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Glowing veins with a head-mounted UV blacklight

All > Fashion > Clothing > Costumes > Glowing veins with a head-mounted UV blacklight by natetrue
When faced with a dilemma on what costume to wear last Halloween, I decided to spice up a monk costume. My friends always played with highlighter on our faces when under a blacklight, and it gave a great glowing face-paint effect, but I wanted to be able to roam freer than that, not having to be under a blacklight for the effect to work.

So I decided to make a head-mounted blacklight with some leftover LEDs from my Time Fountain project (which I purchased on eBay - search for uv leds). Here I just used four of them, but if you're reproducing this project I suggest you use more. The effect was fairly dim.

The rig is fairly simple - constructed out of 1/16" brass rod (welding rod - low fuming brass, no flux), soldered together, and painted black. The rods themselves act as the cathodes for the LEDs and some more wires act as the anodes. They're connected through a switch to a rechargeable 3.6v Lithium-Ion battery (NP-700 battery).
Each of the LEDs is sawn off so that the chip inside acts as a point source rather than a directional light. All sides of the LED except the front are painted black to prevent the purple light from escaping.
As a finishing touch, I mixed fluorescein also from my Time Fountain project with normal contact lens solution fluid. This dyed my contact lenses (I wear contact lenses) with the fluorescent color, making them glow in the UV light, too. The effect wears off after a few hours from the rinsing effect of tears, so I had to reapply pretty often.

Fluorescent boogers ahoy!
The effect was pretty cool, I'd say.
Bonus 3-d image of the rig. Cross your eyes to see it - if you can, it will give you a better idea of the form of the rig.

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Posted by dwalk 8 years ago ( 22-Dec-2006 14:38:02 )

I hate '3D' images. they suck

Posted by natetrue 8 years ago ( 22-Dec-2006 14:56:02 )

Why do you hate 3d images? I enjoy their depth.

Posted by brenda 8 years ago ( 02-Mar-2007 16:24:01 )

yeah man, quit hatin'!

Posted by alapon 7 years ago ( 22-Aug-2008 11:52:39 )

This idea is really awesome, Nate!

I have a question for you is about the fluorescein that you used to dye your contacts. On eBay, I have found a 40% solution of fluorescein sodium. Is this what you used? If so, did you experience any discomfort while using the dye?

Do you recommend using contacts with UV protection?

Do you suppose that highlighter fluid could be just as effective?

Thanks for taking the time to read my question. :-)


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