Introduction: Glow in the Dark Painting

Welcome folks, what you're about to read is a step by step explanation on how to paint a glow in the dark portrait with glow in the dark powder complete with LED lights and a button to turn them on and off. In that one sentence I managed to summarize all four steps. But read on if you wish for a more in depth piece of writing on that one sentence accompanied by internal monologuing and commentary.

Step 1: Materials

  1. Canvas (your choice of size)
  2. White Acrylic paint
  3. Regular Acrylics (your choice of colors)
  4. Glow in the Dark powder
  5. LED light strip
  6. Soldering wire
  7. Soldering iron
  8. Lead
  9. Alligator clips
  10. Aluminum Foil
  11. Battery

If you can get your hands on glow in the dark paint rather than powder, that would probably work a lot better.

Step 2: Paint

Depending on your skill sets, this step is either the easiest or the hardest. Yes, artistic talent specifically in portrait painting would be useful in this project.

Paint a person, you can follow my example exactly, or you can do any face as long as it faces in the same direction as your skull reference picture. And a reference picture would be useful.

I left my background black so that the glowing part and the lights stand out more in the dark, but I left the face mainly white since the glow in the dark powder does not work very well on dark paint. I also made sure the darker parts, or better yet the hollow parts of the skull do appear darker in the actual portrait. Those would be the eyes and the nose.

But, of course, your painting can look anyway you'd like it to. If you want to make it a man, a woman, both, a child, more realistic, do it! And if you think you're incapable of painting a portrait, it's not something that can be taught over instructables. Or maybe I'm wrong.

Step 3: Glow in the Dark Powder

If you're using powder, this part is pretty important. If you're using paint, it's pretty easy. Unless you cannot paint. Which I don't think is possible everyone can paint but to paint well takes dedication.

So if you do have powder, you have to mix it with paint. Since my woman is extremely pale, I mixed the powder with white acrylics. But use it sparingly because the paint dries out when left with the powder for too long. Mix an even amount of both into each other.

To paint the skull, refer to your reference picture. That is why it's called a reference picture. Ok now painting with the glow in the dark stuff is hard because you can't really see what you're doing, and you could end up with something completely unexpected. So work in layers, and step into a fully dark area to see your progress then continue. You don't have to coat it too much, a soft layer works to get a glow in the right places.

If you want, sprinkle some more paint in the background. Add designs, do your own thing. I chose to keep it simple since I went into this experimentally.

Despite the fact that the picture I have looks like it's right our of a cryptid horror film, the actual result in person looks pretty cool.

Step 4: Lights and Soldering

Take four strips of LED lights the length of each corner and create a border for the painting. When it's glued on, you have to solder each strip together.

For this you use a soldering iron, soldering wire and lead. Depending on how small the space is between the positive and negative, cut a small strip of lead and bend it into a curve and have the silvery part touch each negative on either strip. Plug in the soldering iron until hot, and hold it over the lead for about ten seconds. Then bring in the soldering wire, press it over the lead and over the negative copper bit of the strip, and touch the iron to it. It melts immediately into a little dewy silver droplet and then sticks the lead to the copper bit.

Do this for every corner of the painting, being sure to connect positive to negative. Leave the last one open for a button. When you use a battery the border should light up, like your face will when you realize what you achieved. That was really bad. I'm cringing.

Step 5: Button

Using your alligator clips, only three are needed, hook up one to the positive part of the LED strip and the other to the negative bit. Clip the positive to the positive bit of the battery and the negative to a piece of aluminum foil. Take another alligator clip and hook it up the the other aluminum foil piece, and it's other end to the battery. When the aluminum pieces touch the LED strips should light up.

Now if you put the painting in complete darkness it should more or less get some light from the LEDs and then when the button is unpressed (unpressed?) the glow in the dark paint should do it's magic. And you're finished! Thanks for sticking to the end, reader. If you did. In which case I'm talking to myself. Which I'm technically doing anyway since my present appears that way. And even if someone reads this in the future it does not change the fact that when I wrote this I was completely and utterly alone.

Anyway! I hope you're satisfied with the results.

Also, I may be wrong. Here are links to people who try to teach you to paint on instructables:

Traditional Portrait Painting Step by Step

Gordon Ramsay Acrylic Portrait Painting and Tips

Who'd want to paint Gordon Ramsay? You do you, I guess.

How to Paint an Acrylic Portrait

That can help you through the painting bit if needed! All thanks to those artists.

Thus ends the internal monologuing.