You may have seen spray paint cans with a little black and white label that says “For Glass.” Wondering if it’s safe to use on your windows and mirrors? We’re here to spill the beans. While it is possible to spray paint glass, it’s not always recommended.
Yes, you can spray paint glass, but there are some things to consider before trying it. Determine whether or not you want the surface of your glass to remain clear or have a slightly frosted look to it after spraying. If you opt for a clear finish, be aware that using sharpies and other markers won’t come off as easy as you may want it to.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of using spray paint on glass surfaces.
Advantages of Spray Painting Glass
You can spray paint glass because the surface of the glass allows for maximum adhesion during painting. The paint will stick to your glass better than other surfaces you may try to paint, like wood or plastic.
With that being said, if you’re using low-quality spray paint, it may not be able to withstand the drying process and end up peeling or chipping.
Disadvantages of Spray Painting Glass
If you want a clear finish, the paint will create a slightly frosted look due to its matte appearance and texture. Sharpies and similar markers won’t come off as easy on glass that has been painted. If you try using water or glass cleaner to remove markers from the surface, the paint may come off with it.
If you want to achieve a more “streak-free” look when painted glass, be aware that this is not easily achieved when using spray paints. Usually, there will be very slight streaks due to low-quality spray paints.
How To Spray Paint Glass: Step by Step
MATERIALS NEEDED TO SPRAY PAINT GLASS
* Spray paint for glass * Paper towels * Masking tape * Newspaper * Box of latex or nitrile gloves (optional)
STEP 1 – PREPARE YOUR SURFACE
Lightly sand the surface that you want to spray paint. This will ensure that your new paint job sticks. Wipe with a damp cloth and dry completely.
STEP 2 – APPLY MASKING TAPE TO THE EDGES
Apply masking tape to the edges of your glass surface. If you prefer, you can use the newspaper too. This step will ensure that the spray paint doesn’t bleed onto surfaces you don’t want it on. Be sure to let the masking tape sit for at least 24 hours, so it’s secure and dry before applying your new finish.
STEP 3 – PROTECT YOUR AREA
Cover any nearby furniture or carpets with newspaper or cardboard so they won’t be splattered with paint. You may want to put on latex or nitrile gloves if you’re uncomfortable using your bare hands while spraying paint into them.
STEP 4 – PREPARE TO SPRAY
Shake the spray paint well and test the mist by pressing it down on the nozzle. You may need to adjust how far away you hold your spray paint can come from the glass surface before applying it. If you want a more translucent finish, apply 4-5 light coats of spray paint instead of trying for one even coat.
STEP 5 – WAIT FOR YOUR GLASS SURFACE TO DRY (WITHOUT MASKING TAPE)
Let your painted glass surface dry completely without removing the masking tape. This will ensure that your new color is long-lasting and intact!
STEP 6 – REMOVE MASKING TAPE
Gently pull off your masking tape to reveal a beautiful, freshly painted window!
A NOTE ON CLEAN UP: You may notice that paint sprays onto nearby surfaces when you’re spraying. Be sure to let your painted surface dry before removing the masking tape. After you’ve finished painting and the surface has dried, simply wipe away any stray spray paint with a paper towel and some water.
DO’S AND DON’T FOR USING SPRAY PAINT ON GLASS:
- Cover surrounding surfaces you don’t want paint on with newspaper or cardboard.
- Use masking tape to cover areas where you don’t want overspray getting on.
Don’t use spray paint if the surface of your glass has an existing finish, such as whiteboard, chalkboard, anti-glare, privacy screen protector, or frosted. These surfaces will only absorb the paint, which is something that they weren’t made to do and can cause them to bubble up over time.
Check out our post about spray painting plastic for more information on these types of finishes.
SPRAY PAINTING GLASS: TIPS AND TRICKS
- Spray paint tends to drip a lot more when sprayed onto a vertical surface. Keep that in mind and clean up any spills quickly with a paper towel and some water.
- If you prefer not to spray paint your glass surface, try using a glass marker instead! It works like other permanent markers, but it won’t smudge or smear when you apply heat (like from an oven).
- Using spray paint on glass, you may want to use newspaper instead of masking tape. The newspaper will soak up the overspray while keeping your spray paint on the glass.
- Ensure you spray your glass painting surface in a well-ventilated area and never spray paint in a bathroom or other small room.
- Be sure to wear latex gloves while spraying if you’re uncomfortable using your bare hands, and always use an adequate mask (like a respirator) if your project requires it.
- You may need to test your spray paint on a piece of glass first and adjust the distance and pressure on how you’re holding the nozzle before applying. If you experiment with various nozzles on your spray can, you’ll find one that works best for your specific surface.
- Spray paint can be used on windows as well! Try applying a stain-blocking primer before painting for extra protection against water seeping into the glass (just like you would do for any other type of surface).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is spray paint permanent on glass?
Spray paint is meant to be permanent on glass. However, if you use spray paint that doesn’t say it’s “glass safe,” try testing the spray paint on a sample section of your window first to ensure it will adhere well to your surface.
Are there any types of glass I should not apply spray paint to?
Check the label of your glass surface to make sure it’s specifically meant to be used with paint. If you don’t see it on the label, try testing a small section before painting your entire window if you’re unsure.
If I’m applying paint markers or stickers after spraying my glass, how long should I wait for the spray paint to dry?
You should wait at least 24 hours for the paint to fully dry so it won’t smear.
How do I remove spray paint from glass?
The safest way to remove spray paint from glass is by using mineral spirits or turpentine on your surface. Just follow the instructions for safety precautions and let the painted area dry before removing the masking tape.
Can I use a hairdryer to speed up drying time if I’m in a hurry?
Yes, you can use a hairdryer or heat gun with caution on paint-safe and water-resistant surfaces. Do not use your blow dryer to remove paint from glass, though – it will only leave residual marks on your glass!
How do I remove spray paint off my hands?
For regular hand washing, just use dish soap and warm water. For more stubborn areas of paint, try using turpentine or other degreasing products for added cleaning power.
Do not use mineral spirits or turpentine unless you are relatively sure that the paint is water-resistant or meant for glass.
Do I need to use a primer before applying spray paint?
It’s best to test a small area first to ensure everything goes smoothly. It depends on the type of surface you’re spraying, but most surfaces are meant to be used by themselves without needing an additional primer beforehand. However, some lower-quality paints may require a primer with good adhesion.
Can you use Rustoleum spray paint on glass?
Yes! For specific types of glass (such as storm windows), check the label of your glass surface for paint compatibility.
Can I use spray paint on my window?
Although spray paint is meant to adhere well on most surfaces, you can try using a stain-blocking primer before painting just in case there’s an issue with the spray paint adhering to your window.
Why did my spray paint peel?
Spray paint peeling is usually caused by the surface being too hot, so avoid using a heat gun on surfaces that have been painted with spray paint. Also, make sure you clean your surface properly and let it dry before adding any additional coats of paint!
How do you permanently paint on glass?
Try using a marker or stickers instead when you’re ready to permanently paint on glass. Try using a marker or stickers instead!
Wouldn’t it just be easier to tape off the area I want to spray paint?
If you’re only painting a small area of your window, taping can make cleanup more difficult since there’s an added layer of sticky residue. Just use a small brush and a rag instead!
Can clear glass be spray painted?
Yes, as long as the spray paint is meant for glass and you can dry fully. If your clear glass isn’t labeled as “glass safe,” just test a smaller area first!
Do you think working with spray paint is too much work? Well, it’s as easy as using a traditional marker! Plus, it gives you amazing results and doesn’t take long to dry. Learn how to use spray paint on glass by reading our tutorial above.
Keep in mind that there are different types of glass, some of which can be painted and others that cannot. If you’re not sure what type of glass your window is made from, it’s best to check with a local hardware store or an expert before painting it.
It’s always good practice to wear latex gloves when painting projects on the glass, as well as safety precautions such as wearing a mask and working in a well-ventilated room. Happy painting!