How Long Does Glow in the Dark Paint Last Outside

Getting paint to glow in the dark is a relatively simple process, but many factors determine how long it will last outside. Which type of paint you use and what color it is can affect its longevity.

You should also consider the environment where you plan to display your art if you’re unsure which type of paint would be best for your project.


Here in this article, we will discuss some factors that determine how long does glow in the dark paint last outside, as well as some tips to make your glow-in-the-dark paint last longer.

Summary: Glow in the dark paint, when used outside, can have varying lifespans depending on several factors such as the quality of the paint, the exposure to sunlight, and the local weather conditions. High-quality glow in the dark paint typically lasts longer and has better luminance compared to lower-quality alternatives. The paint’s glow can last anywhere from a few hours up to several years, with the intensity gradually decreasing over time.

To achieve optimal performance, glow in the dark paint needs to be charged by exposure to sunlight or other light sources. The length and intensity of the glow can be impacted by the amount of charging time and the paint’s phosphorescent properties. Prolonged exposure to harsh weather conditions such as rain, snow, or extreme temperatures can also affect the paint’s durability and lifespan.

To prolong the glow and preserve the paint’s appearance, consider applying a protective clear coat or sealant, and ensure the painted surface is properly cleaned and prepared before application.

10 Factors That Determine How Long Does Glow in the Dark Paint Last Outside

1. The Paint’s Temporary vs. Permanent

The temporary paint that is used to make glow-in-the-dark artwork will not last as long as permanent paint.

It may start to fade after only a few months, depending on where it is located and its environment (temperature, sun exposure).

If you need glow-in-the-dark paint to last for a more extended period of time, consider using the permanent variety.

2. The Paint’s Age

The more you use your glow-in-the-dark paint and the longer it has been exposed to light before going outside will affect how long it lasts in the sun.

It may have lost some of its glow power if it is older and may only last for about two months in the sun.

3. The Paint’s Size

The painting size also determines how long does glow in the dark paint last outside. For instance, if you use one gallon to make your artwork, it will fade a lot faster than if you use four-ounce bottles.


Likewise, the larger the area of paint, the lesser its lifespan will be in direct sunlight.

4. The Temperatures

The hotter or colder you are storing your glow-in-the-dark painting, the shorter its life expectancy is.

Cold temperatures can ruin glow power, and exposure to even high temperatures may cause color changes. To slow down the fading, store your paint in a flat, temperature-controlled area.

5. The Paint’s Environment

The environment where your art is exposed to sunlight will also affect how long it stays glowing.

For instance, if your glow-in-the-dark painting is close to water or another reflective surface, its brightness may diminish quickly.

If you notice that your art is fading, try to shield it from the sun with reflective objects like a white covering or black construction paper; this may slow down the fading process.

6. The Paint’s Protection

If your painting is exposed to wind and rain, it may begin to fade faster than if it were indoors. The reason for this is because the paint is continually being bathed in harsh weather elements.

Adding a coat of varnish over your glow-in-the-dark painting may help it last longer.

7. Thickness of The Paint

The thickness of the paint is also a factor that determines how long does glow in the dark paint last outside.

Thicker layers will last longer than thinner ones because they can retain more of their glow power. 

8. Lighting Conditions Where The Paint’s Applied

The lighting conditions at your glow-in-the-dark painting’s location will also affect its length of life.


If it is often exposed to direct sunlight, a higher quality paint that can hold up in the light may be a good option for you.

9. Recharge Capability

After a few months, the paint may lose all of its glow power if it is not recharged in the sunlight.

To see your glow-in-the-dark painting at its brightest, charge the color by storing it in direct sunlight for several hours.

If you can recharge your paint with a UV light, you likely have a longer time frame than how long it will last in the sun.

10. Quality of The Paints 

The quality of the glow-in-the-dark paint you choose strongly affects how long it will last outside.

For instance, if you purchase a low-quality version of the product, it may start to fade after only three months in the sun or more minor.

To ensure that your paint stays bright for an extended amount of time, be sure to choose one of the best brands that contain high-quality ingredients in their product.

8 Tips To Make Your Glow in the Dark Paint Last longer

1. Buy high-quality paint that is designed to last for several months outside in direct sunlight.

2. Store your glow-in-the-dark painting indoors or in an area with low levels of light exposure if you keep it for a long time before using it.

3. Use UV bulbs to recharge the glow power in your paint.

4. If you are creating a sizeable glow-in-the-dark painting, make more miniature paintings and combine them if possible. It will allow you to have more art that lasts longer outdoors.

5. Use lights to illuminate your artwork. Using light over your artwork may help it last longer. Keep in mind that the more light you expose your painting too, the brighter it will be.

6. Shield your art from wind and rain with coverings. Be sure to protect both sides of the glow-in-the-dark painting so that neither side can fade.

7. Keep your paint covered when not in use. It will help to preserve its glow power.

8. Use a sealant over the top of your paint to protect it from harsh weather and UV light exposure which may help it last longer outdoors.

How Does a Glow In The Dark Paint Works?

Glow in the dark paint is a special kind of paint that has a feeble glow during the day and glows brightly at night.

The luminescence (glowing) comes from a chemical reaction created by exposure to ultraviolet light in sunlight or artificial light.


Because of this property, these paints are usually used for making things like watches, clocks, toys, and other glowing tools.

Since the luminous reaction works using exposure to UV light for activation, the paint pigment needs to be mixed with a fluorescent chemical that will absorb the light and then re-emit it.

The glowing effect can last several minutes to many hours depending on the type of paint you are using and how long it was exposed to UV light.

If you want to use these paints for their glowing effect, it is best to paint them on a surface that will be exposed to the sun or an artificial light source at night to glow in the dark.

For example, if you want to paint your walls with these type of paints, then don’t expect them to glow during daylight hours since they won’t be exposed to UV light during that time.

Types of Glow in the Dark Paints:

There are mainly five types of glow in the dark paints used for painting walls; those are:

1. Phosphorescent Paint: This paint is white when exposed to UV light. It glows brightly in the dark for 1-4 hours and then fades away wholly (like old glow-in-the-dark watches).

2. Fluorescent Paint: This has a greenish glow and glows very brightly for 8-12 hours.

This type of paint can be dangerous, though, since it is not confined to the surface where you paint it on, which means it may leach out into the environment if ingested by any children.

3. Zinc Sulfide Paint: This type of paint is the most popular type used for night-time safety. It glows blue, and it lasts from 6-12 hours before fading away completely.


This type of paint is the safest kind to use around children since its ingredients don’t threaten health if ingested by infants or children.

4. Strontium Aluminate Paint: This type of paint is highly bright and glows for 8-10 hours. They also pose no threat to health if ingested by children.

5. Super Phosphorescent Paint: This is costly though it lasts the longest (up to 14 days) since it’s made with rare earth materials like cerium and lanthanide oxides, which can cost up to $100 an ounce.

Some applications include plane cabins, advertising signs, exit signs, and decals for windows.

NOTE: You can purchase glow in the dark paint from home improvement stores that sell paint, or it can also be ordered online if these stores don’t have them on their list of products.

They can cost anywhere between $8 to $30 per quart, depending on what type of paint you’ll be using.

Things To Consider When Using Glow in the Dark Paint Outside

1. You must consider if the surface you’ll be painting with this paint is safe to use in a moist and humid environment.

Since there are reports that the resin used for glow-in-the-dark paints might deteriorate or even corrode over time when exposed to moisture.

2. With the different glow-in-the-dark paints available today, you also have to choose what color best suits your needs.

Some glow brighter than others, and some last longer, but these are usually the most expensive ones.

3. If you want to paint something that will give off a greenish glow, then fluorescent paints may be better for you since they already come with this color by default.


4. You may also want to choose your glow-in-the-dark paint based on its color since some may be more suitable for use on your eyes than others.

For example, white or blue phosphorescent pigments are better as eye-catching markers, while green or orange fluorescent paints work best with a flashlight. On the contrary yellow ones are suitable for marking lines.

5. Some paints are made from rare earth elements like cerium and lanthanide oxides.

These aren’t safe for use by the public since they have radioactive emissions but are used mainly by governments and universities who need them for light detection equipment to detect gamma rays, x-rays, and other types of radiation.

6. If you’re using zinc sulfide paint, the glowing effect may eventually fade away after a few years, so you might want to repaint your walls using this material.

7. If you want to keep your glow-in-the-dark paint for long-term usage outdoors, then choose one that has been solely made with epoxy resin as its base since these are more durable than the kind that uses polyurethane resin.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Are There Any Drawbacks of Using Glow in the Dark Paint Outside?

A: There are two significant drawbacks observed when using glow-in-the-dark paint outdoors. First, you still need to provide your lighting source since the paint won’t light up your environment on its own. It should only be used as a supplement or an accent for existing lights in the area.

Second, these paints will eventually fade away depending on the conditions of your environment. If you live somewhere where it’s very humid and moist all year round, then your paint is sure to fade away in just a few months or years.

Q: Are Glow in the Dark Paints Waterproof?

A: Although glow-in-the-dark paints are said to be waterproof, their glowing effect may not be as bright and vivid after a few years.

They will still glow for only 2 to 5 hours instead of up to 14 days, like from their production date. Some even say that the paint starts to flake off these surfaces and lose its initial sheen.

Q: How Long Will It Take To Charge Glow In The Dark Paint?

A: Depending on the quality of glow-in-the-dark paint you’re using, it can take anywhere from 24 hours to a week for it to reach full capacity.

Note that this only applies when the paint is exposed directly to light before use, so you still have to charge it from time to time, even if you’ve just used it a while back.

Final Thoughts 

It is essential to know how long does glow in the dark paint last outside so you can make an informed decision on if it would be worth your time and money.

The glow in the dark paint should last for a year or two outside if applied correctly, with some exceptions.

To maintain this property, you should not touch the walls after they are painted, and make sure to take care of your design after applying the paint. So they don’t fade away quickly or get ruined by rain and other weather conditions.

If you want more information or have any questions about how long your glowing paint will stay lit up at night, please check out this blog post!

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