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Are you wondering if you can make a blacklight with LEDs? We’ve put together this guide to show you how to make a blacklight with LED light strips. By the end of this guide, you should be able to use locally available resources to make your own black lights using LED strips.
- How to Make a Blacklight with LED Light Strips
- How Black Lights Work
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Make a Blacklight with LED Light Strips
There are several ways you can make a black light with LEDs. We will look at 2 common ways you can use from the comfort of your home.
Method 1: Using a Remote Control
For this to work, you need to buy good LED strip lights that come with a remote. Not all of them do so take note of what’s in the box of the LED strip lights you intend to buy prior to the purchase.
What you Will Need
- LED Light Strips
- Stable Power Source
- Install and connect the strips to the power source properly.
- Turn on your LED light strips.
- Press any DIY Color Setting button on the remote.
- Press the red color button 25 times.
- Press the blue color button 25 times.
This is a pretty straightforward process so if you have already installed the LED strips, all you have to do is press the remote.
As you press the buttons on your remote control, your LED light strips will begin changing color until you get a desired blacklight color effect. While this might not be as perfect as commercial blacklight, it is the closest you can achieve using LED light strips.
In case your LED strips don’t come with remote control, you can try our second method below.
Method Two: Using Transparent Tape
In case you don’t have a remote, or it spoils along the way, there is a manual way you can manipulate each LED light in the strip to give you similar results. In this method, you will rely on the basis of manually blocking off visible light to retain UV light.
This method is a bit tedious and might not be a good fit for you if you don’t have the time. It is usually used to turn smartphone LED flash into blacklights. So, we only recommend this method if you are turning a small number of LED strips into blacklight.
What you Need
- White LED light strip
- Transparent tape
- A purple and a blue marker
- Count the number of individual LEDs in the strip.
- Cut small pieces of the transparent tape, equivalent to the number of LEDs, in groups of three.
- Put the first piece of tape on every LED and color them blue with the marker.
- Layer it with the second piece of tape all round and color them blue as well.
- Add the third piece on each and color them purple.
- Ensure you completely cover each light.
- Switch on your white LED light strip and try it out.
You can use colored cellophane instead of tape. However, you will still need transparent tape to keep the pieces in place. Besides, as long as you have 3 colored layers, you do not need to put them in this exact order. Follow the same procedure and you will have yourself a DIY black light.
Ideally, using the remote method remains the easiest way. On matters of quality, this DIY blacklight is of lower quality in comparison to a legit commercial blacklight. Nevertheless, it works great in a pinch and helps a room achieve an ultraviolet kind of lighting.
How Black Lights Work
Black lights consist mostly of ultraviolet light, a light beyond the visible light range on the spectrum, more to the violet side. This is why you can’t see it even though you can feel its energy as heat. Specifically, black lights produce the lesser harmful UVA light.
Some things glow when under a black light. Such materials or substances are phosphors. When UV radiation hits them, they convert its energy to visible light, hence the glow. If you see your shirt or marker glowing in blacklight, it means it is a phosphor.
The most common phosphors shine in bright, neon colors such as orange, green and pink. White also glows in blacklight naturally. When you make a DIY black light, you can use any phosphor around you to test if it works effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions people mostly ask concerning black lights.
Why Does a Black Light Make Things Glow?
Black lights have invisible ultraviolet (UVA) light. On the other hand, there are substances known as phosphors. They turn radiation into visible light. Therefore, when UV radiation from a black light hits any phosphor material, it changes the energy from a black light into visible light.
What Glows with a Blacklight?
Any phosphor glows in black light. Examples of phosphors include tonic water, neon colors, fluorescent minerals, some bodily fluids, some vitamins, chlorophyll, and white paper. On the fun fact side, scorpions also glow under a black light.
Moreover, observing people under a black light makes us seem to have stripes called Blaschko’s lines.
Why is Blacklight Purple?
Black light is just a tag. Logically, there can’t be black light. The term refers to an energy band of purple light that is in the ultraviolet frequency part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The purple is a visible leakage the eyes perceive after the black light stimulates both blue and red receptors.
This explains why in the remote control method, we press both red and blue color buttons 25 times each.
What Can You Do With a Black Light?
One popular use of black lights is during glow in the dark parties. This is where you use a range of neon-colored objects, costumes, decorations, or face paint that glows in the dark under certain lights.
People love these types of parties because it deviates from the norm, and it’s very fun. They are also used as Halloween décor, to bring out that scary environment.
In other cases, law enforcement officers use blacklights to solve crimes. Blacklight can detect several materials in a crime scene like bodily fluids that glow under UV-A light. Additionally, authorities use it to authenticate banknotes, antiques, and old paintings worth millions.
In medicine, black lights detect conditions such as psoriasis and vitiligo. Besides, when an infant has jaundice, the pediatrician subjects him or her to UV therapy.
What’s the Difference Between UV Light and Blacklight?
To begin with, black light is a type of Ultraviolet light. The only difference is that a black light emits very little visible light while UV is totally invisible. With a black light, the subtle visible light present makes your eyes perceive it as ‘black’. If you use UV light only, the whole place will be totally dark.
Now that you know how to make a blacklight with LED light strips, feel free to try it out using any of the two methods discussed above. It is a simple and quick process you can do the next time you need a blacklight. Don’t forget to be careful and practical when connecting the strips to avoid voltage drops and other electrical issues.