How to Make Things Glow in the Dark

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You can make almost anything glow in the dark, including edibles, objects and even people, using fluorescent or phosphorescent chemicals. These chemicals work by first absorbing light from high-energy sources like the sun or electric bulbs, and then automatically emitting the light at low levels over time. They are safe, reusable, easy to acquire, and they offer numerous creative possibilities for parties, games or play time with the kids.

How to Make Things Glow in the Dark
(Andres Arango/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Section 1
  • 1 bottle tonic water
  • Water
  • Measuring cup
  • Ice cube tray
  • Freezer
  • Drinking glass
  • Blacklight
  • Section 2
  • Picture frame
  • Rag
  • Cleaning solvent
  • Can of base paint
  • Can of phosphorescent paint (any color)
  • Two paint brushes
  • Photograph
  • Section 3
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Mirror
  • Dish soap
  • Hot water
  • Sponge
Step 1

Open the bottle of tonic water. Let it sit out for five minutes or until it goes flat.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 2

Combine half a cup of the tonic water and half a cup of water in the measuring cup.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 3

Pour the contents of the measuring cup into the ice cube tray.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 4

Place the ice cube tray in the freezer for one hour.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 5

Remove the ice cube tray from the freezer. Bang the tray until the ice cubes come loose, place them in a drinking glass and add water.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 6

Turn off the lights and turn on the blacklight to see your glass of ice water glow.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 1

Clean the picture frame thoroughly with a rag and cleaning solvent.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 2

Lay down newspaper to protect against paint drips and spills.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 3

Use one paint brush to apply a layer of clear base paint to the frame. Let the frame sit for 30 minutes or until dry.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 4

Use the second paint brush to apply a coat of phosphorescent paint to the frame. Let the frame sit for another 30 minutes or until dry.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 5

Place a photograph inside the frame.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 6

Turn off the lights and turn on the blacklight to watch the glowing frame illuminate the photograph inside.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 1

Scoop up clumps of petroleum jelly with your hands and rub it liberally on your arms and face.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 2

Turn off the lights and turn on the blacklight to see your body glow. Use a mirror to see your face.

Andres Arango/Demand Media
Step 3

Use hot soapy water and a sponge to clean off the jelly.

Andres Arango/Demand Media

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