Adding glow-in-the-dark to clothing, and other stuff

Discussion in 'Sculpture and Makeup Effects' started by Sinned, Sep 18, 2015.

  1. Sinned

    Sinned Well-Known Member

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    Hey all,

    I have a costume thread going on in the Replica Costumes forum, but moving one question here for thoughts on adding glow-in-the-dark to clothing (and other items).

    There are a lot of options for this, but I'm trying to determine the best way to do it, without things looking overdone, and silly. For reference, I'm working on recreating (to a reasonable degree) the Haunted Mansion Hatbox Ghost, as a Halloween costume for one of my kids.

    00-HatboxGhost-Source_zps4r5uihbj.jpg

    I'm assuming most of this is UV paint (or similar), glowing under blacklight, but I want to get close to this, with stuff which won't require me to walk around shining a blacklight on him all night. :)

    I've tested quite a few paints, and also powders mixed with resin, but none of them are quite working how I'd hoped. Smooth-On's Glow Worm is actually quite incredible, but is clearly visible in normal light, as an obvious brushed on substance.

    I'm thinking maybe that can't be avoided, but hoping some here may have some suggestions.

    I have a pretty detailed test in the costume thread, so I won't recreate it here. But for reference: http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=246547&p=3758853&viewfull=1#post3758853

    I've gone a little further with testing, since that post, but haven't added an update yet. I applied a paint wash over the top candidates, to see how it affected the glow, and Glow Worm still performed well, while the wash knocked down the "white" a bit, in normal light. I also sprayed everything with flat clear last night, to see if that affects "charging", but I haven't checked the result of that yet.

    Any thoughts, tips?
     
  2. Mr Mold Maker

    Mr Mold Maker Sr Member

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    Have you only tried mixing the Glow Worm into resin?

    I'd try picking up some Liquitex clear varnish and mixing it into that. I assume the white is coming from the resin and using a clear sealing agent instead should cut back on that, no?
     
  3. KPAX10

    KPAX10 Member

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    I'm looking at a similar process on one of my costume, but not to the extent that you are. If you're mixing a powder, a clear medium (like what Mr. Mold Maker suggested) would work to help 'hide' it in normal light (Acrylic Gel?). I've never tried with a tinted medium.... I saw a suggestion of using Colormaster acrylic latex enamel as a base to use with a powder. If you're using black fabric, would using a black base (or gray) + powder work... better? Maybe to hide the coverage, but the pigments inside the paint would prevent light from getting to the powder to 'charge' - which is why the clear medium is suggested.

    Also, make sure that your paint medium works with your phosphorescent powder. For example, if you are planning to use a water-based medium, then you will need "coated glow powder" also known as "coated phosphorescent pigment". For solvent or oil-based mediums, you can use standard or uncollated glow powder.

    I saw that you had tried a powder type and it didn't come out well. I found this product from GloNation (haven't tested it yet), but it had some good reviews. They have a 'Neutral' and a 'Triple-Glow' version - both ~$10 per oz. I hear an ounce can go a long way... but it depends on how much you've added to the medium. More powder gives more 'glow', but is also more grainy and visible.

    Link to GloNation (they're based out of Kentucky):
    https://www.glonation.com/glow-in-the-dark-products/neutral-glow-powders.html

    Hope this helps... :)
     
  4. Sinned

    Sinned Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, some good stuff to go off of here. KPAX10, thanks for the GloNation link, I may give that a try. The GlowWorm is also a powder, and is amazing. I may get more of that.

    I used Smooth-Cast 325 as the resin, so it should be clear-ish. The white is definitely the powder. :)
    I do have some Liquitex clear, which is actually going to be my next test. I think that may be the better way to go than resin anyway. I can dry-brush the paint, but that didn't work so well with resin. I was only going to do the resin on the cane, but I think that's not going to work right. Cool to know how it goes on though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  5. Mr Mold Maker

    Mr Mold Maker Sr Member

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    I am not familiar with glow pigments so it may be too thick and this unfeasible... But my thoughts were perhaps you could mix up a thin batch of the clear medium and glow worm pigment and mist a couple layers on with a spritzer bottle. The poor man's airbrush as I like to call it. :lol

    That should cover the general glow hopefully, and then you'd go over and lightly hit your high spots with a drybrush pass.

    Just a thought. If you test it out I'd love to know how it goes! :)
     
  6. Sinned

    Sinned Well-Known Member

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    This is a great idea!

    Not sure what's up with the resin, could be that I just mixed in too much of the powder, at 1:1:1. That's what they recommend, but too much for what I was doing here. I think it'll be great for when I cast the mask though. (If I finish sculpting it in time OMG)

    Today I mixed up a bit of Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish, and Createx Transparent Base. Maybe 1/4 oz of each, with 1/4 teaspoon GlowWorm in each. This ratio worked out great for both. Both dried mostly clear, and gives a great glow. I'll try thinning some of that way down and spritzing, see what that does.
     
  7. Sinned

    Sinned Well-Known Member

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    haha, well, that didn't work.

    The powder clogged up my spritzer pretty much immediately. So, I switched to an old airbrush, which clogged right away as well. So I took the needle out, and that worked a little better, but the end result was a bunch of splatter on the fabric, none of which actually ends up glowing.

    So...time for a new plan.

    Suppose I could spray stuff with the transparent medium, and then sprinkle he powder on it quick.
     
  8. Mr Mold Maker

    Mr Mold Maker Sr Member

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    Oops! Sorry to hear it didn't work out!
    I was hoping the pigment would be finer.

    I'm all out of ideas for the time being, but good luck on whatever you try next.. keep us updated! :)
     
  9. KPAX10

    KPAX10 Member

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    Now THAT sounds like what I would do when I dry-rub my ribs on my grill... Heyyyyyyy, wait a second.....
    I did a little more research, here's what I found regarding powders - (You might already know some of this):

    1. The more powder or higher the percentage used, the brighter and longer the glow will last.
    2. Add Medium to powder, not powder to medium. That way you can stop when desired glow effect is reached.
    3. Use a white, or light color as a background for best results. Any color other than white will diminish glow.
    4. If painting a black surface with powders, brilliance will be much less.
    5. Use the clearest vehicle possible. Any color in the vehicle will decrease the brightness and length of glow.
    6. The thicker (to a point) the layer of Glow Powder will produce longer and brighter luminosity.
    7. Try to prevent moisture in the manufacturing process. A yellowing of resin may indicate moisture.
    8. Do not use vehicle with high acidity.
    9. Do not grind the Glow Powder, it will destroy the crystal structure and therefore decrease luminosity.
    10. Ratio of Glow Powder to medium is from 10% to 50% by weight depending on application and manufacture process.
    11. Work with a black light on so you can see your work as you create it.
    12. To minimize settling, use a viscous vehicle or anti-settling agents. Stir well prior to application, process small batches at a time.
    13. Apply a final clear overcoat to protect the material from humidity and to improve gloss (if desired).
    14. Stronitum based pigments should only be mixed into oil/solvent bases. If your project requires a water based medium, then you need to purchase pigments that are treated for water protection.
    15. A glass or plastic spatula should be used when stirring the powder and printing ink. A metal implement may react with powder.

    Dusting Technique (achieves the greatest glow effect) - or the "Dry-Rub"

    1. Mask off area you wish to paint.
    2. Spray a coat of clear spray paint onto the surface. This will help bind the powder to the base item.
    3. Dust powder on top of the area and shake the surface until the painted area is completely coated in powder. Pour off excess back into container for reuse.
    4. Dry completely (1-2 hr).
    5. Repeat steps 2 - 4 until you have reached the desired glow effect.
    6. Paint a final coat of Clear/Matte over the powder for protection.
    Note: It takes very little paint on each layer to make this work. If you see the powder turning to a liquid paint, then you are using way to much paint.

    Hope this helps!
     
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  10. Sinned

    Sinned Well-Known Member

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    GREAT tips there KPAX10! I'll be revisiting the glow in the dark stuff this weekend. I picked up a few more things, including some UV reactive additives. Granted, they won't glow without the black light, but could add some interesting secondary effects, if it mixes okay with paint.

    These two are especially helpful:


    1. Ratio of Glow Powder to medium is from 10% to 50% by weight depending on application and manufacture process.
    2. Work with a black light on so you can see your work as you create it.
    Still considering the dusting technique as well, but that'll be harder to control, with the surfaces I'm working with. It seems to work pretty good, mixing with clear medium.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  11. KPAX10

    KPAX10 Member

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    Glad I could offer something that was useful, Sinned... Can't wait until you post some additional shots!!

    (Oh dear..noob alert..how do I make the Sinned link?) Grrrr....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  12. Sinned

    Sinned Well-Known Member

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    haha, you did it right; it converts it automatically, once you hit post. ;)
     

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