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Sure, neopixels and the likes are cool - but the need for programming, microcontrollers, batteries, etc is very limiting in price (it sure isn't cheap) and then you have to work out what to do with all the wires and other components.

So instead of using electricity to make the light, another way is to use a special chemical property called:

'Photoluminescence'

This allows a material to absorb light (usually invisible ultraviolet light) and then emit it as visible light over a longer period of time.

That's exactly how this GLOW HAT works! It uses glow paint to produce the light - allowing it to glow!

This hat is really easy to make and only requires a few materials.

Step 1: Watch the Video

Watch the video to see how I made it and how it will look like at the end.

Embedded Above or Link

Step 2: Materials

For this instructable you will need:

  • a hat
    • It should be a blank, single color hat with a (mostly) flat front on it.
  • a sheet of stiff felt
  • thread (same color as felt) and a sewing needle.
  • glow in the dark fabric paint
    • not UV or Fluro paint
    • example here
    • make sure it is fabric paint and NOT acrylic paint.

Step 3: Letter Cutouts

To get the letter (or design) cutouts we will use a paper template. So head over to a word processor like word or google docs and write the text you want on the hat in a blank document. Scale it and choose a nice font and then print it out. Check to see if the size is a good size for your hat (they will all be different). If it isn't the right size then just scale it again and print.

So now that you have the right size text for your hat, cut out the individual letters and then grab the stiff felt sheet. Trace the outside of the letters to the best of your ability (it doesn't matter if they are a bit off) using a pencil. Now it is just a matter of cutting them out accurately. Remember, you can always just trace another one if you manage to stuff up.

Step 4: Sewing

It's time to sew the letters/design onto your hat. I can't explain my method better then it is here:

How To Sew by Hand: 6 Helpful Stitches for Home Sewing Projects

The stitch I used (apparently) is called a running stitch. Then you can just close it with a double knot and it should be fine. There shouldn't be any strong tension on the hat design so don't worry too much about being perfect. Remember to have all the knots and such on the inside of the hat to keep the outside clean and neat.

Some tips:

  • Keep the text level
  • Use the rule of thirds (rule of thirds?) to align it or else center it.
  • Keep the kerning between the letters the same (unless it is for effect, eh?)

Step 5: Glow Painting

Get in a dark place where you have easy access to the light switch - you are going to be switching on and off the lights lots in this step. The glow paint usually comes in a little bottle - so it is best to use a piece of plastic to put it on while painting. Because most of my letters were quite small I chose to use a cotton bud (I also couldn't find any paint brushes - but they would work too!).

Then it is just a case of painting the letters and/or design with the glow paint. It will require two coats.

Be sure not to get any of the paint onto the hat itself or else that will ruin the glow effect. An easy way to spot this is to use a bright torch and to shine it on the letters for a few seconds and the paint should glow moderately bright for a few minutes allowing you to spot any stray paint or missed sections.

After coating everything let it dry and then do another coat - another coat will make it light brighter and have better coverage on the design.

Step 6: DONE!

Thanks for reading this instructable. If you made this cool glow hat don't forget to leave an 'I made it' comment below. Be sure to check out my Youtube Channel.

About This Instructable

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