Acrylic paints are one of the most versatile mediums on the market today. Artists love to use it on a wide assortment of surfaces, including regular canvases, paper, and even t-shirts. But, can it be used on glass? Acrylics have always been my favorite paint to work with, so I can give you a definitive answer.
Acrylic paints can be used on just about any glass object. However, if you want to ensure that your work will last or not wash off, you will need to use permanent acrylic paint. Alternatively, you can seal it with sealant or by baking it.
Now, let’s talk a bit more about using acrylics on glass and answer a few common questions.
Using Acrylic Paint on Glass
Not all types of acrylic paint work well on glass. There are two types of acrylic paints that work best to permanently paint glass:
- Acrylic window paint
- Acrylic enamel paint
These types adhere to smooth surfaces very well.
Think About Light
One important thing to consider when choosing your acrylic paint is opacity. Usually, you want light to pass through your design and highlight areas of your choice. Selecting a less opaque type of paint will accomplish this task.
Even so, don’t discount using more opaqueness as a tool to enhance your work. A more opaque paint will appear more vibrant and darker and can add depth to your work. Indeed, the type of paint finish an artist selects will shape the work’s tone.
Don’t Forget Texture
The type of finish can give texture to a glass piece of art as well. Something cool to know is that acrylic paints can be purchased in 3 basic finishes: glossy, matte, or frosted.
Before beginning to paint on a glass object, some prep work is necessary. Your glass piece needs to be washed with soap and water. Do not use an abrasive material to clean your glass because this material can leave scratches.
Follow these basic steps to clean the glass and you can’t go wrong:
- Wash the surface- Warm water can be utilized to remove oils that stick to the surface of the glass. To prevent additional oils from your hands clinging to the glass, you should wash your glass piece while wearing latex gloves.
- Let it air dry- After rinsing the glass, it is best to not rush things. Letting it air dry will give you the best result.
- “Overkill” clean the surface- You want to be 100% sure there is no oil on the surface. Sometimes water won’t get it all. So, take a paper towel with some rubbing alcohol on it to wipe down the glass.
- Air dry again- After you finish wiping the surface with alcohol, you can leave it to air dry. Then, it is ready to paint.
Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Glass?
Acrylic paint can be permanent or washable, depending on the paint you choose to use.
- To Make It Last- If you want your artwork to be permanent, you will want to select paint designed for glass. Regular acrylic paints not made for glass application, like DecoArt’s Americana (Click to see on Amazon), would work well for temporary designs.
- For Temporary Projects- A good example would be people who create holiday window art use basic inexpensive acrylic paint to create their design. They use this paint because it can be readily removed when the holiday is over.
Properly Removing Acrylic Paint
To remove acrylic paint from a window or other glass surface, you need to saturate it. Just make sure that you do use too much water; it should not run down your glass. After the water has soaked into the paint, it can be removed with either a razor blade or an old plastic credit card.
How Do You Keep Acrylic Paint On Glass?
The biggest enemy of paint on glass is oil. Acrylic paint will not stick to the glass if the stuff is on the surface.
While I gave you a guide on cleaning the glass yourself, sometimes normal washing will not get rid of all the oil. If you want to make sure you will have no issues and prevent problems with acrylics adhering to glass, professional painters will coat their project in a layer of all-purpose sealer.
This initial coat of sealer needs to dry a complete 24 hours before you can begin painting.
How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass
Once you are done painting, you will want to help ensure that it stays there forever. There are two ways to seal acrylic paint on glass: using a sealant and baking it.
Using a Sealant
Before you begin the sealing process, you will want to make sure your paint is completely dry. If you are using a sealant, you will need to decide between using a spray or brush-on application. Many people prefer using the spray-on variety because it allows you to seal your work without directly interacting with the painted glass.
While you should follow the directions provided to you by the manufacturer, here are some tips to help maximize the success of your project:
- Sealant should be sprayed or brushed on it in a well-ventilated area. Spray-on sealants need to be sprayed from 12 inches away. Doing this will ensure your painted glass receives a thin coat of product with no drips.
- When spraying, it is essential to use a back and forth motion across the entire project’s surface. Leaving the spray in one spot for an extended period could cause your layers of sealant to become uneven.
- Fifteen minutes is usually enough time to wait for each layer of sealant to dry. People recommend 4-5 sprayed on sealant layers to protect your acrylic painted glass artwork.
- When using a brush sealant, it is important to remember to brush on light coats. Brush on sealants take longer to dry between coats. Most require you to wait one hour between coats. You only have to complete three coats to provide an effective seal.
Sealing by Baking the Glass
The baking method does not involve sealant. All you need to do is place your project in the oven and set the temperature to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no need to preheat the oven. If your glass artwork heats up or cools down too fast, it could break.
Bake your painted art for about 30 minutes at the above setting. When it is done baking, just turn off the oven and allow the piece to cool inside the oven.
Important: Your results may vary using this method, make sure you check to see if your glass is actually a good candidate for baking.
What Kinds of Paint will Stick to Glass?
Besides acrylics, there are many types of paints that may work well on glass. Here are a few:
- Basic acrylic paints
- Glass paint markers
- Acrylic glass paints
- Oil-based glass paints
- Enamel glass paint
- Tempra paint (best used for temporary glass projects)
What to Paint?
Here are some ideas for glass objects that are commonly painted for decoration:
- Wine glasses
- Shower Doors or Glass Walls
- Glass Bottles
When I was first starting out as an artist, my teacher, Mrs. Holcomb, was a bit quirky like many artists are. She always wore glasses that she had painted. Thus, I learned to paint on just about every surface out there. Acrylic was what we always used since it will stick to and stay on just about every surface out there.
I’m sure you will have fun with your glass painting project. Be sure to comment below and let me know how it came out!
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