check out our article about how to clean them. The same goes for paint rollers.
Common Questions About Glow In the Dark Paint
We see a ton of questions about products all over the internet, and glow in the dark paint is no exception. Here, our team takes a look at some of the most common questions about these paints. If you feel like we missed an important question – feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.
In short, some paints are permanent and others are not. Generally, glow in the dark body paints are not permanent, and are easily washed off with water. Acrylic-based paints are another story: they are designed to harden and become water-resistant.
Our rule of thumb is to assume that all glow in the dark paints are permanent unless they are marked otherwise, or marked as body paint. You can assume that body paint is washable, but most other paints are designed to be permanent.
Glow in the dark paints are often referred to as phosphorescent paints. They contain a variety of different chemicals that make them luminous. These chemicals, such as strontium compounds and zinc compounds, are typically not found in other paints. As a result, you can assume that unless the paint is marked as glow in the dark, it will not do so unless these chemicals have been added.
There are typically two reasons why glow in the dark paint isn’t glowing. First, you need to give it time to “charge” up in a well-lit environment. This could be inside your home or outdoors in the sun. The second is that the glow has run down. Smaller amounts of glow in the dark material will not glow as long as larger pieces of material. Because paint is a coating, it is thin and will often run out of glow quickly.
The combination of these two effects often surprises people. To guarantee good glowing effects, you ideally need to move from a place of high light quickly into low light. The best example is standing in a room and turning the lights off. This will cause the paint to glow well. Things left outside on the other hand typically do not perform well, as they have “run out” of glow while the sun is setting so do not glow at night.
Glow in the dark paint isn’t hard to make if you are able to buy some glow in the dark pigment. We’ve reviewed some above, and you can add it to any paint to produce a glow in the dark effect. You can also add the pigment to epoxies and varnishes for another interesting twist.
In short, yes it does. Sunlight is very effective at charging glow in the dark material. However, you need to remember that glow in the dark materials often run out of charge during sunset.
Many folks leave glow in the dark materials outside and expect them to glow throughout the night. The sad truth is that the glow is emitted continuously, and as the sun sets, it is being emitted. As the partial light period often extends several hours, you can easily run out of charge before nightfall.