Make DIY glow in the dark nail polish that glows better than anything you can buy in a store. No black light needed! There are two methods that work really well, so you can pick the one that works best for you.
Using Glow Paint As Glowing Nail Polish
For the nails in the photograph, what I did was apply a clear base coat, let it dry, and then applied acrylic glow in the dark paint from a craft store. To get bright, even coverage, you’ll need 2-3 coats of paint. The brightest glow paints do not have any extra color (it would block the light), so if you want your nails to be colored under ordinary light, you’ll want to apply a regular nail polish first and then paint the glow on top of it. I took a picture of my hand in normal light, so you can see what to expect. The crystals that produce the glow add a bit of sparkle, but otherwise my nails look ordinary.
Glow in the Dark Nail Polish Materials
The other method is to mix up glow in the dark nail polish using clear polish and glow powder.
- glow powder
- clear nail polish or top coat
- old nail polish brush or small paint brush
The two key ingredients are glow powder and nail polish. Glow powder is phosphorescent pigment. You want the powder because it will mix with the nail polish, while a paint or glue will not. Glowing glitter works, but it doesn’t glow very brightly, so I don’t recommend it.
Glow in the dark powder is available online from Amazon, United Nuclear, Glow Inc., etc. Just make sure the powder you buy glows in the dark. There is also “glow powder” that only glows under a black light. This fluorescent pigment looks great under ultraviolet light, but won’t really glow in the dark.
You want a clear polish for this project because any pigment in the product will mask and diminish the glow. You can paint the glow polish over painted nails, if you want color. Some types of glow powder are colored, too.
I recommend using an old nail polish brush for this. You can clean an old brush with acetone. You can also use a small paintbrush.
Make Glowing Nail Polish
You could mix the powder and the clear polish in the bottle, but you’ll need to add small glass or metal beads to mix the product (since they don’t come in clear polish). It’s less wasteful to just mix up what you need.
- Pour a small amount of clear nail polish onto a dish.
- Use a toothpick to mix in glow powder until you get a smooth, even mixture.
- Immediately apply the glow polish using a nail polish brush or small paintbrush. For the brightest effect, apply the glow polish over a coat of glitter, metallic, or pale pink/white polish. The metal or pale color will reflect back the glow and enhance it.