Glow-in-the-dark paint is paint which has phosphorescent properties, meaning that it will glow in the dark. The strength, color, and duration of the glow vary, depending on the materials used in the paint. Historically, these paints were made with radioactive elements which actually posed some health risks. Today, nontoxic materials are used so that such paints are safe for use.
The way in which glow-in-the-dark paint works is rather interesting. When this paint is exposed to visible light, it absorbs photons. These photons are later released, creating a distinctive phosphorescent glow. The ability to absorb and later emit photons is known as photoluminescence. This property can be seen in nature and in a number of manufactured products, and people often find it very intriguing.
This paint product is often a greenish to white color, because of the materials used to make it. However, it can be tinted with colored pigments. The problem with colored glow-in-the-dark paint is that it tends to be less bright, because the pigments dull the glow, and it may not last as long as conventional paint. However, it can create some very interesting visual effects.
An acrylic base is commonly used for glow-in-the-dark paint, and the paint tends to be a bit thick and can be chunky, making it difficult to apply. It is also possible to purchase powders which can be blended into paints and bases to create glow-in-the-dark products as needed. This paint can be used with stencils to create patterns or writing which will glow in the dark, and it can also be applied by hand.
There are a number of uses for glow-in-the-dark paint. It can be used as a craft material to decorate walls or objects, and it can also be used as a safety paint. Sharp edges, elevation changes, and other hazards can be identified with glow-in-the-dark paint so that they will be visible even when a room is dark. In this case, the paint is usually formulated to be very long lasting so that the glow will not fade minutes after darkness falls.
Many craft stores carry glow-in-the-dark paint, in a variety of formulations and styles. It can also be ordered from manufacturers, as can powders and raw pigments which can be used to create custom blends as desired. People should remember to wear face protection when mixing powders to avoid accidental inhalation, which could irritate the lungs.