How to Make Things Glow in the Dark

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.

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

  • Blacklight

  • Section 3

  • Petroleum jelly

  • Blacklight

  • Mirror

  • Dish soap

  • Hot water

  • Sponge

Incredible Edible Ice

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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

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.

Step 6

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

Picture This

Step 1

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

Step 2

Lay down newspaper to protect against paint drips and spills.

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.

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.

Step 5

Place a photograph inside the frame.

Step 6

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

Happy Glowing People

Step 1

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

Step 2

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

Step 3

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


Be sure to dilute tonic with water to minimize the strong taste of the quinine and maintain its frozen state longer.

Instead of making ice cubes, add water and tonic to gelatin mix to create glow-in-the dark gelatin dessert. Use cookie cutter sheets to make fun shapes.

Use white or light-colored items with phosphorescent paint for the best luminescence.

Smooth out rough or porous items with sandpaper before painting.

Applying petroleum jelly to your skin is not only safe, but is known to smooth, hydrate and protect it.


Never use phosphorescent paint or petroleum jelly for creating edibles.

Tonic water should be flat before you freeze it because bubbles will create air pockets that can expand and explode.

Use a respirator when painting with a spray gun or airbrush.

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