Introduction: Eerie Glowing Jars!

Picture of Eerie Glowing Jars!

So as you may know I am a photographer of a 365 days projects - a mind blowing idea-bin, where you get either inspired one day, or wander around burnt out the other day. When it's inspiring, it's a really good day, when it's not... well, let's not talk about that.

Now you wonder how all this is connected to the above photo, am I right?

Well, this picture is one of the photos of the 'more inspired' days of 365 projects, and since I made it, people constantly asked me how to make them. (for decoration and photo prop purposes both)

I'd like to share the very easy way of making long-lasting glowing jars for your home, that is a perfect fit for eerie halloween decoration set ups. When it's dark, or even in a bit darker shade (at least with the paint I used) they emit this reeeally bright light for hours! (I can also state it works for years, I actually have glow jars made 5 years ago!)

Step 1: Grab Your Materials!

Picture of Grab Your Materials!

I have to say, probably this is the second to hardest step in this tutorial, I am telling you, this is really easy to make! :)

Get yourself a:

  • bowl filled with water (to clean the brush as much as you can when changing colors)
  • a brush that you don't mind ruining / a ruined brush
  • glow paint
  • jars!
  • safe clothing (the paint is water resistant when dried, so you can't get it out from anything)

The hard part is to find a glow paint that is bright and long lasting. I used poliglow for this project, but it's no longer available, even in the EU. There's a light at the end of the tunnel though: with a pinch of luck, you can find good quality glow in the dark paints* with just a bit of looking around on the internet. (*the link I provided is an affiliate link which means, that if you do choose to buy that paint, I get a small commission from your purchase - it does not mean you have to pay more for the product though)

Step 2: Shake, Shake, Stir, Stir, Get Ready to Dot!

Picture of Shake, Shake, Stir, Stir, Get Ready to Dot!

This might seem like a made-up step, but... it's actually very important to stir your paint before you start making the actual project, to make the pigments mix well.

Step 3: Dot-a-lot!

Picture of Dot-a-lot!

On the inside of the jar, start making tiny dots.

Go from the top to the bottom of the jar, and try to keep the dots close to each other, but not too close so they become a big ball of paint in it - unless it's 2 different colors, that can actually work pretty well.

This is kind of a tedious process, if you are working with a bigger jar (in the tutorial, I used a small one), especially if you want to keep your work as precise as possible.

Don't rush it, if you get tired of it, since you can't wash the paint off, just put it away until you want to finish it. :)

Step 4: Charge...then Ta-daa!

Picture of Charge...then Ta-daa!

After the paint dried, test your creation.

Put it under a lamp or out in the sun for a few minutes then you will see how much it glows even with this little time of charging.

Step 5: Where a Thank You Is Due...

Thank you for following me through this tutorial, I hope that some of you will like it, and maybe even try it one day - it is really a soothing DIY to make with all the dotting. :)

If you have questions or thoughts about this project, please do let me know, I would love to hear your feedback! If you are interested in more of my projects and collections of pretty things, don't hesitate to visit my blog :)

Now, go, and have a nice, creative day!

Ps.: Legend says that blacklight helps even more with the glowing effect, so if you have that around, give it a go!


Luca Gerda (author)2016-09-26

Thank you guys for your lovely thoughts, I just wanted to give a heads-up about comments that frequently appear under this, often in quite an attacking form, which I do not really think it's necessary, it saddens me a lot. :(

First of all, it seems like a problem that my english is not that great, since people get confused, please do try to read it again, and keep in mind that it's still easier to understand than if I wrote it in my mother tongue! :)

I have updated the instuctable, so hopefully it will no longer cause so much confusion about the water and water.resistance: the paint is only water resistant when it's dried. :)

The affiliate link does NOT mean, that you HAVE TO use it, you can just search for the same product on amazon, and buy it without affiliate (still, it does NOT mean that you have to pay more with an affiliate link, it's the same amount)

The photos are made 5 years ago, so please do excuse me, if my methods are not as divine as they should be :) I don't really have the resources for recreating them at this point of my life. Even though if you want it to look different, look in the comments, cause there are a LOT of good suggestions on it. :)

I really do appreciate the input on the project, it really started out from the above photo with which I wanted to portrait a 'galaxy' held in hands, so please keep in mind, that this first and foremost was a photograph, then became a project to share :)

Thanks for staying awesome!


RayH1 (author)Luca Gerda2016-12-29

You have nothing to apologize for. Your English is fine and you produced a great instructible. Don't let Internet trolls bother you. Ray.

sheME (author)RayH12017-09-18

I thought there was an administrator that filtered trolls and the rules are, be nice or be gone. We are fortunate to have people participate from all over. The opportunity to gain knowledge and customs from other cultures is invaluable and can not be regarded as incorrect because the grammar and syntax is different.

RobinA21 (author)Luca Gerda2016-10-12

Thats pretty cool.I had a similar accidental crafty experience last Halloween. I painted some store bought styrofoam headstones with florescent paints. I used a black light to illuminate the headstones in my "grave yard".. I cleaned off each paint brush in half filled plastic bottles of water. I was amazed when i turned out the lights at how neat the bottles of water looked in the black lit room. I wondered what the heck i could do with those bottles of water. Hey you should try using a black light out on your jars? And maybe mix some colors of water with florescents and put a lid on the jars. Set them in a window to glow. That would be cool. Thanks for sharing.

DennisB4 (author)2016-09-27

Hi, just a thought, I wonder if sticking a small LED inside the jar would act to both charge and make the dots glow stronger? This is only a thought. I love this instructable. ? DB

Dr. dB (author)DennisB42016-10-03

Would certainly be worth some experiments! Seems likely that Ultraviolet LEDs would yield the best results, if any. Maybe even a solar panel in the lid, basic transistor-bias charging circuit, NiCADs/LiPOs, etc. ...?

lclaiborne (author)Dr. dB2017-10-19

Now you have to build those and post them... :D

Dr. dB (author)Dr. dB2016-10-03

Oops! After paging down a bit, I see that MartijnD already posted the same suggestion.

kahrloz (author)DennisB42016-09-28

it will only charge it you could add a switch button to turn it off when it's charged

lclaiborne (author)2017-10-19

These are fantastic! I must make!

Sorry you got grief, your English is fine. The project is super cool.

vbanaszak (author)2017-09-18

I love this idea! You could probably use a Q-tip too to make the dots.

dollywild (author)2017-09-18

Your English is lovely. Your instructable is perfectly clear and very inspiring. I appreciate links to materials that will wor. Anyone who does not understand Amazon affiliate links in this day and age is just willfully ignorant. So sorry you recieved any negativity. Im looking forward to making these as soon as my paint arrives! Meanwhile, i am searching for a plastic jar so i can make one for a very small friend.

KarenP58 (author)2017-09-18

I think your instructable is just fantastic, English is my mother tongue and I don't see anything wrong with what you have said or demonstrated and to be quite honest, they want to be critical ask them to read it in Hungarian! You rock, I am definitely trying this with my grandchildren :)

Dylan91 (author)2017-09-18

Great instructable, and good to see other hungarians here:)

Akinara (author)2016-12-29

Thanks for this lovely tutorial, Luca!

Anirudh Ralhan (author)2016-11-07

Such an easy but awesome i'ble :) :) Will definitely make this :D

Saymori2000 (author)2016-10-30

Thank you for the insieght, its a very interesting project.

Thank you for shareing.

mcorbin (author)2016-10-16

I got the paint and tried it on a clear plastic cup. I got 5 colors that all look translucent white when dry. The first night I got a decent glow from the green, and faint glows from the blue and purple. Subsequent nights, zero glow from any of it. Very disappointing. What happened? I did shake them, but maybe need to stir them better????

EvelynF3 made it! (author)2016-10-04

Forgot to attach my picture to my comments. I went with fewer dots (may add some more) but it still made for a really cool effect after sunset! Thanks again!

EvelynF3 (author)2016-10-04

Hey! I made this and just love it! Im sorry you received any negative comments at all. I thought your English was terrific and easy to follow. Thank you for posting!!

Dr. dB (author)2016-10-03

Dear Luca,

Frankly, your English is better than that of many "netizens" for whom it is their FIRST and/or ONLY language!

Ignore the self-appointed "grammar police" and other such churlish critics....

...a great project AND a great 'ible!

Namirreh (author)2016-10-02

If people complain of your english AND complain about a profit that may (in this case not) be made......Who's english is at question ? Great idea, I'm going to make small ones to place around like nite-lights, (my spelling may be off but here it goes) obregato senor

offseid (author)2016-09-30

Very nice! I'm glad that this process you photographed 5 years ago can be used today to show us how to do this! :)

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2016-09-29

Such a pretty project! I just love things that glow in the dark :D

BrendaC72 (author)2016-09-29

So, is this acrylic paint? And, this may seem like a stupid question, but I would assume you screw the lid back on the jar, and turn them upside down in order to keep them dry on the inside if you are going to line the front of your house? Would you recommend spraying a protective polyurethane, after it's dried, of course, or is it not necessary?

PattyP17 (author)2016-09-29

Cool instructable! I like the picture with your hands around the jar. I was think one could even cut hands from black paper and put over the outside of the jar to look like one is holding the universe.

mcorbin (author)2016-09-25

Is there a reason you just do small dots? Could you do larger areas of the paint? Stripes? Spirals?

PattyP17 (author)mcorbin2016-09-29

I might be hard to get that kind of accuracy with a craft paint. Depends on your technique.

Luca Gerda (author)mcorbin2016-09-25

You can make larger areas, or words even - it's just doesn't have the same effect. You see I accidentally speckled the left jar, that's how it looks. Or if you want further looks, I would link this video for you, she made a 'K' on the jar ^^

RonGarza (author)2016-09-25

Super cool idea, Luca Gerda! I'm thinking of hanging it outside with vanes attached to allow it to turn. Maybe a similar thinner jar on the inside would add more to it still, especially if the jars could twist at different speeds, and/or in different directions.

PattyP17 (author)RonGarza2016-09-29

That just inspired me. An empty plastic soda bottle or grated cheese container is lightweight and would turn easily if mounted well.

Noriah (author)2016-09-26

If your goal is to make uniform small dots, maybe use a q-tip instead of a brush? That would also have the benefit of being disposable, so you could paint more colors.

PattyP17 (author)Noriah2016-09-29

erasers on the end of pencils make great dots too.

Luca Gerda (author)Noriah2016-09-26

Yes, thanks for the input, this would be a great idea for those who will make it in the future. Thank you for the comment.

Noriah (author)Luca Gerda2016-09-26

Welcome :D I'd be glad if it does help someone in the future!

aquariansue (author)2016-09-26

Hi Luca

Pleased to meet you. I think your glowing jars are awesome. Forgive my ignorance, but can they be used in the garden at night? Plus, what light source is needed to charge them?

I look forward to seeing your other projects in the future.

PattyP17 (author)aquariansue2016-09-29

yes, they could be used in the garden at night. Bring them in before it rains because the paint might dissolve. The sun or a strong light inside will "charge it up" if you leave it in the light long enough. Most of my solar cahrged lights say like 8 hours of light for charging if I remember correctly.

Egyptsy (author)2016-09-27

i am deffinatly going to try it,,ihave powder form of glow in the dark like 5 colors if i add it to some E6000 jewelry glue i bet it will work the same way,,,what a fabulous idea you had,,wow thanks,,,

PattyP17 (author)Egyptsy2016-09-29

@Egyptsy - where do you get your glow in the dark powders? Do they glow really well?

DoggyMANIA6105 (author)2016-09-28

This is so cool! I love it.. I was thinking you could also draw jack o lantern faces instead of dots or another monster's face! But it look amazing with the dots! I guess you could also use it as a sort of night light. :)

linda.peck.7311 (author)2016-09-28

This is so cool! but for some reason I can't find the link you suggested for glow paints but then its been "Monday" all week. Will you please post again as I can't wait to try this out. thanks, L

Kittish (author)2016-09-25

How about doing glow in the dark dots all over clear marbles or those little glass stones, and filling a jar with those? It'd probably look even more like a jar full of some mysteriously glowing liquid. Just don't shake it.

tanyagsh (author)Kittish2016-09-27

I commented above about this but you could also try those floral beads that u soak in water too. when you shine light on them after they expand in the water, they glow~ super psychedelic. just need to stir them up while shinning light on them. instant visual entertainment for hours. think lava lamp. but I think its way better. need to figure out how to get them to move around without having to do it manually. good luck!

Luca Gerda (author)Kittish2016-09-26

Should look interesting enough! My idea with this photo was to imititate stars though, its title is 'Undiscovered galaxies', I don't know how well it would have worked with my line of thinking :) If you give the marbles a go, I would love to see the outcome :)

sypoth. (author)2016-09-26

Will this work if I were to paint or use small balls and suspend them in a fluid like water or mineral oil?

tanyagsh (author)sypoth.2016-09-27

Hi, I just read your comment and I thought you could try my idea to get the effect you desire. Go to the dollar store or any Walmart type stores and in the silk flowers, aroma therapy oils, candles, and incense isle, are these tiny colorful beads in a package. after immersed in just plain water, they grow into these squishy balls. They are so cool! Put inside a clear container with water these balls glow when you shine a regular white light on them. stir them around and really get off on this psychedelic light show that will amaze all your friends. Have fun!

Jedi_zombie85 (author)2016-09-27

These are great nice work

CindiK1 (author)2016-09-27

Waaay Coool... Pretty Sure I'm going to Give this a Try ^_^

ggadget (author)2016-09-27

Thus project is amazing. I can't wait to get started. :)

J brock (author)2016-09-27

dear Luca gerda, I'm so glad I happened upon your jars before you got thoroughly disgusted with the ignorant, less craftsy types among us and yanked your project altogether! Your English is perfect, your jars are beautiful and I'm half way through making my very own. As long as I can remember I've been fascinated by all things glow in the dark and in the past 6 or 8 months I've been inexplicably putting dots on everything using 3d paints. Now I know why! It's fate. I was simply practicing up for the advent of your project. Thank you!!

About This Instructable




Bio: So glad you found me! I am a blogger, a photographer, an inspiration gatherer, a maker, a self proclaimed graphic design student, and a pretty ... More »
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