fluorescent paint

Light emitting fluorescent paint

Luminous fluorescent paint is one of the most artistic types of light emitting paint; mainly due to the fact that it is available in many colours and colourful glow. The fluorescent paints are available with a wide range of pigments which guarantee the colour also in day light. The glow is created by exposure to long-wave UV frequencies. The UV light is present in sunlight and some artificial lights. A form of fluorescent paint is also know for black light applications and therefore, it is sometimes called black light paint. The day light and black light fluorescent paints exist in two types and are also available as ink for poster printing and other applications.

Two types of fluorescent glow paint

Fluorescent paint exists as visible and invisible systems. Due to the fact that the paint requires UV light to glow, it is also called UV paint.

1. Visible UV paint

The visible UV paint is strongly pigmented and appears in bright colours in day light. Under black light, it receives an additional glow which helps creating spectacular visual effects for example on walls and other surfaces.

fluorescent paint

Comparison of uncharged (left) and charged-up (right) fluorescent paint.

2. Invisible UV paint

The invisible UV paint on the other hand, is comparable to a clear coating. However, also very pale colours are available. The coating is thus invisible only in day light; once black light replaces the day light, the paint starts glowing in an colour. The range of available colours is, nonetheless, limited. When the paint is again in day light, the glow and bright colour disappear.

What makes the paint glow

Fluorescent paint contains pigments and chroma which together create the glow effect. The colour of the pigment is reflected normally and we perceive it as colour. The UV light for its part, has longer waves and therefore, produces additional visible light frequencies which the human eye perceives as glow. The colour and the glow together create the illusion of glowing coloured paint.

Give it a glow with fluorescent paint

The fluorescent paint has the best effect when it is presented in a contrasting environment. Most often this refers to a clean, matt-black background which emphasize the colours and glow. They additionally minimise destruction by eliminating awareness of other than glowing objects drawing attention to them. Both of the paints have many applications especially in the artistic and special effects sectors.

Good to know…

Against a black background, the fluorescent coatings create wonderful effects. However, outdoors, the paint does not work that well. The UV wavelengths are namely rapidly scattered in space or possibly absorbed by more complex natural surfaces. These factors easily dull the effect of the glow paint.

Furthermore, the coating should not be left in the sunlight for a long time due to the fact that it degrades the complex pigments. There are however, foils and clear coatings which care suitable for providing protection to certain extent from too much sun light.

Black light paint and ink

Usually black light paint is fluorescent, however, this is not always the case. Sometimes, rarely though, the glow effect is extended by adding a phosphor to the coating. The phosphorescence allows the paint to keep glowing even after the black light is removed.

Next to decorative applications the flourescent black light paint is suitable for security purposes on:

  • Money notes
  • Certificates printed on paper
  • Coupons, tickets and similar papers that represent a (monetary) value
fluorescent paint

The best results can be achieved by applying fluorescent paint on dark background.

In those applications the black light ink is usually invisible in day light and does not glow under regular UV light. It requires a black light lamp to become visible.

Black light posters

Black light paint and inks are also suitable for making posters stand out in dark areas. The only disadvantages of the inks and paint printed on paper is that it fades rather fast. There are several methods which, to certain extent, slow down the fading of the colours. These include:

  • Lamination
  • Protective lacquer coatings
  • Glass or plastic sheets

Fluorescent paint suppliers in the UK

For example Glowtec UK manufactures and supplies smart fluorescent coatings for many different decorative applications.