Painting or tinting old, dull, or stained glass is a great way to upcycle it instead of throwing it away. And it doesn’t take much to do it; all you need is a bunch of supplies, a few hours of work, and a little drying time, and you’ll be able to give your glass a new life.
You can color glass at home using enamel or glass paints or mix your favorite food dye, Mod Podge, and water. First, take a clean, clear glass, and paint it using long, vertical strokes. Once done, wipe off the excess paint and let it dry for a few days.
So how do you color glass? What materials do you need? Is there a special kind of glass you can tint, or just about any glass? Is it permanent? What about paint; can you paint glass? Let’s find the answers to all these and more.
How Do You Color Glass?
Coloring glass is quite easy and involves a few simple steps.
- Choose a clear glass like a mason jar or a serving tray (for etched glass, click here). Make sure it’s clean before you begin.
- Take a ramekin and mix 4-5 drops of your favorite food coloring with one teaspoon of tap water. This should be enough for one jar. Remember that the food color will be lighter than it appears at first, so use darker colors.
- Mix 1-2 tablespoons of Mod Podge (on Amazon) in each ramekin using a 2-inch paintbrush. The final mixture should be runny so you can easily pour it out of the ramekin.
- Use long vertical strokes to paint the glass interior. The goal is to apply a uniform layer of the dye mixture to the glass.
- Place the glass upside down on wax paper until the extra dye stops dripping. Next, wipe the excess paint using a clean cloth. This step is only if you’re painting vases or jars; if you have a flat surface, you don’t need to worry about the dye dripping.
- Put the glass on a cookie tray and slide it into an oven at 200°F for 10 minutes. If you’re using a jar, turn it right-side-up after 10 minutes and let it bake for another 20 minutes.
What Materials Do You Need to Color Glass?
In addition to clear and clean glass, you need a few ramekins, depending on the number of colors you’ll be using, Mod Podge, your favorite food coloring dyes, wax paper, and a cookie tray that will go in the oven.
Can You Tint Any Type of Glass?
You can tint any clear glass using food coloring or waterproof paint. However, since food coloring is not waterproof, you can’t use it on glass that’ll get wet, like a vase or a wine glass.
Instead, you should use the food dye method on purely decorative glass or the opposite sides of decanters, pitchers, and serving trays. Plus, glass paints shouldn’t be used on surfaces you eat on. And in case you’re planning on baking the glass or putting it in a dishwasher, make sure it’s labeled safe for both.
Is Tinting Glass Permanent?
There are two ways to make the tint on the glass permanent.
The first option is baking. Once the glass is coated completely, put it on a cookie tray and slide it into the cold oven. Remember not to preheat the oven. Once the glass is inside, turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake it for 30 minutes. Then, turn off the oven and let the glass cool down when the time is up.
The second option doesn’t involve any baking. If you use glass or enamel paint, there’s no need to bake it. Instead, you can leave it for around three weeks, and it’ll become permanent automatically. Just ensure it doesn’t come into contact with water until completely cured.
Can You Paint Glass?
Painting glass is quite straightforward. Here’s what you have to do:
- First, choose a clear glass item you want to color and a well-ventilated area to work in.
- Wash the glass thoroughly, preferably in a dishwasher to clean it thoroughly. Once it’s clean, make sure to dry it.
- Get glass paint in the colors of your choice and a paint-lightening medium that’ll serve as a thinner. If you can’t get your hands on a thinner, you can use nail polish remover instead.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of lightening medium in a small plastic bowl and one teaspoon of glass paint. Use a paintbrush to blend them well. This should be enough for one standard jar, but you can adjust the quantity accordingly.
- Use long vertical strokes to paint the glass exterior (you can read our vase-painting guide here). Cover the jar evenly and let it dry for 1-2 hours.
- Pour the paint into a vase or bottle to color the interior. Then, use a paintbrush to apply the paint mixture around the base.
- Roll and tilt the bottle or vase on its side so the paint covers the interior thoroughly.
- Once all the sides are completely covered, put the bottle or vase upside down on a piece of newspaper for around 20 minutes to remove the excess paint.
- All left to do is keep the glass on a high cabinet and let it dry for 3-7 days. Then, let the paint cure for a week at least before putting water in it.