Making Glow in the Dark InstaMorph

Glow-in-the-dark stuff; who doesn’t love it? It’s been fascinating us since our youth. Maybe you had some glow in the dark stars stuck to your ceiling or an action figure with a glow in the dark accessory. What if you could make those things at home yourself, in whatever color and shape you wanted? Well this techniques series post is going to show you how to do just that.

You’ll need things to make your own glow-in-the-dark plastic. First, you’ll need some InstaMorph. Second, you’ll need some glow-in-the-dark powder.

Glow-in-the-Dark Powder

glowinthedark3The InstaMorph Team went out and found some glow-in-the-dark powder online at Glow Inc.They sell it in quantities as small as 1/4 oz gram and up to 50 lb bags. The 1/4 oz gram bags are pictured in this post and are enough to create a around five or six cubic inches of glowing plastic. To the right is a picture of one such bag of glow-in-the-dark powder that has been “charged” for a couple of seconds under a halogen lamp. This is the regular green color that is most common in glow-in-the-dark objects. You should know, Glow Inc. sells two kinds of powder, one that is water soluble and one that isn’t. Even if you are using the hot water method, you can still use the non-water soluble powder. Since you are encasing it with plastic, and not a water based paint, it should perform the same either way. And hey, it is cheaper too.

Mixing the Two Together

Heat up your InstaMorph using your preferred method. Make a small disk and sprinkle a good amount of glow-in-the-dark powder on top of it. The picture to the right illustrates this. When we took this picture though, we were experimenting with what a good InstaMorph to glow powder ratio was. This amount of powder to plastic gave a dull glow (bigger of the two green balls in the picture and video). If you want a more vibrant glow, use more powder. Experiment for yourself. You can always add more plastic or powder if it isn’t what you wanted. Reheat and shape as necessary until you get it into the configuration you want, then let it sit until its hardened. The InstaMorph will be a little off white (slightly yellow/green in the example), when it cools completely. This is to be expected. Now, “charge” up the plastic under a good light source or in the sun for a couple minutes. Then, take it into a dark place and witness the awesome power of glow-in-the-dark materials. Oooooh, mesmerizing.

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Here is a great side by side view of the materials used in this technique with and without out light source. You’ll see our bottle of InstaMorph, a small bowl for heating up the InstaMorph (we used the microwave), our bags of glow-in-the-dark powder (blue and green), and the finished pieces.

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You can see, we made two green glow-in-the-dark spheres. One has a little bit more glow in the dark powder in it, hence it is a bit brighter. This illustrates how you can control the intensity of the glow by adding more or less glow-in-the-dark powder to your plastic.

We haven’t yet thought up every application for “GlowMorph”. We’re thinking it would be great for costume accessories or accents, especially for Halloween. Fishermen, you can use this to make custom glow-in-the-dark lures and beads. Use it around the house to create glow in the dark knobs or switch panels. We’ll end this techniques series post with a video of “GlowMorph” in action.