How do things
in the day when kids got a packet of glow stickers or glow plastic stars,
they would put them up eagerly awaiting nightfall, only to be utterly
disappointed by how short-lived and how weakly they glowed. Even when fully
charged with light they would last all but a few minutes before fading into
Of course, glow technology has come a long way over the last decade or two
and we now have strontium-aluminate based paint and stickers which can glow for over 14
hours and last 10 years or more. However, the expectation of a constant 'bright glow' that lasts all night
long is still alas, unrealistic even with today's technology.
So how does Glow-in-the-Dark actually work?
Every glow product be it a glow star, glow sticker, glow sign or a pot of glow
paint etc, is made using glow powder; thousands of microscopic crystals
suspended in a clear medium be it a liquid (for paint) or a plastic compound
or vinyl sheet. Each of these tiny crystals absorbs invisible ultraviolet
energy (it's charge) from any natural or artificial light source and
instantly converts it to visible light (it’s glow) and in doing so retains
some of the UV energy for use later. As this conversion process happens in
real-time the ‘greeny’ appearance (hue) of the glow product in daylight is
in fact the result of the green glow being emitted by the crystals.
When the light source is suddenly removed (or turned off!) the retained
energy continues to be converted to visible light (it’s glow) but only for a
relatively short period (minutes), during which time the glow produced will
still be relatively bright. However, when the retained energy falls below a given
level, the crystals start to conserve and ration the remaining energy in the
form of a much dimmer green glow; released over an extended period (known as
the afterglow phase and can last several
hours) which gradually becomes dimmer over time and only really visible in
Glow powders now come in different glow colours i.e. green, aqua, blue,
orange white, purple and red. Each glow colour has a different set of
performance dynamics in terms of its glow colour, intensity and duration.
Green for example is the core glow engine of every coloured glow product, it
is the brightest and longest glowing of all glow colours and underpins all
the other glow colours. Correspondingly red is the weakest and the shortest
Imagine if you will, a set of balancing scales (with ‘glow colour’ as the
left scale and ‘glow performance’ as the right). When in the balanced state
they represent green; at the top of the glow performance table. If we wanted
to create an aqua-blue glow colour, we add weight on the left in favour of
colour which results in a corresponding reduction in performance on the
Moving down the colour chart from green to red, this shift in favour of
colour generation at the expense of performance, becomes more apparent in
the corresponding decrease in glow intensity and duration achieved as we
descend the colour scale.
The scientific version
Phosphorescent or Photo
luminescent are Luminescent Pigments, or powders that can give off light.
Unlike conventional colorants, LUMINESCENT pigments are not
primary light reflectors, but actual sources of light. They possess the
property of absorbing certain types of radiant energy (usually below 4000A
and not visible to the eye) and converting this radiant energy into longer
wavelengths in the visible spectrum, and emitting it as light. The selective
wavelengths, thus emitted, produce the sensation of 'colours'.
When the emission of luminescent light ceases with the
removal of the charging light source, the luminescent material is called
FLUORESCENT. If the emission of light continues for an appreciable period of
time after the exciting energy has been removed, the luminescent material is
known as PHOSPHORESCENT or PHOTO-LUMINESCENT, and has the property of glowing-in-the-dark.".
The ability to absorb light, and then release this light in a decay
pattern is known as PERSISTENCE or AFTERGLOW.
Different types of phosphorescent pigments emit light in different decay
patterns. The unit of measurement for persistence is MILLICANDELA per square
meter or mcd/m2.
Some emit fairly high amounts of light initially, and then continue to emit
diminishing light levels for 5-8 hours with some able to emit light for more
than 14 hours, even up to 20 hours, although even with the strongest of
afterglows, after a few hours it is often too difficult (or practical) to see with
the human eye.
Can I use daylight charge-up glow
Yes it can but please do not
rely on it for use during the hours of darkness!
It does not really
matter how many hours of daylight the paint is exposed to (indoors or
outdoors) as during the time it takes daylight to become the
dark of night (usually around 3 hours) most of the stored energy has been
burned-off in glowing whilst it is still too light to see it! The
reason is simply that Glow Paint (and other glow products) are actually
glowing all the time and they do not save-up all their energy waiting for it
to become dark. For
this reason we do not recommend using STARGLOW Luminous Paints outdoors.
We recommend at least one
UV Blacklight unit in the room and turned on a good 20-30 minutes before
bedtime in order to 'charge-up' the glow paint / stars etc so they will glow
brightly and look their best when it matters most.
UV Paints are not
suitable for outdoor use or exposure to direct
Will I need to
use a UV Blacklight with Glow Paint?
(natural light) will charge this paint,
by the time the dark of night has arrived it will only result in
a weak glow, as most of the energy stored will already have been used. If the room has
electric lighting, then this should be adequate to charge the
ceiling for 20 - 30 minutes or so before bedtime. However For the best
effect and glow performance, we recommend using a mains
Do all glow
colours glow for the same length of time?
No. Each colour of glow paint
/ powder is different to the next in terms of its glow duration and glow
intensity (brightness). Green is the brightest by far and all glow
colours are based on a 'green glow' engine, however by changing the glow
colour away from green you have to sacrifice glow duration and brightness in
order to achieve it. The graphic below shows the dramatic drop-off in
performance the further away from green you go...
relates to Glow-in-the-Dark paint only. Not UN Neon nor
Invisible UV Revealing paint
Are your products
really as safe as you claim?
Yes of course. Remember, this is
next-generation, all-new technology, it is
not the radioactive stuff used on watches decades ago or the old-fashioned
Zinc-Sulfide stuff that only glows for a
few minutes. This is
Strontium-Aluminate based technology which is not only completely safe, it
can last 10 times longer and
glow 10 times brighter.
Why do some colours
cost more than others?
The most natural (and least expensive) colour to produce for
glow-in-the-dark is a light green, which is also the most
receptive to the eye. Aqua and Sky-Blue are also relatively straight forward
However the hardest (and significantly more costly) colours to produce are
Red, Orange and White. Whilst orange and white are still able to offer
reasonable afterglow performances, red only lasts 10-15 minutes which makes
it the most expensive with the lowest afterglow.
See our relative colour performance chart above.
How do I use STARGLOW Glow Powder?
STARGLOW Glow Powder can been
safely used in a multitude of clear or opaque spirit and water-based mediums,
however it is important you test the compatibility of powder and medium
before using both together. We recommend you order a sample of the glow
powder first to allow you to do this.
Glow powder is in fact a
microscopic crystal which is usually suspended in a clear medium. The weight
(specific gravity) of these crystals is quite high so they will naturally
settle due to the effects of gravity.
Click here for more information.
How do I use STARGLOW Paint?
STARGLOW Paint is a safe (non-toxic) water based acrylic paint which can
safely be used indoors
We do not recommend using glow paints outdoors. However if
you choose to use Glow-in-the-Dark Paint outdoors, ensure the area is
at night and not lit by any form of
lighting, including street-lighting.
10 year Guarantee does not apply to STARGLOW Paints used
UV Paints are not
suitable for pro-longed outdoor use or exposure to direct
for more information.
What area will a pot of
STARGLOW paint cover?
This rather depends on factors
such as surface type, texture and porosity, the method of application, how
liberally it is applied and even temperature. As a rough guide we
generally say that a 30ml pot will cover an area the size of an A4 piece of
paper, up to 8 square meters per litre. We believe this is more of a
will your glow paints and powders keep glowing for?
This is new technology developed over the last few years. However, based on laboratory tests, the
boffins estimate our glow paints and powders should enjoy an active
lifespan of around 20 years, with a
guaranteed active life of 10 years.
Are you able to
supply business customers as well?
As a business we mainly supply to other business customers from small
Craft Shops and
Artists to large companies around the world.
Do you have a minimum order
For web based customers we accept all orders whatever their size. For
smaller quantities and samples.
supply other retailers or shops with STARGLOW Products?
GLOWTEC manufacture and mainly supply exclusively through our online store. We do not supply our products
through third party retail
outlets, except where we have a special arrangement.
Do you ship just to the UK?
We ship worldwide (see