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Glass Painting - Beginner's Guide


Beginners Guide to Glass Painting - Part 1


Glass paints are brightly coloured liquid paints that are either water or solvent-based. You can use them to decorate vases, drinking glasses, plates or mirrors but they are equally effective when used to paint onto a thin sheet of plastic (acetate) that you can buy in any stationers. Once dry, the pictures can be cut out and stuck onto cards, framed as they stand or used to create pendants, suncatchers or other 3D objects.

Glass painted card

Glass painted card


The major manufacturers of glass paint and outliner tubes are Pebeo, Marabu and Vitrea. When you make your purchase, check whether or not they are water-based. Unlike watercolour painting, you don't use water or solvent to thin the paint but you do need to use the correct medium when cleaning your equipment and also when rinsing your brush between different colours. To thin your paint, buy a bottle of the appropriate thinner and drop in a little once you have poured out some paint onto your palette. You can buy a wide range of colours but you can also mix your own in a palette just like acrylic or watercolour paint.

Bottles of glass paint

Bottles of glass paint

Glass paint dries hard, so make sure you wash your brushes and palette in the appropriate medium as soon as you have finished painting.

Basic technique

There are two different methods you can use when painting with glass paints:

1. Paint in the normal way, letting the colours run together like watercolour paints.
2. First draw a thick black, silver, gold or other coloured outline round all the sections of your picture. When the lines are completely dry, fill in each section in turn.

Tubes of outliner

Tubes of outliner

If you prefer to copy a picture rather than create it from scratch, both glass and acetate can be used exactly like tracing paper. For flat glass objects or acetate sheets, place the drawing you want to trace underneath your surface and outline or paint straight over it.

Place glass over picture

Place glass over picture

You can keep the drawing in place by sticking your acetate sheet or glass object down with masking tape. For curved objects like a vase or drinking glass, you will need to stick the picture inside first of all before you can trace its outline. One trick for a plate or shallow bowl is to turn it over and paint onto the back so that the picture shows through but there is no risk of it being scratched off when you actually use the item for real.

For a stained glass effect, you need to use the method where you create an outline. Like squeezing toothpaste, drag a little of the colour from your tube along the lines of the drawing you are tracing.


Click below to read

Beginners Guide to Glass Painting - Part 2

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