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Hack Apart a Highlighter to Create UV-Reactive Flowers [Science]

College students have long been hacking apart highlighters to create glowing bottles of booze to line their dorm room walls. Far more interesting, however, is the application of the hack to flowers.

Many of you may remember a science class experiment from years gone by where in you put food coloring in a beaker and then some freshly cut white flowers; returning to the experiment a day later yielded flowers colored to match the dye you added. This little experiment relies on the same technique, only instead of blue food coloring the flowers suck up UV-reactive highlighter dye. Check out the video below to see the experiment in action:

Have a fun science experiment to share? Let’s hear about it in the comments.

Make Flowers Glow in the Dark (with Highlighter Fluid and UV Light) [YouTube via Make]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/3/11

Comments (19)

  1. Lady Fitzgerald

    Cool. I’d like to know how to make booze bottles glow in the dark.

  2. Jami
  3. Tyler

    How great would a time-lapse be?

  4. Jason Fitzpatrick

    @Lady Fitzgerald: You take empty bottles, refill them with water, and then squeeze the highlighter fluid into them (the more fluid the more vibrantly they will glow). Essentially you follow the instructions in the video up until the point where he finishes mixing the water/highlighter in the beaker (only in this case your beaker would be an empty bottle of vodka or such).

    @Tyler: That would be sweet. Time lapse videos rarely disappoint.

  5. michaela

    I like that guys voice, very pleasant narration. :]

  6. Anonymous

    and this is completely safe, right?

  7. Anonymous

    Nurdrage states that in regular light we can see no difference between the two sets of flowers. I think the flowers left over night in the dye are dyeing.

  8. Gaijininja

    I agree with Tyler. Time lapse would be awsome, especially if the hilighter colour was changed a few times.

  9. jordan

    I’d like to go to a rave with one one of these in the pocket of my all white suit.
    Did you do something to change your voice?

  10. Matt

    Time lapse?!? The process can’t be any simpler and there isn’t any motion with the exception of the incandescent turning off. LOLtards.

  11. Drr.

    I think they mean watching the flower absorb the dye under the UV…

  12. nicolas

    Do i have to use uv light or just be in the dark???

  13. Godric

    @Matt:
    they clearly meant watch as the flower absorbed the dye while being subjected to UV light. in short: your have your foot in your mouth and egg on your face.

  14. snacks

    Looks like Matt is the….loltard?

  15. Don

    Changing things that do not deal with computers are not fucking hacks. I’m sick of this shit. Straight up dork status.

  16. your mom

    @Don
    by hack they mean like chop i think

  17. Undead_hacker

    If life gives you surplus high lighters you’ll have a fun craft!

  18. Peter "The Human Hair Plug" Weirsnitz

    did you use the puberty plugin of your video editing software to do the voiceover? (Y/N)

  19. AyyYoo

    does this work with weed??

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