Make Glowing Water With Highlighters vs Florescent Paint vs Glow Sticks ... and 1 more

Edited by Graciela Franchesca Rosario, Eng, Lynn, Clownz and 19 others

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Making water glow-in-the-dark is a fun activity for all ages. It can be a great addition to your next Halloween or birthday party. Regardless of the occasion it is a great project to do with the kids. Or it can be used as a neat decorating idea to add a splash of glowing color to a vase of water.

Method 1: With Highlighters

  1. 1
    Buy and experiment with different highlighters to see which ones glow
    Write on white paper with a highlighter and perform a black light test. You may use any color, but yellow will probably glow the brightest in the dark. Any brand of highlighter can work. You can purchase a highlighter at Target for less than a dollar. You may use neon markers of the non-highlighter variety as well. It is easiest to view the glow in a room which is completely dark.
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  2. 2
    Get your tools ready
    You may remove the felt with scissors, a knife or by using pliers.
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  3. 3
    Carefully remove the highlighter felt
    You may do this by using pliers. You must be able to pull out the stopper, but if you can't, use a knife to cut it. You should do this over the sink to prevent dripping of ink anywhere else. It must be pulled of easily and carefully, as some of the ink may drip out.
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  4. 4
    Put the highlighter felt in water
    The felt should be completely immersed under the water. Putting in more water volume will lessen the luminescence the water previously had. So for better results, pour in only a few inches of water.
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  5. 5
    The more the ink sets in, the more ink will be released out of the felt. Wait for a minimum of 10 minutes then remove the felt. It does not matter what temperature the water is but stirring the water will help to equally distribute the color.
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  6. 6
    Observe the water
    Turn off the lights in the room and turn on a black light, also known as UV light. Black lights are not expensive and can be purchased for only a few dollars. Black lights may also be purchased in the form of a flashlight or small key chain light. Black lights are also sold in the form of incandescent light bulbs at home improvement stores. The water should have a neon glow when hit by UV rays.
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Method 2: With Florescent Paint

  1. 1
    Buy fluorescent paint at a craft store
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    The paint must be water-soluble or tempera based, so that it can mix with the water. Like the highlighters, any neon color of paint will do, but lime green and lemon yellow are the most effective. You can also buy glow-in-the-dark craft paint for added glow results.
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  2. 2
    Put paint into a container of water
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    To increase the glow of water, put in more paint. Several tablespoons may be applied for a cup of water.
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  3. 3
    Stir the paint evenly
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    The paint must be completely dissolved in the cup of water. Hot or warm water will help dissolve the paint faster. When you let the water stay in it for a long time, the paint may start to separate, so use the glowing water immediately after mixing.
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  4. 4
    Observe the water
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    Turn off all lights in the room and then turn on a black light over the glow water.
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Method 3: With Glow Sticks


Make water glow using glow sticks.

  1. 1
    Buy glow sticks
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    They are available at craft stores and hardware stores, and can be purchase in various sizes and colors. Find the largest glow sticks, so that the water can provide the most luminescence possible.
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  • 2
    Bend the glow stick to break open the glass tube inside and cut off one end of the glow stick, carefully placing it into a glass of water
    (Be cautious of the broken glass still inside the glow stick.)
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    You can use any ratio of water with a glow stick and it is not essential that you have a particular temperature of water. You may put it in the water with the plastic capsule, or remove the plastic and pour the colored liquid into the water. Putting the entire plastic capsule in the water will provide a glow from the bottom up, instead of having consistent glow throughout the entire body of the water.
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  • 3
    You can also cut the end of the glow stick and pour it into the water to provide a strong glow into the entire cup
    Do not ingest as the liquid inside of the glow stick is toxic. Turn the lights off and observe the water.
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    This method does not need a black light, so by simply turning off the light you would see immediate results.
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  • Method 4: With Tonic Water

    1. 1
      Pour tonic water into a glass and use a black light to watch it glow
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      Tonic water is a safe, edible glow water. It is smelly when concentrated, and contains a lot of fructose corn syrup. You can also put vitamins on the tonic water. It often contains vitamin B, which is high in thiamine. Using a Ziploc bag and kitchen mallet, pound the vitamin into powder and add it to the warm water and stir. Though it is a vitamin, it is a vitamin set for adult strength. It is super diluted, but do not offer it to the kids as a drink. You can add to the bathtub, along with already fluoresced items like:
      • Boon floating bugs and net
      • White dollar tree funnels
      • Boon bath shapes
      • Munchkin cups
      • Glowing Koi fish
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    2. 2
      Do a party at night
      Put glowing water in vases, glasses, mason jars, or other translucent vessels and place them around your backyard or home. If lights are turned off, it will be fun to see the glowing water.
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    3. 3
      Use glowing water for fun in the bathtub
      Get a black light, and some fluorescent paint that is non-toxic. Fill the bathtub with warm water, and when it's ready, slowly mix the paint into the water. Then turn your black light on, and turn the lights off in the bathroom. Now the water will be glowing, which makes a ton of fun for kids of any age. It's also safe for their skin. Just remember to turn the black light on before turning off the lights in your bathroom, so that no one slips or falls when the lights are off.
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    4. 4
      Have a glow-in-the-dark water balloon fight
      Put glowing water in a water balloon, and let it fly. Run around the back yard at night together with your friends while you enjoy a classic summer game. Avoid letting this water get into your eyes and mouth.
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    5. 5
      Decorate the snow at night
      When you have snow, try to make it glow at night. Paint it by refrigerating the water to prevent it from melting the snow, then place it in squirt bottles. And use it to pour and paint designs on the snow. This will be a great night for kids.
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    Questions and Answers

    Will the highlighter method dye fabric glow in the dark?

    I am trying to make glow in the dark yarn. Can I use the method of making highlighter water, and then soaking yarn in it to make it glow? Thanks

    Yes, you can make a glow in the dark yarn by soaking the yarn into water with highlighter ink. You will see that the yarn will glow if put it under black light. But you have to remember that the highlighter ink is not permanent. The ink is washable so if you will wash the yarn, definitely, the ink will be washed out.

    Even glow in the dark paints on yarns will be washed out eventually.

    Where to find a articles about it?

    Where because I need it for a project

    You can always search for Articles here on VisiHow by doing the following.

    • Click on the Search field at the upper-right corner of VisiHow.

    • Type--in what you want to search.
    • Then hit enter.
    • Then choose an article from the search result.
    • That's it.

    How do you make edible glowing water from staple ingredients?

    How do you make edible glowing water from staple ingredients?

    Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely if not impossible to find a way to do that. Almost any product you find that glows in the dark, will be toxic and have warnings against ingesting it.

    How to make non-toxic water balloons?

    I'm having a slumber party and we're going to have a water balloon fight so I was wondering how I could make non-toxic water balloons so we can throw them at each other without getting sick.

    To make non-toxic water balloons that you can use on your slumber party, you have to look for mylar or biodegradable water balloons. These are from natural sources so they are known to be non toxic. You also have to make sure that the water you put inside is clean and non-toxic.

    For an added twist, you can use a non-toxic paint instead of water but this is not advisable if you do the party indoors. Instead of paint or just plain water, add food colorings to the water for a more exciting water balloon.

    Where can I get the Black light?

    I believe I can get ingredients except the black, cheap one. Where can I get it and how much does it cost?

    You can purchase a black light from Amazon.

    What is the Scientific explanation of why the water glows?

    Can you tell me the scientific explanation of why the water glows because of the liquid inside of the glow-stick?

    The phenyl oxalate ester and hydrogen peroxide inside the glow stick react causing the liquid contained to become luminescent.

    See more questions like this: Does different chemicals added to tonic water make it glow?

    Am I to understand, it's as simple as = Tonic water + Bath water = Glow?

    How much tonic water to bathwater should I use?

    A 2 L. bottle with about 40 gallons of bath water will glow under a black light. I have done this to make bath time fun for my children and used a cheap blacklight I found on clearance. You can use more tap water but the bath will glow less the more water you add and dilute the quinine in the Tonic water.

    What highlighters are the best to use to make glowing water?

    Most highlighter brands will work.

    The yellow highlighter glows the best. Pink and greens can also be successful but you will want to watch to make sure you are not making the water too saturated with the darker colors.

    Are you a scientist?? If so are you a science teacher?

    You would make a good teacher.

    Thanks! Most VisiHow contributors are a variety of people with skills in different areas. We all write articles on what we know about.

    I'm trying to figure out how can you make science project with a highlighter without using ultraviolet light?

    I want to make a project with a highlighter but I don't want to use ultraviolet light. I have tried: I have tried making glow in the dark water and glow in the dark crystals. I think it was caused by: It didn't work because I didn't use the right chemicals

    You could use a glow stick which will glow in a darkened room without a blacklight. A highlighter will just dye the water a fluorescent but will not glow without a blacklight.

    My 4th grader is trying to make this science experiment and I'm looking for ideas and procedures?

    My fourth grader wants to use this idea to conduct a science experiment and I'm looking for ideas

    Any of the methods in this VisiHow article would make a great science experiment. Especially if your child chose Tonic Water and explained how the Blacklight makes the quinine glow with a reaction.

    How many exact tablespoons would I need to put in the water?

    Is there a specific amount of paint that I would put and is it more likely that I may have to pour more into affect the water

    You want to start with two tablespoons to one cup of water. Add more paint or water to get the desired glow you want.

    Can I just use a flashlight and not blacklight?

    Because it is hard to find a blacklight

    No, unfortunately, a regular flashlight will not make it look like the water is glowing. But the great news is that buying a black light is easy and cheap on Just search amazon for "black light" and choose one of the battery powered units. I paid only $8 for the light you see in this article.

    I need to find a way to make the glow stick mix with the water better and last more than 1.30 min in the water guns?

    What is happening is the first 5 quarts are good but then the color is almost gone and you have to use it straight away after adding the glow stick. I need to add the glow stick about an hour before they are going to be used. I have tried adding peroxide and dish soap and 6, 6 glow stick but I can't get it to work the way I need. The glow sticks are good once they last more than 8 hours when then they are in their tube so I know that's not the problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have tried: I have tried tonic water, reg water, and I have tried adding 2 tbs of peroxide and 2 tbsp of dish soap and up to 6 necklines size glow sticks. I'm using about 6 oz container each time. I think it was caused by: I don't think it mixes with the water all the way

    Mix the glowstick with liquid glycerin. Add a fraction of water if you think it is needed but test by adding a little at a time. You need something that will support the liquid of the glowstick and still spray through the water gun. You were on the right track with the dish soap but go straight glycerin.

    Why don't you cut up some highlighters and take out the stick of ink and put it in the water I am 8 years old I am in third grade?

    Why don't you look up this great info

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    Hello Mr, Garen, What would be a great hypothesis for this experiment? Can you help, please?

    I am working on an experiment and would like to know how should I phrase and hypothesis for the experiment on making water glow with a highlighter. I read the experiment, but could not properly phrase a hypothesis

    VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

    Could I make truly homemade clear UV powder or gel?

    I was hoping to make homemade UV powder. I've googled it several times in several ways but I see toxic factory methods at home. Bad for your home and your health. But they're also made of more or less pure chemicals. I noticed the tonic water and corn syrup (sic) method. Do you know a way I could make powder or gel with that sort of homebrew method? I was hoping for something to cover a wall or two but not block the color of the paint on the walls. Powder or gel-like substance made from common kitchen supply or stock. I have tried: I have not physically tried anything so far. I am still researching for a moderately accessible method for creating UV powder at home. I think it was caused by: I have had no problem. I have not attempted anything, yet. I am still searching.

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    How dose this work how the water glow using non toxic highlighters?

    How dose making glowing water work. . . . like dose the highlighter juice diffuse into a higher concentration or something. It doesn't say how it works and I want to know how it works

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    Can the glowing water utilizing the glow sticks work on flowers displaying capillary action?

    My 9yr old is doing a capillary action project using color dyes in flowers and we wanted to give it a twist. Variable of flowers may cause inconclusive results. Just seeking additional information. I have tried: This is an initial inquiry. I'm interested in future analysis and or previous data perhaps tried. I think it was caused by: Again additional variable from information given on coloring water

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    What could be my hypothesis for my science project?

    I'm doing a science project what could my hypothesis could be

    VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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