Looking for glow-in-the-dark art paints for watercolor painting
January 9, 2017 8:53 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a good brand of glow-in-the-dark paints in various colors that can be added to a watercolor painting that is available from a reliable online retailer. Bonus: warm colors like red and orange besides the usual blue/greenish yellow.

I work with water-based paints and have an idea for a series of paintings that will glow in the dark. Am looking for quality glow-in-the-dark paints to add to my paintings that I can purchase online in a range of colors.

Have never used such paints before and hopefully can find something that washes easily out of my brushes. I'm not sure if water-based ones are available? I don't have brushes suitable for acrylic paints but will buy a few cheap ones just for this if necessary as the glowing paint will be applied only to small areas (over watercolor bits, will this be a problem? new to mixed media)

Any advice from people who have worked with this kind of art paints welcome! Thank you.
posted by whitelotus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Will this be viewed under ultra violet light or be applied in thick globs?
There might be a paint or two that lasts longer, but in my limited experience the glow fades before your eyes can adjust.

The only paint I could really suggest is radium paint, it glows without the need to be exposed to light, but because of its radioactivity it's hard or impossible to find nowadays.
posted by FallowKing at 9:52 PM on January 9, 2017

To the best of my knowledge, there's really just one glow in the dark pigment that is a yellow-green. Other colors are just mixes of other pigments with the glow in the dark pigment, so they don't glow as strongly. Fluorescent colors are a different story.

I don't know of any glow in the dark (or fluorescent) watercolors, but you can get phosphorescent glow powder that you could probably add to gum arabic to make your own.

Golden makes a good acrylic phosphorescent medium. Of the glow in the dark products we carry at our art supplies store, the Speedball screen printing ink is the only one I've ever really noticed glowing on the shelf when I turn out the lights and close up.
posted by jimw at 10:09 PM on January 9, 2017

I'm no artist, but I have used the GloNation paints. The Bright Time Glow Paint variety set and a larger container of the green paint were fun on large surfaces and inside clear objects and the colors do stay activated for several hours, especially compared to locally available glow in the dark products.
Be advised that the warm shades of paint only glow a short while (15 minutes for the red), but I would add a little red to white or yellow and get a longer lasting glow. Don't try mixing with other paints, the results will be masked.
Also, best results are on a white surface or something clear like a bottle or jelly jar.
I have not tried the powders or the "neutral" paints, but they do look interesting for ever-changing effects.
And some people can paint dazzling displays.
posted by TrishaU at 11:55 PM on January 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, I noticed on the GloNation website that the white paint is now under the neutral glow group, and they added pink and orange and did away with aqua in the bright time glow group.
The paints are water-based, which matches with my experience in simply washing out my brushes.
The price for 2 oz. jars is a bit more expensive than before, but I was satisfied with the results.

This link to a different paint supplier gives some information about the "changing meteor" effect that I have seen on the internet. I have not seen a picture of it lately, but the gradual disappearance of the reds and yellows in a comet is amazing, leaving the still-radiant blues and greens visible a few hours later.
posted by TrishaU at 12:41 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Getting commerical glow in the dark paint thin enough to be translucent for watercolor may not work very well. It won't be very bright if you're thinning.

You could try making your own watercolors with glow in the dark powder, gum arabic, and a few drops of water.

I have no idea if this will work. You could also mix a drop or two of acrylic matte medium with some of the glow in the dark powder.
posted by gregr at 7:11 AM on January 10, 2017

If the glowing pigment doesn't work, what about building a special frame with a light behind it that's bright enough to shine dimly through the watercolor paper? I've seen paper lanterns with landscapes etc painted on them; seems like you could rig a battery powered LED into a frame.
posted by The otter lady at 7:43 AM on January 10, 2017

My uncle invented Clear Neon, which only glows under blacklight. If that would be an option for you, check out the media tab to see how Coldplay used it on SNL once.
posted by tacodave at 3:03 PM on January 10, 2017

Thank you all who answered. I'm hoping it will glow without needing blacklight or any special props.

TrishaU, I looked at your GloNation website and it seems to be exactly what I'm looking for except that I don't know how it will work with the paper/medium I use. Thank you for helping my dream come true! I may just buy a bottle or two and see how it works.
posted by whitelotus at 8:45 PM on January 12, 2017

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