Some Questions About Reflective Glass Beads

What color will the reflective glass beads reflect? 

Reflective Glass beads are retro reflective and will reflect back the color of the light source directly back to that source. However, if there is an underlying color that color will be picked up in the reflection as well. (Usually lighter than original color) 

Will the reflective glass beads reflect infrared light? 

Yes, the reflective glass beads will reflect any light source back to that source. You may need specialized equipment to see infrared but it is reflecting.

Can I mix reflective glass beads into paint? 

No, beads need light in order to reflect back that light. It is important to note that even applying a clear coat over the reflective glass beads will greatly reduce or negate reflectivity. Mixing reflective glass beads into paint will only give you a nice texture but no retro-reflection.

How many pounds of glass beads do I need for my project?

The Department of Transportation recommends 5-6 pounds of reflective glass beads for every gallon of paint used. So 2 pounds of glass beads for every quart, 1 pound of beads for every pint. Do not mix beads into paint they will not reflect because glass beads need light in order to reflect light back to the source. A gallon of thick latex/acrylic paint will cover about 80-100 square feet

What are people using reflective glass beads for other than pavement making?

Most of our customers use reflective glass beads to make an object or surface more visible and safe. However, over the years we have had many clients use these glass beads in wonderfully creative and unusual ways. For instance, we have had Hollywood studios and other film companies use the beads for chromatography as well as backdrops and special effects. Clients have used reflective glass beads to mark weather balloons, sea buoys, hunting trails, giant dump trucks and even air conditioning units on top of tall buildings. One creative customer used our High Index Reflective Glass Beads to enhance a vintage Ford Model A. (Reflective Model A Rims… 

We have many talented artists use these reflective glass beads in sculptures, paintings, prism light boxes, canoes and other incredible art pieces. Architects have used reflective glass beads to create outdoor masterpieces as well as to reflect light better by coating ceilings so they can used lower wattage lighting. Contractors have painted roofs with reflective glass beads to insulate and reflect heat away. Screen printers have created apparel that really pops. National and State parks have used routed wooden signs to make trails safer. Whether its fashion design, jewelry, political signs, curb or target marking, urban murals these reflective glass beads are unbelievably versatile and downright cool. We cannot wait to see what you come up with next! Check out our customer photo gallery at

Best way to apply beads to a vertical surface?

Applying to a vertical surface is tricky. The glamorous way is to use a gravity feed air gun or sandblaster. Most people do not have sandblasters or air guns laying around. Therefore, here is the easiest way we have found. Toss the reflective glass beads onto the wet medium (paint.) Be sure to collect the beads at the bottom using plastic sheeting, cardboard etc. We recommend using a light coat then applying the beads because the glass beads will add weight to the paint and the paint can droop or sag.  Also check out our Lightning Brand Reflective Paint.

How many square feet will the reflective glass beads cover? 

A one-pound bag of reflective glass beads will cover approximately 12-15 square feet. The ratio recommended by the DOT is 6 pounds of glass beads to every gallon of paint used.

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