How to Paint on Glass: The Ultimate Guide

Painting on glass is a great, fun DIY craft to do. What makes it the most fun, is that this is a form of crafting suitable for the entire family, as it is the perfect occupation that may take a while to finish your project, but not too long – and it allows people from any age to express their creativity in colorful designs. 

Also, glass is available in infinite shapes and sizes, from easy-to-paint, smooth, round wine glasses to ridged, more challenging, luxurious-looking whiskey glasses. In other words: there is something for everyone in this art medium! But, of course, there are many different things to mind when painting on glass, such as the right tools, a clean and spacious place to work, and the right technique.

To get you started and guide you along, we have put together this step-by-step handbook on how to paint on glass. Enjoy! 

What do you need to paint on glass?

Glassware

Depending on your preferences, but to give you a few ideas that work well: Mason Jars, wine glasses, glass plates, or bottles. Make sure that they are clean and free from old labels.

Paint

Three types of paint are suitable to paint on glass, all of them come in beautiful, bright colors.

  • Enamel paint
  • Acrylic paint, combined with gesso
  • Water-based paint, combined with glass liner

Paint applicators

At first, there are different kinds of paint brushes to choose from. Not only in size but also in material: a brush with synthetic ‘hairs’ will give the result a more rustic outcome, where a brush with natural bristles will add a smoother look and coverage to the surface.

Next a brush or brushes, you could also choose to apply the paint using sponges, spray paint, or paint pens. The best way to find out what suits you and your project best is simply to test and try them all! 

Other tools that come in handy

And easy to find in the corner store! 

  • A basin for your paint applicators
  • Paper towels or an old cloth 
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • A small plate or paint palette
  • Rubbing alcohol or vinegar
  • Latex gloves
  • Masking tape

The Step-by-Step Guide on Painting Glass

Now that you have gathered all the tools you need, let’s get to work with the below listed 3 easy steps. 

Step 1: Prepare and Clean the Glassware

Before we start with the painting process, it is key to prepare our glassware. Clean the glasswork of your choice in lukewarm water, using dish soap. Also, make sure to allow the glass some time to dry completely before moving on. For an extra clean finish after washing, you could choose to wipe the glass with rubbing alcohol, using a clean cotton cloth. A toxic-free option would be to use vinegar.

To avoid finger marks on the glass while painting, a wise option would be to use latex gloves. Lastly, tape off the areas of the glass that you wish to avoid. Please note that the paint should never be in contact with any food or beverages! 

Step 2: Let’s paint! 

Before you start, carefully check what pretreatment your paint of choice needs. Read the instructions for both this and the paint carefully to avoid mistakes! We have gathered a few tips for you when painting either freehand, with stencils, or masking tape:

  • When painting straight lines and squares on a bottle, for example, use masking tape to mark the areas you wish to paint. Remove the tape while the paint is still wet. If you remove the tape when it is all dried, you risk removing the paint along with the paint.
  • A top tip on patterns: use a soft pencil to draw on the glass first, to give yourself guidance on what to paint where for your design.
  • When you don’t have any soft pencil at hand, try to place the pattern inside (in case of a round shape) the glass. You can either keep this in place using the masking tape or fill up the glass with a cotton cloth or any other soft fabric to make sure it holds.

Step 3: Dry and aftercare

First, make sure to leave your artwork and allow it time to dry: for at least 24 hours. Depending on the type of glass and paint you have chosen to work with, often glassware needs to be baked in the oven, where some paints need nothing more than a long drying process. You can find all about this last step on the manufacturer’s instructions on your product to see what curing is required. 

Conclusion

Painting on glass is a very accessible DIY activity to do for all ages. The tools you need are limited, which makes it easy to start, but also easy to clean up! There is a lot of freedom and many options to this art medium, as you can choose your favorite type of glassware, paint, and painting tools to personalize your work. Also, it is the perfect sustainable solution to give purpose to old bottles and glasses that are just lying around! 

FAQ

What kind of paint will stick to glass?

Acrylic paint, enamel paint, but also water-based paint, for example. There are several paints suitable to paint on glass, even all-purpose paint – as long as you use the right finish to cure the glass. There are also many specialized glass-paints on the market.

Can you paint on glass with acrylic paint?

Yes, you can create different projects by using acrylic paint on glass.

How do you permanently paint on glass?

By using the right type of paint on clean glassware, and using the right cure to seal the paint on the glass! Such as the process above.

What can I use to seal acrylic paint on glass?

The best option, in this case, would be to find an acrylic sealant, suitable for glassware. Pick a glass paint sealer that has a shiny, glossy finish. 

Does acrylic paint wash off the glass?

That depends. If that is your desired outcome, there are many ways to easily remove acrylic paint from glass, with water, window cleaner, and a palette knife or razor blade. But, as we are painting on glass: with permanent, acrylic glass paint, the paint should not wash off. Make sure to read the instructions of your products carefully!

Have you tried DIY painting on glass already? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below! 

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