Glass is a fantastic medium for DIY projects because you can transform an ordinary piece of glass into a work of art with just a few coats of paint. But before you paint, there are a few things you need to know about how to prepare the glass and what type of paint to use.
Clean the glass with soapy water, allow it to dry, then wipe it with rubbing alcohol or vinegar to remove any soap film. Paint with either enamel or chalk paint or paint pens. Allow your painted glass to air cure for 21 days or quick cure in a cold oven set to 350 F for 30 minutes.
Let’s look in more detail at how to prep a glass surface for paint, how to paint it, and then how to cure the paint so that your project is durable and long-lasting. Then you’ll be ready to add your personal touch to any glass surface.
Step 1: Prepping Glass Surfaces for Paint
Before painting glass, it is important to prepare the surface correctly so the paint will adhere and last. To do this, you need to remove any dust or debris from the surface of the glass and then clean it with a solvent that will remove any grease or oils.
Remove Dust and Debris
To remove dust and debris from the surface of the glass, wash it thoroughly in warm, soapy water. Be sure to clean all areas of the glass, including the stemware, then allow it to dry.
Clean Glass Surface with Solvent
Once the glass is clean and dry, use a solvent such as alcohol or white vinegar to clean the surface of the glass. Use a soft cloth or paper towel and apply the solvent in a circular motion to remove any leftover soap residue or oils.
Air Dry Glass Surface
Set the glass in a warm, dry place for at least 15 minutes until completely dry. Once dry, the glass is now ready to be painted.
Step 2: How to Paint Glass
While your glass is air drying, you can gather supplies. You will need a few items to get started painting glass.
Choose the type of paint based on the project you are working on and the look you want to achieve. When possible, select paint specifically made for glass.
- Enamel paint is perfect for painting glass because it will not chip or scratch easily, dries to a hard, glossy finish, and is resistant to damage.
- Chalk paint, like these from FolkArt (on Amazon), has a matte finish that creates a rustic or vintage look, but you cannot cure or wash glass painted with chalk paint.
- Spray paint makes painting glass quick and easy. Multiple coats create a smooth, even finish.
- Paint pens or markers allow you to get precise lines and details, and you can use them on top of other paint after it has dried.
Use high-quality, soft-bristle brushes, like this acrylic set (on Amazon), to avoid leaving brushstrokes in the paint. Spouncers and dauber brushes, like these foam brushes (on Amazon), are sponges mounted on a handle that you can use to create unique textures.
Use a palette tray to hold paint while you work to make it easier to dip your brush into the paint and prevent it from drying. You can also use it to mix colors.
You’ll also want to have some newspaper or a drop cloth to protect your work surface and a cup of water to clean your brushes in between colors.
Now that you have your supplies, you’re ready to paint.
When painting your glass, you want to use a light layer of paint to start and allow it to dry before adding a second layer. If you paint over a wet surface, you will end up streaking or removing paint. Three or four 3-4 coats of paint will give you good coverage.
To add details, such as a design or color blocking, use smaller brushes, a stylus, or daubers. You can also create a layered effect by painting over dry paint with a different color for a unique, dimensional look.
Step 3: How to Cure Painted Glass for Use
After the paint is fully dry, it’s time to “cure” the glass. Curing is a simple process that hardens the paint to be more durable and resistant to scratches and wear.
You can bake the painted glass in the oven or let it air-cure for 21 days.
To bake the paint, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your painted glass items on the sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and let the glass cool completely in the oven.
It’s critical to place the glass in a cool oven and let it get to temperature. Otherwise, the sudden temperature change of putting the glass in a hot oven could cause the glass to break.
Air Cure Method
You can air-dry it if you don’t want to bake the paint. Set your painted glass items aside in a well-ventilated area and let them cure for 21 days.
After completing the curing process, your painted glass is ready to use. Glass painted with enamel paint can be hand washed with soap and water, while glass painted with chalk paint cannot be washed and should only be used decoratively.