As well as the normal off the shelf glow in the dark decals, you can also get them custom made to your own designs.
Glow in the Dark Vinyl
Custom glow in the dark decals would normally made from phosphorescent vinyl, which would usually come with an integral adhesive backing. The vinyl might then be fixed to something else, such as an aluminium backing. The glow time is limited as with most readily available glow in the dark stickers often in the range of about half an hour after being exposed to a UV light source for about 10 minutes. The time will vary depending on the quality of phosphors used in the vinyl and the UV quality of the light source they are exposed to. Using a black light will naturally provide a constant source of illumination for the decals as long as the light is present.
Glow in the dark vinyl, if purchased, is normally sold in either sheets or rolls similar to normal sign writing vinyl, although it is also possible to buy it in other forms, such as a self adhesive tape similar to normal transparent self adhesive tape.
Making a Decal
A custom decal can be made by printing or sticking the words or images onto the vinyl and then cutting the glow in the dark vinyl into the required shape. If the words or images are printed directly onto the vinyl, what would happen is that these images would then obstruct the light from being absorbed and re-emitted from the vinyl underneath them, so that the design would block out the light making a dark patch on the glow in the dark decal. This effect can also be achieved by sticking adhesive letters and images onto the vinyl.
Alternatively, the images added to the glow in the dark decal could also be made out of glow in the dark vinyl. They would need to be of a vinyl that emitted a different colour, or nothing would be accomplished, but this would make the entire decal glow including the design, and not just the areas left uncovered. This is a more expensive way of doing it, as it requires additional colours of glow in the dark vinyl and using this vinyl in places were something more standard would have been used.
Custom decals, as with standard glow in the dark decals, don’t have a very large range of uses. As they only function in the dark after being exposed to light, their main usage – other than for novelties – is in situations where a sign needs to be seen but no light source is present. For example, emergency signs when the lights are out, or security signs on property. They can also be used in low-light situations where the sign needs to be readable but no normal light source can be used by directing a previously mentioned black light source onto them.
By making or having made custom glow in the dark decals, you are not limited to what is generally available. Specific designs or company logos can be made, rather than using generic decals. The downside of this is the increased cost, so it makes little sense to have a custom decal made of a generic type – such as a glow in the dark ‘EXIT’ sign – without first checking to see if there is anything already on the market that is suitable.