Help me make my bedroom glow!
March 19, 2011 4:41 PM   Subscribe

I'm a grown-up. I love glow-in-the-dark stuff. Suggestions?

I have loved glow in the dark stuff for as long as I can remember. Not black light or anything like that. Good old fashioned cheesy, tacky glow in the dark. That weird yellowy-green glow is like heroin. When I was young I had glow in the dark jammies, glow in the dark toys on all of my shelves, piles of glow in the dark stickers, glow in the dark pillow cases, and my parents even gave me permission to spray paint the ceiling of my bedroom in our old Victorian house. (seriously, I have awesome parents). However, now I am 29 and having glow in the dark all over the place isn't really appropriate, especially should I bring home a potential mate....

So what are some ways to get my glow on without looking like a juvenile freak?
posted by gwenlister to Home & Garden (41 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
This'll be the second time today I promote polymer clay, but...glow-in-the-dark polymer clay!

It's really easy to work with, has exactly the kind of glow effect you crave, and you can make all kinds of things with it. For instance, are you a lady? Do you wear jewelry? I could see a set of dangly, glow-in-the-dark star earrings being really cool. All you need is a set of blank ear hooks, available at any craft store.
posted by phunniemee at 4:49 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Glow in the dark stars on your bedroom ceiling? Arranging them in constellations sounds reasonably mature. :)

Glow in the dark panties or ones with glow in the dark details would be awesome.
posted by Sayuri. at 4:50 PM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

Embrace your inner juvenile freak! If a bedroom full of glow-in-the-dark stuff you love is enough to scare off a potential mate, you dodged a bullet. Sounds joyous to me. Glow your little heart out and don't stop having fun for fear of looking silly. And wear this to bed:
posted by evilmomlady at 4:52 PM on March 19, 2011 [8 favorites]

We just bought a few hundred feet of glow-in-the-dark rope.
posted by desjardins at 4:52 PM on March 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Have you ever tried embroidery? It's easy and you can do it with glow-in-the-dark thread. You could make cool borders on your pillowcases or curtains or monogram things. Sublime Stitching (the link with the thread above) has a lot of patterns that aren't old-lady-corny plus instructions.
posted by dayintoday at 4:53 PM on March 19, 2011 [7 favorites]

I got a small package of sticky glow-in-the-dark stars as a present on occasion of a 3 1/2 -month study trip to the US 11 years ago, from my parting then-wife, and I cherished them as one of her last kind and quirky gestures in a quickly deteriorating partnership, and because they had come out of the kiddie's present box. I stuck them inside the lid of my suitcase and let them glow there every night, while listening to the crickets and the woosh of the gorge (Ithaca, see...); a very sad but comforting thing to do. I wrote my children in my letters about them.

The stickiness wears off after time; some are lost by now, but many are still where I stuck them, to surprise the security guys every time they open my luggage, I'm sure...

They'd do great on the ceiling too, fun to arrange them nicely.
posted by Namlit at 4:55 PM on March 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

i have bluish green tinted glow in the dark nail polish that's awesome. i just use it as a top coat on whatever i want my nails to look like. it's only visible in the dark. i haven't found any complaints once the lights are off.
posted by nadawi at 4:59 PM on March 19, 2011

Glow in the dark furniture? I like the chair and the glowing dog!
Glow in the dark bedding? I love the halo pillowcase and the skyline bedskirt, and they look grown-up enough to me, for sure.
posted by flex at 5:03 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had a pair of glow in the dark flip-flops that I absolutely loved.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 5:05 PM on March 19, 2011

I have a fairly dorky (but safe!) glow-in-the-dark bicycle helmet (rightmost color choice).
posted by mnemonic at 5:06 PM on March 19, 2011

We put glow-in-the-dark stars on the walls of our stairwell. Which actually is a good thing, because in the middle of the night, when you're stumbling to the bathroom, it helps to have a perspective of where the stairs are.

Plus I put the biggest stars by the light switches. Which also makes it easier to see everything.

Also? You can get glow-in-the-dark yarn for knitting/crochet. I used it to make little skulls, which are awesome.
posted by Katemonkey at 5:08 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by InsanePenguin at 5:13 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Glowy stars. I have these. It isn't childish, it's awesome.
posted by anaelith at 5:17 PM on March 19, 2011

Art prints (lunasaurus on that second page), two calendars, band posters, t-shirts, sunglasses, mobiles, paint, tiles, countertops, and grout.
posted by you're a kitty! at 5:18 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would argue that the glow in the dark bedroom would be a good litmus test for who ever you bring home.

I have seen someone who put a thin layer of glow in the dark paint under the furniture of his kids. He would light it up right before bed to keep the monsters out. It was just enough glow to look awesome. Point being, no one would know unless you wanted them to.
posted by Felex at 5:21 PM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Just avoid radium. It is pretty and glows in the dark, but yeahhhh.

I have some really nice glowing stars in my room at my parents place (I maintain it is bemuse I've not redecorated in 15 years or so, not that I still love glow in the dark stars) that we made by painting the room with white spots then painting over those with glow in the dark paint. They still work after 15 years or so, but only show up if I've had specific lights on.
posted by Canageek at 5:35 PM on March 19, 2011

Glow-in-the-dark gazing globe. Totally grown-up and classy.
posted by drlith at 5:38 PM on March 19, 2011

I saw these glow in the dark Umbra modern 3D flowery things in a store the other day, they're way cooler looking in real life, less vibrant, a little lighter.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 5:42 PM on March 19, 2011

OK, you're probably not Catholic (capitalized = religion, not synonym for eclectic), and I have no idea how appropriate this is, but for some reason there are a bunch of inexpensive glow-in-the-dark rosaries in the world. I think we had a glow-in-the-dark crucifix when I was a child, too.

Seriously. 99 cents, or free, they are out there. Maybe even at the Dollar Store. Here's one on (with links to several more).

another idea: decorate your clothes with glow-in-the-dark beads, then leave the clothes around the room. Or put the beads on lampshades or curtain ties or something.
posted by amtho at 5:48 PM on March 19, 2011

I have a set of stencils for the summer sky. I think there are four of them and they are very large. There are holes of various sizes, and you tack them to the ceiling, apply glow in the dark paint, and you're looking at the summer sky every single night when you turn your light off! I got it years and years ago at The Nature Company. You can't see it at all in the daytime. At night, you leave the overhead light on a while before switching off the lights. Magic!
posted by littleflowers at 6:17 PM on March 19, 2011

If you are artistically inclined, how about painting your walls and/or ceiling with a glow-in-the-dark painting? No one would know it was there until you turned out the lights. And I want to add, OMG glow-in-the-dark condoms and embroidery thread!
posted by fifilaru at 6:21 PM on March 19, 2011

You can get glow in the dark spray paint (like this stuff from Krylon), which I have personally used on a few things with good results. It works well, but you'll need a few coats to get the most out of it.

A good thing to know is this sort of paint really responds to UV light; a blue UV laser pointer makes this stuff really pop. A while ago I took a clear sheet of plastic and painted it with glow in the dark paint and hung it on the wall, then got just such a laser to doodle on it with. Here's a not-so-great quality video of it in action, but it looks cooler in person. You can't really tell from, but in a dark room the glow would persist for about 15-20 minutes.

You can also use a camera flash and someone standing in front of the panel to do silhouettes, like the old Flash Screen toy shown here.

I imagine a ceiling painted this way, with some lasers, could be super fun AND romantic.
posted by Menthol at 6:21 PM on March 19, 2011 [13 favorites]

Vaseline glass.
posted by box at 6:57 PM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Like Sayuri. suggests, I have used glow in the dark stars to create Orion on my bedroom ceiling, positioned above my bed. I find it very comforting to look at as I'm falling asleep. It was unexpectedly difficult to get the proportions right when I was putting him up, though.
posted by frobozz at 7:12 PM on March 19, 2011

I have a glow-in the dark T-shirt of Daniel Johnston, bought at a concert, that I don't think I could find again. Looking at other shirts, some are pretty cheesy but I thought this one was neat.

I've got GITD handlebar tape, but I hardly ever see any glow from it. You could go for an entire bike.

GITD light switch plates can be basic or fancy.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:21 PM on March 19, 2011

I came in here to suggest a blue UV laser pointer, too--really amazing effects.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:43 PM on March 19, 2011

Glow in the dark ugly dolls
posted by hellojed at 8:34 PM on March 19, 2011

A roll of glow in the dark tape and a quart of glow in the dark paint.
posted by pianomover at 8:41 PM on March 19, 2011

Relevant XKCD.

It's definitely not childish. Even ThinkGeek has plenty of glow-in-the-dark stuff. (I want the cactus pods!)
posted by IndigoRain at 11:35 PM on March 19, 2011

I have a little glow in the dark dinasaur (along with a nonglow one and a wooden parrot ) that sits on the back of the toilet sit in a bunch of eucalyptus branches. It glows at night when I go in the bathroom!
posted by bluesky43 at 7:03 AM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I once trashpicked several jars of glow-in-the-dark silkscreen ink. The glowy stuff had sunk to the bottom half-inch of the containers, so I poured off the blue carrier ink and stirred the magic glow crystals up with some water (speedball water soluble ink) and painted the super light yellow green stuff onto the walls of dark nook in my house. It was barely noticeable with the light on, but switch the light off and it was SUPER SWIRLY CRAZY FUCKING EXTREME GLOWLAND ON ALL SIDES except the floor.
( I found several containers of the green and the blue stuff, amazon has a white one that might be even less noticeable in daylight here)
posted by cometwendy at 7:10 AM on March 20, 2011

There's an easy faux painting technique using a feather duster to put one color over a base coat. I never did it with glow-in-the-dark paint, but I always wanted to.
posted by ShooBoo at 8:27 AM on March 20, 2011

I just bought these glow-in-the-dark zombies and horrified B-movie victims for my son's birthday cake.
posted by misha at 9:42 AM on March 20, 2011

My four month old cousin has a turtle that lights up in different colors and projects stars onto the ceiling. It's meant for young kids, but I still think it's pretty cool.
posted by lemonwheel at 12:13 PM on March 20, 2011

I share this joy in glow-in-the-dark stuff. So much so that my husband sent me this link knowing full well I will buy everything I don't already have and use it somewhere in the house or the yard. ;)

You can make glow in the dark pictures!! I have some of this kind of paper and it is completely awesome.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 5:16 PM on March 20, 2011

I was just at a friend's apartment, and in the bathroom (apartment building, no windows in the room, overhead light only illumination) was a bar of Skinnydipper's Delight Soap. Not laid out for use, but in packaging, which meant that I knew to turn off the light switch and admire it, as opposed to thinking it just another rectangle of glycerin-based cleaning product. Wrap or unwrap as you see fit. Get a dozen bars and use them everywhere. Write on the tub walls with it.
posted by aimedwander at 8:06 AM on March 21, 2011

I got some fantastic paint and powered GITD stuff from

I put a dot of the paint high up on the edge of some doors at home: when I get up in the night, I can tell whether or not the door is open, as well as how far. I tried putting it around the keyhole on the outside door, but it scratched off.

The powder mixes very well into two-part epoxy. I put dabs of it onto stuff like a pen and a bracelet clasp and a multitool. I also filled a tiny plastic jar (which originally contained maekup) and it made a neat nightlight. I would like to add it to a geocache container.

We just moved, and I am going to put dots of the GITD paint on light switches (so I can find them in the dark) and on door frames (ditto) and around the basement.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:01 AM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can buy glow-in-the-dark "exit" signs and tell potential mates that you take fire safety very seriously. If you insist on being more practical, there are lots of glow-in-dark clocks available.

And, of course, if you don't play Dungeons & Dragons, you should start, so you can buy some glow-in-the-dark dice.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 9:18 AM on March 21, 2011

If you have long hair, Scunci makes (used to make?) glow in the dark ponytailers and headbands. They're part of the No Slip Grip Evolution line... I got mine at the drugstorer a couple of months ago but I can't find them online, so keep your eyes open. They glow really strongly.
posted by anaelith at 10:42 AM on March 21, 2011

Glowing axolotl in a black light-lit tank?
posted by doift at 4:52 PM on March 26, 2011

Recently started looking up materials for a kitchen redesign, and thought of this thread.
- various makers of glass backsplash tile mosaics have patterns that incorporate glowy glass tiles. Example, but there are many options.
- some countertop is made with recycled glass, and you can include glowy glass bits embedded in the countertop material!
- Or buy the glass bits separately for use in vases, (aquariums?), or your own embedded resin project.
posted by aimedwander at 1:47 PM on March 29, 2011

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