Make a 100ft Glow Stick




Introduction: Make a 100ft Glow Stick

About: 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 online and we thought "we could do better".....
How to make a 100 ft glow stick. Just in time for Halloween. Brighter than Electroluminescent wire and self-powered. This can be used to decorate, glow stuff up, or create all kinds of awesome effects.

Warning: TCPO is carcinogenic and you should wear gloves and masks while working with it.

The procedure is simple, mix together:

500mg of 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene
17g of TCPO (Also known as bis(2,4,6-trichlorophenyl)oxalate)
500mL of diethyl phthalate solvent

Heat it up until it dissolves. Then top it up to about 2.1 liters and add 120mL of hydrogen peroxide and 10g of sodium acetate. Shake thoroughly and draw into a 100 ft glow stick with an inner diameter of 3/8". Suction by a vacuum pump is recommended.

To prevent spilling the ends should be capped with brass or plastic compression fittings. Leave 5+ feet of space in the tube to allow for expansion of the chemicals depending on temperature.

Glow stick will last for about 6 hours. Use more TCPO if a longer glow is needed.

Congrats, now you have a 100 foot glow stick.


I couldn't submit this to the Halloween contest. But i hope all of you still enjoy it anyway :)



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    40 Discussions

    1000 feet!?!?!?!?!

    1,000,000,000 FEET!!!!!!

    Is this worth the time and effort?

    What would you add to make it a different color if possible? And if you didn't add the bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene would it be colorless or just not work?

    3 replies

    Yeah, all you need to do is change the dye to something else and it will glow a different color. But it has to be a fluorescent dye because the TCPO transfers its energy to other molecules and behaves like UV light (although not *actually* UV) so it only makes flourescent dyes glow.  Because of this, if you omit the dye it will have nothing to transfer to and the energy is lost as heat.

    so if you don't add the 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene it will simply be dark and do NOTHING visible.

    If you say that you omit the 9,10-bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene and it generates heat, make a longer, say 1000ft and then coil it up and stick it in a room :)

    Make enough to; 1) Wrap the Empire State Building, 2) The Golden (or your desired color) Gate Bridge, 3) outline the Grand Canyon, 4) tie a mile or two to a passenger type hot air balloon, 5) outline the US boarder all the way around(Now thats allot of glow stick), 6) install on the edges of Jumbo Jet for really cool night flights, 7) attach to edges of a wind-mill or....
    I know, I know!!! Cut them up in small sections, 4 to 8 inches with a breakable vial of the stuff that activates....wait. What? They already have that? Well, never mind.

    Wish I had paid more attention to chemistry in high-school.

    Great N-Structable!

    I have got a 18.5 litre bottle to put all this in. how much of each chemical will i need?

    I think the neatest part is the filling of the tube. And I think that if you wove/tied/linked into a web/macrame structure and used the vacuum to fill it -- and watch the pattern trace through... and then made it dump into a recycled fountain of glow spray.

    a glowstick is a plastic tube with a liquid in it and a glass vial in it with a second liquid... cracking the stick cracks the glass. the liquids react with each other and emit light

    That depends on your application. For permanent installations use of EL wire of course dominates. But for temporary and mobile applications a glow stick is much brighter and overall lighter since you don't need a power supply and batteries for a portable setup. For in between applications you of course need to decide which features are required. There's a good amount of EL information out there. Am i not allowed to show to other end of the spectrum with glow sticks?

    I know- but for the other poster's purpose ( since cyber and steampunk are both at the 'dear god, that's time expensive and time consuming' end of fashion/costuming, so such outfits are generally kept for many wearings ) EL's lighter weight, stitchability (i know, not a word :P) and re-usability might be better suited.