Thursday, August 26, 2010

#6 Black Light Gallery

They sell light reflective paints, but some can be pretty expensive.

I do like to use the neon colors it comes in, 
but I make my own white. 

It's not as bright and it does fade over time, but its easy and cheap!

You can actually see more of the detail lines in person... but I had to turn off my flash 
so they are lost in the pictures.

I use a mixture of Acrylic Gesso and Liguid Laundry detergent.

Gesso can be found in the paint section of the craft store. I buy the big tub but it also comes in small affordable tubes as well.

Tide is well known to be black light reactive by itself, also I like this stuff called Vivid. 
 It works really good and it's about half the price.
If you have liquid laundry soap on hand, check it out. Some brands glow, some don't.

I do a mix of approximately  2 parts soap to 1 part gesso, and mix it really good. 

First I start with a pieces of black poster board.
I trace my drawing with a white pencil.

I apply a coat of just the Gesso....sometimes I do 2 coats depends.

Then I apply the Soap/ Gesso mixture..

about two coats should do it.

This image is simple but for more complicated pictures I use my projector, trace the image then paint the Geeso, and trace over it again.

Here I only painted half so you see the contrast of plain gesso and the soap mixture.

See it glows great! And mixing it with the Gesso makes it thicker and easier to paint with than just going with straight tide over your painting.

 I like to do the final coat in the black light to catch any missed spots. 

It does fad ever time so my black light paintings I just go over again close to the big night with just soap, while under black light and it brightens right back up. And the guides lines are already there so it's easy.

Here is another one I am working on. 
He doesn't show up on camera as good in the black light for some looks purple here, but in real life his skin is the same color as my skeleton.... my camera is crap.

Here is a shot in the light

Someday I will be able to buy the real good paints, but until then this poor man's version will work.


  1. I'm adoring your blog! I do a small haunted house every year in our garage, and it is so tough not to blow the budget on black-light paint! Do you find that this mixture dries pretty solid, or is it still somewhat tacky? How do you get the different colors in the clown?

    1. Hi arhoglen and thank you. The white paint dries fine the only problem is the glow doesn't stay strong so I go over with a coat of just the tide with the black light on usually the day of my haunt to make it really bright again. There are actually some more experiments I want to do with this.
      Also, I should have mentioned the colors are just very cheap kids neon paint that worked really well actually.

  2. What type of black lights do you use? I bought a halloween black light and the tide is just not making it pop. I wonder if it's the black light or the tide...

    1. I went to Home Depot and they have real black lights. The one that I bought was definitely not a real black light. But I am still finding that the tide glows when it is wet but when it's dry it doesn't glow much at all. I am trying to use it as invisible ink.