Getting the Best Painted Glass Results
As repurposing and sustainable home DIY projects grow in popularity, the trend of glass paint has exploded. Glass bottles, jars, windows, and lightbulbs all serve as inexpensive canvases that allow personal style to shine.
Many people want to know how to paint glass, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all technique.
You can use many different methods to master a glass paint project, including glass bottle painting, frosted glass, mirror paint, and even faux stained glass windows. Each approach requires specific paint formulas and tools for a flawless result.
Glass paint projects are more accessible than they look if you use the right tools and appropriate techniques. This guide will explain how to paint glass and achieve a fantastic result.
What Paint Should You Use on Glass?
If you want to paint glass, you must first understand that it isn’t porous like canvas, wood, brick, or drywall. The type of glass paint you’ll want to use depends on how bold the colors are, how long you want the color to last, and how detailed your design is. Another critical factor to consider is if your project involves serving food. If so, you’ll need to ensure the paint you use is food-safe and non-toxic.
Acrylic enamel paint is a permanent, durable, slow-drying solvent-based paint that forms a hard shell and long-lasting finish when set. You can use it to create bold details or opaque washes of color.
Tempera paint is a thin, water-based, fast-drying paint that consists of colored pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder producing translucent colors that can be made more intense with multiple layers.
Spray paint is a sealed, pressurized container of oil-based, water-based, or chalk paint that produces a smooth, even coat that can be translucent or opaque, depending on the formula.
Chalk paint is a water-based paint that requires no preparation or sanding and produces a matte, chalky finish.
Food-safe paint is nontoxic and used on glass items you plan to serve food or drink.
The Best Acrylic Paint For Glass Accents
You may be wondering, “Does acrylic paint stay on glass?” It absolutely does if applied correctly and with a primer that gives the glass a tackier base.
The right acrylic paint can fully customize the look of your design, as you’ll have endless options when it comes to mixing and blending tones to get your desired effect.
FolkArt Enamel Acrylic Paints
If you envision brilliant lines and shapes, choose an opaque paint like the eight-piece starter set of FolkArt Gloss Finish Acrylic Paints, specially formulated for glass and ceramic surfaces, to produce vibrant results. The colors can be versatile, as you can use them to create a watercolor, faded effect if you mix them with the FolkArt Enamel Paint Transparent Medium.
To make this paint stick to a smooth glass surface, apply FolkArt Clear Primer before you get to work.
- You can create any color you dream of by mixing
- It doesn’t need to be sealed
- It’s easy to brush on
- It takes 21 days to set up fully
- It can be expensive for large projects
Pebeo Vitrear Frosted Glass Paint
The Pebeo Vitrea Frosted Glass Paint bottled acrylic paint provides endless options for a permanent effect that will hold up in a dishwasher. The transparent, water-based paint is available in glossy, shimmer, and frosted glass finishes.
Once fully dry, you can bake it in the oven to become dishwasher, UV-ray, and microwave-resistant. The paint also does well on China, porcelain, or terra cotta, making it versatile for other home painting projects, including painting on tile.
- Durable and permanent
- Versatile for multiple surfaces
- You can mix and create customized colors
- Requires a baking process to maximize its lasting power
Maker’s Studio Ceramic Paint
If you’re planning to serve food or drink on your glass painting project, ensure the paint is food safe. The Maker’s Studio Ceramic Paint is permanent and fully cures in 12 to 14 hours without the need to be baked.
- Ideal for functional dinnerware projects
- It doesn’t have to be baked in the oven to set fully.
- It’s microwave safe.
- Cannot be washed in the dishwasher
Magicdo Stained Glass Paint
- Do you want to add something extra to an old lamp by changing the lightbulb? The unexpected design touch can even change the hue of a room. For safety reasons, you’ll need paint that can withstand a lot of heat. Magicdo’s Stained Glass Paint has a high heat resistance that can hold up over time.
The ceramic paint is non-toxic and is suitable for use by children.
- Sealed tubes prevent paint from drying out
- It’s an odor-free and non-toxic paint
- It’s UV-ray proof and can provide heat insulation
- It comes in small tubes, so it may not be ideal for large projects
Arteza 2 oz Multi-Color Textured Acrylic Art Paint
Suppose you’re looking to upcycle unwanted glass from your kitchen into stylish home decor, like a decorative glass bottle painting project. In that case, you may consider an Arteza Acrylic paint set. The kit works on various indoor and outdoor surfaces.
It’s affordable for those who don’t plan on baking their final pieces and want to cover a larger space with various colors at an inexpensive price point.
- More product for your buck
- The snap-on cap prevents the paint from drying out
- Weather-resistant formula
- Projects cannot be washed
- The overall result will be as durable
The Best Paint for Stained Glass Effects
Putting a DIY faux stained glass window on your front door or window is possible. You can avoid investing a fortune in the real thing with paint that can be either permanent or temporary.
B Bearals Glass Paint
A B Bearals glass paint set includes 12 mixable .84-ounce paint bottles formulated to be used on any glass. It’s also packed with properties that provide heat resistance to prevent vibrant tones from fading due to sun exposure.
- The paint has no odor.
- It’s ultraviolet-proof and provides heat insulation.
- It takes a week for the paint to fully dry if not baked
- It can be expensive for large projects
Gallery Glass Window Paint
Painting a window fixed in a vertical position can take time and effort. When applied, a thicker paint formula is critical to keep it from trickling down and running. Gallery Glass Window Paint comes in various colors in 2 FL OZ bottles that don’t budge when applied.
It’s ideal for renters or those homeowners looking to make a temporary change in their space, as you can scrape it away with some elbow grease and a razor blade.
- You can easily remove the paint
- Available in more than 30 colors
- The thicker formula makes it ideal for horizontal painting
- Colors can fade in the sunlight
- It can be time-consuming to apply
Best for Mirror Paint Effects
You can transform glass surfaces into reflective finishes with mirror paint.
Rust-Oleum’s Mirror Paint creates a reflective, mirror-like finish when applied to the reverse side of vases, tabletops, framed glass, and other smooth surfaces.
- Dries quickly
- Oil-based and durable
- The paint will highlight scratches and dings
- It needs to be applied carefully
Best Paint for Chalked Glass Effects
A quick and low-stress DIY project, chalk paint can give a new look to old jars or glass bottles.
The paint dries quickly and has a heavy-duty, long-lasting finish that looks good no matter how experienced you are at applying it. You can use the colors on virtually any other surface, like ceramic, metal, and wood.
Rust-Oleum makes chalked paint that comes in 30 oz containers and 12 oz spray paint cans. Both products can easily create a textured, vintage look on glass. To make your project last, you’ll want to seal it with a protective topcoat to prevent scratches.
- Requires minimum prep
- Dry’s quickly
- Easy to cover larger areas
- It can scratch easily if you skip the topcoat.
The Best Paint Pens for Detailed Work
A paint pen will give you more control than a brush when you attempt to add small details or lettering to your glass. The pens are perfect for nearly any colored glass surface because they are highly opaque and can be baked to set the design and enhance longevity.
The Artistro Paint Pens for Rock Painting, Stone, Ceramic, Glass, Wood, and Canvas are versatile tools that can add detail and character to nearly any home DIY painting project.
- Provide more control than a brush or sponge
- Bold and opaque color
- Dries quickly
- The colors can fade over time
The Best Paint for Frosted Glass Effects
Real frosted glass is expensive, created when clear glass is sandblasted or etched by acid to form a pitted surface. However, you can DIY a realistic faux frosted glass with just a little paint.
Krylon Sea Glass Spray is a semi-transparent spray paint that is easy to use and dries relatively quickly. The spray is available in several different colors and produces a frosty yet smooth, sea-blasted glass finish.
- Easy to apply to larger glass projects
- Multiple color options
- Some users have issues with spattering and uneven spray
What tools & Brushes are best for glass painting?
Not only do you need to be sure you’ve got the right kind of paint on hand for your project, but what you use to apply it to the glass makes a significant difference in the overall outcome of your glass painting project.
Paint Brushes: Avoid using a synthetic brush, which can leave behind obvious brush strokes. Look for natural brushes that are soft-bristled and pliable.
Paint Roller: A roller can be helpful if you’re taking on a large-scale project and need to cover an expansive area evenly.
Applicator Sponges: Sponges work well if you’re using a stencil, as they’ll help achieve an even, flawless application of color. Apply the paint in thin coats with a sponge; they can soak up more paint than you expected. You can also use sponges to create a textured finish.
Stylus: Ideal for detailed work and distinct design elements, a stylus is a dotting pen with several fine points that you can use to create various shapes and unique patterns.
Steps to Painting on Glass
1) Clean and prepare the glass
The first step is truly the most important in your glass painting project. You’ll need to ensure all the oils and dirt are removed from the glass to get the best result.
If you’re repurposing a glass jar or dish, ensure any adhesive from the label is gone with a deep cleaning. Let the glass soak in hot water with dish soap and a cup of white vinegar for about 15 to 20 minutes. The label should peel right off, and it will be easier to scrub away any leftover traces of glue.
Once your glass is clean, you’ll want to wipe it down with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar to prepare the surface for the paint further. Allow the glass to dry completely.
2) Place stencils or tape into position.
Now, it’s time to bring your vision to life. You don’t have to worry about your less-than-stellar artistic skills getting in the way of achieving the results you want. Stencils can provide a helping hand to guide your vision to reality.
You can place stencils or tape on the side of the glass you plan to paint or even adhere them to the opposite side to serve as a guideline for where you want to paint.
Ensure any stencils or tape you’re using are firmly attached to the glass to avoid creating smudges or imperfect lines.
3) Apply primer or undercoat.
Getting paint to stick to glass can be complicated with certain paints and compromise the overall result.
You may need to apply a primer if you work with certain spray paints or acrylic formulas. Apply the primer and allow it to dry before you begin your paint job.
4) Apply paint to the glass,
No matter what paint or application technique you’re using, you’ll achieve the best results if you apply thin, even coats and allow them to dry completely before starting on the next layer. Acrylic paint can appear uneven if too much is used at once, and spray paint drips if the glass becomes too saturated.
Once you’re finished painting, you’ll want to remove the tape or stencil while the paint is still wet. If you try to remove it once it’s dry, you’ll risk taking off some of your freshly dried paint with it.
5) Bake or cure the glass.
You can enhance the durability of your project by curing or baking the final product. The process can be as simple as letting the piece air dry for at least 21 days before washing it. Or, you may take this step further and top it off with a professional sealant or fuse the paint to the glass with heat.
How to Cure Glass
Some paints, like acrylics, work best with a sealant. These products come in spray-on or paint-on forms and should be applied in thin layers. Apply a layer, allow it to dry thoroughly, and then apply another two to three coats to finish the project, enabling it to cure.
How to Bake Glass
Place your glass piece in a cool oven, crank the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes. It’s essential that the glass only be added before the stove is hot; otherwise, you may risk cracking it. Once 30 minutes have passed, you should turn the oven off and allow the piece to cool off inside the oven before removing it.
Once cool, take your piece out of the oven, and let it sit untouched for at least 72 hours.
- Follow best practices to ensure your glass painting lasts
The durability of your project largely hinges on the type of paint you use, but there are some mistakes you’ll want to avoid that can shorten the lifespan of your glass paint.
While many paints are dishwasher or microwave-safe, glass art will last the longest if you stick to washing it by hand. Avoid doing anything that will scratch the surface, and attempt to keep your project out of direct contact with the sun to keep the colors shining their brightest.
Come on, you glass expert! Let’s get painting! You can do it!