How to Make Safe Glow-in-the-Dark Paint for Children

By Christopher Hall ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Luminous zinc sulfide
  • Clear, water-based paint medium
  • Containers to hold paint
  • Non-metallic mixing bowl
  • Paintbrush

You can easily make your own glow-in-the-dark paint for children. By mixing your own paint, you can control the brightness as well as the medium you use for painting. You can buy glow-in-the-dark powder and mix it with whichever paint medium you choose. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet, glow-in-the-dark powder may cause irritation to skin, eyes and mucous membranes. An adult should do the mixing. But when mixed with a non-toxic paint medium, the paint is safe for most children older than 4.

Prepare Paint

Make sure your working space is clean and ready. Although the process is fairly straightforward, you should make sure that you have a damp sponge ready to wipe the glow-in-the-dark powder (luminous zinc sulfide) or paint medium as soon as it spills. Both are very easy to clean as soon as the spill happens, but both become much more difficult to clean the longer you wait. Make sure your bowl and paint brush are clean as well.

Use between 10 percent and 20 percent glow-in-the-dark powder (luminous zinc sulfide). Add paint to powder. The age of the child and the type of project dictate which paint medium you should choose. Acrylic paint mixes well with the powder. Look for non-toxic acrylic paint. With younger children, use white tempera paint. This will reduce the glow but is safer and less messy.

Mix enough paint for one application. You can store the paint, but this will reduce the glowing power. Pour mixed paint into container for children to use. This can be as simple as a plastic lid, or you can use specially designed no-spill paint containers.

Clean mixing bowl and paint brush immediately after mixing. Store any unused paint tightly sealed in a dry dark cupboard.

Tip

Non-toxic acrylic paint will mix better but is difficult for young children to use. This paint will not wash off easily and dries very quickly.

You can safely mix luminous zinc sulfide with any non-acidic base.

Warning

Luminous zinc sulfide is the type of glow-in-the-dark powder you should use with children. Other types of glow-in-the-dark powder may be more luminescent, but are not as safe.

Luminous zinc sulfide powder is safe to use under normal circumstances. If it gets on your child's skin, for example, you simply wash off with soap and water. If he inhales it, bring him outdoors to breathe fresh air for a few minutes.

About the Author

Christopher Hall founded and published a magazine which was sold on newsstands across the United States and Canada. Since 1995, his work has been featured in magazines such as "Massage Magazine," "Fitness Link," "B.C. Parent" and "Toddler's Today." Currently, he is pursuing his master's degree.