Introduction: Making Ooglo: Luminescent Silicone Paint
Transform silicone caulk into silicone paint that glows in the dark all night. It is very
sticky and can be painted onto almost anything, including wood, fabrics, glass, and metal.
The intro pic shows a phosphorescent flashlight made out of a wineglass. It also shows a curved circuit board coated with two colors of Ooglo. At the bottom is glowing letters painted on glass.
Step 1: How It Works
Phosphorescent materials have been around for a long time but the newer ones are brighter and longer lasting than the older phosphorescent chemicals.
The sellers of the newer phosphorescent powders are cagey and do not want to reveal what exactly is in their glow powders. It does appear that the best ones available today are Strontium Aluminate that is activated by Europium,
In any case, they all work by absorbing visible or Ultraviolet light which charges the photophosphorescent molecules by absorbing the photons and moving the electrons to a higher orbit. As they slowly move back to their original orbits, visible light is given off. The best available phosphorescent powders once charged, will give off light all night long and will still be visibly glowing in the dark twelve hours later.
Some of the colors are quite bright and can be used to make a short lived flashlight that is bright enough to read by.
Ooglo is Oogoo that is thinned to a paint like consistency and mixed with various colors of phosphorescent or fluorescent powder.
Step 1 pic is a curved circuit board that is coated on one side with phosphorescent blue Ooglo and on the other with Aqua Ooglo.
Step 2: Materials
Corn Starch from grocery store
100% silicone caulk from WalMart
Naphtha from Ace Hardware
Measuring spoon and polyethylene cups
Phosphorescent powder from: http://www.glonation.com/glow-powder.html
Ultraviolet flashlight from http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/
String line Glo-Orange marking chalk from Ace Hardware
Step 3: Mixing Ooglo From Oogoo
I tried all the solvents I could get my hands on, to try and thin Oogoo to a paint like consistency. Xylene, Mineral Spirits, and Naphtha all worked to dissolve the silicone. But Mineral Spirits weakened the final cure and Xylene took a long time to evaporate out which left a chemical smell for several days. The Naphtha evaporated faster than the other two and produced a strong cure that sticks well to glass.
WARNING. Naphtha gives off nasty fumes and is very flammable. Coleman fuel and lighter fluid are made with Naphtha. So avoid using it anywhere near flames or sparks.
Mix it and paint it outside, preferably with a breeze or fan to avoid breathing the fumes. I have mixed it outside in near freezing temperatures and it cures fine. Wear nitrile gloves to keep it off your skin. I keep the painted surfaces outside until most of the solvent smell is gone. Depending on the thickness, it usually takes an hour or two to set up solid. It will lose its solvent smell in a few hours.
Mixing Ooglo: Phosphorescent Silicone Paint
You can just mix the phosphorescent powder with Oogoo and mold it into any shape or thickness. But, if you are making larger objects it is more cost effective to form the Oogoo in larger sizes and let it cure. You can then paint over it with the less expensive Ooglo.
I find a mix of 2 phosphorescent powder to 1 corn starch to 6 silicone caulk, measured by volume, works well (use a measuring spoon). You can then add enough Naphtha to thin the mix to a gel-like consistency. If you mix it thinner than that, you will need several coats to get a good glow.
Of the different colors available, I found the green appears the brightest with the Aqua color coming in second. In darkness, they give a spooky mysterious glow.
This paint will literally stick to anything. However, it does shrink and if you coat it on the inside of some plastics it can shrink away and lose its adhesion. coated on the outside it shrinks for a tighter fit. On metal it will hold enough to stay on but can usually be easily peeled off from a smooth metal surface.
Mixing Florescent Paint.
You can also mix up florescent paint which does not glow in the dark but is extremely bright in darkness under UV light. You can buy florescent powders in many colors from: http://glowinc.com/SearchResult.aspx?CategoryID=14
A cheaper alternative is to buy string line chalk that is available for carpenters string lines. It only comes in fluorescent orange and it is quite bright during the day or under UV light. Nice stuff for a safety vest, warning sign or bicycle reflectors.
Step 4: Make a Wineglass Flashlight
The green and aqua phosphorescent powders are bright enough that a simple glow flashlight can be made with them using a plastic wineglass. When charged with a UV light for 30 seconds, it will give out enough light for about ten minutes to read or easily walk around a totally dark room. It will then dim but continue to glow fairly brightly all night. While not that practical as a source of light, it is an interesting phenomenon.
The flashlight was made by first flattening the bottom by filling the inside bottom of the glass with a round plug of Oogoo. An Oogoo mix of 1 corn starch to 1 silicone caulk was used to make a flat and white reflective surface to take the Ooglo paint. After it cured, the bottom was then painted with two coats of Ooglo paint.
I wanted to keep the inside of the wineglass reflective, so I then then painted the outside of the wineglass with two coats of Ooglo. Over that I put a thin coat of white Oogoo to reflect back the light. Over that I did one more thin coat of blue Oogoo so the outside of the flashlight wouldnt be too bright to night adapted eyes.
The thumbnail pic shows the wineglass flashlight in daylight.
Step 5: Possibilities
The best uses I have found so far for Ooglo involve coating anything I want to find easily in the dark. This includes slippers, light switches, flashlights, and lighters. I have also painted it around keyholes and sharp corners of furniture. A small thick dab of the paint is enough to easily see all night. It will charge up during the day with just natural light.
You can also use it to coat any art project you want to remain visible after dark. The final pic is an LED lamp that I wanted to give off light even when it was turned off. The picture was taken in darkness under UV light but it glows nicely without any light. For details on how it was built, see the instructable on How To Be Creative.