Glass Painting Instructions

Updated November 21, 2016

Glass painting is easy and can be done by almost anyone. Glass paint is see-through, comes in many colours that can be mixed within the product line and different mediums can be added to the paint to give an opaque or frosty look. Glass paint can be applied to any glass surface, but should not come into contact with food or beverage.

Choose a Surface

Paint can be applied to any glass surface. Drinking or wine glasses or glass plates are appropriate for gifts or decorations. Painting on windows is temporary and great for coffee shops or retail stores with front window displays. Decorate a glass door or glass Christmas tree balls with the kids for a holiday project. Create faux stained glass on a piece of glass in a frame, or on a piece of craft glass made specifically to be painted.

Types of Paint

Choose a type of paint based on the object or surface being painted. Glass paints are permanently adhered to a glass surface. There are water-based paints for craft projects and solvent-based paints for artist projects. Water-based are the most commonly used for arts and crafts and are easy to use. Some glass paint can be set by air-drying or can be fired in a kitchen oven. Fired glass paint is hardier than air-dried paint, and should be used for anything that will be washed in a dishwasher or heated in a microwave. Paints for window painting are different than glass paints as they are temporary and easy to clean off with soap and water or alcohol. Some are even drawn on vinyl, then the vinyl is stuck to a glass window.

How to Apply Paint

Prepare the glass by cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. Some glass paints require a primer or undercoat that will come with a kit or will be sold separately, so be sure to read the directions to see if it is necessary. Put a pattern printed on paper behind the glass and trace it with a glass paint outliner. Outliner is thick, and using it is almost like drawing with transparent decorative cake frosting. It will hold the liquid glass paint in the lines like a dam. Use lead liner for faux stained glass since it will look like the metal in real stained glass. Let the liner dry (drying time depends on the product), and then brush on the glass paint with a natural-hair sable brush.

Setting the Paint

Firing is the best way to permanently set glass paint and prevent it from chipping. Any glass that will be washed and heavily used should be fired, although some brands can be air set. Put the glass in a cool oven to let it warm up slowly, then set the temperature to 162 degrees C. Firing temperatures and times will vary, but once the time has been met, turn the oven off and leave the glass inside until it has completely cooled.

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