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You see glass bead reflective paint on everything from fire hydrants to street curbs — it’s a staple of town and city DPW departments. If you want to make your mailbox or house numbers highly visible at night, you can paint them with Liquidreflector, a water-based acrylic paint that’s impregnated with mica and uses the same glass bead reflectors as the industrial paint.

You apply Liquidreflector in three steps. First, put on two layers of the reflective paint. Before the second coat is fully dry, sprinkle some more glass beads over the paint, and leave it to dry. Finally, paint a final coat on it to prevent the beads from falling off.

You can choose from clear/white, blue, red, amber, and green. Five ounces of white paint with two ounces of glass beads costs $7, and the same amount of a colored paint goes for 50 cents more. You can also get larger amounts as well as bulk glass beads.

Liquidreflector [Official Site]


14 Responses to Liquidreflector Night Safety Paint

  1. Rob says:

    Has anyone seen this paint in person? Does it have a smooth finish? Could I use it to paint panels on my motorcycle or bicycle to be easier to see in the dark without it looking like crap?

  2. Subvert says:

    I’ve been looking for a retail source for this type of paint for a while now. Too bad the multi-step process makes it a bit…unwieldy for the, ah, urban interventions I had in mind. 🙂

  3. Robert says:

    The paint can’t be smooth, the mica, or glass beads have to be embedded in and extending above the paint surface for this to work.
    Have you ever seen a road marking crew painting stop bars, or arrows? They spray the paint, and sling glass beads on the paint surface while it’s still wet.
    It’s technically called “retroreflective” since the tiny round beads reflect most light back towards the source rather than at an angle like a mirror.
    I buy glass beads in 50 lb bags for about $1 per pound. The beads will work with most any kind of paint.

  4. Rally9x says:

    “I buy glass beads in 50 lb bags for about $1 per pound. The beads will work with most any kind of paint.”

    This sounds interesting, do you have some links to places a guy could get these?

  5. Eric Dykstra says:


    I think a better solution for automotive situations would be something like 3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape. In daylight it looks like tape but at night reflects like other Scotchlight products. It comes in a bunch of widths and colors (even black) and i even think you can spray clearcoat over it similar to what’s done on police cruisers.

    Scotchalite 680 Reflective Film: http://tinyurl.com/3xog8w


    The liquidreflector site sells 10 and 20 pound bags of the glass beads for 13.75 and 24.75 bucks respectively plus 9 for shipping.



    Those glass beads sprinkled over some wet….let’s call it street art would likely give a cool effect, or for some stealth action use spray adhesive instead. I imagine it would be more or less invisible during the day but extremely reflective at night when light is shining on it. That being said don’t be a jerk about it 🙂

  6. Charlie says:

    I happen to know that Rustoleum has a reflective paint. Single-step. I’m not sure how well it works, because I can’t ever find a justifiable excuse to buy it. I know that Menards carries it, but I can’t speak for those other guys…

  7. James B says:

    While it isn’t exactly the same as reflective paint, this glow in the dark looks pretty interesting:


    I used a low grade version of this on a light switch plate and inside my hitch receiver, and it does light up a little. Seems like the reflective paint would be better for catching car headlights though.

  8. Jon Soroko says:

    This is new to me – I’m mostly seeing taped installations of retroreflective material. But I can help on the distinction.

    REFLECTIVE material is just that. Prismatic reflective material (sometimes called retroreflective) does the same thing – but because of the varied surface angles, is visible at higher distances. For instance, ANSI Class III – garments for highway workers – must be visible 360 degrees around body, and visible at – I think – 1,250 feet in low-light conditions. (I have the flu – the math is escaping me – but it’s 30 mph for 30 seconds with limited light, rain, etc.)

    The downside to this is time involved and consistency. But it could be great – don’t know about durability – and cost comparison to 3M’s reflexite and other products. 3M seems to overwhelmingly dominate this market; Avery Dennison now seems to be offering some of the same.

  9. Robert says:

    If you use glass beads for “street art” be sure to blow off the excess beads. Loose glass beads on concrete pavement are like little ball bearings. They can be very dangerous to pedestrians.
    I get mine from Allstates Coatings – (800) 358-3020

  10. Mike R says:

    I can 2nd the 3M reflective tape on motorcycles. I bought a roll in black and put it on a bunch of inconspicuous areas. You’d never know it’s there and the bike lights up like an xmas tree now.

  11. Patrick says:

    I second my fellow bikers. The 3M tape is absolutely wicked – especially as you can do funny things with it as a “stealth” biker. You know, tape arrows to either side of your head so as you check your blindspots it looks like a turn signal. Write obscene messages and designs on the back of your buddy’s black leather jacket, preferably when his mother in law is tailing him…that sorta thing.

  12. melvin says:

    I’ve used a retroreflective spray paint. It worked best over a light substrate and not nearly as well as reflective tape but it did work. Ideal for compound shapes like fenders and at only $7 a can a heck of a lot cheaper than the tape. If you want to cover a large area or something like a fence post it’s a good alternative. IE: instead of a strip on the mail box it’s cost effective to coat the whole thing.

  13. Rob says:

    Eric, I’ve got more retroreflective tape than I can shake a stick at (yes, I’m one of those motorcyclists). I was just thinking that it’d be cool to be able to paint parts of the bike with it.

  14. RICHIE says:


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