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Glow Inc.

Dot Room

Dot Room

This                                               effect is one of the cheapest and                                               easiest projects you can do for a                                               fun house or at a party.                                                Yet, it is amazingly effective at                                               making young children happy.

A glow in the dark dot room is                                               simply a room with multi-colored                                               glowing dots randomly spaced on                                               all of the walls.  A black light                                               fixture is hung from the ceiling.

A dot room has a happy or                                               fanciful feeling.  In                                               addition to the visual effect of                                               the glowing dots, children also                                               can enjoy the effects of black                                               light on their clothes.

If you have a larger dot room,                                               you can put an actor in the room                                               completely covered in black with                                               matching dots.  If you have                                               the actor stand against the wall,                                               he is barely noticeable until he                                               moves.  This trick works well                                               on adults and children.

Once you understand the                                               simplicity of a dot room, you                                               realize that there are many ways                                               they can be constructed.  If                                               you look around your house, you                                               can probably find materials that                                               you already own.

This article will talk about                                               each individual component                                               separately with a list of possible                                               materials and construction tips.                                                Overall, keep in mind that you are                                               just building or painting a small                                               square room with dots and hanging                                               a black light.

Before you begin, consider long                                               term storage if this is not a                                               permanent installation.

Structure

Like any building or room, you                                               will need to start by building a                                               frame.  This gives the room                                               structure as well as giving you a                                               place to attach the walls and                                               ceiling.  A standard glow in                                               the dark dot room is usually 10                                               feet wide, 10 feet deep, and 8                                               feet tall.  If you would like                                               to add an actor, you should have a                                               room that is about 20 feet long.                                                Keep in mind that if this                                               structure is outside, that it may                                               have to hold up in winds or rain.

For a portable or temporary dot                                               room, an inexpensive canopy sold                                               for camping does well.  This                                               provides sufficient structure and                                               a roof with crossbeams to support                                               the black light.  They can be                                               taken apart or folded for storage                                               in a tight area.

Standard 2x4's lumber also                                               makes a great structure.  If                                               you go this route, make sure that                                               you do not have any nails or                                               screws where they can snag a                                               child.

Metal conduit is an inexpensive                                               alternative.  There are                                               companies that specialize in                                               selling this pipe for sales                                               canopies like those used in flee                                               markets.  They will have all                                               the connectors and can provide you                                               sizing information.

2" PVC pipe does well if you                                               can find the appropriate                                               connectors.

Walls and ceiling

I personally prefer to use                                               corrugated plastic for my walls                                               and ceiling.  Corrugated                                               plastic is similar in structure to                                               the cardboard that is used to make                                               boxes.  But instead of paper,                                               it is made from plastic.  It                                               is lightweight, inexpensive,                                               durable and easy to assemble.                                                It is available from most sign                                               companies for about $14 per sheet.                                                The model and brand I use is                                               Corroplast 4mm black.  I use                                               nylon cable ties to attach the                                               sheets to the structure.                                                This allows me to disassemble it                                               quickly with a sharp knife.                                                I seal any seams or holes allowing                                               light to enter with black                                               electrical tape.

A very inexpensive alternative                                               is 6 mil black plastic sheeting.                                                It is available at any hardware                                               store for approximately $6 for a                                               50 foot roll.  This should be                                               enough to complete most rooms.                                                When buying, hold a single ply up                                               to the light to see if any light                                               passes through it.  Look for                                               another brand if it is not 100%                                               opaque.  Use 2" plastic                                               packaging tape to attach the                                               plastic to the structure.

Typical building materials like                                               drywall or plywood also work.                                                When using these materials, use                                               traditional building techniques.

Doors

If you have followed my                                               directions in order, you now have                                               a great room without an entrance.

Corrugated plastic has a built                                               in hinge.  Cut out the                                               bottom, top and one side of the                                               door.  For the other side,                                               only cut through one layer of the                                               plastic.  This should create                                               a built in hinge that can be bent                                               and creased.  I usually add                                               extra material to the outside                                               edges of the door so that the                                               light is sealed out when the door                                               is closed.

Doors in plastic sheeting can                                               be created by just cutting a slit                                               from the bottom to about 6 feet                                               up.  Using tape add a piece                                               of overlapping plastic to the                                               outside to help shield incoming                                               light.

Dots

Purchase 2 packs of white or                                               fluorescent "price stickers"                                               available for about $2 at your                                               local office supply.  These                                               are small 1" stickers that come in                                               different colors and are intended                                               for pricing items at a yard sale.

If you want a glow in the dark                                               dot room, then you will need to                                               paint these stickers with glow in                                               the dark paint.  I would                                               suggest the sample pack of glow in                                               the dark paint so that you will                                               have a variety of colors.                                                Paint the stickers before applying                                               them to the walls.  Do not                                               let your children work with the                                               wet paint.

To apply the dots, simply peel                                               and stick.  Move randomly                                               around the room with no order                                               whatsoever.  As the room                                               starts to fill up, try to fill in                                               large empty areas.  Properly                                               done, colors and spacing should be                                               completely random.  My rooms                                               typically have about 6 inches                                               between the dots.  Our dot                                               sticking expert says "Don't think                                               about it, just stick".  Do                                               not stick dots to the ceiling.

Black Lights

These rooms can use any type of                                               black light in any type of                                               fixture.  I personally prefer                                               tube lights over the bulbs.                                                Good sources for black lights are Walmart or Spencer Gifts.                                                Use large nylon cable ties to                                               attach the black light to the                                               ceiling structure.  It does                                               not have to  be centered.                                                Use twice as many cable ties as                                               you think you need for extra added                                               safety.

Fire Retardance

Most of the materials listed on                                               this page are not fire retardant.                                                Therefore they should not be used                                               for public or high-volume                                               activities.  Proper adult                                               care should be used to supervise                                               activities.

Corroplast offers a fire                                               retardant version of their                                               material for about $20 extra per                                               sheet.

Final Thoughts

A glow in the dark dot room provides amazing                                               amusement to children and adults                                               of all ages.  It is also a                                               great opportunity to share the                                               construction with your child.

As with any structure that                                               involves children, please make                                               extra sure that it can withstand                                               extreme abuse without collapsing.

Do not let your child near the                                               wet paint as it can be hazardous.