It’s common to see people dancing with glow sticks at raves or parties but did you know there are so many more uses for these little, brightly-coloured delights?
Glow sticks work by causing a reaction between two chemicals, which takes place when you bend or crack your glow stick. This reaction produces an intense glow, lasting 6-8 hours, which then slowly fades over the course of 8-12 hours.
Here are just some of ways in which glow sticks can be used. Let us know if you can think of more!
- Camping: If you’re going to sleep in a tent, the last thing you want in there is a naked flame, so candles are an absolute no-no. Battery-operated torches and lamps can be used for lighting purposes but batteries can be expensive and can have their power quickly drained by more powerful lights. That’s why glow sticks are a cheap and effective alternative. Available for as little as 32p, you can use several glow sticks to light up your tent, allowing you to read or eat. They are also useful for helping you see where you’re going if you decide to venture outside during the night.
- Emergencies: In many countries, glow sticks are used in the event of an emergency or disaster, like Superstorm Sandy in New York. Their light can help locate people at night or provide light in the event of a power failure. They are considered safe for use due to there being no risk of sparking, which is vital in the event of a gas or chemical leak and don’t pose a fire hazard like candles do.
- Fishing: The use of glow sticks is becoming increasingly popular among anglers. Not only do they provide light during night fishing, which is vital when you’re close to the water’s edge, but very small glow sticks can be used as lures.
- Diving: Having a source of light is essential for scuba divers, and glow sticks are a very common choice as they are easy to carry but still emit a powerful light. Red is a particularly popular colour among divers as its high wave length means it can illuminate longer distances.
- Road safety: More and more motorists are carrying glow sticks in their cars to use as a warning for other drivers in the event of a breakdown. They are also highly effective when used by pedestrians (especially children) and cyclists to make other road users aware of their presence at night.
- Military: Glow sticks have been used by military personnel all over the world since the early 1960s. They can be used to mark landing zones for aircraft and to make navigation easier for soldiers. They also use infra-red glow sticks, which are invisible to the naked eye but can be seen using thermal imaging and night vision equipment.
- Night golf: A rapidly growing craze, night golf is fun twist on the traditional game. As the name suggests, night golf is played once the sun has set, with different coloured glow sticks marking different parts of a hole: green for the fairway, red for hazards, blue for the tees and yellow for the green and pin. Players also use glow-in-the-dark balls.
- Marching bands: A staple of US college life for decades, marching bands are adding a new dimension to their routines with the use of glow sticks. Conductors often use them during night-time performances but they are increasingly being used by the musicians as well, to make themselves stand out and as part of the show.
- Films & TV: Glow sticks are often used to create fancy special effects during low light shooting.
- Decoration: Whatever the time of year, glow sticks can be used to transform any room or building into a fun, party environment. Glow sticks can be hung from the ceiling or arranged to make letters or shapes. If you’re very careful, you can use the contents of a glow stick to make a glow lantern. Simply pour the contents into a jar, being careful not to spill any on your clothes or furniture, put the lid on and shake!