How To Paint Glass

Glass is a beautiful canvas for painting because it is smooth and reflective. If you’ve never painted glass before, you might be startled to learn that the process isn’t the same as it is for typical building materials.

In our guide, you can learn how to paint from bottles, a wine glass all the way, to paint on glass windows to the best effect.

By the end, no matter what your glass projects require painting, you can find the best paints for glass painting, the best materials, and the best techniques for craft projects in less than an hour. (Learn How To Get Super Glue Off Glass)

Glass Painting best techniques for craft projects

What Kind of Paint Will Stick to Glass?

You have a few alternatives for what kind of paint will stick to glass, most of which are formulated using an acrylic base.

Acrylic Enamel Paint

Acrylic paint is often water-based, whereas enamel paint is typically oil-based, but here you have the best of both worlds. Acrylic enamel paints adhere to a broad range of surfaces, including glass, and the paint dries hard to offer a strong shell.

Acrylic Glass Paint

This sort of glass paint is entirely acrylic-based, but it differs from regular acrylics in that it adheres to the flat surface of glass more quickly. Look for acrylics designed expressly for glass and tile, as these contain chemical additives that help the acrylic base adhere to non-porous surfaces.

Stick to acrylic-enamel paints or acrylics that have been specially adapted for use on glass and tile. If you use the appropriate type of acrylic, you won’t have to worry about how to seal acrylic paint on glass because it’s already formulated to stick—though a coat of sealer helps too.

Solvent-Based Paint

Oil-based paint has a higher concentration of organic chemicals that adhere to glass better than standard water-based paints. Solvent-based paint produces a super-saturated color, but keep in mind that these paints are more hazardous (and more challenging to clean) than acrylics.

Glass painting Markers

If you’re looking for a simple medium to work with, especially if you’re glass painting with children, these are a superb choice. Choose from a range of colors and tip sizes in pens and markers, and don’t worry about cleaning brushes when you’re done. If you want your painting on glass windows to be permanent and offer extra durability, you can use oil-based paint markers. (Learn How To Get Gorilla Glue Off Glass)

The glass paint you use will depend on several things. Markers, for example, are fantastic for fine detailing but not so great for covering a large surface area like glass jars or vases. Solvent-based paints can also yield magnificent results but are not suited for children’s glass painting or poorly ventilated areas.

Materials needed for Glass Painting

Glass Painting Materials

Aside from glass paint, you’ll need a few other items:

Paint brushes: Acrylic or watercolor brushes with soft bristles are ideal for glass painting. Foam brushes of various sizes and angles are also helpful. Synthetic bristle brushes leave obvious brush strokes as you apply paint, but natural bristle brushes cover with a smooth finish.

Applicator sponges: You can also use sponges to paint the glass instead of brushes. This gives you a new visual texture, but you’ll still need brushes to cover completely.

Other things to have at the ready include latex gloves, especially if using solvent-based paints; clean cloths are required for fixing mistakes.

How To Paint Glass with Acrylics

Here you can find all you need to use your glass paint. However, most times, you’ll find painted glassware may have to be baked. Using the oven, you will stabilize the paint and give it durability.

Before using, check the instructions if you need to follow this step. If you haven’t bought your paint, look for a glass paint you can use without baking. Also, consider glass paint markers, which have fine tips ideal for precise work and writing. (Learn How To Repair Cracked Glass)

Choosing Paint and Brushes

For long-lasting decoration, use enamel paint. Enamel paint comes in a variety of colors and finishes to suit your needs. These will take some time to dry completely, but they should last a long time on your glass once they do. Here is a few different enamel paint to consider:

  • Gloss enamel paints result in a thicker coat and a more opaque finish.
  • Frosted glass enamel paints provide a much lighter coat for subtle color.
  • Crystal gloss enamels are an excellent middle ground between the two.


For a completed, matte look, use acrylic paint and gesso. Gesso is a mixture of a binder and white powder that you can use to paint on almost any surface. For a completely opaque final glass painting, use a gesso base layer and top coats of acrylic paint.

Bottles, glasses, and other containers with unique shapes work best with gesso and acrylic paints. Painting on a flat pane of glass with gesso and acrylic will resemble a painted canvas.


For a simple stained-glass effect, use a glass liner and water-based glass paints. A black, firm outline can be created using glass liner or lead, which you can then fill with translucent and bright colors.

Making an outline and coloring it in portions will cause cool, transparent hues resembling a stained glass window.

Before using a glass liner, trace the contour of your design onto the glass. It’s a lot easier to paint over or wash off the marker than to remove the liner!

Glass Painting Preparation by cleaning the Surface

Preparing the Surface

  1. The glass should be cleaned and dried. Remove any grease or fingerprints left on the glass with warm water and soap, which hinder the paint from sticking.
  2. When washing the glass, wear latex gloves to prevent any oils from transferring from your skin to the glass.
  3. Wash the glass in warm, soapy water.
  4. Rinse the glass in warm water and let dry.
  5. Dampen a paper towel or damp cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe the entire surface to be painted, so they are free of remaining soap film.
  6. Let air-dry for 15-minutes.
  7. Tape off any areas near your mouth that might come into touch with it if painting drinking vessels. Cover the top inch of the drinking glass using painter’s tape to stop paint in that area.
  8. For all-over color, apply a smooth base coat. Dip the tip of a broad brush into the paint of your choice and lightly dab it on the glass canvas. Apply the paint to the entire glass surface and smooth surface with your brush.
  9. The initial base coat for an opaque glass painting should be one or two layers of gesso. After the gesso has been set, you can paint over it with a layer or two of your favorite paint color.
  10. Allow at least an hour for the base coat to dry and before adding further light coats. Some enamel paints inform you to wait 5 to 7 days for the paint to cure.

Applying Paint

  1. Make a rough outline of your design on the glass. Transfer the design you desire on your glass with a marker. Choose a starting point and trace the outline across your glass with care.
  2. Use the same procedure to outline your design on the glass if you’re using a glass liner. Lightly squeeze the bottle as you travel over the outline to lay the liner.
  3. The glass is still completely transparent, thus stenciling on the inside is an alternative to drawing on the exterior.
  4. Begin by painting with a single color. Start with soft strokes and gradually increase the pressure as you gain experience with the painting process. More paint is easier to apply than it is to remove.
  5. If you make a mistake, remove the paint away from the glass with a paper towel while it is still wet. It may be beneficial to use a little paint thinner with enamel paint.
  6. If you’re using enamel paint, you might need to clean your brush with some enamel paint thinner. This should be accessible near the enamel paint at your local craft store.
  7. If you want your colors to stand out, paint thinly a second coat in light strokes and add multiple coats.

Cure Glass Paint

Allow your glass paint to dry completely before using it. Acrylic and enamel paints that require a lot of drying time to set will take a long time to dry completely. You should let your painted glass cure for a week before using or showing it.

When curing paint, always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. A soft cloth and warm soapy water are all that’s needed to wash and dry some of the paints that need to dry to cure before you can use them again.

Baking Glass to Cure

Some paints require you to bake your glass in order to thoroughly cure it and permanently set the color.

Place your glass in a cold oven so it heats to the temperature specified on the paint bottle. Allow 30 minutes to let glass cure before turning off the oven and waiting until you have a cool oven before removing it.

How to Paint Glass: Starter Projects

Here are some of the more common glass painting projects you can take on to build up your skills.

Painting Wine Bottles

Why toss old wine bottles? They are ideal ways to learn glass painting and cost nothing once empty.

Paint Wine Glasses

Wine glasses can have a new look when you paint them with dainty florals.

Painting on Glass Windows

Decorate your home’s natural light with a painted glass panel in front of your windows.

A fresh coat of paint can transform your home. Rather than have a painted glass window, buy a glass panel to hang in front of your regular window.

Painting On Glass Jars

For an expert introduction to glass painting, try using glass jars. Such items are trendy, especially mason jars.

Painting on Glass Vases

Paint can spruce up any plain glass vase.

Tips and Techniques for Painting Glass

  • If using a pattern, place it inside your glass and tape it in place.
  • To paint stripes, use a flat brush or stencil tape.
    Remove stencil tape while the paint is still wet, as it can remove paint once it has dried.
  • Clean edges after the paint has dried by scraping with a craft knife.
  • When painting dots, set the tool straight down and straight up. If you lift at an angle, painted dots smear.
  • When painting plates, as in painting glasses, leave areas for free and paint the rim.
  • Glassware cured with an air-dry method isn’t dishwasher safe.
  • Do not soak painted items.

Folkart enamel paint is a quality paint and suitable for most glass surface. To get the best results, focus on your base coats, which determine how good your paint finish will be.

How to Paint Glass

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