How to Make Bottles Glow in the Dark

Colored glowing bottles
wine bottle abstract image by Adrian Hillman from

Instead of throwing out old glass bottles, reuse them to make glow-in-the-dark lanterns that work well as night lights or as decorative lighting outdoors. Bottles can be made to glow in several different colors to suit your needs.

Colored glowing bottles
wine bottle abstract image by Adrian Hillman from

Things You'll Need

  • Funnel
  • Freezer
  • Light
  • Frying Pan
  • Bottle Lid
  • Glass Bottle
  • 1 Tbsp. Phosphorescent Pigment
  • Oven Mitt
  • 1 Tbsp. Shortening

Rinse and set aside a glass bottle to dry. Keep the bottle lid for later.

Heat 1 Tbsp. of shortening in a frying pan. Turn the heat off as soon as the shortening melts to a liquid.

Set the bottle upright. Place a funnel into the bottle opening. Pour the liquid shortening into the bottle using the funnel. Wear an oven mitt if you have to hold the bottle in place. Twist the lid back onto the bottle.

Put an oven mitt on to hold the bottle. Shake the closed bottle to coat the inside walls with the melted shortening. Remove the bottle lid and pour the extra shortening out of the bottle. Put the bottle in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Take the bottle out of the freezer and use the funnel to pour 1 Tbsp. of phosphorescent pigment into the bottle. Replace the bottle lid and shake the bottle vigorously. The pigment will stick to the thin coating of shortening on all inside walls of the bottle.

Charge the pigment by placing it in direct sunlight for five to 10 minutes--or place it under indoor lighting for 20 to 30 minutes. According to Ready Set Glo, a phosphorescent paint and pigment manufacturer “you can recharge the pigment as often as needed for several years to come.”

Take the charged bottle out of the light and place it in a dark place to activate the glow powder.


  • Phosphorescent pigment can be purchased from a manufacturer such as Ready Set Glo in several different colors. Each color has specific qualities that differ from one to another. Green and aqua are both the brightest and the longest lasting. Red, orange and yellow are bright but have a very short glow time. When using as outdoor lighting, you can let the bottles charge in the sun all day and leave them out in a dark place to glow at night.


  • Hold the glass bottle with an oven mitt when pouring in shortening and when shaking the bottle to coat the inside walls to prevent burns.

    Use caution when pouring the liquefied shortening into the bottle; it will be very hot and may splatter.