How to Make Blacklight Paint

    by Isaiah David

    About the Author

    Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.


    Black lights look purple to the naked eye, but what you can't see is that they emit ultraviolet light. When this ultraviolet light shines on anything else fluorescent, such as black light paint, it is absorbed by the paint. The paint then re-emits the ultraviolet rays as visible light. Not every paint is fluorescent, however, and certain fluorescent agents must be mixed in to the paint to create the glowing effect created by black lights.

    Things You'll Need

    • Poster paints
    • Color brightener
    • Water
    • Cup
    • Stir stick

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    Buy poster paints in whatever colors you want. Fluorescent paints will already glow under black light, but most ordinary poster paints will not.

    Mix powdered brightener with just enough water to dissolve it. If you are using a liquid brightener, you can skip this step.

    Mix a small amount of the brightener into a jar of paint. Start with a ratio of about one part brightener to 20 parts paint, and add more if necessary to increase the glow.

    Stir the mixture thoroughly with a stir stick.

    Turn off the room lights and draw the shades if there is light coming in from outside. Turn on a black light. Hold the paint under the light and see how strongly it glows.

    Add more brightener until the paint glows brightly enough for you.

    • Brightening agent can often be found next to fabric dye and is usually marked as fabric whitener or brightener.
    • If you don't have a brightening agent, you can mix in a detergent that say "brightening" on it. These detergents have brightening agents in them. Most color-safe bleach contains brightening agents.
    • Don't add so much brightener that the paint becomes too thin and runny to use.