Even as an adult, there’s still something fascinating about glow-in-the-dark stuff. You don’t have to be part of the raver/EDC set to get a kick out of things that glow. Think back to when you were a kid, when glow sticks or black lights were added to the function, things were lit. If you ever played laser tag as a kid, the whole “black-light-everything” vibe made battling your friends that much better. Even if you weren’t wearing something that was specifically made with glow-in-the-dark material, the black light created the illusion that you were glowing. Of course, having glow-in-the-dark swag is indeed possible in 2016.
The past couple months the Lace Lab/Angelus Direct family cooked up something special for all the sneaker customizers and sneakerheads out there. Over at Angelus, they created a glow acrylic leather paint that has been met with community approval. Check the #angelusglow thread to see people’s progress. And at Lace Lab, they put out three different glow laces; one in classic Reflective Flat, one in 3M, and one in Rope. Check out #swapornot for shoelace glow inspiration.
There are a couple of ways to pull off glow in your sneakers. You could rock a pair of glow shoelaces as a subtle touch to your sneakers when the lights go down. Or you could use the glow paint like sneaker artists Orlando Customs.
Have you ever wondered how to make things glow? The more scientific name for things that are glow-in-the-dark would be phosphorescent. Phosphorescent means that this material, be it paint or fabric is made with phosphors, or materials that emits light. This phenomenon is called luminescence, or the ability to produce light without being heated. Essentially, the light given off is a result phosphors trapping light.
Much like a cell phone, phosphorescent materials needs to charge up so-to-speak. The term to describe this is “energized.” After the phosphors are exposed to light for a prolonged period of time, they release. What we see is the “glow” in the glow-in-the-dark. Maybe the only good part about Daylight Saving Times is that you now have more time to charge up your glow-in-the-dark laces.
Now the phosphors themselves are typically made from a mixture of zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate. The exact mixture is going to vary depending on what you want to glow, what color (or shade) you want it, and how long you want it to glow for. To make plastic glow, you’ll need a different “phosphor cocktail” than you would for fabric or paint.
Of course, unless you’re a chemist or was really into science growing up, avoid mixing these elements together on your own. That being said, you’re in good hands with the Lace Lab/Angelus Direct family mixing them up.