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Glow Inc.

Painting Techniques

You can use our paints like you would any other acrylic paint.  In most cases, you can simply paint it on.  Keep in mind that our product is a solvent-based acrylic, which means that it will strongly adhere to almost any surface. These instructions are here only for the users that have advanced projects that justify additional preparation and sealing steps.

If you are starting with a surface that has a good paint job already in place, then you can skip the steps below regarding the sealer and base coat.  Simply make sure that the surface is clean and smooth.


Like any paint, a non-porous, clean, smooth surface produces the smoothest look after painting.  If your surface is rough or porous, you should consider a sealer or primer coat and possibly some sanding. The exact steps and materials to accomplish this will differ depending on the surface type.  For best results, visit a local hardware store for advice specific to your surface.  We would suggest that you stay away from oil-based products for the primer coat, unless your paint base is solvent.  If your primer is water based then your primer should be as well. The majority of the time, our lab technicians prefer Kilz.


Our paints come with or without a daytime pigment.  Products without the word 'daytime' in their title are mostly clear when applied.  This means that any color underneath of the paint will show through in a lit room.  In the dark, the glow color will only be seen.

Products with the word 'daytime' are almost opaque during the day and therefore the base color is masked.  Here are two examples:

Standard red paint covered with Ultra Green Glow in the Dark Paint is red during the day and glows green at night.

Standard purple paint covered with our Daytime Orange Glow in the Dark Paint is mostly orange during the day and glows orange at night.  Of course, like all paints, some of the purple might show through during the day and make an ugly color.

Therefore, your next step is apply your color base coat.  Light or white colors smooth out the glow appearance at night and improve the transparency of the 'invisible' glow paints during the day.  Darker colors work, but the contrast will sometimes make the 'invisible' paints more noticeable.  Once again, we suggest water or solvent-based paints for this layer.

The majority of the time, our lab technicians prefer Krylon Bright White matte or flat  spray paint for this layer.  It is inexpensive, easy to manage, and looks great.


The glow layer is the easiest part.  You simply need to choose a glow in the dark paint that matches your taste in color and brightness.  Multiple, thin, even layers give the best appearance.  If brushing or rolling, use a wide brush for the most consistent look.  We suggest that you use a black light to expose light spots.

Our experienced technicians add thin layers until they achieve the intended brightness level.  This typically takes 2-4 thin layers.


Important:  When using an air gun or airbrush, you should wear a respirator designed for this purpose.

To get the best performance out of a solvent-based paint in an air application, you need to increase the drying time slightly or it will literally dry in the air. 

Our lab technicians accomplish this by adding 5-10% acetone or other solvent-based paint thinner to the  paint.  Done properly, the paint should impact the surface wet and dry within seconds.  If it is hitting the surface dry, add more thinner. If it is running, add more paint.

In the labs, we primarily use Paasche "H" external mix air brushes with a #5 tip. This brush is great for beginners and only costs $45 for a complete kit minus an air compressor.  It is also easy to clean and maintain.


Zinc or Silicate-based Glow in the Dark Paints usually do not need a sealing layer.  Aluminate-based products like the Ultra, High, and Daytime series have their longevity and durability greatly increased with a sealing layer.

For this layer, choose a clear solvent-based paint that has no UV-filtering additives.  We highly recommend Krylon Crystal Clear spray paint.  It is inexpensive and available at many local stores.  It is also available in gloss or matte to match your tastes.  For a higher-end product, you can also use our clear medium for this layer.


If you follow these recommendations, you should be able to apply an automotive quality finish with very little cost and minimal work.  Of course I must stress again that if you are just interested in painting stars on your ceiling then all of these steps are unnecessary.

We love to see pictures of projects.  If your paint job turns out well, please send us a photo!