Guide To Spray Painting Glass

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Spray painting glass is one of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to transform old mason jars and vases into trendy and useful pieces. You can choose a fun spray paint color and modify your old mirrors, glasses, lamps, picture frames, and more according to your taste and lifestyle.  

It’s essential to prep your glass before spray painting, so the paint adheres properly. You can use acrylic, enamel, or oil spray paints, depending on the kind of look you want. Make sure your glass is clean, choose a well-ventilated area to work, and let the paint dry out completely.    

With the right spray paint and a few easy tips, you’ll be able to give a flawless, drip-free finish to your glass. Now, let’s look at the proper way to ensure that the spray paint adheres to your glass and what paints will help you get the desired results. 

Can You Spray Paint Glass?

Yes, you can spray paint glass with the wide range of oil and synthetic paints available. However, the trick to ensuring an excellent outcome is preparation. Even if you’re using a brand new glass jar or mirror, you’ll need to do some prep work to ensure the paint adheres properly. 

It’s pretty simple to spray paint on glass. You need to aim and fire away without worrying about uneven and messy brushstrokes. However, it’s also best to remember that frequent handling can cause the paint to scratch or chip over time.     

Which Spray Paints Stick to Glass?

Used cans of spray paint

Any spray paint will work if you simply want to color your glass pieces. But if you’re going for a specific look, it’s best to use glass-compatible or glass-designed spray paint like acrylic, enamel, or oil paint. 

Regular paint

This paint is highly suitable for your DIY craft project if you’re using solid shades to color your glass. Visit your local store and get the colors that attract you. Then paint your piece after prepping it. 

Remember to apply a primer first if you want your painting surface to be smoother. In addition to helping the spray paint to adhere better to your glass, a primer will provide you with a more durable output.     

Enamel Paint

Enamel paint is ideal for painting smooth surfaces like ceramics, metal, and glass, and spray paints made out of enamel go exceptionally well with glass. However, if you’re using oil-based enamels, you’ll need to leave the piece to dry for about 8 to 24 hours. 

There are two types of enamel spray paints—opaque and transparent. Opaque enamel spray paint will give your glass a stained look, whereas transparent enamel paint is thinner than opaque paint. Both these type of enamel paints air dry perfectly.

Acrylic paint

Acrylic paint can be used on crystal, glass, or plastic. Glass spray-painted with acrylic paint typically looks transparent and supports a stained look. 

However, there’s one disadvantage to using acrylic spray paint. You’ll need to cure the glass in the oven, but once cured, it’ll set beautifully, and you’ll be able to clean the spray-painted piece quite easily.   

Oil paint

Typically, people avoid spraying the glass with oil paint, as it can be quite toxic. If inhaled in large quantities, it can lead to poisoning. However, if you have to use oil paints, then be sure to wear proper gear, such as a mask and gloves. This will help reduce the chances of being poisoned. 

Oil paints are your best option if you’re looking for glossy and colorful shades. Once dry, glass pieces spray painted with oil paints can be washed with water as oil paint doesn’t come off with water.   

How to Spray Paint Glass

Hand holding spray paint can

Let’s look at the steps that will help you spray paint glass efficiently:

Choose the Right Kind of Spray Paint

Before choosing spray paint, be sure to read the information provided by the manufacturer on the product label. Then, check if it will stick to glass without difficulty.

Glass spray paints are available in various effects and sheens. For example, you can choose from frosted glass, stained glass, or sea glass effects according to your preference.  

Wash Your Glass

It’s crucial to wash your glass before painting, even if you’re using a brand-new piece. First, use warm water and a little dish soap to clean items like bottles, jars, or plates. Then, wipe down all surfaces with a dishcloth or sponge. 

Be sure to wash the whole glass to eliminate dust and debris, even in the areas you don’t plan to paint. If you’re spray-painting a glass piece that can’t be soaked in water, like a mirror, then use a damp sponge or microfiber cloth to wipe down its surface and let it dry completely.    

Remove the Label

If your glass piece has a label or sticker on it, then soak the piece in soapy water to loosen it. Next, remove the paper side of the sticker with a nylon scrub pad or your fingers. 

Using a citrus sticker-removing solution, remove the glue-like material from your glass. Wash and let your glass dry completely. 

For mirrors and other non-submersible items, apply a sponge or a wet paper towel directly over the sticker and let it sit for a couple of hours. Remove the residue with a citrus-based sticker remover, then wipe down the glass piece with a damp microfiber cloth.   

Wipe it with Rubbing Alcohol

Sometimes a glass piece may look like it has a thin film on it. Wiping it down with rubbing alcohol will not only clean it but also make it more receptive to spray paint. 

Rubbing alcohol helps to remove soap residue, greasy film, and fingerprints that could ruin the spray paint effect. Wipe your glass with a microfiber cloth dipped in alcohol and allow it to dry completely before painting.   

Prepare Your Work Area

You must be extra careful when spray painting as this paint can get everywhere. Be sure to prep your workplace before starting to prevent bugs, dust, or other unwanted particles from ruining your project. 

Pick a well-ventilated painting spot. It’s best to paint outdoors, as this will prevent fumes from negatively affecting your health. Spread newspapers or old cardboard boxes, so the previous paint color doesn’t transfer to your glass piece. It will also make it easy to clean afterward. 

Start Spray Painting

Shake the spray paint can for a minute before starting the painting. Start the paint steam slightly before the glass piece and end it somewhat beyond it. Keep the spray can at least 12 inches away from your project. 

Applying several thin layers of paint is better than one heavy coating, as thin coats adhere better and do not result in paint blobs and drips. If you’re painting a jar or a vase, place it upside down on your work surface to ensure that the paint covers the visible bottom edge. 

If you’re painting plates and glasses, then be sure to keep the paint away from any surface that will come in contact with food or beverages. Also, avoid using scrub pads or putting painted pieces in a dishwasher, as this may remove the paint.  

Tips and Tricks 

Remember that spray paint will chip and flake eventually. That’s why you should take care while handling painted pieces. The following tips and tricks will help you enjoy your painted pieces for longer:

  • Don’t touch or interact with your painted pieces unnecessarily.
  • Avoid washing your glass with water if you haven’t used oil-based paints.
  • Practice on a few extra pieces before tackling your project. Doing a test paint will provide a much better outcome.
  • Avoid putting food inside spray-painted jars or bottles, as these paints aren’t usually food-safe.
  • Placing your pattern inside the vase or bottle will make it easier to spray paint. Use masking tape to cover the parts of glass you don’t want to paint. 
  • Elevate your glass to ensure easy access to the bottom edge.
  • For taller items such as a vase, using a lazy Susan turntable to spin your piece around is more convenient and will allow you to work better.

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