How long does Glow in the Dark Paint last?
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Glow in the dark paint can be used on many surfaces - from canvas and paper to the walls, glass, and more. But how long does the glow last?
How long does Glow in the Dark Paint last? Backed by data Thumbnail
How long does Glow in the Dark Paint last? Backed by data Thumbnail


Do you like to try different types of paint? A sort of paint that literally stands out from the rest? If that sounds like you, then we’re sure you would love to learn about glow-in-the-dark paints. When we tried them out for the first time, we were fascinated at how well they glowed in the darkness. But the real question is, how long do glow-in-the-dark paints last?

When used properly with preparation, glow-in-the-dark paints can last anywhere between 10 to 12 years on walls. However, the daily glowing time varies from one brand to another. Using a primer and sealer can also improve durability on surfaces, except for the skin. Unused paint cans can last for around 3 years.

Before we move on to some of the best glow-in-the-dark paints available out there, here are some basic things you need to know.

What are the types of glow-in-the-dark paint?

There are two types of glow-in-the-dark paint!

Glow in the dark paint on face

In glow-in-the-dark paints, the two main types are: fluorescent and phosphorescent.

Whether you’re buying fluorescent paint or phosphorescent paint, both will be luminous in the dark. The only difference between these two is that fluorescent glows only when you project black light on it. So don’t expect fluorescent glow-in-the-dark paints to illuminate on their own!

What is phosphorescent paint good for?

Phosphorescent paints are the type of glow-in-the-dark paints you need if you don’t want to involve black light in the process. These paints are perfect for exteriors, as the phosphors require a bit of sunlight to charge up for glowing later.

Point to remember

glow timings

Whatever type of paint you use, the glow timing will be limited. Don't expect the paint to glow during the daylight, maybe just a bit if the room is slightly dark.

How does glow-in-the-dark paint work?

A few chemicals work behind the scenes to make the paint glow!

Glow in the dark paint on two faces

Phosphors are the main mineral elements found in the earth and the driving source behind the luminosity of glow-in-the-dark paints. They are ground before being combined with a particular paint medium. 

The chemicals that are derived to make glow-in-the-dark paint are very limited in colors. So usually, these are the main colors you’ll find in these paints:

  1. Blue
  2. Green
  3. Yellow

Other colors can be made too but since the process to create them is longer, they end up being more expensive than the above basic colors. So if you’re getting any other color, you’ll have to get it in greater quantity for the glow to be sufficient.


apply multiple coats

With just one coat of glow-in-the-dark paint, the durability and intensity would be lesser. If you want to make the glow more intense, apply several coats. This is especially true in the case of colors that don't have finely ground pigment.

How to make Glow in the Dark Paint last longer?

Like all other paints, before using the material, it's best to prime the surface.

A boy with glow-in-the-dark paints on his face and arms

Prime any surface before applying glow-in-the-dark paint on it. Moreover, sealing the paint can protect the paint from harsh weather conditions and getting rubbed off.

The primer you use will depend on the kind of glow-in-the-dark paint you have. So if you’re using acrylic glow-in-the-dark paints, you will need to use a primer with the acrylic ground. Some acrylic primers work even for oil paints, however, finding glow-in-the-dark paints in oil paints can be very difficult.

To keep things simple, we would recommend you get this two-in-one primer and sealer from Deco Art. To use this product, you can mix it with equal parts of paint for efficiently sealing and priming your painting.

Deco Art Multi Purpose Primer & Sealer

This primer and sealer can be used on multiple surfaces like wood, plastic, glass, metal, and so on.

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Point to remember

overexposure to sunlight

You will need to protect your glow-in-the-dark painting if it's outdoors. The phosphors lose their glowing ability and charging is also affected if they're exposed to too much sunlight. At most, around 3 to 4 hours of sunlight is sufficient for the paints to glow in the dark daily.

Data Chart: The best Glow-in-the-dark Paints

Glow-in-the-dark paints vary according to their texture and the surface they're designed for.

A person with shimmery green and red texture on body

The glowing time for every day usually depends on the brand. The lights that glow-in-the-dark paints are able to receive will also charge up the paint. Some paint pigments are charged by UV light, while others require blacklight.

So while there are many factors that affect the luminosity time for glow-in-the-dark paints, some paint brands stand out from the rest.

Here are the top 5 brands that we highly recommend for all your glow-in-the-dark painting projects on various surfaces.

Brand Surfaces Glowing Time/Duration
Glomania Invisible Neutral Acrylic Paint Set Walls: Interior & Exterior Invisible paint, begins to glow during dark times, so duration varies. Long-term glow lifespan lasts for around 10 years
PEBEO Phosphorescent Gel Studio Acrylic Paints Multiple surfaces like wood, glass, metal, etc Between 10 to 15 hours, more glowing time depending on the thickness of the paint
Neon Nights Neon Acrylic Colors Multiple surfaces, mostly rigid supports like walls, metal, glass, wood, etc Up to 12 hours 
Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray Paint Best for walls and giant glow-in-the-dark paintings Up to 8 hours
Neon Nights Fluorescent UV Body Paint  Skin, safe to apply on any part of the body Until washed off

All the above paints are UV light based. So they would need a bit of charging from UV sources for the glow to properly work. Now let’s have a look at each of the glow-in-the-dark paint brand separately.

1. Glomania Invisible Neutral Acrylic Paint Set

This wonderful fluorescent glow-in-the-dark paint set is very special. In this range of glow-in-the-dark paints, you can easily get the following colors:

  1. White
  2. Red
  3. Orange
  4. Yellow
  5. Blue
  6. Green

It has the longest lifespan of around 10 years. Thus, this set is best for classic glow-in-the-dark works, especially on the walls.

2. PEBEO Phosphorescent Gel Studio Acrylic Paints

The PEBEO phosphorescent gel studio acrylic paints are available in a variety of colors. They can be used for both exterior and interior works. So if you’re planning a colorful glow-in-the-dark mural painting outdoors, these acrylic paints are the best range. The glow can last for many hours, even when exposed to a bit of light.

3. Neon Nights Neon Acrylic Colors

Neon acrylic paint gives fluorescent effects. When charged properly, these paints last for around 12 hours. In fact, since these paints are neon, you can get a glowing effect even while it’s exposed to some light.

Below are the colors you can get in these awesome neon nights acrylic paint range:

  1. Red
  2. Orange
  3. Yellow
  4. Green
  5. Purple
  6. Blue
  7. White
  8. Pink

4. Rust-Oleum Specialty Spray Paint

By using these spray glow-in-the-dark paints, you can easily cover super large areas. It’s good if you want the surface to glow entirely, or you want to use stencils and spray over the paint. 

The only downside is that this spray paint is only available in green color. And moreover, the phosphors for this paint take a lot of time to charge, in return only giving around 8 hours of daily glow. So use it only if you have a big monochromatic glow-in-the-dark painting project at hand. 

5. Neon Nights Fluorescent UV Body Paint Set

Do you love to paint on the skin? Glow-in-the-dark paints for the body are available for people who love to experiment with their skin. They are even good for preparing for entertainment-related performances. You can get the following colors in this body paint:

  1. Orange
  2. Yellow
  3. Purple
  4. Pink
  5. White
  6. Blue
  7. Red
  8. Green


applying glow-in-the-dark paint on skin

Not all glow-in-the-dark paint is safe to use on the skin. You must choose the paint brand according to the surface you have - fabric, wood, skin, etc.

If you’re just getting started with glow-in-the-dark painting, we would recommend purchasing glowing acrylic paints. Here is a neutral color glow-in-the-dark acrylic paint from FolkArt that we highly recommend.

FolkArt Glow-in-the-Dark Paint (Neutral)

This neutral acrylic paint can be used with other colors or on its own to tone down or balance any glow-in-the-dark painting.

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For more diversity, we suggest getting this pack of 8 glow-in-the-dark acrylic paints . Not only will you get four glow-in-the-dark paints that glow when exposed to blacklight, but you will also get four neon colors!

FolkArt Neon Glow Acrylic Paint Set

This set of 8 FolkArt Neon Glow paints consists of both neon colors and glow-in-the-dark colors in the basic shades of pink, orange, green, yellow, blue, and neutral. It can be used on different surfaces.

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Tips to consider while using glow-in-the-dark paint

With proper use, care, and retouching, your glow-in-the-dark painting can last long.

So the glow-in-the-dark brand you choose will depend on the surface you have. You will also need to consider the available light sources, as well as 

  1. Perform a small test of a particular glow-in-the-dark paint to see how long it lasts.
  2. For intricate designs, it’s best to use stencils to not block out. You can either use brushes to fill in the stencils with paint, or you can use a small spray instead.
  3. Use giant brushes or rollers for large surface areas like painting on walls - be it indoors or outdoors.
  4. Use a UV-based light or black light while you’re painting, so that you can clearly see the strokes.

For painting on large surface areas and walls, we recommend you get this 4-inch brush .

Amazon Basics 4" Flat Edge Master Pro Paint Brush

This large flat 4-inch brush can be dipped into a tray or can of glow-in-the-dark paint.

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So glow-in-the-dark paints can last anywhere between 10 to 20 years. Besides the brand of the paint, you’ll also need to consider whether you’ve primed the surface before painting or not. The paint will last longer on a well-prepared surface and if you seal your glow-in-the-dark painting after it’s finished, then all the better! most brands will glow for around 8 to 12 hours daily. The surface that you choose for your glow-in-the-dark painting also matters. If you’re applying the paint on skin, it may not last as long as it does on other rigid surfaces such as walls and fabric.

Do you wish to learn more about paints? Check out this post on the differences between acrylic vs gouache paints .

Is Gouache or Acrylic Right for You? 8 Main Differences!

Do you love using paint with thick textures? Gouache and acrylic paints are two fantastic choices for such painting media.

Jimena & Iñigo Picture

By Jimena & Iñigo

The Navarro-Rubios

My husband and I are learning how to draw and paint. We wanted to share this learning process with the world and have fun! That's why we created this blog. We'll have drawing contests every week and you'll decide who won that week! Follow along and learn with us!

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Jimena & Iñigo Picture

Jimena & Iñigo

The Navarro-Rubios

My husband and I are learning how to draw and paint. We wanted to share this learning process with the world and have fun! That's why we created this blog. We'll have drawing contests every week and you'll decide who won that week! Follow along and learn with us!



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