How to Paint on a Transparency Sheet

Written by dawn marcotte
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How to Paint on a Transparency Sheet
Painting on a transparency will mimic stained glass. (stained glass image by pearlguy from

Transparency sheets are widely available at office supply stores and can be used in business and educational settings. When being used with an overhead projector, light shines through the sheets and illuminates what is written on the sheet. These acrylic pieces of paper are easily erased and can be used repeatedly without damage. They can also be used as part of art projects. Students can colour or paint directly onto the acrylic sheet to create an opaque picture that mimics a stained glass window. Acrylic paints are available in a variety of densities and don't smear when applied to transparencies. Choose a thicker density when painting on transparencies.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Transparency sheets
  • Tape
  • Acrylic paint, various colours
  • Brushes
  • Painter's pallet or paper plate
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Cotton swabs

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  1. 1

    Lay a transparency on a flat surface. Tape in place. Choose a colour of acrylic paint to practice painting on the transparency. Place a small amount onto a paper plate and practice painting on the transparency. Thin the paint with water if desired and test on the transparency. Combine acrylic paints to create new colours as desired.

  2. 2

    Draw a template of the picture or design on white paper. Lay the paper on a flat surface and tape it in place. Lay a new transparency sheet over the paper template. Tape it in place. Choose the desired colours of acrylic paint for the final painting. Place small amounts of each colour paint onto a new paper plate. Colours can be mixed directly on the paper plate.

  3. 3

    Utilise the acrylic paints to paint the transparency sheet. Work from the top down to avoid brushing against the paint before it dries. If the design requires outlines, paint the outlines first. Wipe with a cotton swab if paint is accidentally smudged and reapply the correct colour. Allow the paint to dry overnight.

Tips and warnings

  • Students should wear paint shirts as acrylic paint may be difficult to remove from clothing.

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