What Is Glow-in-the-Dark Yarn and Where Can I Get Some?

glow-in-the-dark yarn in light and darkness

The Spruce / Sarah E. White

Glow-in-the-dark yarn is a fun product that several yarn companies have made available. It's popular at Halloween, giving homemade costumes a spooky glow as trick-or-treaters are out in the dark. But there may be other times when you might want to use a glowing variety of yarn in projects. For instance, glow-in-the-dark yarn can be good for headbands or ear warmers worn by people who run or walk at night, as well as for children's clothing that might be worn during the dark winter months.

What Is Glow-in-the-Dark Yarn?

Glow-in-the-dark yarn typically takes one of two forms: It either has a reflective thread woven into it, or the yarn is treated with fluorescent dye. The reflective thread can be woven into any color yarn; however, the fluorescent dye typically works best on light colors of yarn. Moreover, while the reflective thread will work continuously whenever it catches light in the dark, the fluorescent nature of the dye usually fades over time. 

Varieties of Glow-in-the-Dark Yarn

Bernat introduced its popular yarn called Glow in the Dark in 2008, but it has since been discontinued. It worked by putting the yarn under light for five minutes, after which the yarn is able to glow for up to 20 minutes. Comprised of 70% acrylic and 30% polyester with a medium weight, it came in pure white, as well as five pastel colors.

Glow in the Dark from Gert’s Glow House looks like a simple white yarn, but in the dark, it glows bright green. The yarn is lightweight and 100% polyester. It only needs a few minutes to charge, and then it can glow for up to an hour. Charging it in natural, full-spectrum light—or fluorescent or black light—will produce the strongest glow. 

Red Heart has a bulky yarn called Reflective that’s 85% acrylic and 15% polyester. This variety of yarn doesn’t have fluorescent dye. Rather, it’s a three-ply yarn with a reflective thread added to it. The thread provides excellent nighttime visibility and will be prominent in a camera flash for some neat photos. 

Where to Buy Glow-in-the-Dark Yarn

For use in knitting projects, check local and online craft stores. As it is more of a specialty product, your local store might not have the yarn in stock but could potentially order it for you.

Many Etsy sellers make art yarns and use glow-in-the-dark materials. You might even be able to request a special yarn blend or a specific color from them for your project.

Likewise, you can buy the materials to make your own glow-in-the-dark rather than going with a store-bought version. This typically ends up being cheaper than purchasing pre-made glow-in-the-dark yarn, which is helpful for large projects. Plus, it's fairly easy to make. In general, you need white or light-colored yarn, fluorescent dye, and a container in which to dye the yarn. Follow the dye instructions, making sure it is appropriate for your yarn material.