All You Need to Know About UV and Black Light Paint

What you need to know before you purchase Black Light paint

Please don't waste your money by getting the wrong paint.

There are many kinds of UV paint, you actually might be seeking paint that isn't a paint at all. It is called paint, but it doesn't having any kind of binding agent so it really isn't paint, but it looks like paint. Somebody might give you the assignment to get some UV paint so you get some from Amazon and it does not work at all. In that case you were seeking UV CURE paint but just got some craft paint by mistake. To save the world from UV madness let's take a look at some very broad definitions of UV paint:

UV CURE paint. This is NOT the stuff that glows under black light. This simply a resin that is cured by UV radiation. Modern dental fillings are a good example of this resin. The paint is painted or sprayed on a surface and is cured by UV light. My company does not sell this. Please contact a supplier of “Industrial coatings”. This is industrial stuff although I've seen fishing lure makers use this kind of paint. Someday I might sell it because I love the technology.

UV FLOURSENT paint. The pigments in this paint are activated by Black Light or UV lighting. We sell this but ours is serious paint with excellent pigments. Don't get it confused with:

GLOW-IN-THE-DARK paint. Often people use black light and glow-in-the-dark interchangeably. It is easy to tell the difference after you get it on your walls. Simply turn off the lights, all off them including your black lights. If it glows in total darkness it is glow-in-the-dark paint. The glow is very weak and will glow only for a few minutes. Often glow-in-the-dark paint will fluorescence under black light and that is why people get confused. We do not sell this. It available everywhere especially on Amazon.

BLACK LIGHT BODY PAINT. This is the stuff you see at big parties where people splash this on the walls and each other. When you search for this look for body paint and don't get the stuff for walls unless you have a good lawyer. Technically this is not paint because it doesn't have a resin or polymer that makes it stick to skin or surfaces. It can be washed off even after it is dry. I don't sell this because the FDA approvals for these pigments are a little sketchy. You really should never put anything on your skin unless you can read the ingredients and yes the pigments should be FDA approved.

CHEAP BLACK LIGHT PAINT or KIDDIE PAINT. This is usually an inexpensive craft paint that kinda glows under black light. It might have a bright glow but you will notice the colors are very weak, kinda of more glow than color. Everything in this category is what I would call a pale pastel. It's great if your only goal is to offer a glow which is entertainment enough in a lot of situations.

COLOR SHIFTING. You will see this a lot in really cheap body paints. For example you buy a bottle of this orange colored fluid but when you turn on the black lights it suddenly becomes pink or light blue. You see this from companies desperate to offer UV paints at a low price. I sold some like this a long time ago. I don't think anybody was happy and eventually my supplier dropped it, much to my relief.

CHINESE PAINT. The above two types of paint are often made in China. Please be careful. We all know that some Chinese manufacturers are a bit dishonest when it comes to certifications, lead content and quality. Personally I would buy same samples of the paint, test it and see if I want more. I wouldn't use it on skin or around kids unless I sent it to a lab and had it tested. I'd also say to stick to brand names or companies meeting high industrial standards.

DAY-GLO or DAY-GLOW paints. During the sixties and seventies psychedelic posters had Day-Glo or Day-Glow ink. They were stunning in white light but often didn't glow in Black Light. It is easy to buy paints that are fluorescent but actually don't glow under black light. A few years ago I got a call from a customer who said my paint didn't glow. He had a quart can of it, which was the first clue it wasn't ours. We sell in plastic bottles. Anyway, to make a long story short he had purchased day-glo from somebody but it was not UV fluorescent.

UV FLOURSCENT PAINT – NO COLOR SHIFT – COMMERCIAL GRADE. This is the best, but it is expensive. A gallon can cost between $160 to $220. This is the kind that we make and sell. The pigments are high quality and very expensive. You see this paint in public places such as paint-ball areas, bars, bowling alleys, museums, miniature golf and other entertainment venues. The color is very bright under white light and super bright under black light. There is a color shift but it is so small you can't see it without a careful side-by-side comparison. The color saturation is very rich. This paint is not for wimps. You do need to know that for smooth textures this paint should be sprayed. If not you will see roller marks and brush marks which is desirable for some artists. This is just the nature of the pigments which are translucent. We describe our paint as ready to spray, because we want people to spray it, but it still too thick to spray in most sprayers.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not interested in “Making the sale” if my customer is not going to be happy. It is very expensive to process a return. If you think my paint might be good please purchase a small amount and test it in exactly the way you would apply and display it. Always apply under black light.

LIGHT LEAKS may kill your project. The darker colors such as green, dark blue and violet are the first to die under a light leak. Think of a big black box where you have control over all the light sources. Don't be temped to use it outside because a full moon may kill your show. Please test in all conditions for best results.

PRIMER: Regular white (TIO2) primer does not fluoresce under black light. You will get a ugly dark-brown at best. Now having said that, for some reason, most people get brighter results by painting over white primer. I don't know why. Please take a look at our streak tests on this website.

That's all for now.

Thanks for reading this article,

     Steve Biggs