Introduction: How to Make Phosphorescent "Glow in the Dark" Powder

How to make phosphorescent glow in the dark powder. Also known as luminescent, photoluminescent or simply glow powder.

Warning: This experiment uses mildly toxic chemicals, wear gloves when handling them. In addition, the combustion reaction must be performed outside or in a fume-hood due to the resulting smoke and gasses.

For this experiment you'll need:
Strontium Nitrate:
Aluminum Nitrate:
Purification by recrystalization:
Europium and dysprosium nitrates:
And you'll need nitric acid to make the above nitrates:

The procedure is relatively straightforward: 1.875g of aluminum nitrate nonahydrate with 530mg of strontium nitrate, 10.7mg of europium nitrate pentahydrate, 21.9mg of dysprosium nitrate pentahydrate and 30.9mg of boric acid are dissolved in 3mL of distilled water. 3.9g of pure urea is added and shaken until dissolved. The mixture is heated in a 1000watt microwave for 4 minutes. Eventually it'll ignite and combust. The white "ash" is the glow powder.

As seen in the above video, this will produce green glow in the dark powder. To make blue glow in the dark powder you can swap out the strontium nitrate with 590mg of calcium nitrate tetrahydrate. The results are similar to what is seen in this video:




Kerovex (author)2015-10-21

what would be the chemical formula/ scientific name of the resulting powder?

CrazyangelC (author)2015-10-04

I am interested in a recipe to make glow in the dark glaze for ceramics.. any suggestions on a formular or recipe?

Johnnie JackW (author)2015-04-16

same here red. it's hard to get the pure red glow

vishal.thukral.13 (author)2015-02-10

I want to make red glow in the dark paint... For which I need red phosphorescent powder... How can I make one?


Could you make it so it does not ruin a microwave?

thelastonekills (author)2011-02-12

can this stuff be dissolved with out wrecking it?
in stuff like water or meth or something else?

it depends on wether or not it is water based which i dont think it is

chicopluma (author)2011-01-07

is this formula the one that can be charged with normal ligth or it needs ultraviolet light?

Lightning Bug (author)2010-06-16

Ka-ching Always something good to be said about someone who has sticktuitiveness. And you GOT IT... Your efforts have clearly not gone unnoticed! Thanks for your efforts! Keep on keepin on!

Acer81996 (author)2010-05-15

why not try some other metal nitrates e.g. sodium nitrate?
or will ammonium nitrate work?

Acer81996 (author)Acer819962010-05-15

or try replacing aluminium nitrate with e.g. potassium nitrate

NurdRage (author)Acer819962010-05-15

its the metal thats important, not the nitrate. this would also work with oxides (under different heating conditions though), but the metals must be the same or it won't work.

lemonie (author)2009-12-14

Without watching the video (because I don't think it will answer the question) - can you add-in where to buy the materials?


NurdRage (author)lemonie2009-12-14

its right in the video description

The rest of the chemicals can easily be bought online or at a pharmacy.

lemonie (author)NurdRage2009-12-15

OK, I shall have to watch it, thanks.


Building Books (author)2009-12-15

 Very professionally presented. Good highlights on safety. Very clear on the details. It's great to see such a well made video instructable.

Berkin (author)2009-12-13

Awesome work!!

About This Instructable




Bio: NurdRage is a dedicate group of science nerds trying to further amateur science with direct how-to instructions in video format. We saw what was already ... More »
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