Glass Painting Basics


Glass Painting Craze

There is a myriad of products available for painting on glass. With so many options available in the glass painting category it's difficult to decipher which products to use. What factors are most important in making this decision; is it the color range, the transparency, the permanence, the price, the simplicity of application or is it a combination of all of the above?

First, one must select an appealing piece of glass, and then select an appropriate paint for the desired effects. Once these are selected, the paints should perform according to the advertised qualities. Finally the craftsperson must be pleased with their finished piece!

How does one accomplish this nearly impossible task?

Whether for a gift or for one's own collection, select a piece with an interesting shape and appealing lines. If the piece is functional, be sure that it fits the required needs. For example, if choosing a candlestick be sure it fits the appropriate size candle, check to see if there is a flat painting surface for a design and purchase 2-3 others to design a grouping.

Color range

Most paint lines have a nice color range to choose from. Not all colors appear the same once they are applied to the surface. A true color chart, painted on a sample piece of glass, at the point of purchase is very helpful in selecting a color scheme.


Glass paints can be found in both opaque colors and transparent colors. If the desired result is a painted effect, the opaque colors offer solid color that light does not pass through. Acrylic paint lines such as Liquitex Glossies and Delta PermEnamel offer opaque colors.

If the desired effect is the look of true colored glass or fused glass, then transparent colors offer intense pigments that allow light to pass through. Resin based paints such as Pebeo's Vitrea 160 offer a line of brilliant transparent colors that are available in both glossy and frosted colors.


Adhesion and durability are very important for utilitarian pieces such as wineglasses, plates and water pitchers. These items must be painted with paints that withstand frequent dishwashing as well as microwave use. Paints that have been baked are more durable then those that are not. If the selected piece is something that will be cleaned frequently in the dishwasher - bake on paint such as Pebeo's Vitrea 160 will be most durable. If the piece is for decorative purposes only, then an air dry paint such as Delta's PermEnamel will work fine. Liquitex Glossies is an air-dry paint, but it may be baked to increase durability.


The glass paints vary in price. Although very little paint is used on each piece because glass is a non-porous surface and it takes minimal amounts of paint to color the surface. All of the glass paints will last quite a long time and allow for painting many pieces. All are a good value for the money! When selecting the paint, choose the brand according to the desired performance and durability and remember, as they say, "you get what you pay for".

Simplicity of Application

All glass paints can be applied with a brush to obtain the desired floral pattern or geometric design. Simply place a paper pattern on the inside of the glass and paint on the outside of the glass. For easier application, there are stencils and transfers available. Simply place the stencil on the glass and apply color with an applicator sponge.

For even easier application there are now glass paint markers available. Pebeo's Vitrea 160 line offers 18 markers (9 glossy colors and 9 frosted colors). These bullet tip markers are great for detail work, writing and quick projects. Markers are especially nice for beginner painters and children! These 'bake-on" markers, just like the paints are absolutely durable once baked!

Painted glassware is quite popular and expensive in "high-end" gift stores. There are many beautiful designs that could be easily reproduced for a fraction of the cost with glass paints. So don't miss out, join the CRAZE . . . select some glass paints and paint some glass! Remember to base paint selection on desired performance, effects and durability!



Helpful Hints

1. Be sure to clean glass before painting. Rubbing alcohol or glass cleaner will work to remove any residual grease left on the piece.

2. Follow the instructions carefully for each paint product selected. Some paints (such as PermEnamel) require an undercoat and overcoat to be applied before and after the color. Other paints such as Vitrea 160 and Glossies require only paint.

3. All glass can be baked. Simply place it in a cool oven, allow the oven to heat to desired temperature, set the timer and bake for the required time. After baking allow the piece to cool down before removing from the oven. Oven thermometers are suggested.

4. Resin based paints such as Pebeo's Vitrea 160 are removable until baked. Simply wipe off mistakes with a cotton swab and warm water or alcohol.

5. All brushes can be used for glass painting; synthetic brushes tend to allow for more brushstrokes, natural haired brushes allow for more paint to be applied for a smoother coverage.

6. All tools can be cleaned with soap and water. If using an acrylic based paint (such as PermEnamel and Glossies) be sure to clean the brushes immediately after use - so they don't dry out.

7. To paint an entire piece all one color - sponges give the best overall, even coverage.

8. When using stencils, sticky stencils work best. Stick the stencil to glass and apply paint with a sponge.

9. Many effects can be obtained using mediums, accessories and auxiliary products. Pebeo's Vitrea 160 line offers frost medium for frosted effects, iridescent medium for iridescent effects and crackling medium for crackled effects. The Vitrea 160 paint line offers a selection of both frosted and glossy colors as well as 10 colors of dimensional outliners for adding designs with a "puffy" dimensional appearance. Delta's PermEnamel offers additional frost medium, shimmer colors and outliner for lead effects.

10. Don't mix the paint lines with each other as each has a different formulation and combination of the products by mixing paints could result in undesirable results!

Delta PermEnamelZoom In
  Delta PermEnamel
Vitrea Celebration KitZoom In
  Vitrea Celebration Kit
Vitrea product selections.Zoom In
  Vitrea product selections.
Glass painted with drip method.Zoom In
  Glass painted with Vitrea,drip method.