How to paint glass windows has been a question for many since the dawn of time. The reason why you would want to make this change is that often it’s easy and fun, and also looks amazing when finished.

It requires little equipment or none at all, depending on how complex you want your glass painting job to be, and can usually be done in half a day depending on the size of the window.

How to Paint Glass Windows

  1. Prepare your equipment.
  2. Choose the paints and brushes you’ll use.
  3. Apply the paint.
  4. Cure the painted surface.

Tools you Need to Paint Glass Windows

  • Paintbrushes
  • Painter’s tape or masking tape
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Paint
  • Glass
  • Gloves
  • Face mask

How to Paint Glass Windows in 4 Steps

Painting your glass windows is a pretty straightforward process, especially since the only thing you need is some tape and paint. You should always pick the glass that’s already clean and free of other substances.

Let’s begin.

Step 1: Preparation

The first thing you need to do is inspect the glass window and see if it needs any prepping. The glass should be spotless, so removing anything on it will be necessary. 

If there’s dust or dirt on the glass, wipe it off with a soft cloth dipped in warm soapy water. Repeat until the glass surface is clean.

You can also use mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol if the glass window is covered in grease, rust, corrosion, or anything else that might affect the paint. It’s best to clean them all off before painting.

Using tape, completely cover the surrounding area that you don’t want to paint. This will ensure that no paint on anything but your window and won’t require any extra cleaning when you’re done.

Choose the tape pattern and make sure it’s pressed firmly onto the smooth surface. You can use painter’s tape or masking tape, but we recommend the former since it will leave less residue after removing it.

Put on your latex gloves and mask, then cover the rest of your body with old clothing. Paint can get on anything and everything, so you’ll want to be fully protected from getting any paint on your skin or clothes.

Step 2: Choose paints and brushes

For a durable decoration, use acrylic enamel paint.  It might take longer to dry because it’s thick, but it will be worth your time. You can apply more coats if necessary since acrylic enamel paints don’t crack with age. 

Mix in some acrylic paint that matches the color you want with the enamel paint to achieve this effect.

For a matte look, use acrylic paint. It’s water-based and easily removable. Mix it with some dish soap, apply it to the window, and remove it with water.

If you want a glossy look instead, use varnish mixed with normal acrylic paint applied over enamel paint. Select the best paintbrush for your design.

For a textured and frosted look, use a sponge. Use synthetic bristle brushes for a smoother and even layer. These will perform beautifully when used to cover the complete surface of your glass before applying a paint base.

Ensure you have the proper size paintbrush for your fun project. Paintbrushes with smaller and narrower shafts are preferable for detailed work, whereas broad, flat brushes are ideal for complete applications.

Step 3: Apply the paint

If you’re painting the entire glass surface in one color, this technique is simple enough for you.  Apply the paint to your glass and leave it to dry. You can either spray paint or brush the paint.

If you want an opaque color, apply a thick coat. If you want a translucent color, apply a thin coat, so the glass underneath is still visible.

For creative designs, pick the size brush that is appropriate for you to paint to the design required. If you’re right-handed, start from the left; if you’re left-handed, start from the right.

With this, you can paint minus putting your hands on areas you have worked on. Using small amounts of your paint is easier than wiping off excess.

Ensure you have a rag or paper towel at the ready to brush off excess paint. Soak your rag in the right paint thinner or mineral spirits when using enamel.

Paint the design using one color at a given time, applying it to all its components before using the next color. If you’re recycling the brush, clean it thoroughly with water or paint thinner before reusing it. Then, give the brush time to dry.

Allow the glass paint to dry before you add a second coat. Tempera takes only 20 minutes to dry completely. Acrylic paint takes 2-12 hours to dry, depending on the environment.

Enamel paint takes up to 24 hours, depending on the weather and the coating thickness. Assess your windows every few minutes to ensure your design is satisfactory.

If you see spots that need more glass paint, add more. Ensure the painting process goes smoothly and stops immediately there’s a drip or smudge of paint on the glass.

Step 4: Curing the painted surface

To fully cure your window, air dry or expose it to ultraviolet light for a few hours. The sun provides this UV radiation, so you can leave your window sitting in the sun after applying glass paint. To speed up the curing time, use a UV lamp or a hairdryer.

When using an artificial source for cure, make sure you don’t exceed the recommended time, or the paint job will be ruined. If you have to leave the room, attach a timer so that your paint doesn’t over-cure.

Ensure you stack up enough time before applying this technique if it’s winter and the sun is scarce. Otherwise, your window might over-cure, and your design will lose some of its vibrancy.

Your glass painting project is complete after a few hours of curing. If you’re satisfied with the results, that’s it! You can now save your window designs for many days or even years.

Why Paint Glass Windows?

Glass windows can be painted for a couple of reasons. Painting a window is an excellent method to add art to your living space if you want to bring some creative flair to an area.

Painting glass isn’t only for the elderly or the young. It’s a good idea to get your kids involved in something that they’ll enjoy doing over and over again, even if it needs some time to dry between applications.

Painting glass is an excellent technique to bring seclusion to a space. Do you have an oversized window in your master bathroom that you’re unsure what to do with?

Do you need a strategy to give seclusion to your French door? A quick and easy solution to create seclusion while also letting light in is to frost the glass.

Another approach to block the sun is to paint a window. The type of paint you use will determine how dark your house will be. It may range from a total blackout to a modest filter, depending on the paint you employ.

What Paint to use on Glass Windows

The first question is, what paint to use on glass windows. Not all paints will work on your glass.

Oil-based paints work best on porous surfaces such as cardboard and canvas. Latex paint, on the other hand, won’t last long when painted on the glass because it’s washable and can be peeled off. 

Always choose paint depending on the purpose and the look you desire. Here are some options for you

For light filtering or privacy, use acrylic paints. Acrylic paint adheres well to stained glass and is also durable.

For more durable paint, use Glass paint. This paint is made specifically to be applied to glass and changes the surface of the glass to form a permanent connection.

After curing, Glass paint won’t peel, fade, or chip. It’s also great for sun protection since it won’t fade. It’s important to note that glass paint and acrylic enamel are costly. Glass paint may be the finest paint for permanently coloring glass, but it is pricey.

For little light with privacy, use frosted glass paint. It’s easy to use, dries quickly, and looks beautiful when done. It’s cheaper compared to acrylic enamel.

For a permanent matte finish, use acrylic and gesso as a primer. For a temporary look, use tempera. Tempera paints have a smooth matte finish and stick well to the glass. 

Tempera paints offer bright matte colors and adhere well to the glass. On the other hand, Tempera glass paint can be removed by using a solution of vinegar and water.

Have you ever heard of faux stained glass? To get a faux stained glass, mix any paint with liquid leading.

What Paint Brush to Use

Another question is, what paintbrushes to use for painting glass windows.

If you are applying paint with an enamel base, use a high-quality synthetic or high-quality nylon for the job. You can also work with hog’s hair bristle brushes.

To create the look of stained glass, consider using a fine tip brush. For an opaque effect, apply with a roller paint tray. If you’re using stencils, foam brushes are excellent.

How Do You Remove Paint From Stained Glass Windows?

If the painting results don’t satisfy you, feel free to remove the paint. It’s an easy DIY process.

Step 1: Preparation

Cover surrounding surfaces to protect them from the paint removal process.

If there’s a nearby sink, prepare by filling it with hot water and dish soap. If you don’t have an easily accessible sink near your window glass, use a bucket filled with soapy water instead.

Make sure the inside of the bucket is completely covered by water.

Step 2: Apply vinegar

What you need is white vinegar. Put the vinegar in a bowl and submerge the painted glass window with paper towels underneath to catch excess drips. Soak for ten minutes.

Step 3: Scrape the paint off

Now that your window is soaked in vinegar, please remove it from the bowl and place it on the paper towels. Use another set of paper towels to scrape off the paint with a putty knife or razor blade. Proceed until all paint has been removed.

Be extra careful not to harm the glass when using this technique. There will be residue left behind after you scrape the paint off, so go over the glass with a second set of towels to clean up.

A cotton swab can also help remove hard-to-reach bits of paint.

Step 4:  Rinse and dry the glass

Rinse the glass with some cold water to get rid of any vinegar residue. Then, use a microfiber cloth to dry erase the window. Make sure it’s completely dry before using it again!

FAQs

What kind of paint do you use on glass windows?

Acrylic paint is the best type of paint for glass windows. The reason is that it’s water-based, so cleanup will be a piece of cake compared to oil-based paints. It also dries rather quickly and isn’t as difficult to work with as oils or enamels.

How do you permanently paint glass?

Due to the porous nature of glass, it’s not possible to truly “permanently” paint glass. Painting anything on the glass will have a limited lifespan. Still, if you use enamel or acrylic paints and apply a durable sealer to your design, you can expect up to a decade of good service from your window paintings.

What paint to use on glass that won’t wash off?

I would recommend you use UV-resistant paint, like the Krylon Fusion line. This type of paint won’t wash off easily and can withstand rain or other weather conditions for several months at a time. If you’re looking to create an artistic look on your glass, consider these paints as well!

Can I use acrylic to paint a glass vase?

Yes, you can use acrylic to paint a glass vase. If you want to paint a vase for outdoor use, keep in mind that water can wash off acrylic paint when it rains. You will need to use an easy medium to prevent this from happening if you want to use your creation for an outdoor vase.

What paint is permanent on glass?

There’re a few types of paints that can be applied to glass and remain permanent. One paint is called “tempera,” which consists of fine powder pigments mixed with water, egg yolk, or other binding mediums such as honey, glycerin, gelatin, oil, or soap.

Does vinegar remove paint stains from glass?

Yes, vinegar removes paint stains from glass. The acidity of vinegar removes paint stains from glass. However, if the stain is dry and has been there for a while, it may not be possible to completely remove quality highlight with vinegar alone. If you’re interested in removing any residual paint that remains on your window after using vinegar, consider purchasing an additional glass cleaner like ammonia or rubbing alcohol (or both).

Read More: How to Spray Paint Cardboard

Conclusion

Now that you know how to paint glass windows, you can decorate an old window frame for your home, create a unique gift such as a stained glass pendant, create windows for your children’s rooms to be used as placemats or sun catchers, or even paint single windows to liven up the front of your house.

Be creative and have fun!

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