UV Fun




Introduction: UV Fun

Working wireless-ly.

Simple, fun, and outrageously cliched (for me at least, since Im in a dorm and all) project to decorate for Halloween using a blacklight.

Step 1: Parts

All that is needed is a blacklight and some uv paint. A cheap substitution for the paint is liquid laundry detergent; I used tide with bleach alternative, but almost any kind will do. Laundry detergent glows under UV light because phosphors are added so that when the clothes are in sunlight they appear brighter. A pretty clever/sneaky (depends on how you look at it) trick by the detergent companies.

The black light I used is a 30 in. Phillips 20W bulb stuck in a plastic holder that used to hold the light for my fish tank.

Step 2: Paint It On

I just poured some detergent in a cup and started painting the skull on the outside of the plastic blind for my window. It is good to work with the UV light on so you know where you are painting. I didnt have any brushes so I just painted it on with paper towels. I was dissapointed when I went outside and saw that it was hard to notice, maybe the blue just does not stand out enough.

I ordered some green UV paint on e-bay. Ill probably have it sometime next week, and hopefully it will stand out more.

Step 3: Update: Instructional Video

The folks over at howcast.com have created an instructional video based on this project.

4 People Made This Project!


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47 Discussions

If it's ok to ask, has anyone checked to see how long this effect lasts?

Has anyone attempted to convert tide dish detergents from UV into purple color then try to cause a blue or green glow stick to glow? Becareful since Phenol oxalate is toxic the active chemical in some glowsticks.

The laser is at 405 nm 100 mw laser line. Absorption 405 nm.

You should do a instructable on perhaps Dye lasers that can be easily done with a Nitrogen laser.

Some how the acetone water mixture changes the solubility of the dye and changes the light output.

The blothces on your clothes under a black can be a sign that your washer isn't rinsing out all of the detergent. Run another rinse cycle and then take a look :) And try using RIT Fabric Whitner & Brightner under a black light. It is the concentrated form of what they put in detergents. You can get powdered form or the concetrated liquid. Under normal light it is comepletely transparent but under UV it glows like it is radioactive! Even diluted with water a couple times over it glows. Word of caution... This stuff is hard to wash off. I didn't see it on my hands in normal light but even after scrubbing my hands with soap and hot water 5 TIMES my hands STILL Glowed. It wore off after a few days but I am glade you can only see it under UV! :)

6 replies

Do you know if it would make suds if used in...say...a fountain?

Find a bunch of highliters with ink that glows under a blacklight. Bust a few open and soak the ink cartridges in water for a day, then strain out the ink cartridges leaving you with yellow liquid that turns bright yellow-green in UV. I have a 'radioactive' fountain in my basement but I haven't figured out how to keep it from spattering everywhere so I don't use it much. And also, after two or three years detergent will start to bake onto whatever surface you're working with, depending on the surface, so later on it can be really difficult to get off.

Cool. I wondered why my jeans had spots all over them when under a black light.