How to paint a glass window with epsom salt

Written by irene a. blake
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After being dissolved in water and applied in liquid form, Epsom salt or magnesium sulphate solidifies into crystalline deposits on surfaces such as glass when it dries. Given this fact, Epsom salt has become the main ingredient in a type of natural glass paint---used as an alternative to manufactured paints and frosted privacy films that create frosted and/or stained-glass designs or block light/outside views in place of curtains or blinds.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Water
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Chemical glass cleaner (optional)
  • Vinegar glass cleaner (optional)
  • Pot
  • Epsom salt
  • Glass container(s)
  • Food colouring
  • Spoons
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Glass window art and generic designs (optional)
  • Brushes
  • Natural sponges
  • Stencils
  • Tape (optional)
  • Spray bottle(s)

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  1. 1

    Clean the window with warm water and a lint-free microfiber cloth. Use a chemical or vinegar (equal parts water and vinegar) glass cleaner on extremely dirty windows. If using a chemical glass cleaner, wipe the glass afterward with a lightly dampened microfiber cloth to remove any residue and air dry.

  2. 2

    Measure your paint ingredients. Measure equal parts water to Epsom salt based on the amount of paint you're making and whether you're making plain or coloured paint. For example, make a small amount of non-coloured paint by measuring 1/2 cup water to 1/2 cup Epsom salt.

  3. 3

    Bring the water to a boil in a pot and slowly sprinkle the Epsom salt into the water until most of the salt dissolves. Once dissolved, pour into a glass container, or containers if making different coloured paints, and set aside to cool to room temperature. To make coloured paint, add three or more drops of food colouring to all but one container, stir each mixture with a spoon and set aside to cool.

    Painting and Decorating

  1. 1

    Create and draw your designs. If you need design ideas, refer to glass window art or generic designs in books, magazines and online.

  2. 2

    Apply your paint with a brush, sponge or microfiber cloth. For example, brush or wipe paint up and down or diagonally across the entire window. Overlap strokes to create thin streaks that dry as raised lines of crystals or use a dry sponge or microfiber cloth on the wet paint to add textured designs. If you purchased stencils, carefully hold or tape the stencil in place and paint.

  3. 3

    Allow the paint to dry completely.

  4. 4

    Scrape or wipe away the dry crystallised paint to make designs, write text or remove unwanted paint. Remember to write words backwards that you intend someone on the other side of the window to read.

  5. 5

    Create the illusion of depth by layering your paint. Once the first layer dries, carefully blot or spray on another layer of paint over the newly formed crystals. If using paints of varying thicknesses, use thin paint for the background and then apply the thicker paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Epsom salt crystallises as thin needles or a thick crust depending on the amount of salt used in Section 1, Step 2. To make a thicker paint, measure out more salt than water. Don't worry if you add too much salt as making Epsom salt based paint requires experimentation---simply boil more water, add to the previously made mixture and stir to dissolve and thin.
  • To recreate the natural appearance of winter frost caused by cold air and condensation, brush or wipe your plain paint in an arc at each corner of the window, leaving the centre bare.

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