Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Glass? (Here’s How) – Complete Guide

There are many different types of paint that you can use on glass, but acrylic paint is an excellent option because it is easy to apply and relatively affordable.

The answer is yes – acrylic paint can be used on glass. However, you should keep a few things in mind when painting on glass. When painting on glass with acrylics, always use an undercoat first to create a good surface for the topcoat of paint to adhere to. 

You can use a white gesso or an acrylic primer specifically for glass. Acrylics work well on glass because they dry quickly and are reasonably durable. However, they will scratch over. Once the primer has dried, then you can begin painting your design.

In this article, you will learn how to use acrylic paint on glass and some tips and tricks by which you can make your work easier and more presentable.

Materials Required for Acrylic Paint on Glass

  • Glass Presentation Board
  • Paper towels
  • White Gesso or an acrylic primer specifically made for glass surfaces to create a base before painting.
  • A flat-capped paintbrush with a fine tip. Pictured in the article is a length of 1/2 inch dowel rod used in place of a paintbrush.
  • Acrylic paints in any color of your choice
  • A clear sealant spray
  • If you want to frame the glass painting for display, either a frame with no glass or cut a piece of glass to fit inside the frame. You can also use a masonite board or Gatorboard instead of wood which will allow you to attach your finished painting with adhesive spray.

Choosing the Right Acrylic Paint

The first step in painting on glass is to choose the correct acrylic paints. Acrylic paint can be used on various surfaces, including metal, wood, and fabric. The best type of acrylic paint for glass is an artist’s quality. Artists grade acrylics are thick enough that they do not drip or bleed onto your work surface when you are working on them, which makes them easier to control

Glossy enamel acrylic paints are also suitable for glass, but these paints are best used on objects that will not be exposed to wear and tear. They are also harder to find in colors other than black or white.

Frosted paints are also trendy but should generally be used for decorative pieces only. They are not opaque enough to use on glass that needs to be colored in.

Crystal gloss enamel paints are also good options, but they are not opaque.

Preparing your Glass Surface

Once you have picked out the right paint, you will need to prepare your glass surface. The type of surface you choose can determine how well the paint will stay on and whether or not it will come off in time.

Glass with a frosted finish is the best option for painting because you do not have to worry about the paint chipping or peeling off, as often happens with other glass finishes. Glass with a glossy or metallic finish can also work. Still, some of these types of glass are easy to scratch.

Priming your Glass Surface

To prepare your glass surface for painting, you must apply an undercoat first. When choosing an undercoat for your project, you have several options: white gesso, acrylic primer specifically for glass, or matte acrylic paint.

See also  Are Acrylic Paints Washable? [Skin, Glass, Furniture, walls]

The glass primer can help darken the color of your work and make it more opaque. Glass primers are a good option if you plan to paint your entire surface with black acrylic paint. If you want to create a colorful design instead, white gesso is a much better choice because the paint’s color only tints it.

Always apply an even coat of undercoat to your project before adding additional layers of paint to ensure that your final product will have a smooth surface for maximum clarity and visibility.

Painting Your Design

Once you have applied an even coat of undercoat to your project, then you can begin painting. You should always paint your design in a single direction to ensure that it will be legible from a distance.

You can also adjust the thickness of your lines by using the flat edge of the paintbrush instead of its tip for more control.

When working with glass, it is best to use acrylic paints because they dry quickly and are not as likely to bleed or drip as oil-based paints. If you do not have enough time to allow each layer of color to dry before adding additional layers, wait until your previous layer has dried completely; otherwise, it could ruin your entire project.

Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass

Acrylics look great on glassware because they adhere well and produce a clear image. Once your design is finished, you will need to seal it with an acrylic varnish so that the paint does not fade over time.

You can find many different acrylic varnishes in most arts and crafts stores. It is best to use a clear matte or satin finish for glass projects because these finishes create the least amount of glare. Avoid using gloss varnishes on the glass; they can make your project look dirty and detract from your work’s clarity.

Before adding a finish, let your project dry entirely and lightly buff it with steel wool or sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges. You can also spray-paint your final product if you want it to be shiny. Just make sure that you do not add too many layers of paint, or the surface will become opaque.

Finding the Right Paintbrush for glass

When painting on glass, you will need to use a paintbrush with synthetic bristles because these brushes do not rust like metal ones. They also produce smoother strokes and are easier to clean than natural hair brushes.

Synthetic-bristle paintbrushes come in various sizes; the most common sizes for small projects are 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, and 5/8 inch.

It is best to use a smaller brush for details and work your way up to larger sizes if you cover a large surface area with paint. You will also need to have several different-sized brushes on hand for painting straight or curved lines.

Maintaining the Acrylic Paint on Glass

After you have finished painting your glassware, your next task will be sealing the painted surface. If you do not use varnish or sealant, the acrylic paint will eventually chip and peel. To prevent this from happening, apply several thin layers of varnish instead of a single thick coat. The recommended drying time for varnish is between thirty minutes and an hour, depending on temperature and humidity levels.

To protect your finished project, keep it out of direct sunlight for at least three days to allow the varnish or sealant to dry completely.

Which Glass is Best to Paint On?

You can decorate most types of glassware with acrylic paints, but some projects work better than others. To get the best results when painting on glass, choose bottles or glasses made of thick-walled, solid glass rather than thin, hollow vessels. You will also want to avoid using any objects with ridges or raised patterns because they can interfere with your paint job.

To create the best finish on your glassware, keep in mind that you will need to use a clear varnish to seal your project when it has dried completely. It is possible to do without a varnish if the piece is for decorative purposes only, but your completed work will be less durable.

See also  Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof? Here's How to Make it Waterproof

Tips for Design: Acrylic Paint on Glass

  • When creating the design for your glassware, keep in mind that you will need to lift your brush before pulling it toward yourself at a slight angle.
  • This technique will allow you to create straight lines without using a ruler. If looking for fine details, use a smaller-sized paintbrush and draw with its tip instead of its flat side.
  • When decorating glassware, the thicker the paint, the better it will adhere to its surface. You can apply multiple layers of paint by allowing each coat to dry before applying the next. The recommended drying time for acrylics is between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on temperature and humidity levels.
  • You can also prevent your project from cracking or becoming cloudy by applying several thin layers of varnish instead of a single thick one.
  • Every time you add another layer of paint, your brush strokes will create a pattern that can be used to give your design depth and detail. If the raised parts of the design are where you want more paint, just press down on them with the bristles of your brush.

How To Decorate Glassware with Acrylic Paint

When you are ready to decorate your glassware, you can use any kind of acrylic paint. There is no need to worry if you do not have a complete set of paints at home because most craft stores stock single bottles or small groups for reasonable prices.

Acrylic paints are available in two different viscosities: fluid and heavy body. To create clean lines when decorating glassware, you will want to use fluid paint that is thicker than heavy-bodied paint. Fluid paints are easier to work with, but they dry more slowly than heavy-bodied paints do, making the latter ideal for painting straight or curved lines.

How to Bake Acrylic Paint on Glass?

Acrylic paint will stick to the glass when exposed to 200 degrees Fahrenheit or higher temperatures. When you are ready to bake your project, place it in the oven and set the temperature to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

You will need to allow it to dry for at least fifteen minutes without removing it from the oven before turning the temperature up again. The pattern you made with your brushstrokes will hold when the paint bakes.

Tips and Tricks for Oven Curing Acrylic Paint

  • If you are looking for a glossy finish, place your glassware in the oven with foil underneath it. The foil will reflect heat onto the paint, making it shiny after baking.
  • Be sure to use an oven mitt when removing the glassware from the oven. Oven mitts will protect your hands from burns!
  • When decorating baking glassware in the oven, remove any adhesive labels before putting it inside. The paint will not stick to the glass if an adhesive label is underneath it.
  • After your project has been baked, allow it to cool completely before moving or cleaning it. When painting thick layers of acrylic paint on glass, you can expect the oven to add an extra 30 minutes or more to the total project time.
  • When decorating glassware with acrylic paint, the thicker the coat, the better it will adhere. Thick layers can cover up minor mistakes and imperfections. However, if you want your finished design to have a lot of detail, try painting multiple thin coats instead of a single thick one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Acrylic Paint Stick to Glass?

Yes, acrylic paint will stick to glass. The paint needs only a short time to adhere to the glass before becoming completely dry. Acrylic paints are water-based and made from a mixture of resin and pigments. They dry quickly and will often become tacky in just a few minutes after applying to a surface.

How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass?

Before sealing your painted glassware, ensure that the acrylic paint is completely dry. To test for adhesion and to check if it is ready for a sealant, try rubbing your clean finger across the surface of the paint. If you can feel any texture or resistance, it needs more time to cure before applying varnish or sealant.

See also  Can Acrylic Paint Be Used On Skin, Face and Body? Detailed Guide

When ready to varnish, use a clean paintbrush to apply the sealer in light coats. You mustn’t apply too much varnish at one time. Otherwise, it may drip down the sides of the glass and ruin your design! Also, be sure to wait about thirty minutes between each coat.

Can Mod Podge Seal Glass Painted With Acrylics?

Yes, Mod Podge will seal acrylic paint on glass. It is made from water-based acrylic and dries quickly to a clear finish. However, it does not offer as much protection as regular varnish or polyurethane.

Do You Need to Prime Glass Before Painting With Acrylics?

The answer to this question depends on the type of glass you are painting and the look you want to achieve. If your glass is not exposed to a great deal of moisture, then priming it with a latex-based primer will produce a smooth finish. However, if moisture resistance is a concern, use an oil-based primer. Oil-based primers offer a much better seal against water and can also protect your glassware from stains.

Can Painted Glass be Reused?

Yes, painted glass can be reused. It may not last as long as unpainted glassware, but it will undoubtedly outlast paper decorations and adhesive labels! If you want to reuse a piece of decorated glass a second time, try washing it by hand instead of putting it in the dishwasher. You can also decorate your glasses with non-toxic marker pens so they can be used for water, milk, or juice.

When storing decorated glassware over a long time, make sure the paint is completely dry first. If your project isn’t going to be placed inside a container right away, cover it with plastic wrap and seal it in a large plastic bag to prevent dust and dirt from settling on the paint.

Is acrylic paint for glass dishwasher safe?

Acrylic paint is not dishwasher safe on glassware. If you want to wash your painted glass in the dishwasher, then be sure that it has a wholly cured finish first. Even a thin layer of acrylic paint will protect your design from water damage, so do not attempt to run unpainted glass through the dishwasher either!

How long does acrylic paint on glass take to dry?

It can take a few minutes to several hours for acrylic paint on glass to dry. Acrylic paints require air exposure to fully cure, so it is best not to place your painted glassware inside of an airtight container right away. You must wait until the paint has become completely dry before cleaning and storing your decorated glassware.

How do you stop acrylic paint on glass from sliding?

To prevent your painted glassware from sliding, place it in a clean spot where it will not be disturbed for several hours. If the paint has not thoroughly dried, the surface may feel tacky or sticky. Once your design is arid, apply two or three layers of a clear finish or varnish to seal it.

Will acrylic paint wash off the glass?

Acrylic paint is not water-soluble, but it can be washed off the glass with the right cleaners. If you want to keep your pattern intact, use paint thinner or mineral spirits instead. Acetone-based nail polish removers or lacquer thinner will remove acrylic paint, but they may also strip away some colors if you create a multi-colored design.


There you have it! Now you can use acrylic paint on glass, and be rest assured that your painted designs will last for years to come. Be sure to practice painting glass on a piece of scrap paper before moving on to more delicate projects such as vases, glasses, and plates. If you experience any difficulties along the way or just want to chat, then leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!

Related Articles