How to Make Fluorescent Dye




Fluorescent dye glows a bright neon yellow when exposed to an ultra violet light source. This is ideal for dying T-Shirts and coloring paper, however, some fabrics may not "stain" very well.

Supplies for this project:

  • 1 Highlighter
  • 15 Milliliters Water
  • 1 Plastic Cup or other collection container
  • 1 Pair of Scissors (Optional)
  • 1 Tweezers (Optional)
  • 1 Pair of Gloves (Optional)

Disclaimer: I used gloves to prevent the ink from staining my hands. If the label on the highlighter says "Non-Toxic" then you should be fine with out them, however don't drink the ink or put it in your eyes. Repeat under your own risk!


Step 1: Open the Highlighter and Slide the Plastic Tube Out.

Pry the end cap off the highlighter body and carefully slide the ink tube out. Be ready to catch any spills - some ink may have escaped the tube during the removal process.

Step 2: Hold Firmly and Squeeze Over a Container.

Hold the end of the tube over the collection container and squeeze for several seconds - maybe even minutes. The tube should look be complete white (as seen in the next step) after squeezing.

Step 3: Analyze Your Dye

After vigorously squeezing, and adding water, the felt tube should have lost all it's color and yielded about 50 ml of concentrated florescent dye.

Step 4: Turn on the UV Light!

Finally the exciting step! Turn off the regular lights and power on the ultraviolet lamp. The ink will emit an eerie green glow that will last pretty much forever.



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    15 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome! Do you think you could put it in a vial and tape a ultra-violet light to it without it exploding? Then you could save it for emergencies. Cool man, I wish they had a star rating system so I could rate this. Good DIY thinking!


    6 months ago

    Anyone thought of dye lasing with prisms and dyes. Maybe a Nitrogen laser. I plan to buy a expensive 200 mw 405 nm laser that fluoresces a lot of things. Most can be found on eBay.


    1 year ago

    I plan to make Glow in the dark UV Pigment (Tide soap blue HD, Green Dishwasher Palmolive Soap detergent, concentrated fluorescent, etc). Here some images. It takes a while to make. I think this for me would good Instructable.


    3 years ago

    When the lactose cannot be converted and most of the glucose has been used up then the protein creates ammonia which creates urea (a very weak base).


    3 years ago

    The silver may also (for silver + dye) indicate that the bacteria creates an acid but over time the silver changes the pathways of glucose and lactose by disrupting sugar enzymes that convert lactose into glucose and galactose.

    The dye alone has very little effect on the slope or values. The normal values of time vs amplified ph by 2000 plots are not as erratic as the silver and dye results.


    3 years ago

    I use the powder sodium fluorescence powder at concentrations of 4% to see if I can destroy or inhibit the growth of friendly bacteria.

    Silver 380 mg, sodium fluorescence 400 mg, Milk powder 2.6 g and glucose 5.2 g.


    Time Hrs Ph amplified.

    0 4.61

    24 4.43

    48 4.22

    72 4.71

    96 4.91

    Here is the same results with dilution 2000 times without any silver.

    Hrs Amp ph

    Hours ph amp

    0 4.53

    24 4.83

    48 4.89

    72 3.89

    96 3.79

    Big difference is that ph values for silver plus dye vs dye ph is that the growth of bacteria are slightly lower than the dye without silver.

    R2 values.

    SIlver + Dye : 0.8241 out of 1.

    Dye - Silver : 0.7702 out of 1.

    These R2 values also indicate that silver + Dye has a more unpredictable slope may be because of the silver. Without Silver the ph the value has a more accurate data even if the R2 values are lower!


    3 years ago

    can you put it in your hair.


    4 years ago

    I did this for a project last year, diluted the dye in water, and put it in a sealed jar. I discovered after a few months that lower quality highliters create a residue that hangs in the water.