How To Dye Fabric With Glow In The Dark Dye

If you want to make your clothes literally light up the night, using glow in the dark fabric dye is a fun way to do it. Glow in the dark dye contains phosphorescent chemicals that absorb and store energy from normal light.

When those clothes are later in the dark, the phosphors release the energy as a colored glow.

Glow in the dark dye allows you to transform ordinary fabrics into glowing works of art. With some preparation and care while dyeing, you can make bedding, t-shirts, accessories, and more glow any color you want once the lights go out.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to successfully dye fabric to glow in the dark. You’ll learn about the best fabrics to use, how to prepare materials, applying the dye, setting the color, and caring for glow in the dark projects so the effect lasts.

Choosing Glow in the Dark Dye

Pick fabric-safe dye

When choosing glow in the dark dye for fabric, it is important to select a dye that is specifically designed to be used on fabric. Regular glow in the dark paint or dye may not adhere properly to the fabric and may wash off or fade quickly.

Look for dyes that are labeled as fabric-safe or fabric-friendly to ensure the best results.

Consider color and brightness

Glow in the dark dyes come in a variety of colors and brightness levels. Consider the color you want your fabric to be when it is not glowing, as well as the brightness of the glow. Some dyes may produce a more subtle glow, while others may be more vibrant.

It is important to consider your desired outcome and choose a dye that matches your preferences.

Buy dye specifically made for fabric

When purchasing glow in the dark dye, it is recommended to buy a product that is specifically made for fabric. These dyes are typically formulated to adhere well to fabric fibers and provide long-lasting glow.

They may also be washable, allowing you to maintain the glow in the dark effect even after multiple washes. Be sure to read the product description and packaging to ensure it is suitable for fabric use.

Selecting the Right Fabric

When it comes to dyeing fabric with glow in the dark dye, selecting the right fabric is crucial to achieving the desired results. Here are some important factors to consider:

Natural vs. synthetic fabrics

Firstly, it’s important to determine whether you want to dye a natural or synthetic fabric. Natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk are generally more receptive to dyes, making them a great choice for this project.

Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon may require special dyes or treatments to achieve the desired glow effect.

Test fabrics for colorfastness

Before diving into the dyeing process, it’s a good idea to test your fabric for colorfastness. This will help you ensure that the dye will adhere properly and not fade or bleed over time. To test for colorfastness, apply a small amount of the glow in the dark dye to a hidden or inconspicuous area of the fabric.

If the dye doesn’t bleed or fade after washing, you can proceed with confidence.

Pre-wash and dry fabric

Prior to dyeing, it’s important to pre-wash and dry your fabric. This step helps remove any dirt, oils, or chemicals that may interfere with the dyeing process. Follow the care instructions on the fabric label and wash it accordingly.

Once washed, make sure to dry the fabric thoroughly before applying the glow in the dark dye. This will ensure that the dye adheres evenly and produces a vibrant glow.

For more detailed information on fabric selection and dyeing techniques, you can visit websites like Rit Dye or Dharma Trading Co. These websites offer a wealth of resources and expertise in the field of fabric dyeing.

Prepare Materials Before Dyeing

Assemble dyeing supplies

Before you start dyeing fabric with glow in the dark dye, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies. You will need:

  • A container to mix and hold the dye
  • Glow in the dark dye, which you can purchase from craft stores or online retailers
  • Water for diluting the dye
  • A stirring stick or spoon for mixing
  • Fabric or clothing item to dye

Having all the supplies ready will ensure a smooth dyeing process and prevent any interruptions.

Make space with good ventilation

When working with any type of dye, including glow in the dark dye, it’s important to have good ventilation in your workspace. The dyeing process can release fumes, which can be harmful if inhaled in an enclosed area. To avoid this, choose a well-ventilated room or work outside if weather permits.

Opening windows or using fans can help improve air circulation and minimize any potential health risks. Remember, safety should always come first when working with chemicals.

Wear old clothes and gloves

It’s highly recommended to wear old clothes and gloves while dyeing fabric with glow in the dark dye. The dye has a potent staining effect and can leave permanent marks on your clothes and skin.

By wearing old clothes and gloves, you can protect your favorite outfits and prevent any unwanted stains. Additionally, gloves will protect your hands from coming into direct contact with the dye, which can be difficult to remove from your skin.

Remember to follow the dye manufacturer’s instructions for proper handling and disposal of the dye to ensure your safety and minimize any potential environmental impact.

Applying the Glow in the Dark Dye

Mix dye according to instructions

Before applying the glow in the dark dye to your fabric, it is important to mix it properly according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Each dye brand may have specific guidelines, so be sure to read them carefully.

The instructions will typically include information on the ratio of dye to water, as well as any additional steps or precautions that need to be taken.

Add dye a little at a time

When applying the glow in the dark dye to your fabric, it is best to add it a little at a time. This allows you to have better control over the intensity of the color. Start with a small amount of dye and gradually add more if needed.

Remember, you can always add more dye, but it’s difficult to lighten the color once it has been applied.

Stir continuously while dyeing

While dyeing your fabric, it is important to stir the dye continuously. This helps to ensure that the color is evenly distributed and prevents any areas from being missed. Use a stirring stick or a spoon to gently stir the fabric in the dye bath.

Make sure to cover all parts of the fabric to achieve a consistent and vibrant glow.

Check color until satisfied

As you apply the glow in the dark dye to your fabric, it is crucial to check the color periodically until you are satisfied with the result. Keep in mind that the color may appear lighter when wet, so it’s important to allow the fabric to dry completely before making a final judgment.

If the color is not as vibrant as desired, you can repeat the dyeing process to achieve a stronger glow.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to test the glow in the dark dye on a small piece of fabric before dyeing the entire piece. This will give you an idea of how the color will appear and allow you to make any adjustments if needed.

Enjoy the magical glow that your fabric will emit once the lights go out!

Setting and Curing the Dye

Once you have successfully dyed your fabric with glow in the dark dye, it is important to properly set and cure the dye to ensure its longevity and effectiveness. Here are some essential steps to follow:

Rinse thoroughly after dyeing

After you have finished dyeing your fabric, it is crucial to rinse it thoroughly to remove any excess dye. This will help prevent the dye from bleeding or transferring onto other fabrics when the fabric is washed or worn.

Fill a sink or basin with cold water and gently agitate the fabric to ensure all the dye is removed. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.

Wash in hot water

After rinsing, it is recommended to wash the fabric in hot water. This helps to further set the dye and remove any remaining residue. Use a mild detergent and wash the fabric on a gentle cycle. Avoid using any bleach or harsh chemicals as they can damage the glow in the dark properties of the dye.

Dry away from direct sunlight

Once washed, it is important to dry the fabric away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade the glow in the dark properties of the dye over time. Hang the fabric indoors or in a shaded area to air dry. Avoid using a dryer as the heat can also affect the dye’s glow.

Heat-set with an iron or other heat source

To further enhance the longevity of the glow in the dark dye, heat-setting is recommended. Set your iron to the appropriate temperature for the fabric and place a thin cloth over the dyed area. Gently press the iron onto the fabric for a few seconds, making sure not to move the iron around.

This will help the dye bond with the fabric fibers, ensuring a long-lasting glow.

Following these steps will help ensure that your fabric retains its vibrant glow in the dark effect for a long time. For more detailed instructions, you can check out Craft Professional website, which provides comprehensive information on dyeing techniques and tips.

Caring for Glow in the Dark Projects

Once you have successfully dyed fabric with glow in the dark dye, it is important to take proper care of your creation to ensure its longevity. Here are some tips for caring for glow in the dark projects:

Wash in cold water

When it comes to washing your glow in the dark fabric, it is best to use cold water. Hot water can cause the dye to fade more quickly, reducing the glow effect. Additionally, using a gentle cycle and mild detergent will help preserve the dye and keep your fabric looking great for longer.

Avoid chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach can be damaging to glow in the dark dyes, so it is important to avoid using it when washing your fabric. Instead, opt for oxygen bleach or color-safe bleach alternatives. These will help keep your fabric clean without compromising the glow effect.

Dry out of sunlight

When drying your glow in the dark fabric, it is best to avoid direct sunlight. Sunlight can cause the dye to fade over time, diminishing the glow effect. Instead, choose a shaded area or indoor space to air dry your fabric. This will help preserve its vibrant glow for as long as possible.

Re-charge glow regularly with light

To keep the glow in the dark effect strong, make sure to regularly expose your fabric to light. This can be natural or artificial light. By doing so, you are re-charging the dye and ensuring that it will continue to emit a strong glow.

Just a few minutes of exposure to light can make a significant difference in the glow intensity.


With the right glow in the dark dye and some care while prepping, dyeing, and setting the fabric, you can create glowing clothing and textile projects that light up the night. Take safety precautions, follow dye instructions, and properly cure the fabric to get long-lasting glow.

Enjoy lighting up any room with your own glowing fabric creations using this complete guide to dyeing fabric with glow in the dark dye.

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