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React glow

Add a mouse-tracing glow effect to React components.

gif of glow effect

The glow effect will only work using the mouse as the pointer. Touch events will not trigger it.

See it live on


Install the package with npm:

npm i @codaworks/react-glow


Wrap any number of <Glow> components in a <GlowCapture> which will be used to track the mouse location.

  <span>This won't glow</span>
  <Glow color='purple'>
    <span className='text-black glow:text-glow/50 glow:bg-red-100'>
      This will glow purple when the mouse is passed over

Children of <Glow> can style themselves how to look when glowing. You might choose to leave some children unchanged, or highlight them with the glow: variant style.

The value of color will be available as a CSS variable --glow-color, as well as the Tailwind glow color. You can pass any valid CSS color, including hsl() values etc. Of course, you might choose to use any other color; you can leave out the color prop entirely.


Add the tailwind plugin to unlock the glow: variant and glow color


module.exports = {
  plugins: [

As with all colors in Tailwind, you may add opacity by appending a percentage after the color, such as bg-glow/20 for 20% opacity.

Vanilla CSS

You can style the glow effect with vanilla CSS:

  <span>This won't glow</span>
  <Glow color='hsl(338.69 100% 48.04%)'>
    <span className='glowable-text'>
      This will glow pink when the mouse is passed over
.glowable-text {
  color: black;

[glow] .glowable-text {
  color: var(--glow-color);

How does it work?

The <Glow> component clones the children tree. The cloned tree is then stacked on top of the original tree.

The overlay tree is transparent, and we only reveal parts using a CSS radial gradient mask. The mask position is updated by tracking the mouse position. When you use the glow: variant or [glow] attribute selector, it only targets the overlay.

In order to not block mouse events, the overlay is set to pointer-events: none.

We use the <GlowCapture> to track the mouse; the <Glow> itself also keeps track of its position inside the <GlowCapture>.

Best practices


The fact that we clone the children tree has some implications that is important to keep in mind:

  • <Glow> children should never have side effects. Since we duplicate the children, the effects will run twice.
  • Keep the <Glow> children small. Use a separate <Glow> for each logical set of children (such as a single card).
  • Don't apply layout styles to glow:. Keep the glow styles to just visuals, such as colors, opacity, and a slight scale might also work sometimes.
  • Use callback refs: When you pass a ref to a glow child, the cloned version will "steal" the ref. Use a callback ref, and check if it is already set before assigning.
  • It might be challenging to get it to correctly work with forms, especially if you have required fields. The cloned fields will also be marked as required and failing the validation.
  • Use a single <GlowCapture> for a group of related glows. This allows you to get an overflowing glow effect when the mouse is between 2 glows.
  • Apply some padding between the capture and the children, to show the glow even when you leave the <Glow> instead of abruptly cutting off the effect.


Inspired by this tweet.