Dyed Polyvinylpyrrolidone Gel With Iodine and Rit Dyes for Art (3D Effects) Plus UV Glowing Gells.



Introduction: Dyed Polyvinylpyrrolidone Gel With Iodine and Rit Dyes for Art (3D Effects) Plus UV Glowing Gells.

About: I am a part time hobbyists biotechnolgist with photonics background. I also have a YouTube channel too.

Hello, this Instructable shows how to make PVP polymers with Lye (Potassium Hydroxide), PVP, and iodine and PVP. In a hot beaker PVP 10-20 g is added slowly and a polymer gel-like material appears which can be extracted with a spoon (plastic or metal).

Then the gel (blob) can be molded once it hardens a bit. Rit dyes (I just tested one Wine Rit dye, Methylene blue and Toluene blue.

Yes, the process is very simple and a hot plate and those chemicals are required for making the polymer.

Warning: Lye is corrosive, these dyes stain and PVP is sort of irritating. Wear gloves, Face shield, etc while working with dangerous chemicals.

Also Sodium fluorescein, Rhodamine 1 percent in methanol (50 percent water, 50 percent methanol) will extract and be used instead of soap. Some soap will be tried to see if the PVP works but the soapy material may fail Keep that in mind.


Hot plate



Potassium Hydroxide 95 percent

Methylene blue and Toluene blue.


Citric acid

Tide HD soap, etc

Sodium fluorescein powder

3 percent Rhodamine 6G from pink markers in Methanol.

Different Rit dyes

Epoxy white - urethane type.

Step 1: Making the PVP Polymer With PVP K90 Powder and Iodine and Lye As Well As Dyes.

Here we add for the iodine crystals 15 g iodine to a solution of hot water with 20 g Potassium hydroxide and 20 g citric acid (Ultrapure). When boiling the solution should turn brown to black -- dissolved iodine.

Heat the solution in a beaker and when it starts to boil (80 degrees C) add slowly the PVP powder. It should immediately clump up.

PVP with Lye reacts to form an ion state the OH attacks one H of the PVP thus thousands of bonds link together.

No video is shown for the Methylene blue + Toluene blue + Lye with PVP but you add 10 ml of each dye to 400 ml of tap water and boil and add PVP 20-25 g of it. A purple blob should form when cooling can be molded. When hot it is like a pliable putty.

A cold gel, once it is made, does not work very well at all it MUST be Hot around 80 degrees C or 90 degrees C to work, not room temperature. Please see the last picture.

You can put the blob with epoxy or white urethane to change the color. Mine turned yellow.

Step 2: Conclusions for Polymer PVP Make.

PVP is sort of expensive. 100 g or 4 uses cost 10 dollars. So 30-50 dollars on PVP from eBay would have to be bought to make large amounts of dyed putty. I recommend putting then into acyclic boxes to prevent moisture, etc from changing the putty.

Lye can be very expensive too.

PVP if sold out on eBay can be found on amazon for a decent price.

Once again thank you for viewing this Instructable.


Step 3: Adding Sodium Fluorescein, Soaps and Tide HD That Glow Under UV With PVP.

Tide HD soap which glows blue under UV. In a week the Polymer (PVP) should come, a K90 version. I recommend sticking with high quality like K90. Lye (Potassium hydroxide 4 g in 400 ml) did not dilute the sample or diminish the glow under a black lamp.

How will a "SOAP" effect the Polymer formation when boiling at 100 degrees C? That what I will try to figure out.

Soap kind of made it difficult to make a polymer it not impossible but I recommend tonic water, sodium fluorescein, etc. They are easier to work with.

For the other glow in the UV pigments you may have extract markers (Yellow, Orange and Pink Ones) or get Sodium fluorescein and heat to 60 degrees C and slowly add lye to the solution then while it is Hot 60-70 deg C add the Polymer PVP like shown in the video.

You also must mold and wait a week to do this properly.

You may want to use nonstick paper to adhere the gel to the plastic if needed. It will probably when dry is easier to remove.

Soap with polymers doesn't really work.

The polymer does work with glow in the dark dyes like Rhodamine 6G in methanol.

Step 4: Final Conclusions.

Both the dyed Rit and the Sodium fluorescein stuff worked very well (this includes the Rhodamine 6G and even tonic water. Soap does not work very well as with the tide HD soap (Keep that in mind). Tonic water contains carbonic acid which creates potassium carbonate reducing the pH of the base may be that another reason.

I may try it again with the tonic water without soap.

Thanks for viewing this Instructable.


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    1 year ago

    More UV results here with dyes. I recommend Non stick paper underneath the plastic etc to mold the material.


    1 year ago

    Some final images for Now.


    1 year ago

    I recommend different mixtures of dyes and rit dye and molding them together when hot Like one yellow and one Green and with the PVP (right now being sold out) adding Urethane paint to protect from a white crystalization of PVP of the dyes. Interesting concept.


    1 year ago

    The gel solidification takes 6-10 hrs then if you want add epoxy or urethane paint.