Glow in the dark candles emit a soft glow even when not lit. This makes them ideal to use as night-lights. If you make them without a wick, they make a great gift for hospital patients where a normal candle would not be permitted.
This article will cover some technical aspects of making glow in the dark candles for those who enjoy making candles at home.
There are several methods to adding glow materials to candles:
The intuitive method is to thoroughly mix the glow material directly into the wax or gel. The benefit is that you can achieve a very consistent glow. Unfortunately, there are two issues with this method. When you mix glow powder into gel or other clear mediums, it will cause it to have a cloudy appearance. If you mix it into a more opaque medium, like dyed wax, then only the glow material on the outside layer will charge and glow. Therefore, some glow material is wasted and the candle does not glow as bright as it could.
For clear gel and other clear mediums, you should consider putting a thin layer of pure glow material only on the bottom of the candle. The glow from this layer then projects up through the gel and reflects off of the glass and gel surfaces. The result is an interesting and stunning effect that surpasses simply making the candle glow in the dark.
For more opaque mediums, like wax, the best result can be obtained by putting a layer of glow material only on the outer surfaces. The method varies depending on if you are molding your candle or pouring it into a glass.
For poured glass candles, you will need wax, glass, hairspray, and some glow in the dark powder. Liberally spray the inside of the glass with the stickiest hairspray you can find. If you are making more than a few candles, you may consider substituting spray glue instead of hairspray. Now that the inside of your glass is sticky, pour in the glow in the dark powder. Turn and roll the glass until a nice layer of powder completely coats the inside. Add wax as you would for a regular candle.
For molded candles, coat the inside of your mold with a very thin layer of liquid vegetable oil or mold release spray. Note, if you have drips, then you are using way too much. Pour in your glow in the dark powder. Turn and roll the mold until a nice layer of powder completely coats the inside. Add the wax and follow standard candle making procedures.
All glow in the dark materials work by absorbing and holding light. It releases this light slowly in the form of a glow. While glow in the dark materials come in a variety of colors, Ultra Green and Ultra Blue are the brightest colors and therefore make the best candles.
Glow materials come in 3 different forms that are popular for candle making. When putting a layer on the bottom of a candle, or mixing it directly into the wax or gel, Glow in the Dark Sand performs best. It is a granular material that gives a textured glow appearance. It is also the brightest of the products and is cheaper to buy than the Glow in the Dark Powder.
Glow in the Dark Powder is similar to the sand, but the particles are much smaller. It is the best product for dusting the inside of a mold or glass.
It takes approximately 1/2 Ounce of Glow in the Dark Sand or Powder to make a medium sized candle using the above methods.
Finally, Glow in the Dark Rocks can create an interesting effect. You can fill a mold or glass with the rocks and pour hot gel or wax to fill in the voids. The rocks are not as bright as the upper two products. Therefore, they do not work well in the bottom layer method.
Transitioning is an advanced glow effect where an object will slowly change colors as the glow wears off. The different glow colors each have their own brightness. For example, Ultra Green is 8 times the brightness of Pure Blue or Zinc Red. It also follows, that a bright product like Ultra Green glows longer than dimmer products like Pure Blue or Zinc Red. So the trick is to use enough of the lower powered product to overcome the brightness of the brighter product in the first minute. As the lower powered product fades out, the brighter product will overcome.
Although this sounds confusing, it is simple to accomplish. When making a candle that you want to transition from Zinc Red to Ultra Green, Mix .5 Oz of Red with .05 Oz of Green and follow any of the procedures above. You can use the brightness ratings of each product to determine the ratios.