How to Paint on Glass Blocks

Written by jessica geesley
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Glass paint is a translucent paint made to bond with non-porous surfaces, such as glass and metal. Glass blocks are commonly used in architecture to provide a window that allows light to pass through, but cannot be seen through. They are often found in bathrooms. Glass blocks are used in arts and crafts to make light decorations or are painted on with glass paint. Applying the glass paint to the block is easy and can be done by people of any age, but a parent should oversee the handling of glass and firing in the oven to prevent injuries.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Glass paint
  • Glass block
  • Glass cleaner
  • Pattern or glass stencil
  • Glass paint outliner
  • Sable brushes (number depends on design)
  • Plastic palette
  • Oven

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  1. 1

    Choose a type of glass paint to use for the project. There are water-based and solvent-based glass paints available, the easiest being the water-based for beginners as they do not require a separate mixing medium and no not contain toxic fumes. Decided how much wear-and-tear this glass will get; glass paint that is fired (heated in an oven) to set is stronger, but air setting paint is fine for a decorative piece.

  2. 2

    Clean the glass block with glass cleaner.

  3. 3

    Find a pattern or glass stencil of choice. A pattern can be printed off the Internet and placed under the block; a sticky glass stencil can be placed directly on top of the glass block; or you can create a unique design.

  4. 4

    Cover the glass with a glass a primer, undercoat or conditioner. The product label will mention if a primer is needed. Some paints that need a primer include Delta Glass Paint and Pebeo.

  5. 5

    Outline the pattern with a glass paint outliner, which is thick glass paint put in a squeeze bottle with a long nozzle. This will provide a place for the brushed on glass paint to pool and not run all over the block. Read the instructions to get an accurate dry time, but four hours should be enough for the outline to dry.

  6. 6

    Pour a small amount of the first colour glass paint into a plastic palette. Dip a sable brush into the palette and brush the paint into the outlined area, then continue with the rest of the colours. Vary the brush size for large passages or small details.

  7. 7

    Place the glass block in a room-temperature oven, then set the oven to the fire temperature and time given with the instructions for the specific paint. Allow the glass to cool to room temperature inside the oven. Glass will break if it experiences a dramatic change in temperature.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with different mediums made for the brand of paint. Some manufacturers make frosted, metallic and cracking mediums. Try mixing the colour with opaque white to get an interesting frosted appearance.

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