How To Make Neon Colors With Acrylic Paint! (Glow In The Dark)

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With neon paints making a come back for both traditional canvas or paper based artwork as well as body art, we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask a range of different questions about using neon colors. One of the more popular questions that we have noticed people reaching out for advice on is how to make neon colors with acrylic paints.

Although there are some unique properties of neon paints, provided that you have the correct base reagents, mainly a cheap neon pigment powder, you are usually able to make your own neon colors with your acrylic paints at home. That said though, if you want true neon colors, especially ones that will glow in the dark then going with some cheap neon acrylic paints will almost always be your best option.

We know that a large number of people from the arts and crafts community do prefer to make as many of their paints from scratch as possible and see it as a part of the process though. As we know we have a number of people like this amongst our readers, we wanted to put this article out covering the two main ways that you are able to make neon colors with acrylic paint at home.

How To Make Neon Colors With Acrylic Paint!

The most popular way to make neon colors with acrylic paint at home is to take a suitable acrylic paint from your collection and add the relevant neon pigment powder to it. For example, a red acrylic paint will have a red neon pigment powder added to it and this method tends to help keep your initial costs as low as possible as you are already using the paints that you currently have in your collection.

If you are deadset on making your own neon colors using acrylic paints then a cheap set of vibrant color acrylics tends to drastically improve your results. This offers you the benefit of having the regular acrylic paints available without the neon properties for future artwork if required. If you are only picking up a set of vibrant acrylic paints to make neon colors though, just going with a set of cheap neon acrylic paints from the start will probably be the best option.

When it comes to actually mixing your neon pigment powder with your acrylic paints you simply take a small amount of your base acrylic paint and add a small amount of the correct colored powder to it. Due to the pigmentation of the acrylic paint, you usually do need a surprisingly high amount of the neon pigment powder for the neon and glow in the dark properties to take hold though.

Even though you will be adding a large amount of the pigment, we would always recommend that you add it to your paints in stages of small amounts of pigment. Although this does take time to build up the color, it offers you the best control over the final color by working your way upto what you are working towards in stages allowing you to taper off the amount of pigment you add each time if needed.

It is considerably easier to add additional neon pigment to your acrylic paint to enhance the effect than it is to add more acrylic paint or gesso to decrease it. Although it may seem like adding small amounts of pigment in stages and then mixing it with your acrylic paints will take too long, if you do overdo it then counterbalancing your paints will take considerably longer.

Unlike some other pigment options on the market, a decent neon pigment powder should not cause any issues with your paints attaching to your canvas or paper during application or when drying either. There are a number of low quality neon pigment powders on the market that have a number of issues with them so always try to go with a good set of cheap pigments like the ones we recommended above.

How To Make Neon Colors With Acrylic Gesso!

A decent, clear gesso acrylic can work wonders in a number of situations for anyone involved in acrylic painting and you are also able to use it to make your own glow in the dark, neon acrylic paints too. Although you are able to use a white gesso if you already have it in your collection to keep costs down, a clear gesso is always going to be the better option when it comes to neon colors.

The process is very similar to mixing your neon pigment powder to your acrylic paints with you adding small amounts of your pigment to your clear gesso in stages and mixing the two together each time. If you are using a clear gesso, you really don’t need that much pigment to get a nice solid neon color but if you are using a white gesso then you will need considerably more pigment with the end result usually being worse.

The consistency of your neon gesso based acrylic paint can depend on the type of neon pigment that you use to get the colors you want but the majority of the time, it tends to be an easier route to take then to add the pigment to an actual acrylic paint, especially if you use a clear gesso product. Depending on what you are going to be doing and the time you have available to make your neon colors, it is probably going to be a better option to just go with a set of cheap neon acrylic paints.

How To Make Neon Colors By Mixing Paint!

If you are using a a cheap set of vibrant color acrylics then you are usually able to mix the different colors of your paints together to make pretty much any color that you could ever want that will be close to neon. Although it will not glow in the dark unless you add a neon pigment powder to these paints, they are still probably the best option for making neon colors by actually mixing acrylic paints with each other.

If you are using regular acrylic paints then this is considerably more difficult as they simply don’t have the correct pigment set to make neon colors or to glow in the dark. Even if you mix a regular acrylic paint with a vibrant color, the regular acrylic paint tends to dominate the mixture and remove the vibrancy from it.

This is why so many people end up disappointed when they try to make their own neon colors with acrylic paints as they tend to only have regular acrylic paints in their collection. So many people fail to realize that the neon pigments are specialist pigments that are not commonly used in regular acrylic-based artwork and this is why it is usually better to buy an actual set of neon acrylic paints for your artwork.

How Do You Keep Neon Acrylic Paint Bright?

One of the main problems with making your own neon colors from acrylic paint is that most of the homemade methods tend to have their color fade quickly due to exposure to the elements. Thankfully, this is quick, easy, and cheap to prevent and the majority of our readers who are into their acrylic painting will probably already have the tools they require at home.

In our opinion, the best option is to use a thin layer of Liquitex varnish on top of your neon acrylic paints once they are dry. This will offer excellent protection to your artwork on your canvas or paper and help ensure that it maintains its bright colors for as long as possible without it fading.

Although other varnishes can work to a similar degree, Liquitex is usually considered to be the best option, especially when it comes to maintaining the brightness of neon colors. If you are just practising your neon artwork with your acrylic paints though, you can use almost any varnish product to see how its results turn out.


That brings our article going over how you are able to make neon colors with acrylic paint at home to an end. We have covered a number of different options that you are able to use to your advantage to make your own neon paints to try and ensure that we are able to help as many of our readers as possible across all budgets. Thankfully, neon acrylic paints and the various methods to make them tend to be cheap so should fit the majority of our readers budgets.