The inspiration for this Instructable came from a man I met who was an inventor. He had been told to design a range of glow in the dark lingerie by some of his lady friends. They said that it would be really popular. He went ahead and designed it but I am unsure how it went for him. While this idea has been around for a very long time the results have not been overly long-lasting or classy.
I liked the idea so much that I set my mind to finding out how to produce it in a way others could make it too and surprise their significant other, gift someone or even wear it to a fancy dress party for that space-age feel. It's taken me some time to get around to finishing this but I hope it helps many makers with new ideas for their own projects, whatever they may be.
Step 1: Glow Products
Might I say first that I am not affiliated with any product I use in this Instructable and only tried and used what I found to be the best product for the job.
I tried a few different products and had some failures in the process, but like all things, it's good to document mistakes for the help of others. The first thing I tried was ordering a high power glow powder that I found on eBay and mixing it with fabric glue. While the glow effect is amazing, it turned out way too hard and would be too uncomfortable to wear. The above photos illustrate what not to do, mix fabric glue with powder.... However, for something that was hard, this produces an excellent lasting glow.
The second attempt involved a spray-on glow paint, but this didn't produce the glow effect I wanted - it was dull and plastic-feeling.
Step 2: Notes on Fabrics
Natural fibres vs synthetic
When choosing a fabric to use it's important to think about how your product of choice is applied and what the purpose of the fabric is. For example, if I were to make a raincoat glow, I would be using a synthetic glue and fabric. If you want to make clothes that are wearable, cotton, bamboo and hemp would all work very well with a dye or water-based glue, as these fabrics are absorbent.
When making something glow, different fabrics reflect different wavelengths of light . In this instructable I chose to use two fabrics, cotton and synthetic so you can see the huge difference this can make under a black light. The stockings are synthetic and the bra, knickers and garter are cotton.
Step 3: What You Will Need
The product that I found worked great for this was a product called Tumble Dye. I was visiting an art shop for ideas of how to accomplish this idea and the woman there showed me the product. It was new to her and she had not used it before so I took a risk and it payed off. Tumble Dye comes in many colours as well as a unique glow type. It is simple to use and effective.
Next you will need to buy some lingerie. This can be quite funny if you're a guy, but if you get stuck just ask the ladies at the store you're in and tell them what you need in what size and they will help you. I chose to use white as the colour of lingerie because it will reflect light and increase the glow effect of your end result.
The set here included;
-Knee high stockings
You will also need some masking or painters tape to section off areas you don't want to make glow. I also bought some glow paint in a little bottle but didn't end up needing this.
Step 4: Masking
There may be areas you wish not to make glow and here I tried this on the knickers. Run strips of tape out to cover the fabric where you don't want your dye or glow medium to go. Make sure you use a tape that is purpose-made for removing, like painters tape. After letting it dry, remove the tape. Simple.
Step 5: Applying Your Glow
To use tumble dye you first shake the bottle really hard to make sure the glow mix is really even through the whole bottle. Next, spray the area you want to glow again and again. I did mine on a plastic bag so I could really soak as much in as possible.
Step 6: Drying
Now it's time to hang whatever you're applying it to on the line to dry out a bit. You want it to be pretty much dry for the next bit. This can take all day if you did what I did and soaked it. Try and pick a day when its really warm outside with low humidity.
After this, throw your lingerie into the tumble dryer for 20mins on cool.
Be careful if you a using synthetic here as you could end up melting something you don't want to. You can hardly see it spinning in the dryer.
Step 7: Adding Bling
You may wish to add something small to your lingerie to mix the glow effect up a bit. I got some lace trim and used some quilting thread (very strong) to sew some feature lace on top of the bra. The idea here was the glow would shine through the lace and make it look classy as opposed to tacky :)
Step 8: Stitching Lace
Sometimes it can be a bit difficult to sew something like this because it wants to spring up and not conform to a flat surface. Make sure you have a strong needle fitted to your machine and push the bra cups flat as you follow the lace along.
Leave the lace long and stitch to the end of the top of the bra, reverse the machine at the end before cutting the lace off. I used a tiny blob of fabric glue to finish the lace on the end as you don't want the lace to lift at this point.
Step 9: Sewing Bows for Stockings (optional)
It can be nice to add a small something to the side of the stockings. Here I used some leftover lace to make little bows. Pretty simple to do - fold and sew the middle, then attach them to the sides of the stockings. I did not add these because I wanted the full effect of the glow, but I thought it worthwhile adding this step for anyone wanting a simple way to make a bow.
Step 10: Try It Out!
Now it's time to put them on and give them a wear. They will be very bright when charged under normal lights but if you have a black light they will shine even brighter in no time and hold charge for longer.
Step 11: Special Thanks
Super special thanks to my dear friend for modeling my creation and to my wife and sister for taking the shoot for me when I had to be away! You guys did a great job and I could not have done it without you all.