Setting Up Black Light For A Neon Party
by Ann Mifsud
The first time we wanted to organize a neon party at home, we had a lot to learn with regards to black light, even though we had a fairly good idea of different kinds of light. We knew that lighting equipment, particularly black light, is the main element that distinguishes a glow in the dark party.
Getting it right was crucial for us, as compromizing on the success of our son’s birthday party was not an option. We needed to learn a few basic specifications that set black light apart from other types of light.
Having gone through the trouble ourselves, it came very natural to us to want to share it with you. We wanted to make things easier for you to plan your neon party event and answer all your questions on using black light at your glow in the dark party.
Setting up black light for a neon party involves having enough ultra-violet light sources to cover all party area from different angles. As a general rule, 1 watt of UV light is adequate for a small area of 100 square feet (9 square meters). You have to have at least two sources of black light set apart at different angles to have all party items and guests exposed to UV light at all times.
Black light is nothing but ultra-violet light emitted by UV light sources. When such light is cast on white and highlighter material in a darkened environment, a mesmerizing glow effect is generated.
Other equipment can be used to maximize the “wow” effect already produced by UV light. Strobe lights, lasers, fairy lights, fog machines and soap bubble machines, though not essential as black light itself, add up to the overall jaw-dropping atmosphere created at the neon party venue.
If you want to know all it takes to create a black light party at home, here’s The Ultimate Kids Glow Party Guide: How To Create Magic.
The Ultimate Kids Glow Party Guide: How To Create Magic
A significant milestone in your kid’s life may be approaching, and you’re eager to leave a lasting impression on them and their friends. Undoubtedly, hosting a kids glow party to celebrate in style is the perfect choice!
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How much blacklight do you need to attain the desired glow effect at a neon party?
Your main objective here is to have all reflective items at your glow party venue receive enough UV light from at least two different angles.
To put you in the picture these items include the decorations, food items going around, all the props to be used in the activities and the outfits worn by your guests.
By having more than one UV light source, you will ensure that shadows cast from moving objects or persons won’t hinder anything from getting enough black light at any given time.
As a rule of thumb, 1 watt of UV light is adequate for an area of 100 square feet (9 square meters).
However, note that the wattage shown on UV light products is only indicative of how much electricity they consume. It is not equal to the amount of UV light wattage needed for a specific area. Most modern LED black light products only have a fluorescent efficiency value of roughly 20%.
That means that a 10W LED light source produces about 2W of black light.
Thus for example, if you’re going for UV flood lights, in an area of 200 square feet (18 square meters) you would need to place two-10W products, facing each other at an angle between 120 and 180 degrees, at a height that exceeds an average person’s height. For a larger venue it is safe to go for these 50W flood lights.
If instead you go for UV LED strips, attach them at a height of 2 or 3 meters all around the four walls of the room where the party is being held. These 24W LED strips for example are excellent to achieve a sufficient glow effect in a venue of 200 square feet (18 square meters).
Contrastingly, if the neon party is going to be held outdoors, glow party LED bars (wall washers) will do a good job, given that outdoor spaces tend to be larger and possibly affected by some lighting from neighboring houses, street lights or even moonlight. Use the same rule of thumb above and add an extra light source or two, to be on the safe side.
Additional equipment for a neon party
If you choose to include strobe lights, one unit will be enough. You don’t want to overcast the glow effect from the black light by too much flashing white light.
Laser lights can also add excitement to the atmosphere, especially when used at particular moments during the party, say, when it is time to open the dance floor.
Pro Tip: By not using all the light effects at one go you can create an element of surprise which continues to add to the uniqueness of a glow in the dark experience.
Moreover, a fog machine will certainly add more wonder to the place as a whole. As with strobe lights and lasers it would be advisable to use smoke sporadically at your glow in the dark party.
Another idea, especially if you have younger guests, is to get a soap bubble machine. Find our recipe to make bubble soap that glows under UV light in our activities guide at a neon party. (Coming soon)
Consider using fairy lights to heighten the charming effect, especially in areas that you want as center of attraction, like the food table or the photo booth.
To learn how to organize a neon party from A to Z, you can go through our 13 Steps To A Successful Neon Party.
Is black light safe to use during a neon party?
The ultra-violet light sources that we are suggesting to be used in a glow party are UV-A ones. These cause absolutely no harm to youngsters when they are exposed to them for a couple of hours. UV-A rays are very close to visible purple light. According to Cancer Council,
“Exposure to UVA from black lights is well below the recognised safe limits and is not hazardous to people using them, working in their vicinity or who have them in their home. Exposure from black lights would be much lower than your exposure to UVA outdoors.”
On top of that, if you will be using UV LED strips, you won’t be having intense light from one or two sources but mild emission from multiple sources of black light.
On the other hand, if you’re using UV flood lights, you should be mindful not to let anyone stare for a prolonged period of time at these light sources. It is basically the same reason you wouldn’t stare at the sun in broad daylight. Added to this, as an extra precautionary measure, you should always try to set up UV lights as high and as further away as possible, without however, underming the glow effect.
Setting up black light for a neon party at home is easy to achieve when one takes into consideration the recommendations discussed in this article.
It is important that there is the needed amount of ultra violet light for the area one wants to light up. Keep in mind that two black light sources to cover all items and guests from different angles, are the very minimum.
Our experience with black light parties at home is that it is one of the simplest but very effective way to amaze your guests. So if you’re looking to create that extra special effect at your tween’s or teen’s birthday party, consider throwing a neon party.
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Hi I'm Ann
Mom to three kids, I am the proud co-founder of Easy Kids' Parties. After a career in journalism and education, I diverted my skills to creating this website, with the aim of helping all those parents out there who wish to organize amazing and memorable parties for their kids but feel overwhelmed at the idea. Discover more...
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