Glow in the Dark Car Vehicle Antenna Mod: How to Find Your Ride




Introduction: Glow in the Dark Car Vehicle Antenna Mod: How to Find Your Ride

About: Eric Strebel, Industrial Designer of Botzen Design, designs products for industry around the world.

Have you ever not been able to find your car in the parking lot because it looks like all the other cars? Well what if your car was a little different than the other cars?? Perhaps if your vehicles antenna was not the same as all the other cars, Perhaps White or Glow in the Dark!? This Instructable will show you how to make the antenna on your car glow in the dark. Hope you enjoy, leave your comments below and let me know how yours turns out.

Watch the Video

Step 1: What You Will Need

You will need the following

-Removable antenna from your Vehicle

-120 grit sandpaper

Adhesion Promoter Dupli-Color

-White automotive sand-able primer Dupli-color

White Plasti Dip

-Clear Plasti Dip

-Ultra Blue Glow in the dark powder

-Safety mask for spraying paint and a good place to work and let your stuff to dry.

Step 2: Lighlty Sand and Apply Adhesion Promoter to Your Antenna

I started by simply unscrewing and removing the antenna from the vehicle so I could work on it.

First I lightly sanded the antenna so I could prep it for the adhesion promoter. Then washed it with dish soap to remove any loose particles from sanding, and De-greased it. (See Video)

Since I had no idea what kind of plastic I was coating I did not want to leave this to chance. I applied three coats of Dupli-Color adhesion promoter to the antenna to guarantee that whatever paint I applied on the antenna would stick. The directions recommend to wait ten minutes between coats. Read the instruction on the product you are using. Don't forget to wear a mask when you are spray painting.

Step 3: Prime and Plati-Dip Your Antenna

Next I layed down a light coat of white automotive primer to create a white base coat. (See video) I kept it light since the I did not want there to be any chance of it cracking. The main purpose of the primer was for the white base color and to improve the adhesion of the plastiDip

Once the primer had a chance to set but not fully dry (about 30 minutes) I began to lay down the first of the three coats of Plasti Dip. I waited about 20 minutes in between the coats for the material to flash before I applied the next coat. (“Flash” means some of the solvent in the paint has had time to evaporate, you can tell this when the paint changes from glossy to a satin finish)

Step 4: Apply Several Coats of Glow in the Dark Powder

After the third and last white Plasti Dip coat I immediately started to sprinkle on the Ultra Blue Glow in the dark powder (see video). I then sprayed a coat of clear Plasti Dip on top of the powder and repeated the process with another coat of glow powder. I did this three times until I felt there was sufficient glow in the dark material on the antenna.

I then let that dry about an hour and applied two more coats of clear plasti Dip to seal the powder and make the antenna smooth again. I let it dry for 24 hours before I re-attached it back onto my car.

That’s it. It glows at dusk, maybe last for 2-3 hours (your mileage will vary depending on what kind of Glow in the Dark material you use), but is easy to recharge with the headlight of your car, or cell phone flash. Pretty sweet driving around with a "glow in the dark" whip tail on your car. Nobody else has one! At least for now. Good luck to everyone that tries the mod. Have fun.

Eric Strebel, is an Industrial Designer living in Southfield MI. He has a home-based Industrial design studio “Botzen Design”and has been designing consumer products for 25+ years ranging from sunglasses for Bauch & Lomb, Traps eyewear, entry level luxury vehicles for Ford, wireless charging PowerMat for Homedics, to magnetic toys for Guidecraft. He specializes in tabletop and handheld products, ranging from routers to cosmetic products to Bluetooth devices and everything in between, he also teaches Industrial Design at Wayne State University and CCS (College for Creative Studies)

Follow Eric on Twitter @botzendesign and Subscribe to his Youtube channel.

You can check out my previous Instructable here about how to make your own Home made silent shop compressor from a refrigerator motor

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    16 Discussions


    2 years ago

    While we are at it (on simple car modifications) I'd like to share my idea for a cheap anti-glare dashboard cover, I surfed the net for what is commercially available, however, found these wanting. They are usually custom molded, and come in all sorts of colors, patterns & materials, which I would consider obtrusive dirt catchers.

    Problem is with today's huge raked back windshields, any light colored dash will reflect and impair forward vision. Instead of painting the dash flat black, I opted to just cover it with black imitation leather/vinyl, which can be held on with thin double-sided carpet tape.

    Some cutting and fitting is necessary, perhaps starting with a paper pattern. And, of course, leaving openings for air outlets and passenger side air bag. It seems foolproof, cheap and easily reversible. OOPS, this sounds like an Instructable - :-)

    4 replies

    If you make one, post it here and let me know.

    Well, I did it! Here's a tip learned from the experience. Should use a water soluble marker on the vinyl. I used some white wax thing I had on hand and the solvent to clean it off may have caused the edges to curl slightly. However, it works in principle. I could make another one now that I have the pattern. Also it could be made "blacker" with something like "Armor All" or black shoe polish.


    Oops, the reply above should have gone here, Will take photos when done -thanks -oj

    Right you are. I'd better get on with it, especially as the sun gets lower on the horizon. I don't see the benefit of an all-black car interior, except maybe not showing dirt, however, the designers/manufacturers should always do the top of the dash flat black - even if it doesn't match the rest - just for safety's sake. Bad enough that for crash protection they made the A pillars thicker, there should not be blinding reflection off the dashboard.

    Definitely have to do this for my red car, completely dissapers after dark

    I don't have an antennae, but I have a luggage rack. How about coating the entire luggage rack with Ultra Blue Glow. Its made out of rubber or plastic coated materials. Can I do it?

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    Hate to tell you this, 9 year-old car, pretty basic by today's standards, has a remote door unlock feature through the key fob. When I press the unlock button from 100 feet away, all the lights flash, and the interior lights & headlights stay on for about a minute. Pretty easy to spot. However, I did change the clunky, almost yard long, steel antenna for a "shorty" 14" - ample enough for local reception. Actually, I think that your "glow in the dark" process could have many other useful applications.

    2 replies

    True, good point. This way I don't need to use my battery though! What other applications did you have in mind?

    Actually, for simple applications, it may be possible to use [glow in the dark] adhesive tapes, from the current consumer marketplace. Looking at the British WW2 crime/drama series "Foyle's War", they seem to have painted a white stripe on the car sides to make black cars more visible in blackouts.

    A simple DIY might be for a key fob, in case one drops their keys in a dark alley. Although not on a DIY scale, how about street corner signs, so people might find their way in an unfamiliar neighborhood during a blackout - I even got slightly lost in a familiar neighborhood once during a blackout. Here's hoping that other posters might come up their suggestions.


    2 years ago

    good idea!!! but that antenna will be stolen in a second!!! XD

    1 reply

    Has not been stolen yet, we will see how long it lasts