This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you.
Acrylic paints are so popular because you can use the paints on a variety of surfaces. But can you use acrylic paints on glass? Yes, painting glass with acrylic paint is possible and you can paint on many other surfaces including wood, metal, paper, canvas, plastic, and some even work on leather. Acrylic paints are much thicker in consistency when compared to watercolors, which makes them a lot easier to paint with. Even though acrylic paints are easy to use, with glass you have to prepare the surface before painting. Acrylic paint on glass produces beautiful and amazing pieces of art that can be created by beginners and professionals alike.
Table of Contents
- 1 Painting on Glass with Acrylics
- 2 How to Choose the Best Acrylic Paint on Glass
- 3 Best Acrylic Paint on Glass
- 4 Selecting a Paintbrush for Acrylic Paint on Glass
- 5 Types of Glass and Acrylic Paint
- 6 Items Required for Painting Glass with Acrylic Paint
- 7 Guidelines for Acrylic Paint on Glass
- 8 Painting Glass with Acrylic Paint
- 9 Sealing Acrylic Paint on Glass
- 10 Best Sealant for Painting on Glass with Acrylics
- 11 How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass with Oven-Baking
- 12 Looking After Your Glass Piece
- 13 Acrylic Paint on Glass Tips
- 14 Frequently Asked Questions
- 14.1 Is it Possible to Use Acrylic Paints on my Glass Window?
- 14.2 Is Mod Podge a Sealant for Acrylic Paint on Glass?
- 14.3 Can You Use Acrylic Paints on Glass?
- 14.4 How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass?
- 14.5 Should a Glass Item be Primed Before Painting with Acrylics?
- 14.6 Is it Possible to Reuse a Previously Painted Glass Item?
Painting on Glass with Acrylics
The best acrylic paint on glass is enamel paint, and these paints work great on smooth surfaces and are durable. Will acrylic paint stick to glass? Applying acrylic paint onto smooth glass is not the best option, as there is nothing for the paint to adhere to.
So, first using a primer will make sure the paint remains where it is supposed to. Before you apply the primer, always make sure the glass surface is clean and does not have any dirt on it. If you are going to use an enamel-based acrylic paint, the primer should also be enamel-based. You can put the primer on by spraying or using a brush. Allow this to dry for 24 hours or sometimes it can take 72 hours to fully set.
You can then go ahead with painting on glass with acrylics and once done, you can seal everything with varnish or another sealant. This simply protects the paintwork and will ensure it lasts a long time. Some benefits of using acrylic paints:
- Easy to use
- Dries fast
- Toxic levels are low
- Simple to clean up
- Produces amazing colors and results
Note: There are acrylic paints that are manufactured especially for glass, if you purchase this kind of acrylic paint, it is not necessary to prime the surface. We suggest you prime the surface anyway, as this will only make your art piece last that much longer.
How to Choose the Best Acrylic Paint on Glass
Painting glass with acrylic paint is simple enough if you use the proper kind of paint. The first thing to do is to choose a paint that is either permanent or washable. Most projects require something more permanent, so you will want something that lasts a long time, and an enamel-based acrylic paint is a good choice. You will also be able to choose different types that offer various finishes that will suit your project.
One major feature of enamel paints is that it takes longer to dry when compared to water-based paints. However, the final product is much more durable. Maybe it is your first-time buying paint, and you are not sure what to look for. Below are some things you might want to bear in mind when it comes to acrylic paint on glass.
Acrylic Paint on Glass: Lightfastness
Lightfastness describes how long the pigment can resist fading when exposed to UV light. The better the lightfastness, the less it will fade. When colors are not lightfast and they tend to fade quickly, these are called fugitive colors. Keep away from these if you are looking to create a more durable and better-quality item.
Transparency, also described as opacity, is how bright or solid and dark the color is. Select the paint you want, are you looking for a more solid color for your project, or what effect are you trying to achieve? More transparent colors will allow light in, while more opaque colors will stop any light from penetrating the surface.
When you need to mix paints, it is generally a bad idea to mix two paints that have differing consistencies. For example, mixing an oil-based paint (thick) with a water-based product (thin) will leave you with a rather lumpy mass of paint you will not be able to use. Try and also keep to similar consistencies with the same paint for best results. You can always squeeze some paint out to check before using and mixing.
Your final look once the paint has dried is referred to as the paint finish. You have various types from gloss and frosted to matte and the final choice is up to you. For glass, we suggest a frosted finish, as this has a nice look. A gloss look might be too reflective, but this could be what you are going for.
- Frosted paints provide a thinner layer and will appear lighter
- Enamel-based acrylic paints provide a thick and opaque finish
- To get an in-between look of a frosted and a gloss finish, you can use crystal gloss enamel
- For a solid matte finish combine acrylic paint with gesso
- Stained glass effect: water-based acrylics or glass paints with a glass liner
The solid matte finish will appear like canvas if applied to a piece of flat glass. Otherwise, this type of finish looks great on bottles and other shaped-glass items. For the stained-glass effect, instead of a glass liner, you can try using lead as a liner. This makes a nice solid outline of your design. To outline and create a stained-glass effect, you can then cover the lines with transparent colors. Before applying the outlines, it is a good idea to trace your design using a marker first, as this is easier to fix if you make a mistake.
Best Acrylic Paint on Glass
As an artist or even a hobbyist, quality products are always what you want to look out for. The same goes for painting on glass with acrylics, where you need to find good enamel-based acrylic paints. Here are a few of our top choices, to help you decide.
Best Acrylic Paint on Glass: FOLKART Multi-Surface Acrylic Paint
The FolkArt Multi Satin Finish Acrylic Craft Paint Set comes with 12 vibrant paint colors like Daffodil Yellow, Perfect Blue, Look-at-Me Blue, Perfect Purple, Pure Orange, Real Brown, Wicker White, Classic Green, Lime Green, Licorice, Bright Pink, and Aqua.
The acrylic paints provide a beautiful satin finish and can be used on many surfaces including glass, wood, fabric, paper, and others. The paints are non-toxic and water-based and can be applied to surfaces inside as well as outdoors.
Best Quality Choice: ARTEZA Outdoor Acrylic Paint Set
The Arteza Outdoor Acrylic Paint Set has a variety of vibrant colors from Olympic Blue to Shocking Pink. Once done, painting glass with acrylic paint, you will have a lovely finish that will not fade. The paint can be used both indoors as well as outdoors and is scratch-resistant. The thick paints are certified and water-based.
Best Priced Acrylic Paint: By INDIVIDUALL
The Acrylic Paint Set by Individuall is very well-priced and still offers a high-quality product that provides vibrant colors. You only need a little paint at a time, as the paint is high in pigmentation. This product is manufactured in Germany, so expect excellent quality if you decide to buy.
The painting set comes in eight amazing colors including green, blue, orange, pink, black, white, red, and yellow. Any other colors can easily be created by blending these vibrant colors. The paint will last a long time, so any art piece will still provide you with joy over many years.
Selecting a Paintbrush for Acrylic Paint on Glass
To create the best glass art piece possible, acrylic paints are not the only things you need. A good paintbrush will go a long way in helping you produce quality work. Select the correct paintbrush to match what you are doing.
- Paintbrush size: Broad and flat brushes are for larger areas, while narrow smaller brushes are for more detailed work
- Sponges: These provide a textured or frosted-glass look
- Natural Brushes: These provide nice even finishes and are perfect for base coats
- Synthetic Brushes: Not the best choice, as they can shed bristles and leave brush marks. However, they can give a more rustic look to your work
Types of Glass and Acrylic Paint
There are no specific classifications when it comes to glass types, however, glass does have a Coefficient of Expansion (COE). This means that the glass will contract and expand at certain temperatures. Why is this important? In many cases, after painting on glass, it needs to be baked and this is where the COE comes into play.
Thin glass is quite flexible, which is what you can find in some dinnerware items and these are a good choice for acrylic painting. However, thin glass is also delicate and more responsive to temperature variations. Thicker glass is stronger, such as your bakeware items, but is not as flexible. So, these might fracture during expansion. When painting on glass at home, it might be a good idea to only paint n smaller items. Larger glass projects might need to be placed in a proper kiln.
Items Required for Painting Glass with Acrylic Paint
You need quite a few things besides paint and glass when it comes to painting on glass with acrylics. Many of these materials are readily available and you will be starting to paint in no time. The items required are as follows:
- Glass: any glass item such as a flat pane of glass or drinking glass
- Acrylic enamel paint or glass paint
- Rubbing alcohol: for cleaning the glass surface, you might also need some paper towels
- Paintbrushes and sponges: a selection of brushes is a good idea for a variety of effects
- Plate or palette: for mixing your colors
- Design: you can create a template or go freehand
- Clear acrylic medium or paint thinner: if you need to thin your paint
- Glass paint markers: great for writing and smaller details
- Glass outliners: When you want to create a stained-glass effect
- Varnish or sealant: to create a more long-lasting item
Note: When thinning paint, water is not recommended when applying paint onto a non-porous surface. Also, as most sealants are not food safe, they should not be applied to glass items that are going to be in contact with food or drink.
Guidelines for Acrylic Paint on Glass
There are many ways you can use acrylic paints on glass. You can use a template or stencil you have designed or cut out, or you can try to paint freehand. Use a brush or sponge to paint with and there you have your glass art piece. Next, some guidelines to assist in accomplishing the finest outcome when painting glass with acrylic paint.
Preparation of the Glass Surface
Will acrylic paint stick to glass? Since glass has a smooth surface, the paint will not stick, and you need to apply a base coat or primer. To prepare the glass surface, you need to follow the next few steps.
- Clean the glass with soap and water then let it dry
- To avoid getting oil marks when handling the glass, you can wear latex gloves
- Take some alcohol or vinegar and a cotton ball and wipe the glass surface then let it dry
- Tape any areas you do not want paint on
- Apply a base coat with a broad paintbrush making sure it is smooth and applied evenly
- Want an opaque effect? Paint a few coats of gesso over the base coat
The following two steps can be done if you want additional coats, otherwise, if you are doing simple designs on clear glass, you can leave these preparation steps out.
- The base coat should be left to dry for at least an hour before more paint is applied, as the paints could bleed into each other
- Apply further coats to prevent the design from bleeding into the base coat
Note: If you are painting a drinking glass, make sure to tape off the mouth area. Acrylic paint is non-toxic, however, and repeated contact can cause the paint to crack and peel off much faster.
Painting Glass with Acrylic Paint
Now that the glass surface has been cleaned and prepared, you can now move onto the next step of painting on your design. Copy the pattern onto paper first and then you can trace it onto your glass piece. You can also go freehand if you wish. When working with acrylic paints, take time to read the label instruction to ensure the paints are properly prepared.
- Take a marker and outline the design onto the glass and use this as a guide when painting
- If you have not applied a base coat and the glass is clear, place the stencil on the inside of the glass to be able to trace the design
- When using glass liners, you can follow the same process. Follow the outline carefully
- The marker can be washed off, so it will not ruin the design in any way
- Now you can begin painting, choose your brush or sponge to apply detail or other effects
- You can use a syringe filled with paint to apply dots
- Apply one color of paint at a time, then clean the brush and apply the next color
- If you are using enamel-based paint, you might need paint thinner to clean the brushes
- Dry the brush tip once cleaned and then dip into another color
- Try not to blend the paint colors as you work by accident. You can wait for each color to dry before moving on, which should take about an hour
- If you do make a mistake, take a cotton bud, and dip the tip into some acetone and carefully take out the mistake. This is great for detailed areas
- You can apply a second coat if you want more vibrant colors
Note: Once your first coat has dried, the paint may appear lighter than the original color. Applying a second coat will help to create the color you are looking for. Make sure to use the same colors, as you do not want to make the paint muddy in appearance.
Helpful Hints for Glass Designs
Designs are fun to create and there are many different patterns and effects you can consider for your project.
- When using a template pattern, tape it to the inside of the glass to easily trace from the outside
- To paint straight lies use tape and a flat brush. Remove the tape while the paint is still wet, as it might pull paint off if dry
- You can clean or scrape edges with excess paint using a craft knife
- To create large dots, apply the paint with a sponge
- For smaller dots use a stylus, brush handle, or syringe
- When applying in the above manner, dip and lift the handle straight down and not at an angle to prevent any smudging on application. Apply in a circular motion before lifting from the glass surface
Letting the Paint Dry
The paint will become dry to the touch in about an hour. Enamel-based paint may take up to a week before it fully dries or cures. To dry more effectively, leave the glass in a warm and dry spot. Drying times can differ, so always read the manufacturer’s guidelines. You can then bake the glass item to cure it and for even better protection, a coat of sealant can be applied.
Sealing Acrylic Paint on Glass
Sealing your glass piece can be done by either baking it or applying a sealant. You can also do both for added protection and to create a more long-lasting item. Sealants are best used on glass items that are for decorative purposes only and not for items that are used for drink or food. Sealants are generally not safe to use around food.
How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass
Applying a sealant is easy and can be done using a brush or spraying it on. Spray sealants are great because they do not come into significant contact with the painted surface as a brush does. This is ideal, especially if the paint is still wet. Whatever sealant you choose, make sure to read the product company guidelines before handling it. Always work in a well-ventilated area, as sealants give-off toxic fumes. How to seal acrylic paint on glass with spray sealants:
- When using a spray, hold it about 12-inches away from the surface before spraying. Sweep back and forth until the area is covered without staying in a single spot for too long
- Each sealant coat should dry for 15 minutes before the next coat; however, this is dependent on the product
- Two to three even coats should be enough to seal the glass surface properly
How to seal acrylic paint on glass with brush-on sealants:
- When applying using a brush, use thin even coats. Once dipped into the sealant, allow any excess to drip off first before applying
- Use smooth, light, and even back and forth movements when applying with a brush for an even coat
- Again, two to three coats need to be applied
- Let each coat applied dry before the next coat
- Brush-on sealants do take longer to dry than the spray-on option
- Let the glass item dry for 24 hours
Best Sealant for Painting on Glass with Acrylics
Sealants are needed to protect items and helps enhance durability. However, as mentioned, a sealant should not be used on items meant to be in close contact with food and drink. Sealants are toxic and are not safe to use around food. Following are recommendations for both a spray-on sealant and a brush-on sealant.
Best Spray-On Sealant: ALEENE’S Spray Gloss Finish
The Aleene Spray-On Sealant provides a durable and clear finish to your glass project. The sealant can be used on both indoor and outdoor glass items and leaves an appealing glossy sheen. Application is easy and safe, as it does not have any CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). The product also dries fast and will not yellow if placed in UV light.
Best Brush-On Sealant: MOD PODGE Sealer
Mod Podge is a well-known brand amongst hobbyists. The product is both a sealant as well as a glue and finish. Easy and safe to use, as it is water-based, so you can apply to quite a few items in a small area. Mod Podge is part of the Plaid brand of products that have always provided versatile and popular products. Once Mod Podge has been applied, the painted item is dishwasher-safe and should be placed on the top shelf when washing. We do advise you not to apply the product on items used for food or drink.
How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass with Oven-Baking
When oven-baking, before you start read the label to check for instructions on oven-baking. This should tell you what to do, including the temperature needed.
- Place the painted glass piece into the oven before you switch it on. The glass must heat up and cool down as the oven does, otherwise, you risk breaking the glass
- Put the oven on to 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- The oven will slowly heat up along with the glass item
- Once the temperature is reached, leave for 30 minutes
- Switch off the oven and let the glass cool in the oven. This should take about 45 minutes, do not open the oven door during this time
- Leave the glass item for another 72 hours before use. This includes glass items that are going to be used for food or drink, as it only becomes food-safe once fully cured.
Looking After Your Glass Piece
An enamel-based painted glass piece is more durable than others painted with water-based paints. However, there are some general maintenance steps you can take to preserve your glass piece for longer.
- When placing it in the dishwasher, put it on the top shelf for a safer wash
- Do not place your glass item in the microwave oven
- Do not scrub the glass surface or soak it in water for long period. The paint you use should have cleaning directions included
- Wipe often to remove any dust, if there is more stubborn dirt wipe down with a damp cloth avoiding any painted areas as far as possible
- Painted glass pieces that are washed and cleaned more often will tend to have a shorter lifespan. Decorative pieces usually last the longest
Acrylic Paint on Glass Tips
To help you with painting on glass with acrylics, here are a few tips. Many have already gone through the process of painting on glass and have discovered all the problems and tricks that occur.
- It is always best to handwash your glass item than use a dishwasher, even if it has been sealed
- Spray the glass surface with a primer or sealer before painting for more durability. Let the glass dry for at least 24 hours before painting
- The glass item should not have any cracks or defects, as it could break when placed in the oven with the heat
- Wear gloves to prevent any fingerprint marks on the glass surface
- Non-food glass items can have a sealant, while others used for food should rather be baked
- Glass items used with food should not have paint that comes into contact with food or drink
- Paint under the rim where you drink from, as you do not want to run the risk of damaging the paint or ingesting it
- Only paint around the edges of plates, or underneath the plate
- Do not paint on recycled glass, rather use a stronger type of glass. Recycled glass is not of the same standard and should not be baked in the oven
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Possible to Use Acrylic Paints on my Glass Window?
Yes, it is easy to paint on glass windows using a design or use a glass outliner for a stained-glass look.
Is Mod Podge a Sealant for Acrylic Paint on Glass?
Yes, Mod Podge acts as a glue, finish, and sealer. The product dries clear and provides a protective layer over the glass piece.
Can You Use Acrylic Paints on Glass?
You can use acrylic paints on a variety of surfaces including glass. However, you will need to apply a base coat or primer for better paint adhesion.
How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass?
Placing the glass into the oven is a good way to seal the paint. However, a sealant can also be applied for extra protection and longevity. There are spray-on as well as brush-on sealants available.
Should a Glass Item be Primed Before Painting with Acrylics?
A glass item must be prepared before painting by first cleaning and making sure the surface is dry. You do not always need to add a primer or base coat to the glass; however, it does improve the adhesion qualities of the paint and will improve the glass items lifespan.
Is it Possible to Reuse a Previously Painted Glass Item?
This is difficult but not impossible. You will need to remove any paint with a solvent from the glass surface. You will then need to start from the beginning of painting glass with acrylic paint and follow all the steps.
Painted glass offers a fantastic effect for all sorts of projects. We hope that you are now inspired to grab your acrylic paints, find a suitable piece of glass, and start painting! You will be sure to love the process.