A, um, Glowing, well um, A Camping Project

We go camping a lot these days. We have a little private campsite that we go to and after 4 years or so, we’ve finally tamed the wildlife (aka woods and weeds) and are getting the place spruced up a bit.

And each weekend when we go, I try to take a little crafty project to do with the kiddo. This weekend we took jars, glow in the dark paint, and wire….

One thing I’d love to do is hang Christmas lights throughout the trees, but alas our campsite doesn’t have electricity. (hence the camping thing…) And I’ve always loved painted jars, like these shown at Kootut Murut.

So what did I think of??? Painted Jars with Glow in the Dark Paint.

The idea was to make glow in the dark jars to hang in the trees, like Christmas lights as my son said. Well, the making of the jars went of just fine…. Here’s how we made them….

1. Materials


Glow in the Dark paint (I do not recommend the brand pictured. More about that in a minute)


Wire and Wire Cutters

2. For some of the jars we did splatter painting instead of full on painted jars. For these we put just a little paint on the brush and then acted like we were washing our hands with the rubba rubba song we sing.

3. For the painted jars, we just poured in a bunch of paint, secured the top on the jar and shooookkkkk the jar until all the sides were covered.

4. Next we poured the excess paint back into the bottle.

5. We set them out to dry.

6. We added the wire around the top and hung them in the trees. And Wahla!

So did you notice the hesitation in the title???  Well, as much fun as we had making them, we had a few issues that didn’t really work so well. The first issue is kinda minor… They were a bit heavy for all the tree branches in my reach..

The second and main issue with the ‘glow in the dark’ jars… They don’t glow in the dark….

I thought, well, maybe it was because we started the project too late in the day and they didn’t get enough sunlight before darkness fell…. Um, no.. We brought some home and left them outside all day and went to check on them once it got dark and no glow….

I guess I should call them ‘reflect the moon and campfire light’ jars, not ‘glow in the dark’ jars. They did reflect some of the light around us, which actually would trick me into thinking they were glowing, but they weren’t. And white paint would have done the same thing if you were going for that effect. I think next time, I’ll try a different type of paint.

I’m kinda obsessed now and want to figure out which is the best paint for the job. Have you used glow in the dark paint? Which kind worked for you??



  1. I LOVE this idea. What brand of paint did you use? I’ll avoid that and report back if I find a brand that works well.

  2. Charity G. says:

    This is awesome. I’ve used Folk Art/Plaid Glow in the Dark Varnish and it glows. In fact, I bought it several (6-8 years ago, and there are still times when it gets enough light i the bottle to surprise me when I turn the lights out. I don’t know how it would work in the jars, but it’s worth a shot.

    They (no Plaid, but I’ve bought some) also make glow in the dark thread (it’s pretty heavy duty) too. That might work to hang the jars if you want some extra glow.

    • lwackerman says:

      Awesome! I’ll have to check it out! I’ll also have to check out the thread. That would be fun to use on the kiddos pj’s!! hmmmm… Very cool! Or on a quilt… Oh, you got me thinking now!!!🙂

  3. You probably have to charge the paint. I know you’re probably thinking “charge paint? This lady is insane!!” but it’s true. To “charge” the paint you have to put it under a lightbulb for a couple of minutes. It’ll stay glowing bright all night if you charge it for long enough. I know from experience of the glow in the dark paints I’ve used for other projects. My children also have matching glow in the dark tee shirts from Disney World that we charge after every wash, or before every wear. Try it that way and report back. Hope I helped! I really do think that that is the problem.

  4. I have found that with glow paint, you get what you pay for…and you usually need to pay a lot but only need to use a little. The best paint I have found has been a spray paint by Alien Concepts. About $11 a can but goes a LONG LONG WAY…because you barely need to spray anything on there to get it to glow. I kid you not…I did a *light* coat of spray on some Halloween Spider egg sacks, exposed it for 15 minutes in the sunlight, and at 2 am it was still glowing (albeit faintly). You get a strong glow with this stuff. I love it and will never buy anything else. Google “alien concepts glow spray paint” and it will show up. Not super for kid crafting maybe, but a great project. BTW…I am going to use this idea but with the alien spray on the inside. Great idea.

  5. I’m about to go camping this week (my first time, venturing out on my own) and don’t have time to experiment with paint so instead… I’ve bought (via online auction) a pack of 100 glow sticks. I plan in using some around the bottom of the tent ropes so I don’t trip over; some on the bottom of drinking flasks, so I can find them in the dark; and if needed, I’ll break some into glass jars (put the lid back on and shake it up) to make some night glows. I don’t know if it will work, and I know these will only be temporary, but I’m hoping they’ll help. If I end up camping more often I might try painting some things with the paint you’ve all mentioned. Thanks everyone!

    • Very prepared! I think you have thought this through more than we do and we go camping quite often! around the bottom of the tent ropes is a great idea! Where are you? It’s too cold and wet to go camping here!

      • I’m in sunny Australia, where we’re currently battling heat waves and bushfire danger. Unfortunately, that means most of our National Parks are closed for the moment. We also can’t have open wood-type fires in most places (and this is most of the year around) so I’ve bought a small hotplate butane gas stove. I have no idea how to keep things cool for long but I’m going to start out at an actual campsite resort, with free gas bbqs, local shops, running water (even showers!) and more.

        Hopefully when the season cools down a little I’ll be able to go a bit more ‘bush’ and go without all those luxuries – and without the higher price tag! The high season still costs about $500 per week to stay in your own tent in one of these ‘holiday parks’!! Yet with the National Parks closed there isn’t much choice though. Once they open, I should be able to stay for about $7 per night.

        If you haven’t gathered already, I’m a bit of an over-planner. I tend to have everything carefully thought-through and mapped out before I go anywhere! I’m not a huge spur-of-the-moment type. Though once I go, I relax and just go with the flow. I don’t pre-book to do things, I just make sure I know all my options, so I’m a total control-freak! (I hope!)

  6. Oops! That should say I’m NOT a total control-freak…lol.

  7. Rustoleum has a product I used in a General Motors Plant in north west Louisiana for emergency power failure as to exit the building quickly. After being charged for about 30 min. the product will glow for up to 4 hours depending on the light source, I used kitchen sponges, cut out shapes of different size stars an dabbed them in the paint an spotted them all over my children’s bedroom ceilings, an they would glow for hours after lights out bedtime. The product line I used was very costly, $140.00 per gallon, but they have a lesser product that cost less but doesn’t glow as long. Go to a professional paint store to start your search.

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