Acrylic paint is a versatile medium used on different surfaces like wood, metal, and glass. With the correct techniques, you can ensure your finished artwork lasts longer on glass surfaces.
Acrylic enamel paint and acrylic glass paint are the best options for glass. First, be sure to clean the glass surface. You can also lightly sand the surface and prime it for better results. Afterward, seal your artwork with transparent sealant or cure it in the oven.
Painting glass can be a fun project and transform decorative items, glassware, or window panes. However, there’s a lot to consider and learn beforehand. Luckily, we cover everything you need to know in the article below.
Acrylic paint can be used on a variety of surfaces, including glass, mirrors, bottles, mason jars, and more.
However, it’s essential to use the correct paints and materials to prolong the life of your art.
Acrylic enamel paint is the best-suited medium for glassware because they’re specifically designed for smooth surfaces. Many options are non-hazardous and work well for other projects.
You can also find acrylic enamel paint that’s tough, long-lasting, and low-odor. Finally, if you’re painting glassware, look for options that are food safe and non-toxic.
Another option is acrylic glass paint or acrylic paint that works well on glass. However, you may need to prime the glass surface with gesso or another primer before you start.
Many of these options are water-based with a gloss finish and do not require heat to finish the artwork.
Another method is to utilize bake-on acrylic paint for glass surfaces. This method does not typically require large amounts of primer as other techniques. However, following all manufacturer guidelines, you’ll need an oven to bake these paints.
These are the Supplies You’ll Need to Get Started
A few different supplies are required for successfully painting on glass surfaces with acrylic paint. As you can imagine, you’ll need a piece of glass, like a piece of glassware, a decorative accessory, or a flat panel.
Some additional supplies you’ll need include:
- Plastic tarps or newspapers
- Cotton swabs or pads
- Paper towels and rags
- Disposable gloves
- Dish soap and water
- Rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or vinegar
- Your preferred acrylic glass paint
- Masking tape (optional)
- Primer or gesso (optional)
- Acrylic paint thinner or medium (optional)
- Sandpaper (optional)
It’s best to keep different shapes and sizes of paintbrushes on hand. Multiple options will help you create other effects, line widths, and techniques on the glass.
The acrylic medium can be helpful if you wish to thin the consistency of the paint.
However, water doesn’t work well for thinning acrylic, as it prevents adhesion and doesn’t absorb on the glass surface. Lastly, you’ll need a suitable varnish or sealant to protect the longevity of your finished piece.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for painting glass with acrylic. Instead, several types of paint and techniques exist, like freehand or stencil designs.
However, we cover the fundamental steps for painting on acrylic below to set you on the right foot.
The first rule of painting glass with acrylic is to clean the glass surface. Wear disposable gloves to avoid fingerprints or skin oils appearing while you work.
Wash your glass surface with soapy water and allow it to air dry. After it’s dry, wipe the surface with rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or vinegar and let it air dry once more. You can use cotton swabs or rags to wipe down the surface.
Preparing the Surface
Now that your piece is dry, you can tape any areas you don’t want to tape. For instance, you might tape the edges of a dinner glass if you plan to drink from it afterward. You might also tape designs on glass panels, depending on the project.
You can also lightly sand the glass surface to prepare it for paint, but this step is optional. Sanding the surface helps the acrylic adhere better, but you’ll want to dust the glass after sanding.
Adding a thin layer of primer or gesso to the surface is optional. Ensure you’re using an enamel-based primer if you are painting with acrylic enamel paint.
It’s unnecessary to sand or prime the whole glass piece, only the places where you will paint.
Now, you can prepare your workspace for painting. For example, lay down a tarp or newspaper to prevent accidental spills or mess. You may also want to wear an apron or have rags handy in case of accidents.
Be sure to gather your paintbrushes or tools and neatly organize them so you have everything readily available. Finally, mix your colors and thin out your paint with an acrylic medium if necessary.
Now that everything is prepared, you can finally start painting! Use your brushes and begin painting with a single color.
Thin, even strokes and multiple layers will help you create a more polished piece. Next, paint towards yourself from a further distance, as it provides you more control over each of your strokes.
Ensure you’re properly cleaning your brushes before changing colors. Water works well for standard acrylics. Acrylic enamel paints typically require a bit of paint thinner for cleaning brushes, but this can vary.
Don’t panic if you make a few mistakes. To fix errors, you can use cotton pads soaked in acetone or rubbing alcohol. Then, rub out any blemishes or mistakes and start again.
After finishing your glass painting, you’ll need to give it ample time to dry and cure. Different types and brands of acrylic paint will have varying drying times. Most acrylic mediums dry to the touch within 60 minutes.
Alternatively, you can leave your piece in a warm, dry, sunny location to speed up the drying process. You can also use a hair dryer on low settings to dry the artwork.
Be sure not to hold it too close to the finished piece, as this will disturb the wet paint.
Sealing your finished acrylic piece can help prolong its lifespan and prevent cracking, peeling, and yellowing. The two primary options include applying a layer of transparent sealant or curing bake-on paint in the oven.
Remember that sealants are suitable for decorative pieces but aren’t usually food-safe. Oven baking is the usual method for food and drink pieces.
Ensure you read all the manufacturer instructions on your sealant before starting. Some products have different wait times before you begin or apply the next layer. Bake-on sealants will have various temperatures and timeframes as well.
You can place your piece in the oven to cure and seal it if you use bake-on acrylic paint. However, do not use this method for standard acrylic paint, as it is a fire hazard.
Generally speaking, you place your piece into the oven, heat it according to the instructions, set a timer, and wait for it to cool.
However, some brands require you to wait three days before washing, and acrylic pieces must be washed by hand.
Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions before beginning. For example, some bake-on paints require at least 24 hours before entering the oven and different temperatures and timeframes.
Transparent sealants for glass surfaces come in spray-on and brush-on varieties. You can use whichever option you prefer; be sure to use a food-safe sealant if the item comes into contact with food.
You’ll also want to apply the sealant in a well-ventilated area, regardless of the variety. For example, placing tarps or old newspapers can prevent accidental spills. As always, use the sealant slowly and follow all manufacturer instructions for the best results.
Countless brands of acrylic paint work well on glass. Finding and selecting the correct type of paint will ensure your project starts on the right foot. Here are a few of the best acrylic paints for glass to keep in mind.
The FolkArt Gloss Finish Acrylic Enamel Craft Set (on Amazon) is one of the best options available. The pain is specially designed for glass, ceramics, and porcelain.
The finished result is durable, scratch-resistant, and glossy. It’s also safe for the top rack of a dishwasher after oven-baking, making it a convenient option.
Look no further than Pebeo Vitrea 160 Glossy Glass Paint (on Amazon) for professional-grade, non-toxic acrylic paint.
The transparent water-based medium comes in several colors and finishes, providing endless options. In addition, the paint is heat-resistant, food-safe, and can be oven-baked or air-dried.
If you’re looking for a unique medium, check out the Artistro Acrylic Paint Pens (on Amazon). The 3mm tip is suitable for trim details, like writing, fine lines, and more.
In addition, the paints are opaque and ideal for textiles, rocks, glass, ceramics, wood, and more.
The set includes 12 pens in various colors that are scratch resistant, quick-drying, and can be sealed in the oven.