"As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products that we have tried!"

Curious about the lasting charm of glow-in-the-dark paint? Wondering How Long Does Glow In The Dark Paint Last? Well, let’s simplify things:

The longevity of this luminous paint varies depending on its application. When stored in the can or unused, glow-in-the-dark paint typically lasts between three and five years. However, once applied to surfaces and allowed to dry, it can glow for an impressive ten to twelve years, especially with the added protection of a clear topcoat. 

In this guide, we’ll uncover just how enduring this luminous paint can be on different surfaces, offering insights into making your creations shine for years to come.

Glow In The Dark Paint

What is Glow In The Dark Paint?

Glow-in-the-dark paint is a unique type of paint that illuminates in the dark or under UV light. It includes phosphors such as silver-activated zinc sulfide or doped strontium aluminate, resulting in a soft green to greenish-blue glow. Even though it may seem modern, people have been using glow-in-the-dark paint for centuries, initially limited to colors found naturally in phosphors, like blue, green, and yellow.

Today, technology allows us to create glow-in-the-dark paints in many colors using artificial coloring. Despite the variety, green, blue, and yellow remain popular due to their natural glow. This paint works on various surfaces like wood, metal, plastic, and fabric, opening up endless possibilities for creative projects.

There are two primary categories of glow-in-the-dark paints: fluorescent and phosphorescent. Fluorescent paints light up under blacklight or UV light and appear paler in daylight. On the other hand, phosphorescent paints absorb light during the day and only show their glow in the dark, making them perfect for those who want the effect to be visible specifically at night.

A common use is in bedroom decor, creating a starry night effect. It’s also used in safety matches, military applications, wall decoration, and makeup. The duration of the glow is influenced by factors like the type of paint and the phosphorescent elements used.

How long does glow in the dark paint glow for?

The duration of glow-in-the-dark paint varies based on the type of phosphorescent elements used. For paint containing zinc sulfide, the glow typically lasts around 30 mins. On the other hand, if the paint utilizes strontium aluminate, the glow can extend up to an impressive 12 hours. It’s important to note that the glow is most noticeable in the dark, and the duration depends on factors like the type of paint and its specific composition.

How does glow in the dark paint work?

Glow-in-the-dark paint is unique, having a subtle glow in daylight and becoming vibrant at night. This glow happens because of a chemical reaction triggered by exposure to ultraviolet light from sunlight or artificial sources.

These paints are commonly used for creating items like watches, clocks, toys, and other things that need to glow. To achieve the glowing effect, the paint pigment is mixed with a fluorescent chemical, which absorbs light and then emits it again.

The duration of the glowing effect differs, ranging from minutes to hours. For optimal glow, it’s recommended to apply multiple layers of paint, especially for colors with less pigment.

If you plan to use these paints on surfaces like walls, it’s essential to expose them to sunlight or artificial light sources during the day for them to glow in the dark. Keep in mind that these paints won’t glow during daylight hours if they aren’t exposed to UV light at that time.

paint garden stones with glow in the dark paint

For example: You can use glow-in-the-dark paint on objects like furniture, decorative items, or even outdoor pathways just like I did, as you can see in the picture. Imagine painting garden stones or stepping stones with this paint; they could create a magical glow at night, guiding the way in the dark.

garden stones glow at night

The key is to apply the paint to surfaces that receive sunlight or artificial light exposure during the day, ensuring a vibrant glow when the lights go out.

How to Make Glow-in-the-Dark Paint at Home- 2 Easy Affordable Methods

Make Glow-in-the-Dark Paint at home

1. Using Phosphorescent Powder

Making your own glow-in-the-dark paint using phosphorescent powder is an enjoyable project. Try out this method to create your unique glow-in-the-dark paint:

  • Select an acrylic paint color of your choice as the base.
  • Pour the paint into a mixing container.
  • Measure phosphorescent powder (glow powder) and add it to the paint. A common starting ratio is 1 part powder to 5 parts paint; adjust as needed.
  • Thoroughly stir the mixture to achieve an even distribution of the powder.
  • Test the glow by exposing the paint to light and observing it in the dark. Adjust the powder amount for a stronger glow.
  • Maintain a smooth consistency by adding clear acrylic medium or clear nail polish.
  • Store the glow paint in a sealable container.
  • Apply the paint to your desired surface using brushes or other painting tools.
  • Charge the paint under a bright light before use for the best glow results.
  • Keep in mind that the quality of the phosphorescent powder affects the brightness and duration of the glow. Recharge the paint periodically for optimal performance.

2. Using a Highlighter and Water

Creating glow-in-the-dark paint with a highlighter and water is a simple and budget-friendly do-it-yourself task. Follow these simple steps:

  • Employ pliers to break open the end of a non-toxic highlighter, removing the plastic casing to expose the felt strip.
  • Prior to extracting the felt, test the highlighter’s luminescence by writing on paper and examining it under a black light.
  • Discard any plastic sleeve surrounding the highlighter felt to enhance the paint’s glowing effect.
  • Use running water to peel off the color from the highlighter felt, collecting the liquid in a cup or jar until the felt appears white.
  • In a separate bowl, blend ½ cup of cornstarch with an equal amount of highlighter water, stirring until the cornstarch fully dissolves.
  • Personalize the paint color by introducing a few drops of food coloring and stirring. Adjust the color to your liking.
  • Apply the paint on various surfaces, turn off the lights, use a blacklight, and enjoy the glowing effect. For a brighter and longer-lasting glow, apply multiple coats; the glow can last up to 10 years.

Note: Wear gloves to prevent staining your fingers when handling the highlighter.

Best Glow-in-the-Dark Paints

You can brighten your projects with these two recommended options. Check out the review below;

Neon Nights Glow Makeup Kit 

The Neon Nights UV Body Paint Set, a German-made Halloween essential, promises skin-safe, easily removable glow-in-the-dark makeup for diverse occasions. I really like its vibrant UV light-activated luminosity which adds flair to festivals and is the best part is, it is TSA-approved for hassle-free travel.

The set of eight bottles offers a range of glowing colors, catering to varied preferences. While users appreciate the bright, long-lasting glow, some express confusion over the directions, particularly the need for a UV light to activate the paint’s glowing effect.

What I Like 

  • Effortlessly removes skin and fabric with soap and water.
  • Eight bottles with different glowing colors for versatile use.
  • Ideal for Halloween, music festivals, and various events.
  • I like its bright and long-lasting glow effect.
  • It is convenient for travel.

What I Dislike:

  • Not recommended for Fabric
  • Some users found confusion in the directions, particularly regarding the need for a UV light to activate the glowing effect.

2. FolkArt Glow Acrylic paint

The FolkArt Acrylic paint offers convenience with its user-friendly 8 oz bottle. With a smooth finish upon drying, it subtly enhances DIY projects without altering their original appearance. Its neutral color complements various surfaces like wood and canvas. On the positive side, the ample 8-ounce size provides extensive coverage. The neutral color proves versatile for diverse projects. However, the limited color choices may not cater to everyone’s preferences. 

Users appreciate the glowing effect after multiple coats, yet some face challenges achieving the desired luminosity despite thorough charging under light. 

What I Like 

  • The 8 oz bottle is user-friendly and provides ample paint for various arts and crafts projects. 
  • The acrylic paint dries to a smooth finish, adding a subtle yet vibrant glow to DIY creations.
  • Suitable for multiple surfaces such as wood, canvas, styrofoam,  paper,  and more, offering flexibility in project choices. 

What I Dislike:

  • The paint comes in a few color options, potentially limiting creative preferences.

Conclusion On How Long Does Glow In The Dark Paint Last:

In summary, the longevity of glow-in-the-dark paint ranges from 10 to 12 years, influenced by factors like surface preparation and sealing. Daily glow duration is typically 8 to 12 hours, with variations on different surfaces. High-quality phosphorescent options can glow for over 10 hours after charging. It’s crucial to note that phosphorescent paint charges during daylight and is invisible when not glowing, while fluorescent paint glows under certain light conditions without charging. Understanding these differences will guide you in choosing the paint that suits your needs best.


How do you keep glow in the dark paint glowing?

To keep glow-in-the-dark paint shining, give it enough light exposure. For the brightest and longest glow, use an ultraviolet flashlight, black light, or let it soak up sunlight – regular household lights may not do the trick. Make sure to charge it regularly for a lasting and vibrant glow. The paint’s quality and the light it absorbs affect how long and bright it will glow.

Why is my glow in the dark paint not glowing?

If your glow-in-the-dark paint isn’t glowing well, consider a few things. First, make sure the paint got enough light exposure for a good glow. Also, check if you’re using quality paint, as cheaper ones might not glow as much. Expired paint won’t work well either, so check the expiration date. Applying the paint too thinly can make it less vibrant. Watch out for room light – a dark room is best. If you’re in a basement or a dark room, use a bright light to boost the mural’s glow. Checking these things should help your glow-in-the-dark paint shine better.

How do you seal glow in the dark paint?

To seal glow-in-the-dark paint, allow it to dry completely. Then, use a clear sealant like acrylic, applying it evenly with a brush or spray. Adding extra coats offers more protection. Handle the sealed surface with care. I used a FolkArt Super Glow as a self-sealer. Interestingly, if you’ve already applied a water-based varnish or a solvent-based finish, it won’t affect the glow properties. 

How do you recharge glow paint?

To recharge glow-in-the-dark paint, expose it to light. For optimal results, use a UV flashlight, black light, or direct sunlight. These light sources provide the energy needed to activate the paint’s phosphors, enabling it to emit light in the dark. Regularly recharging the paint ensures a consistent and vibrant glow over time.

Martina Hitchcock-Holapaints writer

Martina Hitchcock

Martina Hitchcock is a versatile author with expertise in different fields. As a paint sprayer expert, she has in-depth knowledge of paint spraying techniques, tools, and equipment. Martina is also an experienced home remodeler who has worked on various projects, including kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring installations, and room additions. Her knowledge of home improvement and remodeling is extensive, and she enjoys sharing her insights and tips with readers. You can follow her on Facebook.

Similar Posts