Is it Safe to Color a Light Bulb With a Marker? Here’s the Answer

To decorate room for a night party or any occasion, coloring light bulb is one of the craziest things I always do. As a person of colors, I have tried a number of crazy things with markers.

So, I thought, how about coloring my light bulbs with markers? Would you like to know about the craft that I made a few days back? I colored bulbs with markers.

And of course, it is safe to color a light bulb with a marker. It’s understandable that your biggest concern in course of using or modifying any electronic device is the safety. So, if you’re up for coloring your bulb with a marker, you can do that without having any risk.

Is it Safe to Color a Light Bulb With a Marker

Note that, your colorful light might actually shatter if you don’t follow some directions. Yes, it can be as serious as it sounds. Now, as you’re here, I’m assuming you have some plans to color your bulb.

Why Do You Need to Color on Bulb?

You can color your bulb just because you’re bored with it. I’m talking about the situations you need perfection for. You surely wouldn’t feel good about inviting all your costumed friends to a Halloween or Christmas party with all bright and white lights, right?

Dimmer and colorful lights will simply add more fun to your party.

Are you going to add more cost to your Christmas budget by purchasing red and green light bulbs? I would say, don’t. You can customize all of them by your own.

Even any time you can always decorate your living room or bedroom with colorful lights for adding little thriller. Hope you’ll enjoy your dinner a little more with those dimmer lights on.

You can also modify your bulbs for snowman. And, if you’re someone like me, you can just carry on your creative journey with colorful markers.

You must have a number of questions regarding the safety of coloring a light bulb. Let’s clear the fuss out.

Can Coloring a Light Bulb Cause a Fire?

Make sure that you have chosen a white clean bulb without anu dust. If you don’t find a clean one, take rubbing alcohol and start the easy cleaning process.

I would suggest to pick a bulb of 40 watts or less. That way, the risk will be lesser and the result will be better.

And there is no chance to cause a fire if you plugged out the bulb, before warking on it. As you’re painting on a bulb, it can get wet in the process. You will have to give it time to dry up.

Check first if the bulb is dry and all set to be plugged in. Another concern is that, you have to select the type of the bulb you’re coloring.

Glass and plastic bulbs don’t have the same method to color. They absorb and proceed the heat differently.

Know your surface first and then color it. While coloring it, press the marker softly against the surface so that it doesn’t break down.

It’s established that, by following some quite simple ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’, you can color your glass and plastic bulbs. How will you do that? Do you know yet? If you want to know, stay with me.

How to Color on A Bulb- with safety?

I’m guessing that you already have chosen the bulb you want to color. Glass bulb and LEDs work differently and so is their coloring procedure. Let’s have a look at both of them.

Coloring a Glass Bulb with Marker

I will explain the procedure step by step so that you don’t miss any part.

Choose the Right Marker

Water-based markers are mostly popular to color on a glass bulb. You’ll get amazing outcome with fabric markers or chalk markers. Pick anyone that you find nearby and it will be just fine. Here I’ll show you using 4 different markers.

Coloring on the Bulb

Work on the theme you want for decoration. Let it be green or red or yellow or anything you want. You have the freedom to mix your favorite colors up and turn your living room into a club just like I did.

You can pick a bulb of any shape. Now, let me tell you about the findings of my experiment on a glass bulb.

  • I used dry erase marker – Red color
  • Wet erase marker – Blue color
  • Fabric paint marker- Green color
  • And a liquid chalk marker- the white one as you see in the picture.

It’s true that I couldn’t be careful with the drawing process so far. If you want to know about the honest opinion, I would say, the outcome wasn’t as good as I expected. The red marker color was way too transparent.

Blue one was transparent too but I liked it better than the dry erase marker.

The green fabric paint marker was the best among these three. It came out so vivid and perfect.

But color with chalk markers need extra attention. While painting with them, be careful about not pouring excess ink. And, if you do so, no need to worry at all.

You can always clean up the painting on any types of glass by using alcohol or any kind of sanitizer. Once its clean, you can start over.

You may have a better experience than mine if you can color it perfectly. I tried to keep the layer thin so that I will be able to avoid hot glass.

Be careful and specific while coloring them because if they don’t get set properly, the result wouldn’t meet your expectation. You can go for thick layer as well to get better results.

Note that the lights bulbs are built in a way that will release the excess heat through the glass. Which means, the surface itself typically works as a heat dissipation device.

So, when you’ll color on it, a layer will be created. This layer of bright color might interrupt the regular procedure of heat transfer. But this won’t be any issue if you follow the steps mentioned above.

Drying up the Bulb

Make sure that you give the ink enough time to dry out. It’s for your own safety too. If you plug in the painted bulb before it’s dry, the ink may vaporize. So, let it air dry first and then plug in to see results.

Coloring a LED Bulb with Marker

Let’s go through the detailed procedure of coloring an LED.

Choosing the Right Marker

I already told you that, water-based markers are great option for coloring them. Remember that it’s a must to avoid oil or wax based ink on bulbs. Oil or wax makes the bulb hotter as they aren’t likely to permit the transition of heat.

Coloring the Bulb

If the design is already chosen, go for it. I have selected my favorite color combination for one non-painted bulb and plain ones for others.

Here I also use:

  • Dry erase marker – Red color
  • Wet erase marker – Blue color
  • Fabric paint marker- Green color
  • Liquid chalk marker- White color

As you can see, the results came out so good. I was mesmerized. All of them came out as perfect as I wanted when I started painting.

Paint slowly as much as you can. Look the red dry erase marker color. Doing this job too fast you can’t get better and smooth result.

Remember that if the bulb gets too hot, this water-based color can be evaporated. If so, you might not get the exact color you’ve expected.

Moreover, the solvents are mostly flammable. When they’ll evaporate, the vapors will be any friend to your body. Do you know that these lights are intolerant of heat? Just like the conventional incandescent and fluorescent, they also build up excessive heat inside it when painted.

With continuation of this process, the bulb will gradually get dimmer. Will you stop painting then?

There’s one more thing that you’ll have to consider while enjoying colorful home. The lifespan of your LED will eventually shorten. Don’t worry though because you’ll get to make the best use of your LED within this time.

Drying up the Color

As before, let the colored bulb dry out first and then plug it in. In order to get the best out of it, switch off the other lights in the room. Only then you’ll see the actual color of your DIY colored bulb.

Now that you know the procedure of coloring bulbs, I will tell you about the markers; mostly brands and categories, that are good for bulb coloring.

Which Marker is Good for Bulb Coloring?

The question is, can you pick any ordinary marker to color your bulb? Will all of them work the same way? The answer very obvious. Brands and categories matter when it comes to markers. Let me suggest you the best options so far.

Permanent markers are the best options for coloring bulbs. If Sharpie pops up into your mind, you’re on the right track. Sharpies work best on these light bulbs.

Permanent ink of them wouldn’t trouble you because you can always remove them with alcohol. If you want to know about the whole method, we have an another complete guideline to help you out.

If you want to skip this situation, use washable markers. They are safe for kids too.

I have done my coloring with permanent markers from Sharpie. The good side of using them is they come out too bright and vibrant.

Besides, they don’t wash off easily. It’s true that I have made some mistake through the process. I erased those mistakenly drawn lines with rubbing alcohol. You can try drawing with Sharpie too.

Can You Paint Bulbs with Acrylic Paint?

In fact, Acrylic paints are one of the most popular types of paints for coloring light bulbs. They work on bulbs differently.

You can paint your light bulb with regular acrylic paint without any doubt. They are widely used for this purpose. You’ll get vivid colors and amazing decoration. With these paints you’ll get completely changed colors.

Let me tell you how. They turn the original color way too dimmer. Suppose, you’re not a fan of your recent color like blue or orange. With the help of acrylic, you can turn it into a golden oe yellow one.

To paint your bulb with this, you’ll need a brush. Acrylic paints provide a thick layer with solid color. That is why the light cannot come out as bright as before.

It is safe to color your bulbs with acrylics although they build up excessive heat inside the bulb. As a result, the lifespan of your light bulb can get short which is totally considerable.

Final Thoughts

Which kind of light you’re going to color for your next celebration? The fact is, coloring a bulb all by yourself might take away some time but it’s worth the time. You’ll get to have the best use of your markers. It’s true that you’ll have to consider the lifespan of lights while coloring them.

Anyways, coloring it always fun and specifically when it spreads through the room. Share your experiences with us. Hopefully you’ll come up with better suggestions for them who haven’t conducted the experiment yet.

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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