Pens That Glow

Written by clare edwards
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
Pens That Glow
Some highlighter pens glow under black light. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Pens that glow use special inks containing pigments that produce luminous effects. There are two general kinds of glowing pigment. You need to expose fluorescent pigments to black light (ultraviolet light) in order to glow. When the black light is removed, the glow disappears. Photoluminescent pigments don't need black light. They store energy chemically. You "charge" photoluminescent pigments by exposing them to visible light. In the dark, they glow visibly, usually with a greenish tinge.

Fluorescent Pens

You can find fluorescent pens that glow under black light in any stationery store in the form of highlighters. Most highlighters are fluorescent, especially the yellow and orange shades. You can also find fluorescent pens in art stores and party stores. These are often brighter, but may be more expensive.

Luminous Pens

You can find pens filled with photoluminescent ink in art stores and toy stores. When you draw or write with them, your work will glow green when the lights are out. Some pens have coloured pigments in the ink which produce different shades when they glow, but green will be predominant. Since the luminous ink is often hard to see, you might need to trace over an existing image or script while you work.

Homemade Pens

You can make your own pens to use with store-bought or homemade glowing inks. The simplest "pen" is a cotton swab dipped in the ink and used to draw or write on paper or other materials. For finer lines, you can also make dip pens. Cut a narrow drinking straw at an angle to make a nib. Cut a slit down the middle of the nib with a sharp knife.

Homemade Inks

You can make your own fluorescent inks. Dilute laundry whitener in water, white ink or a transparent medium to make ink that glows blue-white. Try mixing laundry whitener with light-coloured inks or dilute powdered fluorescent pigments with water. You can find photoluminescent powder pigments that you can mix up with water or another medium, or stir into inks. Use these inks with dip pens.


Photoluminescent and fluorescent pens are nontoxic and safe, as are powder pigments. Laundry whitener is an irritant, however, so take care not to put your pen in your mouth when using homemade inks, and don't allow children to use them unsupervised. Don't apply whitener or any kind of ink or paint to your skin, as you may have an allergic reaction. Homemade inks may clog or damage fountain pens.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.