Luminous paint makes all things glow in the dark

Luminous paint or glow in the dark paint, for those of you interested in search analytics, is the most popular long tail query attached to the “glow in the dark” concept.

We thought it would be worth to dedicate a full article to these products. This piece will complement the reviews we’ve already published about best selling glow in the dark paint products.

So if you’re interested in phosphorescent, luminous, luminescent, glow in the dark paint, you’ve landed on the right page! Follow the glowing pebbles

glowing pebbles

Why do people use luminous paint?

Using luminous paint is the easiest way to transform almost any surface into a phosphorescent piece of magic. You can use glow in the dark paint both indoors and outdoors.

This kind of paint is cheap, easy to apply and the only thing you’ll need to create the final glow effect is either a constant source of UV light or an exposition to ambient light during daytime.

uv light flashlight
UV light flashlight

Fluorescent paint

Even Wikipedia has dedicated a full article to luminous paint. It proves how popular this product is.

There are multiple types of luminous paint (acrylic, powder, face/body, food). The principle is the same for all of them: fluorescent paints glow when exposed to long-wave UV radiation.

neon poster glow in the dark
glow in the dark neon poster

Are fluorescent and bioluminescent the same thing?

Nope. Fluorescent products need external light to glow in the dark. Bioluminescent bacteria, insects or fish generate light from internal chemical processes (Luciferin).

We’ve published a detailed piece which shows how mushrooms can glow in the dark and another one which addresses glowing trees which could replace street lamps (spoiler: it’s still a vision).

Luminous paint won’t transform you into a firefly!

firefly glow in the dark

Can you use radioluminescent paint?

Some products, mainly clocks and watches, still use radioluminescent paint which includes a tiny bit of radioactive material which slowly decays, producing a constant glow. But due to safety concerns, radioluminescent paint is gradually replaced by health-friendly phosphorescent material.

The original version of radioluminescent paint incorporated radium-226. It was invented in 1908 by Sabin Arnold von Sochocky. It was very dangerous. The inventor himself died of aplastic anemia after long exposition to radiations.

What are the uses of glow in the dark paint?

You can use Glow in the dark paint in theatrical productions, in posters, on signage and in entertainment spaces. A great example of the latter is glow in the dark mini golf: 3D props, balls and putters are covered with glowing pigments to make them shine in the dark.

80s-inspired synth wave designs heavily use neon templates. Images and text on posters, flyers and t-shirts nicely glow in the dark at 80s parties.

synthwave neon design

If you want to mark the sides of a pathway or the edges of a swimming pool, you can use luminous paint or glow in the dark pebbles. Luminous rocks create a nice 3D effect.

neon pebbles pathway

You can paint glowing stars on the ceiling of a bedroom or mark the escape paths in a plane.

Can you cover your body with glow in the dark paint?

As we said earlier there are multiple types of glow in the dark paint. On this site we’ve already reviewed acrylic paint which you can use for all sorts of creative projects (it comes ready-made or as a powder which you can mix with other material). We have also reviewed glow in the dark food colouring. You also have glow in the dark body paint with which you can create a temporary luminous mask.

glow in the dark face paint

Is neon paint a sort of glow in the dark paint?

Technically speaking there’s no such thing as “neon paint”. Luminous paint can create a neon-like effect in the dark but paint itself will never light up on its own. Neon designs are very popular, which explains why you’ll find the word “neon” very often in the descriptions of glow in the dark products. It’s a nice way to attract the attention (if you want to know more about ways to express glow, check out our thesaurus).

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