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It can be loads of fun to decorate and paint glass windows, and the finished product will add a certain charm to your business or home. There is an assortment of window painting ideas; some offer a fun vibe and look while others are more functional and will assist in providing privacy. We have put this article together to assist you in learning how to paint glass windows, while also providing recommendations for paint for glass windows.
Table of Contents
Reasons for Painting Glass Windows
There are several reasons why you might want to paint glass windows, including functional purposes as well as decorative purposes. You do not need to be an experienced artist, as there is an assortment of gorgeous stencils and design ideas that you can use. A popular form of window art is faux stained-glass designs. You may need to put in a little more work, than if you simply used a stencil, but the results are completely worth it!
You can use frosted-glass painting to paint your windows and provide more privacy. Frosted glass allows the light to shine through while still offering privacy. Painting glass can be done in your own home, but can also be used at our business to assist in attracting customers. You can even decorate glass windows with your kids.
Types of Paint for Glass
As with working with any other type of paint, you cannot simply apply any old paint onto your glass windows. You will need to select a paint that suits your needs, while still being suitable for use. For example, you will need to use transparent paint if you want the light to shine through.
Acrylic Enamel Paints
You can purchase acrylic enamel paint that is either opaque or transparent and provides frosted and glossy window glass colors. The most permanent and durable enamel-based acrylic is best suited for smooth surfaces such as glass. In most cases, acrylic enamel paints must be cured in the oven after they have completely dried. However, with certain brands, this is simply optional and the paint will dry well when air-dried.
If you are using paints from the same brand, you can combine the colors, which can then be applied using a soft brush.
Acrylic Paints for Glass
If you are looking for opaquer paint, then water-based acrylic paints are your go-to. There are also transparent paint options available. These forms of acrylic paints are specially formulated for use on glass but can be applied to a variety of other surfaces. You can dry the acrylic glass paint using a heat-set or by air drying, depending on the product’s instructions. You can apply a glass medium to ensure a better adhesion when applying regular acrylic paints to glass. The glass medium can be applied directly to the glass surface as a primer.
You will be able to increase the bond of the paint on the glass by first applying a glass medium. You will achieve a frosted, opaque effect. You can also use tempera paints as an alternative to glass paints. Tempera paint is also water-soluble paint. However, tempera paint (also known as poster paints) is thinner than acrylic paints and once dry, offers a more superior opaque, matte finish, unlike acrylics, which offer a glossy or semi-gloss finish. These paints are not permanent, however, and are thought of as washable window paints.
Finally, you have oil-based or solvent-based paints. Due to the high prices of these paints and their elevated toxic levels, these paints tend to mainly be used by professionals. These paints are permanent once applied to glass and can assist you in creating a stunning stained-glass effect that can either be sprayed, brushed on, or applied using a dropper. You can combine colors and should be able to achieve a stunning glossy finish.
To clean up this paint you will require solvents, as simple soap and water will not work.
What Materials Are Required to Paint Glass Windows?
Before you attempt to paint your glass windows, it is necessary to collect together all the relevant materials. This includes the paint, a cleaning solution to clean both your window before working and clean the brushes while working, and most importantly the correct paint.
The Best Brushes for Decorating Glass Windows
To create the look you desire, you need to select the correct brush or paint applicator. If you are hoping to create a brushed-on look, you should then use a synthetic brush. A natural, softer brush will create a smoother finish. Regardless of the brush you use, you want to ensure that it is a good-quality brush as you do not want to have to pick out bristles that have fallen out of the brush from your paint. If you are working with a stencil, a foam brush is a great option.
When applying paint using a sponge, you will add texture to your paint’s finish.
How to Select the Best Paint for Glass Windows
The best paint to use on glass are paints that have been formulated for use on glass. These types of paints have been formulated to chemically bond to the glass. They will provide a long-lasting, durable finish. These are your solvent-based or acrylic-enamel paints. If you are looking to create a non-permanent project, then you should use acrylic paint on glass or other types of water-based paints. All forms of paint share certain characteristics; however, some differences could impact your selection.
We have put together details on the major factors you should take into consideration when selecting the best glass paint.
Type of Glass Paint
Your standard acrylic paints are versatile and will work on most surfaces such as canvas, paper, and wood. This type of paint will also work well on smoother surfaces such as glass, but they are not very durable and will wear away quite quickly. An option that is better than your standard acrylic paint is acrylic enamel paint, thanks to them being water-based and more durable. While this type of paint is thought of as non-toxic, they are unfortunately not food-safe. Lastly, when it comes to glass window paints the most durable option are your solvent-based paints. These types of paints can be applied to ceramics, glass, and metal.
These types of paints are unfortunately toxic and will require a solvent to clean them up. There is one other option that should be your go-to if you are looking for paints for kids to work with, and that is your tempera paint, which is safe to work with for kids and washes off with ease.
What Does the Paint Come In?
Paint can be purchased in a variety of forms and sizes. The most common size is a two-ounce bottle, which is usually available in a set, though certain brands sell the paint bottles individually. The quantity of paint in these bottles is sufficient to cover a few smaller projects. You can also purchase spray paints, which will cover a larger area more efficiently, though you may need to apply several layers to achieve the finish you want. If you are looking to do more detailed applications, you can also purchase an assortment of markers and pens.
You may want to take into consideration the opacity or transparency of the paints, depending on the look you are hoping to achieve. While other types of paint are significantly weaker on the initial application and require several coats to achieve a vibrant color, acrylic enamel paints are a lot opaquer, and certain glass paints are perfect to create the stained-glass effect. The paint’s consistency is also very important; some paints are thinner, while others offer a thicker consistency, and will sometime have to be thinned out.
If you are looking for more durable paint, then enamel glass paints are an option. The durability can be increased by curing or sealing the paint. Sadly, it is not as simple as picking up the window out of its frame and popping it into the oven. Instead, you can apply a sealant that will assist the paint in lasting longer. Glass paint is available in many different finishes from gloss, to matte, semi-gloss, frosted, shimmer, and metallic effects.
You will need to consider how difficult the paint will be to remove after having applied it. You may be looking to apply something less permanent and temporary, such as tempera paints, which are easy to remove and safe to use. You can also use regular acrylics; keep in mind that they are more semi-permanent. We recommend that you use a glass medium to ensure that the paint is sealed correctly and lasts longer. Solvent-based paints are more durable and permanent than the likes of acrylic paints.
In terms of curing, it takes just a few hours for acrylic paint to be dry to the touch, though solvent-based paint will take significantly longer to dry. Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions as paint can cure over time, while other types of paint may need to be baked. In certain instances, the paint will need to cure over time and then be baked.
Acrylic paints are thought to be less toxic and give off a minimal odor, while solvent paints usually release high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you are looking for great paint for kids to use, we recommend tempera paint, thanks to it being non-toxic. The form of application also impacts the safety of the paint, so spray paint poses more health risks than using a brush. We have put together a table to illustrate a few of the main factors or features you will need to take into consideration before buying your paints.
|Acrylic-Enamel Paints||Low VOC levels||Can come in transparent and opaque colors and can be glossy or matte||Permanent|
|Acrylic Glass Paints||Low VOC levels||Available in transparent and opaque colors||Semi-permanent|
|Tempera Paints||Non-toxic and safe||Mostly opaque||Not permanent, washable window paint|
|Solvent-Based Paints||Toxic, only for decorative purposes||Vibrant transparent and opaque colors||Permanent|
Best Recommended Products: Paint for Glass Windows
There are many products and paint brands available, so to narrow your search down we have made a list of the three more popular choices. We have offered a choice between tempera, acrylic enamel, and acrylic glass paint.
Best Tempera Paint for Glass Windows: COLORATIONS Washable Tempera Paints
The Colorations Tempera Paints come in a set of 11 creamy, vibrant, and opaque colors. These paints are ideal for kids as they are washable window paints that are safe to use. The paint’s adhesion to glass surfaces is quite good and will dry in just a couple of minutes, while also being simple to use. These paints can be used on more than just glass, so are ideal for an assortment of different art projects. If you accidentally mess any of this paint on your skin or clothes, or you are looking to remove it from your glass surface, you can simply do so using some water and a little bit of soap.
Acrylic Enamel Paint for Glass Windows: FOLKART Gloss Acrylic Enamel Paint
These FolkArt acrylic enamel paints are formulated specifically for use on ceramic and glass surfaces and are non-toxic. The paints are available in 16 gorgeous colors, and the bottle is of a decent size. You are also able to combine the colors to create many more colors. Once dried, the paint offers a stunning, durable, vibrant gloss finish, while also being scratch-resistant. To clean up these paints, all you require is some soap and water. When applied to drinking glasses, this paint can be cured in the oven, resulting in the paint then being dishwasher safe.
Acrylic Glass Paint: COLORFUL Stain Glass Paint Set
The Colorful stained glass paint set is made up of 24 acrylic-enamel paints. This set comes with a useful palette and six brushes. These paints are scratch-resistant and relatively durable. They are also water- and heat-resistant. The paints are solvent-free, have no smell, and are non-toxic. Another amazing feature is that you do not need to apply heat to cure these paints. You can create stunning pieces of art on your wine glasses, windows, and any other glass surfaces, as well as ceramic surfaces.
A Tutorial on How to Paint Glass Windows
A stunning way to add excitement and color to your home is to decorate your glass windows. Whether it is only permanent or temporary, at work or home, painted glass can heighten the aesthetic of a room and add a stunning feature to your space.
Cleaning and Preparing the Glass Windows
Whenever you are painting a surface, be it glass or wood, you will always be required to do some form of preparation to ensure that you achieve the best finish. Before you paint you will have to clean the glass surface. It can be cleaned by wiping down the surface using some soapy water. If there are any greasy marks, they can be removed, and then wipe down the surface using some rubbing alcohol. When you have finished, allowed sufficient time for the surface to dry.
We recommend wearing gloves when cleaning the glass so you do not directly touch the surface accidentally and leave behind oily fingerprints.
Before the preparation begins, you should have a good idea of the results you are looking to achieve. In doing so, you can ensure you have the relevant materials you will require, at hand. Once you have your design in mind, you can cover areas that you do not wish to get painted up, using some painter’s tape (i.e., the window’s frame). If you are planning to paint a detailed art piece, we recommend you add a base coat or a background. When you have finished applying the base coat using a brush with an even coating, allow an hour for it to dry completely. Keep in mind that paint dry times can differ from brand to brand, so make sure that you consult the instructions before you start. If you are painting on glass windows, you can also use an aerosol primer.
It is not a must to apply a base coat, as you can just apply the outline of the design directly onto the bare glass using a paint liner. To avoid leaving any fingerprints on the glass surface, remember to wear gloves. There are two options available to you if you plan to draw directly onto the glass surface without applying a base coat. You can either use a stencil or you can draw freehand. Tracing the image will then be easy to do. You can also just use a little painter’s tape to mark off easy geometric designs. Before you begin painting, you can add the lead liner and you will be able to create a faux stained-glass finish.
Painting Acrylic on Glass
When adding the paint to the design, we recommend that you start by painting the top right or top left side of the designated area. In doing so, you will avoid smudging your design. Apply the paint evenly using a brush, and, depending on the look you are hoping to achieve, you may need to apply more than one layer of paint. Try to not be heavy-handed when applying the paint, as it is easier to apply additional paint as opposed to removing excess paint. Keep a paper towel or an old rag at hand to wipe away any mistakes.
Depending on which type of paint you use, some of the unwanted paint may require the use of paint thinner to remove. Apply your initial paint color and finish with this color across the whole design, after which you can move on to the next color. Make sure that you clean your brush in paint thinners or some water before moving on to the different paint colors, and allow time for the brush to dry before painting again. Tempera paints dry quite quickly – in a matter of minutes – while water-based paints normally need roughly an hour, and oil-based paints can take up to a full day to dry. Continue painting until you are happy with your design. The painter’s tape can be taken off the glass when the paint is completely dry.
Thanks to tempera paint being non-toxic, it is a very popular choice, as it washes off easily and can be used safely by children. You can buy pre-made paints or it is possible to make your paints. Take any type of washable children’s paint and mix it with some liquid dish soap. You can also use a spray can to apply the paint, and this is a great option if you are looking to create a frosted-glass painting finish. When applying the spray paint, you will need to ensure that you are working in a well-ventilated area and that you are wearing the necessary safety gear such as gloves and a mask.
Curing and Sealing the Painted Glass
You can increase the durability of the painted glass by curing it. Before the curing takes place, the paint is vulnerable to peeling and scratches. We recommend baking your painted glass items, however, this is not always possible, such as when you are painting on windows.
If you are looking to increase the durability after painting acrylic on glass, you can use an acrylic sealant that has been specifically manufactured for glass surfaces. These products are available in either spray or brush-on formulas. You can only apply it after the acrylic paint has completely dried.
How to Remove Glass Paint
When preparing your surface, you already taped any areas that you did not want to get paint on. But what if you want to change your design? It is quite easy to remove the paint if you are using washable water-based paint. You just take a little water and soap and wipe the paint away. It can prove to be a little harder to remove acrylic paints, however.
You may have to use some white vinegar first to loosen the paint.
Take three teaspoons of water and vinegar and allow them to come to a boil. Dip a cloth into the hot water mixture, and be careful to not burn yourself – we recommend you wear some rubber gloves. Then, rub the cloth over the painted glass surface. If there is any paint left behind, you can use a razor to scrape the paint away. Take the blade and hold it at an angle to the glass surface, being sure to work in one direction. By using long strokes to lift the paint, you will avoid it flaking off.
Window Art Ideas and Tips
When creating window art, your imagination can run wild! If you plan to apply a more permanent look, then you will need to give more thought to your design. Perhaps you are looking to create a window look that forms a rainbow of color when the sun shines through it by creating a stunning stained-glass window. A popular type of design is a flower painting design, from sunflowers to roses and daisies. There are so many design options available
Another option is to use liquid chalk pens. These pens are non-toxic and work really well when used on non-porous surfaces such as glass windows. Liquid chalk pens do not create any mess, are easy to draw with, and can be wiped away with ease.
Perhaps you are someone who likes painting glass windows, but you are not looking for a permanent design.
The panel can also be moved around with ease. If you are looking to create an assortment of paint textures on your glass window surfaces, you can make use of items lying around your houses such as crumpled-up newspaper, a sponge, or even steel wool. We have put together a list of tips and tricks to assist you with your window art project:
- Always ensure that the glass surface has been cleaned properly.
- Plan out your design carefully before beginning.
- Select the right paint for your particular glass project.
- Have the necessary tools at hand such as rags, tape, brushes, sponges, stencils, toothpicks, newspaper, and so on.
- Consult the paint product instructions and follow them carefully. Ensure you allow sufficient time for each layer of paint to dry before applying the following layer.
- To avoid leaving behind brush strokes in your paint, apply thin, even coats of paint.
- Consider applying paint to the outside of the windows, unless you are located in an area that receives a lot of rain.
- Use a sponge when applying one solid color.
- When working with a stencil, use a stencil that lays flat and stays on the glass surface.
- Allow roughly 21 days for the paint to dry to achieve a more permanent result.
When painting acrylic on glass, or painting windows in general, the most important aspect is to ensure that you have fun! We hope this article has assisted you in deciding what paint to use on glass, what tools you need to use when decorating glass windows, and even how to create glossy window glass colors. There are endless design ideas and options available, so there is guaranteed to be something that will pique your interest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Seal Paint for Glass Windows?
You can leave acrylic paint to cure fully or air dry for at least a month. Another great idea is to bake acrylic paints, however, this is not always possible, such as when you are painting on windows. When your acrylic paint has completely dried, you can apply a spray-on or brush-on acrylic sealant.
What Paint to Use on Glass?
The best paints to use on glass are either acrylic enamels or paints that have been specifically formulated for glass. Always consult the label on the bottle to ensure that the paint can be used on glass. You can also use normal acrylic paint as long as you first apply a glass medium. If you are looking for paint that can be used by kids, we recommend you use tempera paint.
Can You Remove Acrylic Paints From Glass?
Acrylic paints are semi-permanent and once the paint has dried, they can prove challenging to remove. However, with a solution of boiled vinegar and water, you can remove the paint. This solution will loosen the paint and assist in lifting it off.
What Is the Best Window Paint for Children?
As you will in all likelihood be washing off the paint when your kids have finished painting, tempera, which is washable paint, is the best window paint to use. While ready-made paint is available from your local craft store, you also have the option to create your paint. Simply combine any form of washable kid’s paint with a small amount of dishwashing soap.