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Painting and decorating glass windows can be fun and add a certain charm to your home or business. There are many window painting ideas, some are functional like providing some privacy, while others provide a festive look and vibe. Whatever window art ideas you have, you will want to learn how to paint glass windows. This is exactly what we will be covering in this article, and more, including some recommended products for paint for glass windows.
Table of Contents
- 1 Reasons for Painting Glass Windows
- 2 Types of Paint for Glass
- 3 How to Purchase the Best Paint for Glass Windows
- 4 Paint for Glass Windows: Best Recommended Products
- 5 A Tutorial on How to Paint Glass Windows
- 6 Window Art Ideas and Tips
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
Reasons for Painting Glass Windows
Why would you want to paint on your glass windows? Well, there are quite a few reasons including decorative as well as functional purposes. Sometimes, you want to simply add an extra artistic flair to a room, which you can do using different window art ideas. You do not even need to be an artist, as there are many beautiful stencils and design ideas you can use. One of the more popular window art ideas is faux stained-glass designs, which requires a little more work than using stencils, but is still fairly easy to accomplish.
You can also paint windows to provide more privacy, and frosted glass painting can easily do this for you. Applying a frosted glass look not only adds a little more privacy but still allows the light to shine through. Painting glass is not only for the home as beautifully painted glass windows can also help to attract customers to your business.
Decorating glass windows can also be a fun kid’s activity as long as you use the proper, non-toxic paints that are easy to clean up.
Types of Paint for Glass
As with most things, you cannot just slap on any old paint when it comes to glass windows. You will need to select paints that work and paints that suit your needs. For example, do you want window glass colors that allow the light to shine through, which means the paints should be transparent?
Acrylic Enamel Paints
Acrylic enamel paints can be transparent or opaque and offer glossy and frosted window glass colors. Enamel-based acrylics are also more durable and permanent and are best suited for smooth surfaces like glass. In many cases, they must be cured in the oven after they have dried. However, this is optional in certain brands and the paint can simply be air-dried. If you use the same brand of paints, you can mix colors, which can be applied with a soft brush.
Sponging on the paint can provide more textured effects.
Acrylic Paints for Glass
Water-based acrylic paints are more opaque, but you can also get more transparent options. These types of acrylic paints are specially manufactured for glass painting and can be applied to a variety of surfaces including glass. Unlike regular acrylics, they are made to adhere to surfaces like glass. The acrylic glass paints can either air dry or can be heat set, depending on the product instructions. Always read the label to see if the paint can be used on the surface you are painting. To create better adhesion when using regular acrylic paints, you must use a glass medium, which is applied to the glass surface like a primer.
This will help to create a more permanent bond of the paint to the glass surface and is great to use when painting acrylic on glass. The effect will be more of an opaque, frosted effect. Another alternative to acrylic glass paints is tempera paints, which are also water-soluble. However, tempera or poster paints are thinner than acrylics, and dry to a more superior opaque, matte finish, unlike acrylics that have a semi-gloss or glossy finish. These paints are also not permanent and are considered washable window paint, so they are perfect for those Christmas or Halloween window art ideas.
An easy-to-make mixture of water and vinegar should be able to remove the paint from the glass.
Lastly, you have your solvent or oil-based paints, which are used more by professionals as they tend to be more expensive and are more toxic than your acrylic paints. The paint is permanent on the glass and can create a beautiful stained-glass effect that can either be brushed on, sprayed, or applied with a dropper. You can mix colors and should be able to attain a rich glossy finish. Instead of soap and water, you will have to clean up with solvents. So, not the best choice when working in an enclosed space or with kids.
More Window Painting Ideas
Also, available is an oil-based spray paint that is ideal for frosted glass painting. If you want to create a bit of privacy, yet have light filtering through, this is a good option. The paint is also easy to apply, usually dries fairly quickly, and can be cheaper than acrylic enamel paints. To create finer details, there is also the option of using markers and pens that are designed for use on glass. To make your stained glass appear even more realistic, you can add liquid leading.
This is black paint that comes in a paint tube with an applicator, which is used to make outlines on your painted glass.
The Best Brushes for Decorating Glass Windows
The type of brush or paint applicator determines the effect or finish you want to achieve. When wanting to achieve a brushed-on look, a synthetic brush should do the job. When going for a smoother finish, a soft, natural brush is your best option. Whatever brush you choose, make sure it is of good quality as you do not want to have to pick out fallen bristles from the paint. Foam brushes are great for applying paint when using stencils. Applying glass paint with sponges can help to add more texture to your paint finish.
How to Purchase the Best Paint for Glass Windows
Now that you know more or less what paint to use for painting windows, you should also know what to look for in your paints when purchasing them. The best paint to use on glass would be your paints designed for this purpose, as it is made to chemically bond to the glass and will give a long-lasting finish. This would be your acrylic-enamel paints or solvent-based paints. Painting acrylic on glass or other water-based paints is best for more non-permanent projects and casual use. All the types of paint do share some similarities; however, some differences could affect your choice.
Here are some major factors explained that may help you choose the best glass paint.
Type of Glass Paint
We have already discussed some of the best types of paint for glass windows. Your general acrylic paints are quite versatile and can usually be used on many different surfaces like paper, wood, and canvas. These paints can effectively be used on smoother surfaces like glass, but they will wear away rather quickly.
Acrylic enamels are water-based and are more durable than your average acrylics. Even though these paints are considered non-toxic, they are not food-safe. Lastly, the most durable glass window paints would be your solvent-based varieties. These can easily be applied to glass, metal as well as ceramics. These paints are toxic and require solvents to clean up. And, of course, a popular choice for kids and a paint that washes off easily, is your tempera paint.
What Does the Paint Come In?
The paints come in different forms as well as sizes. The most common size you will find is a two-ounce bottle, which can come in a set, or some brands sell individual paint bottles. Many of the sets provide quite a few different colors. The amount of paint in these bottles is enough to cover a few small projects. You also get spray paints, which can cover larger areas more effectively, although they sometimes require several coats to get the finish you want.
Then there are the pens and markers for more detailed applications.
You might also want to look at the transparency or opacity of the paints, depending on the look you want. Some have a high pigment load and transparency, while other paints seem a bit weak on the first application and require a few layers for more vibrant color. Acrylic enamel paints are more opaque, while specific glass paints are best for that stained glass effect. The consistency of the paint is also important, as some are thinner, while others can be thick, and sometimes need to be thinned.
The enamel glass paints are more durable; however, you can increase the durability of the paint by curing the paint or sealing it. Obviously, a window cannot be placed in the oven, unless you can remove the windowpane. So, applying a sealant will ensure that the paints last longer. The glass paints also come in different finishes from matte, to gloss, semi-gloss, shimmer or frosted, and metallic effects.
This is something to consider as you do not want to apply paint that is difficult to remove. You might only want something temporary and less permanent, for example, the tempera paints, which are safe to use and easily removed. Regular acrylics can be used; however, these are more semi-permanent, and you should consider using a glass medium and sealing the paint if you want to make it more permanent. Acrylic enamels are permanent, and solvent-based paints are even more permanent and durable. When it comes to curing, all the acrylic paints should be dry to the touch in a few hours, while solvent-based paints can take much longer.
Always check the manufacturer’s instructions as paints can cure over time, while others need to be baked, or sometimes, the paint can do both.
Acrylic paints are considered less toxic, with low odor, while solvent paints usually release high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The tempera paints are non-toxic and the best option for kids to use. The safety also depends on the form of application, where spraying paints can be more of a health risk than using a brush. The below table shows a few of the main features or factors you need to consider before purchasing your paints.
|Acrylic-Enamel Paints||Low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) levels||Can come in transparent and opaque colors and can be glossy or matte||Permanent|
|Acrylic Glass Paints||Low Volatile Organic Compound (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|
Paint for Glass Windows: Best Recommended Products
There are quite a few paint brands and products available, so to narrow down your search, we have come up with three of the more popular choices. We have provided a choice between the tempera, acrylic enamel, and acrylic glass paint, so you can decide which one is best for you.
Tempera Paint for Glass Windows: COLORATIONS Washable Tempera Paints
The Colorations Tempera Paints come in eleven vibrant, creamy, and opaque colors. These paints are perfect for kids to use as they are safe and are washable window paints. The paint adheres quite well to a glass surface and dries in minutes and is easy to work with. You do not only have to use it on glass windows, as it can be used for many different art projects, which makes it a versatile purchase. If you make a mess on your clothes or skin, or you simply want to remove it from your glass surface, all it takes is a little soap and some water.
Acrylic Enamel Paint for Glass Windows: FOLKART Gloss Acrylic Enamel Paint
The FolkArt Acrylic Enamel Paints are non-toxic and are specially made for application to glass and ceramic surfaces. The bottles are a convenient size and include sixteen amazing colors. You can also mix the colors to create even more color options. The paint dries to a vibrant and durable gloss finish as well as scratch-resistant. When cleaning up, some soap and water will do the job. When it comes to drinking glasses, these can be cured in the oven, making them dishwasher safe.
Acrylic Glass Paint: MAGICDO Stained Glass Paint
The Magicdo Stained Glass Paint Set contains 12 ml tubes of 12 colors, and also includes a palette. The paints are quite durable and are scratch-resistant, as well as heat and water-resistant. There is also no smell as the paints are solvent-free and non-toxic. Another great feature is its UV resistance, which prevents the paints from fading so that they can last longer. Create amazing art pieces on windows, wine glasses, any glass surface as well as ceramic surfaces. The paints are perfect for all skill levels from young to old.
A Tutorial on How to Paint Glass Windows
Decorating glass windows is a wonderful way to add color and an exciting element to your home. Whether it is only temporary or permanent, at home or work, painted windows can be a great conversation starter.
Cleaning and Preparing the Glass Windows
Whenever you are painting a surface, be it wood or glass, there should always be some preparation involved as you want the best finish possible. Glass surfaces need to be cleaned before you start painting, you can do this by wiping the surface down with some soap and water. To remove any greasy marks, after washing the surface, wipe it down with some rubbing alcohol. Once done, leave it for a while to dry thoroughly. When cleaning the glass, it is a good idea to wear gloves so that you do not touch the surface by accident and leave oily fingerprints behind.
Before you even begin preparation, you should have an idea of what you want to do, so you can have your materials ready for use.
Once you have a design in mind, you can use some painter’s tape to cover areas you do not want the paint to get on. For example, the window frame. You could add a base coat or background if you are going to be painting a detailed art piece. In this case, you can also apply one or two layers of gesso before applying the base coat, which should provide a nice opaque painting surface. Once the base coat has been applied evenly with a brush, leave it to dry for about one hour. Paint drying time can differ, so always read the instructions before you begin. You can also get aerosol primers for painting on glass windows.
You do not have to add the base coat, you can simply start outlining the design on the bare glass using a paint liner. Remember to keep wearing gloves to prevent any marks from getting onto the glass surface. If you are drawing onto the clear glass without a base coat, you can either do this freehand or stick up a stencil on the other side of the glass so you can trace the image. Leave the paint liner to dry. You can also simply use some of the painter’s tape to mark off a simple geometric design. Also, if you wish to do a faux stained-glass effect, you should apply the lead liner before you begin painting. This should also be left to dry before you begin painting.
Applying the Paint
When applying paint onto a design, try to begin painting at the top left or top right side of the area to be painted. This simply helps prevent you from smudging your design. If you are only using one color to cover the entire surface, this is pretty easy to do. Brush on the paint evenly and depending on the look you want; you might have to paint on two or more layers of paint. Try not to apply too much paint, as it is easier to apply more paint than take off excess paint. Keep an old rag or paper towel handy, to wipe away any mistakes.
Depending on the paint you use, you might need some paint thinner to help with any unwanted paint.
Apply one paint color and finish with this color over your entire design, then move on to another color. Make sure to clean your brush in water or paint thinners before using different paint colors and let the brush dry before painting again. Try to wait for each paint layer to dry before adding another coat, as this will prevent any bleeding of colors into each other. Tempera paints dry fast, in a few minutes, while the water-based paints usually need at least an hour, and the oil-based paints at least 24 hours. Continue painting until your design is finished. Once the paint is dry, remove any painter’s tape.
Tempera paint is a popular choice as it is non-toxic, can be safely used by children, and washes off easily. You can purchase the pre-made paints, or you can make your own paint. Simply use any washable kid’s paint and mix with some liquid dish soap. Another easy application method is using a spray can, and this is a popular way to create a frosted glass painting. You will need to spray in a well-ventilated space, and you should have protective gear like a mask and gloves on. Hold the spray can a few inches away from the surface and spray in an even motion over the glass surface.
Curing and Sealing the Painted Glass
Curing painted glass makes it more durable, and some paints can take up to a month to fully cure or dry. Before this happens, the paint is vulnerable to scratches and peeling. The best method is to bake your painted glass item; however, this is not possible for windows. For your painted windows to fully dry, you need a little patience.
So, you should not be in contact with the glass surface and make sure to keep any water away.
If you wish to improve the durability, after painting acrylic on glass, you can use an acrylic sealant that is manufactured for glass surfaces. You can get these products in a brush or spray-on formula. Apply only after the acrylic paint has dried fully. Brush or spray a thin coat over the paint, allow this to dry and apply another coat.
How to Remove Glass Paint
You have already taken the precaution of taping areas where you do not want any paint. However, what if you do not like the result of your design? Removing the paint is an easy option if the paints were washable water-based paints. You simply take some soap and water and wipe them off. Acrylic paints are a little different, you can try using some white vinegar first to loosen the paint.
Bring to the boil three tablespoons each of water and vinegar. Dip a rag into the hot water, without burning yourself, you can wear rubber gloves for this, then rub over the painted glass surface. You might also have to use a razor to scrape off any paint left behind. Hold the blade at an angle to the glass surface and move in one direction. The aim is to use longer strokes to lift the paint off and not flake it off. Keep your wet rag nearby to moisten the paint as you work. Once done, wipe with window cleaner.
Window Art Ideas and Tips
When it comes to window art ideas, there is no limit when using your imagination. Many people like decorating glass windows when it comes round to different seasons or holidays in a year. You will have to think through your design if you are going for a more permanent look. Maybe you want to create a beautiful stained-glass window that brings in a rainbow of colors when the sunshine through it. Flower painting designs seem to be quite popular, from chrysanthemums to daisies and sunflowers. Of course, we have already mentioned the stained-glass effect. There are many different designs for all these ideas.
Geometric designs are one of the easier ideas to do, and you can create some amazing effects.
Even a better idea than using washable paints is liquid chalk pens. These are non-toxic and work perfectly on non-porous surfaces like glass windows. There is no mess and no fuss, simply draw, wipe, and draw again. The kids can have hours of fun, you can even use the pens for businesses, to create eye-catching designs. Maybe you enjoy painting on glass windows, but you do not want anything permanent on your home windows. Why not try painting a glass window panel. You can achieve the same amazing look that you can easily move around. You can make use of items lying around the house to help produce various paint textures on the window surface. For example, sponges or crumpled up newspapers. To help you with your window painting ideas, here are a few tips.
- Always clean your glass surface properly.
- Make sure you plan out your design.
- Choose the correct glass paint for your project.
- Have the proper tools nearby, brushes, rags, sponges, toothpicks, newspaper, tape, stencils, and more.
- Follow the paint product directions and have patience when it comes to drying paint.
- To avoid brushstrokes, apply thin, even layers of paint, and you might have to apply multiple layers.
- Consider painting on the outside of your window, unless you live in an area where it rains a lot. This prevents the glass reflection from obscuring the painted image.
- When painting a single solid color, consider using a sponge for application.
- Try using adhesive stencils that lay flat and stay on the glass surface.
- Let the paint dry for about 21 days for more permanent results.
The most important thing to do when painting glass windows is to have fun, as it is something the whole family can enjoy from young to old. There are plenty of options and design ideas, there is sure to be something that piques your interest.
View our Painting On Glass web story here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Paint to Use on Glass?
The most popular paints are your acrylic enamel or paints specifically meant for glass. Always read the label on the bottle to make sure the paint can work on glass. Normal acrylic paint can also be used, as long as a glass medium is applied first. The safe, non-toxic washable paints like tempera are perfect for kids to use.
Can You Seal Paint for Glass Windows?
Acrylic paints can be left to air dry or cure fully for at least a month. Baking acrylic paints are also a good idea, however, for windows, this is not possible. Once the acrylic paint has dried, you can also apply a brush-on or spray acrylic sealant.
Can You Remove Acrylic Paints From Glass?
Acrylic paints are semi-permanent and do not easily wash off a glass surface once it has dried. You will need to use a boiled vinegar and water solution on the painted surface. This should loosen and lift the paint off. However, you might also have to gently scrape some of the paint off with a razor blade.
What Is the Best Window Paint for Children?
Since you will most probably be washing the paint off when the kids are finished painting, washable paint like tempera is the best window paint to use. You can purchase ready-made paint or make some by combining any washable kid’s paint with some dish wash liquid.