How to select the correct clear medium for glow in the dark projects

This article describes how to select the correct type of clear medium so you can make your own glow in the dark paint or objects.

Water Based Clear (Indoor Clear)

Water based clear is the most basic clear and quite suitable for indoor glow in the dark paint. Now there are many brands and variations of this type of clear and they are not all the same or as suitable to glow in the dark paint. When deciding to purchase you should look for the following:

Will the clear dry to a non milky (water clear) appearance: This is important as a milky clear will dull out and severely diminish your otherwise long and bright glow effect.

How long does it take to get a touch dry surface: If you have a paint that has a long tack off period it can be a problem as you want to do multiple thin passes rather than trying to apply one or two thick coats so choose a clear with a fast touch dry time and it will make the job easier. It will not matter if your clear takes 24hrs or more to fully cure as long as the touch dry time is short.

Is the paint suitable for spraying: As I am only talking about a spray glow in the dark paint and not a brush type it is important that the paint you get is suitable for spraying, make sure that the tin has directions for using the clear as a spray paint and follow the thinning directions exactly.

Automotive Clear (Outdoor Clear)

Now for outdoor glow in the dark paint a solvent based or 2 pack clear is a far better long term choice. Lets say you are wanting to paint some glow in the dark for an outdoor application you are going to need to select an an automotive clear like Solvent based acrylic or 2 pack urethane. These clears are well suited to harsh outdoor weather extremes.

Both of these clears are non milky (Water clear) and designed for spraying and the acrylic is fast drying. When using the 2 pack clear make sure you use a fast hardener or maybe the medium hardener in very hot weather otherwise you will be risking settling within the film and an uneven glow.

It is important however that unless you are experienced in auto shop painting that you stay away from the 2 pack urethane type clears as they contain very dangerous isocyanates and should only be used by professional painters with the correct full breathing gear and spray booths.

Regardless of the type of clear that you choose the standard finish with any glow in the dark paint is a dull dry finish. if you want a high gloss smooth finish you will need to spray 2 to 3 clear coats over your glow in the dark coating that contains no glow pigment in order to smooth over the surface. Every coat of clear you add will then reduce the performance of the glow, so its up to you.

Resin Casting Clear (Indoor/Outdoor Clear)

There are far to many types of casting clears that you could use to cast glow in the dark objects but Polyester Resin is one of the best for the purpose.

The above paint clears are fine for doing glow in the dark films but when it comes to making glow in the dark objects that you can hold in your hands you will need to use a specialist medium. Polyester is great for this purpose and to make things easy just ask your supplier for following: Product name: Polyester Resin. Product type: Clear Casting and Embedding. Product addatives: Uv Stabilized,Waxed. Gel Time: 20minutes. Catalyst: MEKP - Never add this catalyst without wearing safety glasses.

Polyester is a simple resin to use and can give great results but you need to test this for yourself especially if you are not familiar with resin casting. You can also use epoxies, urethanes, silicones etc. You can find a lot of information online for clear casting resins so do some research and work out which casting clear will be better suited to your unique application.