I'm working on a college project which involves blacklight. I know about the blacklight sensitive paint which glows when exposed to the blacklight. I also know that some papers are sensitive as well. I want to know if there are any specific types of paper that are sensitive to blacklight. Or is it just based on the colors?

  • 2
    Could you clarify what you're looking for here? A google search for "uv light paper" turns up a store selling "sun sensitive paper", and many colored papers will fade when exposed to sunlight. So I'm not sure if you're trying to figure out what makes that happen, or what material will avoid / have that effect, or something else?
    – user812786
    Jan 27, 2017 at 18:58
  • I've edited the question with some context. I basically want to know if there are some specific type of papers which are sensitive to blacklight just as blacklight paint. Jan 27, 2017 at 21:41
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    ... yes... they're called "blacklight paper" or "UV light paper"... which is what whrrgarbl already said. Are you looking for paper that isn't specifically made for this purpose? Something that's incidentally black light reactive?
    – Catija
    Jan 27, 2017 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


Paper brighteners used in modern papers contain fluorescent materials that make the paper glow under a black light. Bright white paper will actually glow fairly well.

Any paper that's been treated with these types of brighteners will glow under a black light. Typically, you'll see that neon colors are going to be the "brightest", and so they will glow the best.

In this case, it's not anything to do with what the material is made from, but how it's colored/treated. The chemicals are called Optical Brightening Agents, and are used in a wide variety of products to add fluorescence. Think of any neon/fluorescent paint, crayons, safety vests, etc. The OBAs work by reflecting invisible (to us) UV light as just-visible blue light, which is why they glow.

  • Is that true of most commercial plain white paper then?
    – Matt
    Jan 30, 2017 at 2:01
  • @Matt Yeah. Paper has brightness scales, too, so brighter is treated more. From what I found out, paper pre-1950s wasn't treated, but since then most is. I think you'd have to get specialty white paper to not have it.
    – user24
    Jan 30, 2017 at 2:03

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