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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?

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY- I Love to Create: Tulip Fashion Kits

Reported by Christina Hammond

So, it’s summer.  Have your kids shouted from the other room “Hey Mom!  I’m bored!  I am sooooooooooo bored!” ?   Or do you have a group of girls coming over for a slumber party and you’re at a loss for entertaining them?

To help combat the summer “boredom blues,” we were sent I Love to Create by Tulip’s Tie Dye Kit in Moody Blues, Body-Art Glitter Stencil Set, Bright Fabric Markers and 3D Color Changing Paint.
We had a blast using all of these kits.  Of course, the first kit the wanted to try was the Glitter Body Tattoos.    IMG_0480The kit has everything you need to get started.  9 stencils, glue, brushes and tons of glitter.   IMG_0482

The glue comes in a bottle with a nice soft applicator.  There is a slight odor to the glue, but it dissipates quickly as it dries.  My kids have a ton of allergies, and it didn’t bother them at all. 

IMG_0485 
Check out that bling!  It’s fine, super shiny and pretty! 
IMG_0486 
The stencils are easy to use, and stick well.  Be careful with the more detailed designs because you can tear them while removing them with the paper backing.   Voila!  Butterflies!
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We mixed colors with great results.  The LittleLady won’t let us wash it off, but it does come off pretty easily with soap and water.  If you want to make sure it really comes off fast, use a wipe with rubbing alcohol in it – swipes it right off!  I can see using this kit at camp or for Halloween.  A Glitter Fairy!  How cool!
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“Hey Mom!  Daddy keeps calling me David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust.  I don’t get it!”

Next we used the Tie-Dye Kit in “Moody Blues” to create some shirts.  The box says that the kit includes enough dye to make 8 shirts, but we only got one toddler shirt and some of an adult XL shirt.  Probably not a big deal, because I am known for overdoing these things!
IMG_0496Everything you need is in the kit.  Rubberbands, gloves and premeasured dyes.  When added water to the bottles of dye, be sure they are closed all the way before shaking.  Ask my counters how we know this!  🙂
 IMG_0497I would maybe pick up better gloves next time.  The kits are meant for the younger set, but they were too big even for my big hands. IMG_0498The instructions didn’t say to presoak the shirt, so we gave it a spiral spin and secured it with rubberbands.  IMG_0499
After applying the dye in alternating colors, I simply wrapped the garbage bag we dyed on around it and tossed it out in the yard in the sun for the day.  Once ready, I rinsed it and laid it back out in the sun to dry.  Once dry, I gave it a run in the dryer on HOT to really try to set the colors.
We have a Buzz LightYear freak in our house, so I used my YUDU to silk screen an image of his hero on the shirt.IMG_0547 I think it came out really well and can’t wait to make more!
Next we tried out the 3D Color Change Paint.  Being a child of the Eighties, I have memories of Hyper-color t-shirts.  The color change paint is similar, but it changes with UV exposure, not heat.   IMG_0501Before UV exposure

IMG_0502Can you see that?  It’s subtle, but the colors have changed!
Admittedly, I only made a handful of t-shirts with this paint because it was so cool. 
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First up I drew out the name of a certain little Blue-Eyed Blondie named Haley.  I used Tulip’s 3D Puffy Paint to outline and then filled in each letter with a different design.  IMG_0507
Next I drew out my favorite cartoon character, LittleMiss Sunshine.  UV paint, sunshine…  Get it?  I kill me! IMG_0538 IMG_0539Can you see the difference?  It’s there – subtle in the case of LitteMiss Sunshine because we painted it on with a brush rather than in “3D”
Here’s a silly little video I shot this morning showing the Chaos Twins wearing the shirts, going from indoors to out and just how quickly they change.  There’s no sound because… well… we live in the WindyCity and it was windy.  Go figure.

Finally, we tried out the Fabric Markers in “Bright” colors.
IMG_0549 IMG_0286This sweet little tote was created completely by the 4 year old for her preschool teacher, Miss Mary.  As you can see, the colors show up really well (even on the taupe fabric) and are easy enough for the little ones to use.  Just remember, they are permanent!

Here are my creations- I had a couple of silk screened totebags on hand that I use for groceries.  They needed a little more…something.  So I added a “Peace, Man!” to them.  The colors set really well.IMG_0550 Remember to put something between layers because the colors will bleed.  I can see myself using these to label our pool towels, gym bags and backpacks for school.  Oh, and plain white canvas sneakers!  How cool would that be?

Pros:

  • everything you need in one kit or set
  • easy to use
  • well written instructions
  • fairly affordable

Cons:

  • the stencils in the tattoo kit are a bit fragile, so be careful
  • the tie-dye kit didn’t dye as many shirts as it said it would
  • they can be messy, but that’s the fun part, right?

Head to the nearest craft store and pick up one or all of these kits by Tulip.  The kits are all reasonably priced so you can pick up a few of each and have enough for everybody.  Best of all, I can totally see the Bright Fabric Markers and Body Tattoos being used at Vacation Bible School, Cheerleading Camp or even Scouts gatherings.


GIVEAWAY
The folks over at I Love To Create are giving away a Tulip kit to one lucky reader. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.

Have you tried any of the I Love to Create by Tulip kits?  Which ones would you like to try?  Be sure to come back and show us what you make with them, we love to see it!

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!


Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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!