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Expert Tips to Correctly Use Acrylic Paint on Glass

Tips to Use Acrylic Paint on Glass
Beautifying glass items, such as ordinary ornaments, vases, and bowls, with acrylic paints is a fairly easy job that provides great results. In this ArtHearty article, we will look at the best ways to use and maintain acrylic paint on glass, which can increase the aesthetic appeal of your office or home.
Anuj Mudaliar
Last Updated: Feb 24, 2018
Lily flower on glass
Did You Know?
The coloring of glassware was first done in Egyptian and Roman cultures around the 1st and 2nd centuries, by adding various earthly minerals such as manganese to the molten glass. However, the practice of painting glass items externally did not begin until the 7th and 8th centuries, on glass vessels of Roman origin.

Painting is a great way to relax, and also to add some color and brightness to your surroundings. Painting on glass makes it even more so, because it is usually a very smooth canvas surface and effectively reflects light off the colors. Acrylic paints are one of the best options to paint glass objects, especially wine/martini glasses, jewelry, plates, glass panes, etc.
It is always good to know the requirements and the processes needed to turn blank glass into an artistic masterpiece. Most acrylic paints and other supplies are easily available in all arts and craft stores. So, let's learn some important tips to utilize glass as a canvas for your imagination to run wild in the most effective ways possible.
Choosing the Acrylic Paint
To get the best results, you should make sure that the paint that you use has the following qualities.
  • Check for the color range and transparency of the paints. Usually, you get darker and opaque colors when opting for acrylic paints. Also, check if the paint gives a glossy or frosty finish, depending on your requirement.
  • Purchase paints after checking their true colors, as color charts can be very misleading.
  • Find out if you are getting extra accessories such as stencils along with the paints, as this will make your job much easier. Also, the application of these colors by using a paintbrush should not be difficult.
  • According to your preference, purchase either permanent or washable acrylic paint.
  • Acrylic enamel paint works best on glass and other smooth surfaces.
  • Unless you are looking to experiment and play around with these interesting colors, stay away from cheaper paint varieties. The high-grade paints apply very easily, look more bright and vibrant, and last for longer, giving the object a professional finish.
  • Choosing the appropriate paintbrush is also important. While synthetic brushes give nice, visible brush strokes, natural-hair versions provide a smooth finish.

Painting Procedure
  1. Thoroughly clean the glass and see to it that there is no dust or oil on the surface. Using rubbing alcohol and a paper towel is a good option. It is best to wear latex gloves while working on this project, to prevent body oils from your hands depositing onto the glass.
  2. Read all instructions mentioned on the paint products so that you will learn if you need any undercoat or overcoat during this process. Not following these directions can lead to the creation of a flawed result.
  3. Either using stencils or by freehand, create your desired outline on the glass. You can use a permanent marker for this purpose.
  4. Use a pipette or syringe to slowly put drops of paint on the glass within the outline. Use a pin or toothpick to remove any air bubbles you may find.
  5. Now, use your brush to carefully fill the outlines with the desired colors. If you are painting a large surface in one color, you can use a sponge to spread the paint in a uniform manner. You might need to add water if you find the paint too thick.
  6. Use rubbing alcohol to get rid of any mistakes.
  7. While using acrylic paint on wineglasses, make sure that you don't paint near the rim, as some paint varieties are toxic. Using a masking tape to cover this area, will protect it effectively.

Depending on the variety of paint, your glass item may now require baking. This will help make the acrylic paint stick permanently on the glass. Let us see how this is done.
Baking and Sealing Acrylic Paint on Glass
If you are having trouble with the paint sticking to the glass, it is a good idea to apply an all-purpose sealer on the area that you wish to paint, before you make the initial outlines. Leave a 24-hour gap before the painting process, to allow the sealant to dry.
Make sure that the paint on your glass items has dried for at lead 24 hours before you look to bake them. Usually, the baking instructions will differ according to the paint varieties. So, check for the baking instructions on the paint bottles or tubes before starting the process.
Ideally, the glass item will have to baked for half an hour in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven. However, rather than preheating the oven before the baking process, put in the glass item when the oven is still cold, and let it gradually heat up with the oven elements. Be sure that you don't handle the glass till it has completely cooled down.
How to Remove Acrylic Paint on Glass
While painted/stained glass is amazingly beautiful, an unwanted splatter or smear can turn it from a masterpiece into a disaster. Let us look at some effective methods to clean acrylic paint from glass.
Method 1:
  1. Use a wet cloth or spray bottle to soak the glass in some warm water. Alternatively, if the glass item is small, put it into a water-filled vessel, and leave it to soak.
  2. After a while, the paint should become soft and rubbery. Now, you can start peeling the paint off the glass surface. If you are using a knife or razor to do this, pay extra care to avoid scratching the glass, and always scrape sideways instead of downwards.
  3. If you are finding it difficult to get the paint off the glass, soak it in water for a longer period of time.
  4. This process should take off most of the paint; however, you might still have a thin film remaining on the glass surface. It is best to use a regular glass cleaning solution, and wipe it with newspapers to get a shiny clean finish.

Method 2:
  1. Dip the cloth/sponge in some chemical solvent such as rubbing alcohol, acetone nail polish remover, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Very carefully and gently rub the paint off with the solvent-soaked cloth.
  3. Once all the paint is gone, finish with a wash of soap water.

Method 3:
  1. Prepare a solution of water and vinegar in equal amounts, and heat it till it's almost boiling.
  2. Dip a clean rag in the hot solution and rub the paint stains you wish to remove, slowly at first, and harder after the paint starts to peel off.

Here are some cleaning tips that will help you get better results while removing paint form glass.
  • Stubborn stains might require you to soak the glass in a warm water, soap solution.
  • Scrape the glass in a less-noticeable place to see if the surface is reacting badly to your efforts.
  • If you hear a scraping or grating sound while removing the paint, stop immediately. It is highly possible that the blade is scratching the glass.
  • Do not use this scraping process to clean mirrored or tinted glass, as they are highly susceptible to damage.
  • Never scrape the glass surface back and forth. Instead, the scraping should be done in one direction only. Lift the blade from the surface after each stroke.
  • If you are cleaning paint on outdoor surfaces, such as windows, an ammonia solution can work just as well.

Other Tips
  • Use a white base coat inside the outlines before going for your intended shade. This will help bring out the vibrancy of the paint and save you from applying many extra coats. It also helps the acrylic paint to set on glass much better.
  • Normally, three coats of paint are needed before you get a satisfactory result. Make sure that each coat dries for at least one hour before you apply the next one.
  • If you have baked the glass item, wait at least 72 hours before you wash it and get it ready for use. However, if you do not wish to bake the glass item, leave it to dry in the air for 20-30 days before washing.
  • Food or drink items should not come in contact with the paint, due to the risk of poisoning.
  • Never, microwave a painted glass item, it will damage the colors.
  • Acrylic paints need to be kept away from children and sources of combustion.
  • Sandblasting a glass surface may also work in creating a surface that adheres to the paint easily.
  • Create a color chart of your own by painting a sheet with the various shades you have got. This will help you in choosing you future purchases.

The above instructions and tips will help you create some very fine pieces of art, that will beautify your surroundings for a long time to come.
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