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Glow-in-the-Dark Paint Comparison

Reported by Susan Reidy

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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.

Tulip Glow in the Dark Paint

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).

Tulip Glow in the Dark Paint

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?

Glow-in-the-Dark Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint

Reported by Jessica Ripley

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!

Tulip Dimensional Fabric Paint

Reported by Jessica Ripley

Flash back to some of your very first craft projects. Did you use felt? Glitter? A hot glue gun? Of course we all still use those now. What about when you began making your own super-styling t-shirts to wear, complete with your own design, name, and maybe even graduating year? What was the one product that you couldn’t do that without?


That’s right! Puff paint!

Puff paint is a product that has been around for (without dating myself here) decades, and it is one that I have re-discovered as one of my favorites when it comes to crafting, scrapbooking, or altered art. It is both versatile in color choices and applications, not to mention extremely affordable.

In particular, Tulip offers a pack of ten 5/8 oz bottles called the “10 Piece Value Pack”.

It is available in craft stores (I got mine at Joann Fabrics) for about $10.00. Complete with basic colors such as red, blue, green, and yellow; this set also includes two pastels in pink and purple. My favorite feature of this particular pack from Tulip, is that it includes two bottles each of both black and white, the colors I tend to go through more quickly.

I’ve used this same set on many projects to add dimension to my designs. On layouts and altered items, it is an excellent choice to add texture. For example, on the layout below, I used it to add pop to a few paper flowers:

And on this altered birdhouse, I used it to actually draw the stems of the flowers to add a quick and easy touch.

It can also be used for its intended purpose of course, to draw designs on fabric (which remains washable once it dries). One of my favorite craft projects when I was younger, was to use puff paint in dots around a cut out pattern (like a kind of backwards stencil) as shown in these holiday gloves below:

(Instructions for these gloves can be found here).

It can also easily be used on acrylic, which was such a fun discovery. I tried it out on a few acrylic album pages in the attempt to make a “no-bake” sun-catcher, and was very pleased with the results.

(Instructions for this project can be found here)

What made the above projects so much easier? Not only do the bottles fit easily in your grip (meaning not too big, not too small). The nozzles on these bottles by Tulip provide for easy flow of paint, yet are small enough to allow for detail work. When you are a bit of a “two-thumbs” like me, ease of use is a big bonus.

There are a few minor drawbacks to consider. On occasion, it is necessary to trim the nozzle down slightly with a pair of scissors in order to increase the flow of paint, however this is easily remedied by storing the bottles upside down when not in use. Also, while fabric projects are machine washable after the paint dries, you must wait at least 72 hours according to the packaging prior to washing, and then should only use the gentle cycle. Still, for the ability to wash your fabric projects at all, this is a very minor inconvenience. Finally, when using the paint on a layout, I found that after storing the layout in an album, the paint does smash a bit. It does not stick to the page protector however, but does lose some of the height of the original application after being flattened between other pages.

In summary…

Pros:

  • The 10-Piece Value Pack is an excellent bargain considering how many colors are included.
  • Nozzle provides easy flow of paint, and yet is small enough for details.
  • Uses are endless, and can be applied to crafting and altered art, scrapbooking, or fabric projects.
  • Paint dries quickly, and is completely dry within a few hours
  • Fabric items made with this set will be machine washable about 3 days after paint is applied.
  • Paint is non-toxic, according to the package.

Cons:

  • Flow of paint sometimes slows (though storing upside down and trimming the nozzle helps.
  • Washing must be done on gentle cycle only for fabric projects.
  • If used on a layout and stored in an album, the height of the paint will smash down a bit when flattened between two pages. Keep this in mind when decided exactly how much paint will be applied to your design.

You can find Tulip Puff Paint online at Joann’s, A.C. Moore, and Amazon, and at any local craft store.

All in all, I am sure you will find this product a versatile addition to your crafting supply stash, and I do highly recommend it. We’d love to see what other fun uses you can come up with for this “oldie but goody” as well!