How to Make Glow in the Dark Car Freshies

glow in the dark car freshies

If you followed our tutorial for making glow in the dark aroma beads, you’re now ready to start making projects with them! To fully enjoy the glow in the dark effect, we recommend projects that will allow the beads to absorb sunlight or another source of light. That’s because luminescent powder has to charge in the light before it will glow.

Car freshies are the perfect project for letting your aroma beads glow their brightest! Freshies don’t just need to be used in your car. You can hang aroma bead air fresheners anywhere you want to bring a fresh scent into the room.

If you haven’t made your batch of glow in the dark aroma beads yet, take a moment to read through our tutorial here. Making luminescent aroma beads is super easy. If you’re familiar with making aroma beads with mica, it’s as simple as swapping the mica powder out for luminescent powder

Glow in the dark air fresheners

Steps for Making Glow-in-the-Dark Car Freshies

To make car freshies that glow in the dark, you will need the following supplies:

  • A batch of scented aroma beads
  • Baking sheet
  • Various metal cookie cutters (must be metal)
  • Tin foil
  • An oven
  • Potholders
  • Optional: Roofing nail for each cookie cutter
  • Optional: Small silicone spatula

A note about supplies: Any tools or supplies that come in direct contact with scented aroma beads should not be used for making food in the future. Once you use a tool with something that contains fragrance oil, you should only use that tool for crafts. As long as you line your baking sheet securely with tin foil, it should be fine to use again for food. If your tin foil is thin, you may choose to use two layers.  

Once you have your supplies ready, simply follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  3. Arrange your metal cookie cutters evenly spaced from one another on the baking sheet.

Optional: If you want holes in your car freshies for hanging them up, place a roofing nail in each cookie cutter where you want the hole to go. The beads will bake around the nail, and when you remove it, you can use the hole to attach a loop of string.

  1. Fill each cookie cutter about 1/2 inch full with aroma beads, being sure to push the beads into the corners. I find it helps to use a small silicone spatula to smooth out the beads and distribute them evenly.
  2. When the oven reaches 350, put the baking sheet in on the middle rack.
  3. Bake for 8-15 minutes, or until the beads appear glassy and stick together. You may use a toothpick to determine if the beads are sticking together enough. The beads should feel tacky and cling to one another. If not, continue baking until they are all sticking together.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the freshies cool slightly inside the cookie cutters.
  5. When they are cool enough to handle, gently pop the shapes out of the cookie cutters. Different makers have different opinions on the best time to remove freshies. If done too soon, you may warp the shapes when trying to remove them. However, if you wait until they are completely cool, the freshies can be difficult to remove.
steps for making glow in the dark car freshies

Hanging Your Freshies

If you made your car freshies with holes in them, loop a string through the holes so they can hang easily. If you didn’t make holes in your freshies, you can use a hot glue gun to attach string to the back. Another option is to carefully drill a hole in the shapes. If doing this option, be sure to drill over an old piece of wood or on a surface you don’t care about damaging.

How to Use Your Glow in the Dark Car Freshies

Now that you’ve finished baking your freshies, it’s time to start enjoying them! You can use a luminescent car freshie just like any other aroma bead air freshener. The only difference is that you’ll want to place them somewhere that they will absorb the light. You can use sunlight, incandescent light, fluorescent light or just about any other type of light to charge glow in the dark creations. Let your freshies charge for at least 10 minutes before bringing them into the dark to enjoy the glowing effect.

Keep in mind luminescent powder doesn’t glow forever. The glowing effect will last for about an hour after each charge. The good news is that you can charge glow in the dark projects again and again.  Note that if the conditions change gradually from light to dark, the glowing effect will be less noticeable. For example, a freshie that charges all day in a car window might begin to glow less brightly by the time it’s fully dark out. For best results, charge the beads with light just before you bring them into a dark area.

Glow in the dark car freshies will hold their scent for the same amount of time as aroma beads made with any other powder pigment. You can read more about how long aroma bead scents last here.

Car Freshie Safety Tips

It’s important to note that car freshies are not intended to be used as toys. Kids’ toys are sometimes made using glow in the dark powder, but car freshies are made of small beads that may pose a choking hazard. Car freshies may break if bent in half, revealing small pieces. 

Furthermore, fragrance oils are not meant to be consumed. If you make glow in the dark car freshies, remind kids that they are meant to hang in a window and aren’t toys. Include an appropriate warning statement if you plan on selling your car freshies.

These car freshies will be luminescent if you allow them to charge in the light. This can potentially be distracting if you use them in the car at night. With that in mind, don’t hang glow in the dark car freshies in a location where they may distract you while driving.

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