How to Prepare Glass for Spray Paint

Updated February 21, 2017

Decorators and crafters appreciate spray paint's wide range of applications. Whether you are creating an elaborate vintage style mirror or simply updating a glass-top coffee table, spray paint allows you to finish the undertaking in no time. However, before you apply spray paint to glass you will need to do some surface preparation. Although it is not necessary, taking the extra time to prime glass will guarantee longevity for your project. Read the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your spray paint for additional recommendations for their product.

Lightly sand the surface that you will be spray painting with 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe off any dust with a tack cloth.

Apply some white spirit to a rag. Wipe the glass with the rag to remove any dirt or grease.

Prime the glass surface with alkyd enamel primer. Use a foam roller for a finish with a smooth texture. Roll it back and forth several times on the roller pan to distribute the primer evenly on the roller cover. Keep the roller cover fairly dry.

Apply a light coat of primer to your glass surface, rolling in various directions for a thin, even coating of primer. Allow the primer to dry at least 24 hours before spray painting.


Always prime and paint in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass surface
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • White spirit
  • Rag
  • Alkyd enamel primer (optional)
  • Foam roller (optional)
  • Roller pan (optional)
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About the Author

Fiona Fearey has an undergraduate degree from Temple University and a master's degree from New York University. She has been a freelance writer and editor for over five years. She has written for Pluck on Demand and various other websites. Other professional experience includes education, the arts and decorative painting.