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Glow-in-the-Dark Paint Comparison

For my oldest daughter’s last two birthday celebrations, we’ve had slumber parties. Aside from not sleeping, a major part of the fun was glow-in-the-dark paint.

I not only used it for decorations and goodie bag items, the girls crafted with it. There are several brands of glow paint (and even glow glitter by Martha Stewart), but I will be focusing on the acrylic paint by Americana and the dimensional fabric paint by Tulip.

Both paints must be exposed to light in order to glow. The length and strength of the exposure will greatly impact how much and for how long they glow. Below is a glow shot of each product in the bottle, after brief exposure to a curly-q light bulb (I guess they’re technically called CFLs).

The Americana has a larger label, so it’s harder to see the glow. In general, I found both had the same amount of “glow” power.

From a use standpoint, both paints can be used on a variety of surfaces including fabric, wood and plastic.  I tried both on fabric, paper and wood, and just the Americana on glass and plastic.

I found each served a purpose in what I wanted to accomplish. The Tulip paint is dimensional, and you squeeze it out of the bottle, so you can write with it or easily create shapes. The Americana is a traditional acrylic paint that can be brushed or sponged on.

First up, I’ll show you how the Americana works. For my daughter’s party, I poured some of the paint into empty soda bottles to create glowing bowling pins for a nighttime game. I stood the pins around a camping lantern, so they glowed pretty well through several rounds of glow bowling.

It was better to pour the paint inside the bottle and swirl it around, versus painting the outside. It just glowed better, although I felt like I wasted some paint.

Here’s the helpful pin setter. I didn’t get a good glowing shot that night, and then my pin setter threw my pins away!

Next up, I wanted to use it to add some spooky Halloween glow to a creepy bottle I created. I started with an empty wine bottle, Mod Podge and some tissue paper.

I used the Mod Podge to cover my bottle with the white tissue paper.

And then I used Tim Holtz Distress Inks to age my bottle. I added this Martha Stewart Halloween label, which I also distressed a little.

Pretty spooky, huh? To up the creepy factor, I wanted my bottle to glow. I used the Americana paint to add an overall glow. With my first try, my layer of paint was too thin, and I hardly got any glow at all. So then I really slathered it on. Once the paint dries, it’s translucent, so my big gobs of glow paint aren’t visible (except at night!).

Here she glows!

For my next project, I wanted my glowing items to have color during the day. According to Americana, you can add light colored paint to the glow paint, and still have it glow. I mixed in some buttercup paint from Making Memories for my stars on this project. The sign and stars are made from Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth.
Please ignore my terrible black paint job. Not sure what happened there. I loved the color and that my “glowing” stars would have some oomph even during the day. I tested the glow. Thanks to my several coats of paint (at least three), I think they still glowed great.

One point I want to note — I tried to paint a sheet of paper with the drippings from my glow bowling pins mentioned above. I was hoping to create a giant glow in the dark sheet of paper that I could then punch shapes from. The results were less than stellar. The glow was very streaky, but unfortunately I didn’t get a picture before the trash man struck again.I think the paint works better, from a glow perspective, in smaller areas, like my stars. The coverage just wasn’t great for a larger area.

Next up are some projects with the Tulip paint. I love the texture of this one, and that it comes in different colors: Natural Glow, Green Glow, Orange Glow and Yellow Glow. I used Natural Glow for my projects, which doesn’t have a lot of color when dry, that is unless it’s glowing.

For my daughter’s slumber party, I embellished the bottoms of some socks for the girls. Not only did it add some traction to the socks, they glowed.

Here’s an up close of the design, showing the texture it gives.

 

Here’s an overall shot. These were made over a year ago, and have been worn and washed several times. The design has held on great.

And the glow has stuck around. Check it out:

During the party, the girls decorated some wood door hangers and I added their names in the Tulip glow paint.

Here it is dry and in daylight:

 

Here it is glowing:
It’s like a secret message!
For this year’s party, I made some scary eyes to decorate the outdoors. I thought they were fun, but it was hard to get these to glow, since they were attached to the tree. Shining a flashlight worked some, but didn’t get the great glow that the CFLs produced.
We all had lots of fun playing with these paints, and my girls thought I had some magical, glowing powers. I’m planning all sorts of Halloween ideas — pumpkin faces, treat bags, or even adding some to costumes.
Pros:
  •  Both paints have great glow powers after exposure to light.
  • Simple and fun to use, and cheap too!
  • Both can be used on multiple surfaces including paper, fabric, plastic and wood.
  • The Americana can be mixed with other acrylics so the paint has some color when it’s not glowing.
  • The Tulip paint comes in multiple colors.

Cons:

    • The Americana is better on small areas, if you want a great overall glow. On larger areas, it get streaky (which worked out great for my bottle project).
    • The Americana and Tulip Natural Glow dry translucent, so it’s hard to see during the day (which can be a pro or a con, depending on the project).
    • Paints have to be exposed to direct light in order to glow.
Have you tried glow in the dark paints? How do you like to use them? Do you think my scary eyes are actually scary?

YUDU tips, tricks and a review

Reported by Christian Tamez

My first memory of screen printing would be at summer camp, years ago. We all got to make t-shirts with the camp logo on them. I remember that the screen printing machine was huge, and that I just somehow knew that screen printing was a kind of special thing to be doing yourself. Flash forward to the future, I had just been introduced to the wonderful machine that is the Cricut Expression and I was looking into what else Provo Craft had to offer, immediately the YUDU screen printer caught my eye.

Being able to personalize textiles is a huge thing for me; I love being able to customize anything I can get my hands on. With the YUDU you can create your own screens, with your own designs, to use for printing. With some care the screens are reusable, allowing you to create as many or as few screen printings as you want.
The machine itself serves as an all-in-one screening station; you can dry and hold up to two screens in a holding compartment in the lower part of the YUDU. The top has a lightboard with two different light settings, one being used to expose screens to whatever design you have chosen, and the other being a less bright light allowing you to properly place your designs, before you “burn” them into the screen.


Included with the YUDU is a 110 mesh screen, 110 meaning per square inch there are 110 threads creating the openings for your ink to flow. Also available are 220 mesh and new 40 mesh screens. The 220 is used for screen printing on paper, the higher number of threads allows for greater detail. Personally I find that I prefer to use the 220 mesh screens for all of my screen printing. The 40 mesh is a new screen designed for use specifically with the YUDU glue and new foil and glitter textiles out. To use the mesh you take an emulsion sheet, and adhere it with water. The emulsion sheet is photosensitive and this part should be done in a darker room, and only when you have placed your design and are ready to burn it into your screen.

The first project I wanted to share has to do with personalizing cardboard boxes and fabric squares for my honey. I took a sharpie and drew a honey bee design, scanned it into my computer and printed it on one of the transparency sheets. The first tip I have is to print out the design twice on two separate pieces of transparency paper and then tape the designs together. It’s very important to not let any light through any of the areas you’re trying to burn into your screen. Just using one transparency you run the risk of exposing an area just enough to not let any ink pass through, rendering your screen useless. Even though the emulsion will still wash off and you may see your design, there could be an almost invisible film inhibiting any ink from coming through. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.

I always try and burn as many images into an emulsion sheet as possible, so I can use different areas of the screen for different projects and cut down on my need for new emulsion sheets. I usually keep my platten covered with parchment paper, this way I’m able to print a test print of my design and see where it’s going to be placed when it’s printed. To make it so that I’m able to position my item to be printed on, I draw around something either a template or cut out matched to the exact size, this way I get a pretty good idea of where my print is going to end up.



Once you start screening, it’s a good idea to be set up to print all of your projects. The actual printing process is very fast, and you don’t want any ink to lodge in your screen. The ink dries faster than you might think, I ruined one of my screens by stepping away for just a few minutes to answer the phone, when I came back I immediately washed the screen but to no avail, gold ink all lodged in. Which is why it’s a good idea to try and burn multiple images into your screen, I just moved on to another area of my screen to continue my project.



My second project had much more detail in it, a series of cartoons I drew, and wanted to put on a tote bag. The 220 mesh would be necessary in a project with fine lines like this. The main trick with this one was printing out the images twice and layering the transparency sheets so no light would get through the fine lines, not too difficult and it made all the difference. I also was determined to use glow in the dark YUDU ink, when I screened the image using just the glow ink, I wasn’t happy with the quality of the print. I mixed in some white ink, just to make the print stand out more, on the dark fabric. I was happy to find out that the white ink being added still allowed the glow ink to glow.


When you’re all finished with your project, if you haven’t destroyed your screen through the rigors of numerous printings, you can either store it for later use or use the emulsion remover to remove all of your design and leave you with a screen ready to be designed with again. I really like my YUDU, I don’t use it as much as I thought I would, but when I do need it, I’m glad I have it.



Here’s a video I made shortly after I got my YUDU, it’s the first time I ever used the thing, and it was easy enough for me to make a video out of it. I hope it explains things for you!

Pros:

  • Completely customizable – you decide what design you want to make, and with a fairly wide array of inks you can make almost any color
  • Fast – Once you have your screen ready to use for printing, the actual printing process takes seconds, the ink sets pretty quickly
  • Washable – Did you make a mistake? Wash it out, the ink is only permanent after being heat set, so go ahead wash your item and try again!

Cons:

  • Expensive – The emulsion sheets are very expensive and you only get two to a pack. Buy extras because accidents can and do happen with the emulsion sheets. All of the YUDU textiles are pricy.
  • Inks had varied consistencies, some were chunky and some were runny
  • If you step away from screening the ink can dry and lodge itself into the screen.
  • The emulsion can be damaged when wet, take care not to damage your design when washing.

Do you have a YUDU? Are you screen printing with another cool tool? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Glow-in-the-Dark Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint

It is no secret to you, if you’ve read my reviews here on Craft Critique… I love fabric paint! Especially dimensional fabric paint (i.e. puff paint). Specifically Tulip’s brand, because I find it so versatile and easy to use (I think their soft fabric paint rocks too). Those experiences in the past are exactly why I didn’t hesitate to pick up the glow in the dark version of Tulip’s Dimensional Fabric Paint the moment I ran across it in the store. How cool I thought!

Darn it if I wasn’t disappointed this time.

I had a hard time with this review, at first thinking it was just my mojo that was suffering and it was I that wasn’t using it right, etc… but after committing to the project below, I just couldn’t quite get my vision across. Was it me? Was it the product? I’ll take you through what I did and then hope you take a moment to leave a comment below with some pointers or even better experiences than I had so I can try again.

I decided to design a black ball cap with a simple shooting star, in particular to wear to the golf course. I just knew I’d be the coolest gal in the four-some when the sun started to set and my hat was all a-blaze. I started off with what I consider my tried and true method for using puff paint which is to trace a pattern using only dots of the paint around an object to make the design stand out.

Right away I noticed that the paint was for some reason just not the same consistency as the others I have used, and my dots were running together.


So I decided to for-go the little dots and just trace a design using plain old lines. This didn’t turn out wonderfully either unfortunately. Still runny.


You can see in the photo above some attempts at just making lines as well with the different colors. Honestly I have a pretty light and steady hand, but I just couldn’t get the paint to not look lumpy or runny. A big part of me thinks this is due to the size of the paint and nozzle on the 4 oz size that I used. It was difficult to keep the paint consistent and ‘clean’ as opposed to the smaller 1.25 oz bottles of dimensional paint that in turn have a tinier nozzle (which this glow-in-the-dark version is available in too).

The glow in the dark paint is available in 4 colors; green, orange, yellow, and natural. The “natural” color, though it appears white in the bottle, does have a slight green tinge to it (especially when it dries). However, if I wanted to add a little ‘glow’ to a fabric project it would be the most versatile to have on hand as it would blend in with other colors the best. The green, yellow, and orange colors are fun, but very neon in regular light.


And speaking of the colors, what they show in regular light is not quite what they look like when in the dark. For example, though you can clearly distinguish the different colors here:


It’s a bit difficult to distinguish green from natural from yellow here once the lights are off:


So between those three colors, it’s important to keep in mind what you want your project to look like in the dark, don’t add detail with green next to detail with yellow and expect them to be clearly seen in the dark.

Incidentally, I was only able to achieve a glow effect after holding the dried hat under a lamp for several minutes. After I had let it sit for the 4-hour drying time and came back to check on it in the now dark room, it was not glowing at all. All glow-in-the-dark objects are “charged” by lights of course, and there is no reason to think this paint would be any exception, but that’s just something to keep in mind depending on your project. If you make a t-shirt or a hat for example and keep it in a dark closet, you’ll need to “charge” it before it will glow when you decide to wear it.

Pros:

  • Really glows after charging in light.
  • Like other Tulip Dimensional Paints this version too is washable after 72 hours, and that is always a plus for wearable projects..
  • I find the MSRP of around $3.79 for the 4 oz size to be very reasonable, as a little goes a long way.

Cons:

  • The consistency is really runny, which made it hard to get clean “dimensional” effects (again, I could blame this on the nozzle size of the bigger bottle).
  • It comes in different colors, but those colors aren’t very distinguishable from one another (except orange) in the dark. Which means it may not be as nifty in the dark as you might like.
  • I had a hard time coming up with ideas for its use, which makes it a less versatile addition to my crafty stash than I would like to have (but the glow-in-the-dark bottles on my paint shelf is kind of cool).

So what do you think? What are some projects you could see trying this out on? Or have you used it with great success? Or mess? Share away with us!