Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

September, 2005

Covering Fluorescent Lights with Paints to Lesson Brightness

Q. I am a teacher interested in finding an inexpensive way to paint the lenses of the florescent ceiling lights in my classroom so they don't overstimulate my autistic students. Can you suggest something for me?

A. Paints are opaque and might reduce the brightness in the class room below acceptable levels. Any interior latex paint that you can purchase in a hardware store should be able to go over the plastic lens coverings, but you will need to experiment.

If the paints that you purchase in a hardware store are too opaque, consider mixing an opaque paint with a clear (completely transparent) coating of the same formulation. Alternatively, purchase the clear coating and add small amounts of the opaque color until you achieve the degree of transparency you desire.

If you find that the paints block out too much light, you might want to consider using semi-transparent plastic sheeting, cut it to size and tape it to the lens coverings. Recently I went to TAP Plastics in my local area and was amazed how many different types of plastics they carry in their inventory.

Please get back to me again if you are not able to find a solution.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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