Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Tulip 3D Glow-in-the-Dark Fabric Paint: You Can Paint-in-the-Dark!

Who knew six little bottles could be a huge evening of fun and learning? photo: ilovetocreate.com

WHAT: Tulip 3D Glow-in-the-Dark Fashion Paint
DOES:  you can paint on fabric with glow-in-the-dark-neon paint; thin applicator tip makes raised and well-defined lines; small bottles for easy squeezing for little hands
INVEST: $8-10
TOOLS: Express Yourself (a new medium brings new ideas and challenges), My Body Needs to Move (you'll be moving more if you paint something large, like curtains!)

I really really really did not want to spend any more money on my hideaway bed tent/curtain project.  I truly did not.

I was going to have them just paint on their white sheets with any paint that I found in the house and just call it a day.  I am not a dirty person but these curtains are generally for play and will not be drawn on a daily basis so I wasn't going to wash them. Thus, I didn't care about what kind of paint I would be using. If I do feel the need to wash them, it will likely be time to redecorate anyway.

But after thinking it through, I had to acknowledge, even if it was just to myself that I really wanted to get fabric paint.  Soon I found my feet walking into Michael's, a local art supply chain near me.  That's always a deadly trip.   What's worse is now that I'm smarter about my smart phone and now that my phone is 4G, I am also able to quickly find the Weekly Ads in Michaels.com including the "40% Off-One-Regular-Priced-Item-Coupon" as I'm walking through the aisles trying to find ways to do more damage.  All I have to do is show the cashier the coupon with the bar code at checkout.  It's about 3-5 clicks away from the homepage if you know what you're doing.

Number 2 Son loves to decorate birthday cakes.  The 3D Paint makes it easy to draw over lines.
My camera can't capture glow-in-the-dark but my computer has been working hard to recreate it for you. Imagine two large twin sheet-sized curtains hanging in the kids room full of their glow-in-the-dark creations!  Again, this is just a recreation, the actual colors will present whatever color is in the bottle.

Well, I'm happy to report that I didn't do such horrible damage.  In fact, I was a really good girl and I walked out with just one item: the Tulip 3D Neon-Glow-in-the-Dark Fabric Paint for $8.99 and with the coupon, it literally was just a little over $5 including tax!  Yippee!

Glow-in-the-Dark 3D Paint naturally ends up in some sort of solar system theme.... at least in my house.

You Can Paint with All The Lights Turned Off!

Thanks to the Michaels coupon, for just five bucks, we made some awesome memories as we created two spectacular curtains.   I wish I could show you how beautifully they glow but that is impossible with my camera.  Just know that our two curtains look totally awesome when the lights are out.

This was a ton of fun.  Squeezing tubes of paint together could never be boring.

You can see the glow from both sides of the sheet curtain (it's a thin sheet) too!   Even if part of their art work had some mistakes or are not representing anything recognizable, it still looks awesome.  Dots look awesome.  Blobs look awesome.  Come on, glow-in-the-dark with neon colors???  There is no way it could look bad, especially when you turn off the lights.  The kids kept turning off the lights to see what their creations looked like in the dark and at one point, we didn't bother putting the lights back on.  It was so much fun!

However, even though this activity was a major party for us, I noticed towards the end that Number 1 Son looked a little discontent.

It's really awesome to watch them blast off with their ideas.

It Might Not Be Just a Simple Squeeze....

He would try to draw something and would not be able to do it and I could see, he was having a tough time realizing the vision he had in his head.  For example, he tried to paint a Beyblade and that was just not happening.  I suppose it is because he is 8 years old now.  Number 2, who is 5, was happy making just about anything.  A little circle was Uranus.  Sure, it was.  But Number 1 has higher expectations of himself.

I started looking at his technique.   Have you ever painted from a squeeze bottle?  I doubt it's something anyone is really used to doing.  For grown-ups, it's not too hard to squeeze but I think some kids are just not used to squeezing anything with just one hand.  I think they would hold it as they would hold a ketchup squeeze bottle.  But if you try drawing anything with two hands, you will know, it's not wholly effective.

I should note that the bottles were well-designed.  The points were narrow and so it was easy to make a nicely defined line but still, I was really surprised how much my kids were using both hands to paint with these bottles. I honestly didn't notice anything unusual until Number 1 started looking a little sad but I'm so glad he gave me this clue.  It really opened my eyes.   It's hard to see your work as you are painting with two hands!  You pretty much need to imagine seeing your work as if your eyes were underneath your hands.  Obviously, that is not easy.

It must be a little hard to squeeze the bottles even though it felt completely effortless to me but I now look at this as really great practice whether they are using just one or two hands! Build those finger muscles!

Reduce Frustration: Just a Little Planning Could Help

Thus, as the squeeze bottles started to empty, the kids started getting frustrated.  I didn't know this but I actually had to teach them how to shake it in a way so that you are not flicking neon paint everywhere.  (I learned later in a video that I didn't teach them the most effective method.  Tapping it would have been enough.) The bottles are designed well enough that you really can't flick paint everywhere but still, you just have to meet my boys and you'll know that anything is possible.  Additionally, I tried to teach Number 1 how to use the paint bottle with one hand.  It wasn't easy.

I tried to teach Number 1 Son to use one hand to make lines and shapes.  It wasn't easy.  Picture is dim since we did this at night. 

Thus, I'm making a note to myself next time I do this.  I need to make sure I try to teach Number 1 and 2 how to paint with these little squeeze bottles before they start going crazy all over the fabric.  I also need to do the teaching part when we have a lot of paint in the bottle.  I chose the end of our activity to teach and it was a pain-in-the-butt to hold his attention as I constantly had to shake the paint to the bottom of the bottle to squeeze out the remains.

If I remember correctly, this is how one is supposed to do East Asian calligraphy.  Your arm is resting on nothing.  It gets really tiring.   I think it must be hard for kids to squeeze a paint bottle with one hand suspended in mid-air.  Now I know how they must feel and why they used two hands. 

So as you can see above, I did eventually teach Number 1 Son how to paint with a squeeze bottle.  It reminded me of those times when I took an Asian calligraphy class.  I did that just for a few days and it was TOTALLY HARD!!!!    In the class, we were taught to steady our bodies and keep our wrists steady as we created swift strokes.  Painting with these squeeze bottles reminded me of this technique. If you are making something small, you can lean against the table or floor but if you are making something larger and want to swirl around, then you will have to keep your trunk, arm, shoulder, and wrist steady!   Who knew how fitting this activity would be for my active boys but it makes a lot of sense.  They always need practice holding themselves steady. 

Having completed this exercise, I can empathize with how a kid might feel when he is at the age where he doesn't understand why he can't  recreate exactly what is in his mind.   I think I used at least 40 sheets of paper to make this character.*

Even though I could tell Number 1 was getting frustrated not being able to make what he wanted to make using his skills.  I was happy to be there to help him figure things out.  If I was an even better parent, I would have gone online and found the website for Tulip Paint and printed out some helpful tips.  There is even a video (see below).   There were some tips written on the back of the package which I barely got to read because Number 1 tore it open the minute he saw it while exclaiming, "You're the best mom in the world!"

He ended up making some really awesome creations that day.  Both kids did. Now I feel like painting everything with this fabric paint, especially now that I watched the video.  Squeezing the bottle is fun and walking around one big sheet to make a bunch of little pictures that would become a large mural was an amazing way to spend an evening.  Additionally, because we know more now, I think my kids could open their eyes to creating new things that they do not usually make with paint because there are things you can do with this paint that you can't do with others.  Reminding them of these possibilities will help manage frustration and expectations and also open them to the practice of taking a new medium and making the most out of it.

It's nice to be able to do a planet and stars theme.  Number 2 has been really into space lately. 
I look forward to making more sheets with different designs with my guys.  Maybe we can even do a summer blanket!  The paint we used dried quickly and while I don't plan on running it in the wash for a while, my gut feeling is that it will hold up through washes.  I say this because I managed to find a strand of my hair in the paint after it dried.  For the life of me, I COULD NOT GET IT OUT.  That's some pretty strong 3D paint!   I think I'll try their fabric markers next time but I have a feeling my boys will want those squeeze bottles again.  (Shhh... there are metallic colors too! I can already see them painting trains.)

What else can I say..... who can resist squeezing neon-colored glow-in-the-dark paint bottles with all the lights turned off?  For less than $10 dollars they made one seriously fun memory that they will be reminded of every night before they go to sleep.  It really doesn't get much better than that!

NOW YOU CAN WIN your own six pack of Glow in the Dark Paint!!!  There are three six packs to be won! One per each winner (total 3 winners).  Prizes can be shipped to U.S and Canada..... it's all good- you are included!  Ends 04/10/2012  at 12:01 AM

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Can't wait for the giveaway? Pick up a six-pack today! It's an excellent value.  It made  fantastic art all over two twin sheets! Click image:

*If you are curious.  The Chinese character I practiced painting is pronounced shim in Korean. (Don't know how to say it in Mandarin Chinese.  I think it is sum in Cantonese)  It means "heart and mind" but it actually reflects a singular thing rather than two things as seen in a Western viewpoint.   This is a root base for the word "psychology."

** Other last minute tips: Shake the bottle VERY well prior to use to ensure the paint is well mixed.  We definitely did because we love to shake stuff but I've been told that if the bottle has been hanging in the store for a while, the paint may have separated a bit and shaking it thoroughly will prevent any issues.  Also, I've been advised that readers should know that the glow paints will be colored as you see them in the bottle during daylight; in the dark, the colors will be very similar.  I need to remind folks here that this is normal and I agree, when you see it glow though, they will be thrilled!!!  Seriously, try doing it at night, when you can turn off all the lights!

Disclosure statement: Toys are Tools has not been compensated in any fashion by the manufacturer or retailer of any of the mentioned products for the publication of this post.  The product reviewed was purchased by me as stated above.    The video was embedded with the permission of  Duncan Enterprises Company.


  1. I really love the idea of doing this in the dark. I think my kids would flip for this!

  2. my son and daughter would love this. Its a cool idea to make curtains for their room

  3. my son spend the most time on something he ever has.. last summer with crayola glow in the dark and paint.. he has adhd.. and NF1... and I am always looking for new fun toys as tools.. great idea for a giveaway. My name is LisaRenee ciancio-Fogarty on facebook and email is eatmywords40@yahoo.com

  4. In truth, I like how you described everything. I related to your Michael's buying (I had to give up Micheal's while we are on a family spending diet, even with 40% off coupons, b/c that store is just toooo tempting!) I also appreciate you describing your son's frustrations with it and lessons learned. You are such an introspective mum/teacher. Finally, to attend to the question you asked on the contest form: I think the 3d aspect is cool and can actually envision - if I had the time - making glow in the dark, 3d montessori-inspired sandpaper letter aleternatives. I also like the idea od trying fabric painting with my littles.

  5. You are killing my Amazon bill ;-) It's in my cart for next time I have 25 dollars of free shipping accumulated...

  6. Mel, Thanks for your comment. So happy to hear it's in your shopping cart! You should still try to enter the giveaway anyway. I am so sure that you'll want another pack as soon as you are done with your first set! We squeezed our bottles until the very last drop!- Jenn

  7. For my daughter's bday last year we did tie dye t-shirts, but this is a great idea for a sleepover activity. I think i'll be buying this as gifts for my daughter's friends. Thanks for sharing!

  8. pinned it!! love it!

  9. I think my daughter will love the 3D and the glow in the dark but really, I think more than anything I think she'll just like fabric paint. Thanks for the video. I wouldn't have thought to look at one before starting.- MONICA

  10. This looks great! I think our art teacher could use this.

  11. The paint on the curtains sounds like it'd really help us get to "lights out" with wonder and anticipation. Painting the sheets a little might be fun too.