Before I jump in and start talking about Val’s birthday I thought I’d give some tips and tricks to planning a neon, glow, black light party.
First thing you should do. Buy a black light flashlight. I bought a little one at Walmart, but I’d suggest ordering one off Amazon or something. Mine was not as strong as I would have liked. This little device will help immensely when you are at stores trying to decide if things are going to glow. Yeah you might look a bit strange shining it on everything, but it will save you a lot of time and money later. I didn’t buy my flashlight until after I had purchased a bunch of stuff that I thought would glow and founds out later that it didn’t. Learn from my mistakes! Just because it looks neon green does not mean it will glow, boooo I know.
Next up, think outside of the box! There are not very many options when it comes to neon/glow/black light decorations at a party store. And those places are beyond overpriced anyway. I ended up using lots of office supplies like post its, stickers, card stock, paper, tape, even price tags! This ended up being much more economical and unique.
The black lights. This is the biggest and first thing you should figure out when planning a glow party. I did a ton of price comparing on line and in stores and this will be the biggest expense, so be prepared. If your city/state has an online marketplace for used goods look there first! Here in Utah we have a site called ksl.com classifieds and that is where I actually got several of the fixtures for our party for super cheap. I got two of the 48″ fixtures with bulbs for only $20 and then 4 24″ fixtures with bulbs for $16. That ended up not being nearly enough, so off to Home Depot we went. Home Depot was the cheapest option for buying new black lights for us. We already had fixtures so we just needed more bulbs. Online, most black lights will be from American DJ and a single tube 48″ fluorescent light and fixture on Amazon is $34.99. This will be the cheapest option if you need both fixtures and lights. At a home improvement store you will pay around $15 for 1 48″ bulb, plus the cost of the fixture. You can also buy black lights in bulk on ebay. If you lots of fixtures lying around or can get them used, this would be a great option.
As luck would have it, my sister in law was able to find me a very generous dude who works for a local theater here and he let me borrow a bunch of LED black lights from them! This was amaze balls since I was going to spend quite a bit of money on more lights. Thanks Haley, & Kacey for the hookup!!
So how many lights do you need? Lighting an indoor space is easiest and requires the least amount of lights. I’d say you need to pick your spaces to light first and then decide. We lit the dessert area with one 48″ black light fixture (2 bulbs), the hallway with 2 CFL bulbs, and the bathroom with 2 24″ fixtures and 1 CFL bulb. For our walls in the great room we used the LED black lights, 6 of them. But if we didn’t have those I would have used 2 more additional 48″ 2 bulb fixtures to light the area. Our house is pretty small so it’s not hard to light, but it will take more fixtures than you think, so plan accordingly. Pick the areas that are the most important and focus on lighting those.
Ok, boring stuff done!
Here is the entrance to our house. Val painted a big piece of cardboard with yellow paint we had lying around (didn’t glow, but cute in the light) and I painted the lettering. My mistake… using black to paint the sign, duh! At the friend party I was smacking myself.
The next day I painted it will florescent orange craft paint for the family party, much better. The pink streamers are actually flagging tape. Super cheap and glows great. The green is just ribbon and didn’t glow, but was cute.
Neon poster board, a must buy. Found it the cheapest at Dollar Tree, 69 cents.
By the front door I put an old frame we painted neon pink and had papers the guests could use for writing birthday wishes on.
Out front we also had glow necklaces and T-shirt strips for guest to add glow to themselves. Yeah the pic is indoors, but it was sooooo windy and rainy we waited until the last second to put everything outside. More on our weather dilemma later.
The best site for bulk glow sticks is coolglow.com they have a great selection and quality products. The dollar store is also a great option, but you will find comparable prices in bulk online and get more selection. Like the multicolor glow necklaces!
T-shirt strips are just that, old T-shirts cut to make loops and then stretched. They make great scarves and are just fun.
These next pics are of the dessert area. I used an old fabric board from a previous party, cheap white fabric, and craft paint for the GLOW backdrop. All the walls I hung black plastic and then went wild with flagging tape and paper decorations that we made.
A thanks and and shout out to my sis in law Alli for taking all these awesome photos! You can see more of her work here where she did the photography for Val’s neon photo shoot.
That’s where I’m ending today. Stay tuned next post for decorating the hallway, bathroom, and other areas for a glowtastic time!!