Learning How to Paint on Glass is Fun and Easy
I love the art of painting glass and with the supplies available today in craft stores and on line there is no end to the beautiful projects you can make with glass!
This is a hobby that is not only full of unexplored territory, but also it is relatively inexpensive as well. You can find many pieces of glass to paint on in dollar stores as well as on line.
In addition, if you buy in bulk, you can save a lot of money too! Once I bought a box of 12 plates online from an online dollar store, spent only $10 plus shipping and had them delivered to my home.
You can probably find unique pieces if you shop in thrift stores or donation centers, too.
Glass makes a beautiful gift for anyone, and with the methods I will outline on this page it will be easy for you to turn plain pieces of glass into gorgeous, personalized gifts for special people in your life, or to sell if you so choose.
So follow along with me as I create some beautiful pieces of glass art!
Some ideas for painting beautiful gifts...
Glass Painting Supplies & General Directions
What will I need and where can I find it?
Perhaps you never tried painting on glass because it may have seemed too difficult, but the truth is that painting on glass has never been easier with the supplies available today.
So basically the things you need are something to paint on (such as the glass candle holder pictured to the right), paint (there are a few different kinds), paint brushes (if you're using the glass enamel paints), possibly a stencil if you want a guided outline, and an oven to cure (seal) the painted piece in (more about this step later).
There are many places to find inexpensive glass pieces. Dollar Tree stores carry a wide variety of glass and of course, each piece only costs a dollar which is nice.
Walmart and Target also carry relatively inexpensive glass pieces as well - I would go there if you would like plates because they sell them separately. You might also try a local thrift shop to find some unique pieces.
You can also shop in your local craft store to find glass and, in addition, they will have the paint, paint pens, brushes and stencils you may need. If you're using glass enamel paints and brushes instead of paint pens, they will have a wide variety as well, right next to the acrylic paints.
You can also purchase most supplies from the comfort of your home using your computer, links to great products are on this page for your convenience.
My personal recommendation is to use Deco Art Paint Pens (the opaque kind work best) because they come in a large variety of colors and widths and are so easy to control when you're writing and painting on glass.
If you are painting on wine glasses, make sure to keep the paint off of the top part of the glass just for extra safety when drinking from the glass.
It's also best in my opinion that if you are going to be painting glass plates, it's best to paint on the back of the glass for extra safety, even though some of the paints say that they are non-toxic for the front of glass.
humminbird stained glass
Finding and Printing Pictures to Transfer to Glass
Follow the steps below to get pictures for painting on glass:
1. Go to your computer to find pictures that you would like to transfer onto your glass piece simply by typing the word, say perhaps "hummingbird", (or whatever you would like to paint) into your browser, then click on the word "Images" (should be in a list of choices: Web, Shopping, Images, Videos, News, More... on the left hand panel or above) and it will likely bring up many different pictures of hummingbirds. To make the stained glass candle holder below, you would type 'stained glass angels' in your browser, then click 'Images' and so on...
2. Choose a picture you like and think would look good on your glass piece. Left click once on the picture to make it larger.
3. Now hover over the picture and Right click on it. Click 'Save Image As'. You should now see a screen with two white boxes to ask you where you want to save the picture in the top blank white box, the white box below should say JPEG (just computer language for picture). I save my pictures to my Desktop so that I can find them easily.
4. Go to your Desktop to find the picture under the name where you saved it. Open the picture file by left clicking twice over the name of the file. When the file opens up, right click over the picture. Select 'Copy'.
5. In another window, open up a blank word processing file. 'Right click' in the blank Word Processing file. Select 'Paste'. Your image should appear.
6. Once the image appears, hover over the picture and 'Left click' on it. A lined square box should appear around your image, and now you can resize it to fit your glass piece by clicking on the corner of the box and pulling it with your mouse until it's the size you like. Save your image for reference or to resize if you'd like it smaller or larger.
7. Print out your image to transfer to your glass piece.
8. You are now ready to transfer your image to your glass candle holder! Directions for this step are below.
Directions for Painting a Glass Candle Holder
So, if you'd like to try making a stained glass candle holder pictured here, then follow the directions below.
Some of the directions for printing out the picture to transfer to the glass are in the above text module entitled "Finding & Printing Pictures to Transfer to Glass" (so please read this first.)
DIRECTIONS FOR APPLYING PAINT TO GLASS:
1) Print out the picture you want to transfer (see above). It can definitely be black and white but you should have a saved copy of the picture in color for reference coloring.
2) Making sure the picture is sized to fit into the glass piece, scotch tape it inside of the glass so that the picture shows through to the outside. This will keep it secure while transferring the picture to the glass piece with your Sharpie.
3) Take your black Fine Point Sharpie pen and on the outside of your piece (the side that will not have a candle in it, food or drink on it) and outline the picture.
4) Next, with your DecoColor White Opaque Paint Marker, fill in the spaces between the black Sharpie lines and basically color the whole thing with the white opaque paint marker. Wait at least an hour for it to dry onto the glass.
5) After the white opaque paint has dried, take colored Sharpie Markers, or other permanent colored ink markers and color over the opaque white paint appropriately to fit the picture's colors (refer to your saved computer image of the picture).
6) To secure the paint onto the glass you will need to bake it in an ordinary kitchen oven. It is very important that you place the piece in the oven and let the heat rise with it in there, in other words - DO NOT place the painted glass piece into an oven that is already pre-heated because it could break.
7) Place your painted piece into the oven. Set the temperature for anywhere between 325 and 350 degrees. Bake at 325 for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
8) To cool the piece, turn the oven off and let the glass cool while still in the oven. Once it reaches room temperature it is finished.
Your main goal is to get permanent color
Here are some pictures of a stained glass themed candle holder I am currently in the process of making - I will post a picture of the finished candle holder
Aren't these glasses gorgeous?
Some pics of wine glasses I've made that are available to buy on Etsy
Questions & Answers
What is the best kind of paint to use to decorate glassware?
There are all different kinds. The best would be acrylic enamel paint. Acrylic enamel paints are easy to use and usually do not require heat to set. They dry quickly and harden to create a glossy finish. Brands like FolkArt enamel are great to use on both glass and ceramic and are dishwasher safe once cured.
You can also use Sharpie permanent markers, however, I would receomment curing the paint in your kitchen oven (directions below) if using them. Handwashing the glasses is also highly recommended.
My favorite paint to use for decorating glassware is DecoColor paint pens because they give you a lot of control with styling your art. You can buy them online at Amazon but you can also usually buy them at a craft store in individual colors or in sets. They are durable and although you don't have to, do not have to be cured in an oven. I love these pens for glass art and I highly recommend them.
How do I "cure" or bake my glassware?
Baking the glassware in the oven is the way you will secure the paint onto the glass. Provided the glassware is taken care of gently the paint should stay adhered to the glass after using this method for a long time.
Using a standard kitchen oven, place your thoroughly dried (wait at least 48 hours) painted glassware in a cool oven. Set the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for 30 minutes. Note: Glass must heat gradually with the oven to avoid breakage. After 30 minutes, turn the oven off; let the glass cool completely in the oven (removing it while it is still hot might make the glass shatter or break with a sudden temperature change).
How do I use and care for my glass ware?
Although some companies say their paints are dishwasher safe in the top rack of a dishwasher, I would not recommend putting any painted glassware into a dishwasher, only because it will wear the paint off to some degree and I wouldn't take the chance.
I also would never eat or drink from a piece of glassware or ceramic piece from the side or edge that's painted on. Even though paint is cured to the glass, I just wouldn't do it at all, just to err on the side of caution. Rinse your glass or ceramic piece with warm water, making sure not to scrub.
Enjoy your beautiful glassware!!!
Learn How to Make Stained Glass the Easy Way
I came across this beautiful stained glass craft (pictured below) on an amazing website the other day, Susie's Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom.
Make a Stained Glass Flower Picture Frame - Part 1 of 2
Make a Stained Glass Flower Picture Frame - Part 2 of 2
Have you ever painted on glass? If not, are you going to try now???
Celeste on October 31, 2020:
How do you remove glass paint off of brushes
Joan on June 17, 2020:
I have painted on glass and have followed all direction .But find that when the pieces a washed the paint will come off . I'm a china painter
Teresa on January 01, 2020:
Thank you for the tips, I’m learning by myself and just found out to use a picture on the back to paint!!!
susan bryce on October 03, 2019:
Greetings!!!! You have been such an inspiration. I can't wait to purchase some items that I don't have for painting on glass and items needed for stained glass. Thank you so very much. Also, I'd like to know what Step 3 is that pertains to the stained glass. Again, thank you for your inspiration. Susan
sheeri from punjab, Pakistan on February 10, 2019:
I love painting and in future I am going to paint glasses and your article will gonna help me a lot..... thanks
Rock Artist (author) on June 27, 2015:
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "streaks"... If you mean that the ink smudges or does not seem to adhere to the glass, then you might need to wait 24 hours for the ink to dry more thoroughly before coloring it with other marking pens or glass paints. Also, you can bake glass painted with Sharpie pens in a regular kitchen oven for about 20 or 30 minutes at 325 degrees to set the paint even more permanently. When you do this, place the piece in the oven and then turn it on to 325 making sure the piece heats up with the oven (in other words, don't place it in an already heated oven at 325 because it might shatter). After 20 or 30 minutes, turn the oven off and let the piece cool in the oven before removing it. I have never had a problem with using original Sharpie brand pens on glass, as a matter of fact, I think it's the only way to go...however, when I have tried using any other brand than Sharpie on glass, such as a dollar store permanent marker, they have never worked for this purpose. Hope that helps, let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Kerry on June 25, 2015:
When i have used sharpie pens on glass i get streaks left from the pen. These are visible especially if you hold the glass up against a light. Any advise
WinWriter on June 14, 2014:
This is such a great lens. I followed it all the way through and I think I can do this! You have inspired me. :)
Linda F Correa from Spring Hill Florida on June 14, 2014:
You sure have me thinking about it !
Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on June 06, 2014:
Such a pretty hobby!