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Halloween Guide and Ideas
 
Halloween Guide and Ideas

HOMEMADE BLACK LIGHT UNIT


Putting together your own four foot black light unit is really quite easy. Below are the step-by-step instructions for assembling a dual tube, four foot black light unit suitable for illuminating fluorescent Halloween decorations and props.

Materials Needed
2 - GE Four Foot, 40watt Fluorescent Black Light Tubes
1 - Dual Tube - Four Foot Fluorescent Shop Light
1 - Flat Black Spray Paint
1 - Masking Tape

Shop light Fixture - Fluorescent shop light fixtures are available at most hardware and some department stores and are very reasonable in price, typically fifteen to twenty dollars for a dual tube fixture. Just be sure you buy the one that does not already have regular fluorescent tubes in them, as you won't need them. Check the box before buying to make sure that the unit is rated for running two 40watt tubes. These fixtures should be the type where the bulbs are exposed, as those that have a cover will greatly reduce the amount of ultraviolet light emitted from the unit. There are basically two type of the fixtures, simple Strip lights and Wide Shield lights.

Strip Light fixtures work well when you want the light to go in most directions, about 300 degrees and don't need to hide the unit its self, typically when you want to illuminate a room with black light.

Wide Shield fixtures are used when you need the ultraviolet light to be more directable, about 180 degrees and want the actual bulbs to be hidden from view. One example would be when you want a black light reactive prop, such as a tombstone, to glow, but don't want your guests to see the source of the ultraviolet light.

Camouflage - Every standard shop light we've seen has been painted white by the manufacturer, so you will want to paint the outside of the unit with flat black paint to make it less noticeable. With no tubes (bulbs) in the unit, start by masking off the inside portion where the tubes sit, the connectors, the switch and part of cord, so that no paint will end up on these area's. Using a can of flat black spray paint, paint the outside of the fixture. Do not paint the inside of the unit as a darker color will lessen its ability to reflect the ultraviolet light.

Black Light Tubes - GE makes both twenty-four and forty-eight inch black light tubes. Twenty watts each for the twenty-four inch and forty watts each for the forty-eight inch tubes. Both of these tubes have standard medium size Bi Pin's allowing them to be used in off the shelf fluorescent light fixtures. Needless to say, if the fixture you buy is a dual tube fixture, you will need to buy two of these black light tubes. Follow the manufacturers instructions for inserting the tubes into the lamp fixture. A GE four foot, 40watt tube usually costs around $20.00 at your local hardware store.

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