Hey man... is it just me, or is that poster glowing?

The History of Black Light Posters

- The History of Black Light Posters -

Hey man... is it just me, or is that poster glowing?

Don’t worry, your brain isn’t having a break down- that’s just the blacklight reactive ink! Gaining popularity during the rise of hallucinogens in the ’60s and ’70s, these illusion-inducing posters are a timeless symbol of the psychedelic counterculture of the Summer of Love.

How the Heck does it Work?

Developed by the Switzer brothers in the 1930’s for mostly military purposes, fluorescent paint combines natural minerals with fluorescent properties and shellac to create the psychedelic pigments which take on a groovy glow under ultraviolet blacklights.

The trick of the light that you see when you put the reactive ink under a blacklight is a naturally occurring molecular reaction taking place. The fluorescent minerals in the paint contain “activators” which, when exposed to UV light, cause the electrons in the atoms to move out of balance and expend a little bit of energy, which is released as light. Woah... science, man!

Rise of the Surreal in San Fran

Blacklight began to take over the youth scene when it emerged in ads for concert venues like the Fillmore and Avalon Ballroom. The psychedelic music crowd in San Francisco was an excellent audience to embrace the aesthetic of this illusion-inducing artwork because the posters were perfect for getting lost in while under the influence. Bands like the Grateful Dead and the Jimi Hendrix Experience popularized these psychedelic posters at their shows and then record stores and head shops started selling their own designs.

During this trippy time, dorm rooms and basements were covered in mystical mushrooms, bright tie-dyed buses, and fantastical fantasy scenes. While the blacklight craze lost some popularity after the psychedelic ‘70s came to an end, here at the Hippie Shop, the Summer of Love lives on!

Take yourself back in time with our newest collection of retro-inspired blacklight reactive posters. Creating a vintage vibe in your pad is a piece of cake: pick out your favorite poster, switch on your blacklight, turn up the music, and get lost in the hallucination encouraging hues!

SHOP NOWGet on the bus and take a trip through space and time with this super retro poster! This blacklight reactive poster features the classic hippie bus with a psychedelic tie-dyed paint job flying through space surrounded by a smiley face, yin yang, and mushroom radiating rainbow light.

Magic Bus Blacklight Poster
HippieShop, $9.99
SHOP NOWTranscend into the cosmos and experience an out-of-this-world level of chill with this awesome blacklight reactive poster featuring a Buddha sitting in meditation surrounded by a prismatic rainbow of colors.

Cosmic Om Blacklight Poster
HippieShop, $11.99
SHOP NOWLet the good times flow with this awesome poster featuring a groovy lava lamp. Look into the lava and you’ll see a smiley face, peace sign, and little happy free-spirits dancing on a mushroom. The mind-bending checkered background and psychedelic colors on this retro poster come to life when you put it under a blacklight.

Lava Flow Blacklight Poster
HippieShop, $9.99
SHOP NOWWhen you look at this super psychedelic poster, ask yourself: Have you ever been experienced? This vibrant poster features Jimi strumming his guitar as waves of sound swirl around over a kaleidoscopic background. Get the full experience by viewing the rad reactive ink under a blacklight.

Jimi Hendrix Blacklight Poster
HippieShop, $11.99
SHOP NOWTake a mind melting trip with this mesmerizing poster featuring psychedelic mushrooms on a trippy rainbow melting backdrop. And don’t worry, your brain isn’t having a break down- that’s just the blacklight reactive ink!

Mind Melt Mushroom Blacklight Poster
HippieShop, $11.99
SHOP NOWStare into the kaleidoscopic colors of this blacklight reactive poster and contemplate your fresh start.

New Beginnings Blacklight Poster
HippieShop, $9.99
SHOP NOWThis Grateful Dead shirt featuring a spiral of the band’s classic rainbow Dancing Bears comes to life in all its glowing glory when you put it under a blacklight.

Grateful Dead Spiral Bears Blacklight T Shirt
HippieShop, $21.95-$23.95
SHOP NOWThis smoky tie dye tee featuring Janis in all her glory and has taken a little piece of our heart! Featuring the ‘Rock Mama’ live in concert at Cobo Hall in Detroit, MI back in ’69, the vibrant glowing neon green, blue, and pink ink on this shirt comes to life when you put it under a blacklight.

Janis Joplin Charlotte 69 Blacklight Tie Dye T Shirt
HippieShop, $26.95-$28.95


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