DIY Glow in the Dark Paint for Kids

There is magic in things that glow! I remember placing a little plastic glowworm on my lamp and waiting anxiously for it to “charge” enough to emit a faint glow (Hello, fire hazard!) Fast forward to college “Black Light Parties” and you begin to realize the magic never really fades! Introducing young ones to this glow in the dark paint craft for kids is the perfect way to spark an interest that could last a lifetime!

DIY Glow in the dark paint.

DIY Glow in the Dark Paint for Kids allows us to revel in that magic again while we introduce it to our kids. All you need is paint and some “magic” (ie., phosphorescent powder) to create an exciting arts and crafts project that will surely amaze and intrigue kids!

Glow in the Dark Science

There’s no question that anything that glows is just SUPER COOL. However, this is an ideal opportunity to teach kids about the science behind it. Don’t leave that important component out of this idea for kids, even if you leave it as a simple mixture lesson.

There are some BIG words associated with glowing in the dark. You might be surprised at how quickly kids understand and even repeat scientific words! Vocabulary associated with glowing in the dark includes:

  • phosphor (a substance that radiates light after being charged)
  • fluorescence (the emitting of that absorbed light)
  • luminescence (the emitting of light that was NOT charged or absorbed)

Use the terminology as you mix and paint, keeping your expectations for understanding and repeating the vocabulary in line with the interest, skills, abilities, and ages of the kids you’re working with.

How to Make Glow in the Dark Paint for Kids

Kid's painting of a tree and a sun with birds with homemade paint.

This DIY recipe is super simple. It requires only a few supplies and ingredients. You can mix up as many colors as you want to and use the paint any way you and your kids like.

Supplies:

  • Small mason jars or other containers for mixing
  • Craft sticks for stirring
  • Paper for painting (other options are endless: paper plates, cardboard, wood, beads, ceramic tiles, etc.)
Glow in the dark paint supplies.

Ingredients:

  • Acrylic paints or water-based paints, 3-4 teaspoons each per color desired
  • Phosphorescent glow powder, 1-2 teaspoons each per color desired

To Make:

Mixing the glow in the dark paint supplies in small clear bowls.

To make the DIY fluorescent paint, just create a mixture in each mason jar of 1:2, with one part powder to two parts paint. The more powder you use, the thicker the paint will be.

Red, green, and orange paint in clear bowls with small wooden popsicle sticks in each bowl.

Next, “charge” the paint by placing it in a sunny window or by using a flashlight. The more light you expose it to, the longer it will glow!

You do not need a black light to charge the paint, but if you have one it does work.

Finally, paint on your desired backdrop and watch the magic unfold!

*You can either charge the paint before painting, or after the project is complete.

Glow in the dark paint landscape picture.

Other Fun Glow in the Dark Activities

If you have access to a black light or UV lighting, kids will love experimenting more with things that glow. Many of the following ideas simply require the use of a glowing agent, like the DIY glow paint recipe above.

  • Create neon signs with glow paint and poster board pieces cut into any shapes you like. Young kids can practice writing their name while older kids can decide what kind of message they want to display on their sign.
  • Create a glowing Mentos fountain by using tonic water and a black light in a darkened room.
  • Add tonic water to a basic Jell-o recipe, shine a black light on it and you’ve got a delicious, glowing snack.
  • Grow glowing crystals by adding glow in the dark paint to a grow-your-own crystals recipe.
  • Add DIY glow paint to bubble solution to create a glow-in-the-dark bubble bonanza.

Planning for a Color theme? We’ve done all the work for you!

We now have interactive thematic lesson plans for preschoolers (3-5 years)! Get ready for fun and learning with unit lesson plans for your Color theme. Explore a variety of themed hands-on activities! Easy to follow lesson plans include activity modifications and adaptations to meet the needs of all learners. For more information, click on the graphics below:

Color Preschool Lesson Plans
Glow in the dark paint recipe.

Other Arts And Crafts For Preschool:

Edible paint recipe for kids.
25+ Painting Supplies That Kids Of All Ages Will Love

The magic mystery paint STEAM activity is a fun way to combine art and science! Learn about how invisible ink works in this fun STEAM activity for kids!
Unicorn Ice Cube Painting for preschoolers. Pair this fun summer art activity for preschoolers with the super fun "How to Catch a Unicorn" book! Keep cool while creating a fun summer art project!

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