This past week, my middle child and I have been exploring all things neon in our basement. My eldest is away at a daycamp and I wanted to do something special with the one who stayed home. The culmination of our efforts will be an art show tomorrow night where we will be inviting some friends to come and enjoy.
We're most excited by the fact that the blacklight aspect of it will (should be) a surprise. Our intention is to bring everyone to the basement for the show while all the standard lights are lit. Once everyone has seen all the works and asked all their questions, we'll explain that there is another part of the show and ask them all to close their eyes. We'll quickly turn off the main lights and turn on the blacklights. I expect the reveal to be quite exciting.
I have to say that this is the most fun that I've had doing art with my kids. I couldn't stop myself from exploring my own ideas for playing with blacklight and art materials. Because of that, half of the works on the walls are mine.
If everyone is game, I plan on then getting the attendees to create their own art.
So let me get to the knitty-gritty details of the process.
- I started the whole process by visiting a local hardware store and buying some blacklight bulbs. I learned my first lesson there. Although the incandescent blacklight light bulbs are cheaper and labeled "blacklight", they do not cause items to fluoresce. You need to spend the extra $2 to get the CFL blacklight bulbs. When I discovered the first kind don't work, I did a bit of research, and found that florescent lights work best for blacklight, so CFL's fit the bill perfectly AND fit in standard lightbulb sockets!
- Next, I tried a bulb and looked around my craft supply to discover what items glowed. It was a lot of fun to discover what takes on a new look under blacklight. I found out that various papers I already had glowed, as well as standard copy paper. Some other supplies worked as well.
- This was a great excuse to visit an office supply store and get a few things. Sharpie has come out with some new neon markers that state that they glow under blacklight. With a bit of testing on various papers, we were able to find a paper that doesn't glow (white copy paper doesn't work like that) but doesn't absorb the ink so much that the ink doesn't glow (construction paper has this problem).
- A huge part of the fun of this project was testing things. We got neon tempra paints and had to test them on various papers to see which papers made the paint glow best.
Here are some of the works to share with you, along with comments:
I imagine that we'll have another showing which will include art from my eldest (who will likely want to play around with the effects of blacklight)!!!