Painting glass can be a fantastic way to add some interest to an otherwise dull window in your home. Paint a faux stained glass masterpiece in a living room window or use stencils to add flowers to a kitchen window.
Glass painting can also be a fun project for the kids. Spend a rainy afternoon creating colorful glasses or add some temporary art to a bedroom window.
Glass painting also serves functional purposes, such as providing much-needed privacy for a bathroom or home office.
But before you head out to the store to buy some paint, it’s important to understand that there are many different kinds of glass paint. Purchasing the wrong paint for the wrong project can result in stained clothes, poor durability, or a poor finish. Understanding which ones are best to use for the right project goes a long way to the success of any glass painting project.
In this article, we will review the best paint for glass, so you can determine the product most suitable for your needs.
At a Glance: My Choices for Best Paint for Glass in 2021:
- Colorations Simply Washable Tempera Paints
- FolkArt Gloss Finish Acrylic Enamel
- Metallic Liquid Chalk Markers
- Gallery Glass 16076 Liquid Leading for Lines
- Pebeo Vitrea 160, Glossy Glass Paint
Other Good Choices:
- Paint Pens for Glass
- Rust-Oleum 1903830 Specialty Glass Spray Paint
- Arteza Acrylic Pouring Paint
- Krylon K05150107 ColorMaster Paint + Primer
- Paint Mark Quick-Dry Paint Pens
Best Paint for Glass
Paint pens, artist paints, pourable paints: all are options for glass painting projects. Below we’ll review some of the best paint products out there to help you determine which works best for your project.
1. Colorations Simply Washable Tempera PaintsTempera paints are known for creating rich, vibrant colors, and that’s precisely what you get with this pack of paints, which includes 11 different shades ranging from black and brown to bright reds, yellows, and blues.
Need more hues? No problem. These colors mix effortlessly to create an unlimited number of different colors.
Colorations paints also offer plenty of versatility as they adhere to a wide variety of surfaces. Use these paints on paper, cardboard, cloth, plaster, and, of course, glass.
These paints will also work well with a variety of applicators, including standard paint brushes, sponges, and fingers.
Colorations designs its paints with kids clearly in mind. Clean-up is a breeze. There is no need to worry if these paints end up all over you, your child, or the living room rug. Tempera paint cleans easily from clothes, carpets, and other surfaces with soapy water.
Colorations Tempera is also nontoxic and hypoallergenic with no nuts, eggs, dairy, gluten, latex, or soy used in its manufacturing.
Colorations Washable Tempera is temporary when used on glass, making it an excellent option for afternoon projects or holiday decorating. If you are painting glass, these paints will only provide you with a temporary finish as they clean easily.
- Easy to clean
- Bright Colors
- Not a permanent solution
- Mostly bright colors only
2. FolkArt Gloss Finish Acrylic EnamelThose looking to produce more detailed art on the glass will need a paint that is more geared toward artists. This acrylic enamel from FolkArt goes on thick and dries quickly, leaving a high gloss finish.
This versatile set includes a broad palette, ranging from yellow to lavender. And if that’s not enough for you, they’re easily mixable to create other shades. This paint also does an exceptional job of adhering to smooth surfaces, including ceramic and glass.
For glass, FolkArt goes on thick. Expect to see visible brush strokes with this paint Despite that thick consistency, plan on using two coats if you want an opaque finish. That’s okay because this paint has a fast dry time, so you can still finish your glass painting project quickly.
Do keep in mind that the finish for acrylic enamel will be a shiny one, so if you’re after a matte look, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
This is one of the cheaper options you can find for acrylic enamel, but it’s still a bit pricey compared to cheaper tempera paints. Each bottle includes 2 ounces of paint, so if you’re planning on covering a large area, you may need to buy more than one set.
- Adheres well to glass
- Eight different colors
- Dries quickly
- Durable when baked
- Not as durable if unable to be baked
3. Metallic Liquid Chalk MarkersIf you’re looking to write on glass or want to avoid all the clean-up and potential mess that comes with painting, then consider using paint markers.
Charly Crown metallic chalk markers allow you to create bold colors on a wide variety of surfaces, including glass. Each pack includes eight hues with a metallic finish. And while Charly Crown designed these markers for chalkboards, they work just as well on glass.
Two different tip styles are available: chisel and bullet, allowing you to write on glass or create simple drawings. Just keep in mind that you won’t be creating designs with brush strokes or layering or mixing colors. They can also be a little challenging to write with on vertical surfaces. Make sure to allow the ink to get to the tip when working on windows or mirrors.
These markers are temporary. A damp paper towel is all that’s needed to remove these markers when done, and the ink washes easily out of clothes.
If you’re looking for a paint that will create a permanent feature on our glass, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
- Easy to use
- Cleans easily
- Vibrant metallic colors
- Temporary finish
- Cannot mix of layer like paint
4. Gallery Glass 16076 Liquid Leading for LinesFaux stained glass is a glass painting project that can produce stunning results if executed properly. But, to achieve those results, you’ll need liquid leading.
This specialty paint creates the black lines that separate the colored glass pieces of a stained glass window. In real stained glass, these lines originally consisted of, well, lead.
Gallery Glass Liquid Leading comes in a squeeze bottle that allows you to apply the liquid leading to the glass to achieve the design you’re after, be that flowers, insects, or whatever strikes your fancy. Simply trace the desired lines on the glass as you squeeze.
This paint is thick, so you don’t need to worry about it sliding down the glass while applying it to a vertical window. The downside to this is the paint is so thick that squeezing it out of the bottle may take some doing.You’ll need a firm grip, and you may even need to cut the tip larger than you might like, which will make your leading lines fatter. You’ll also have to be a little patient when using it, as it takes about eight hours to dry.
Gallery glass gives you some options when it comes to the finish for its leading. It comes in metallic, pearl, frost and shimmer. If you don’t mind some challenges squeezing this out, then Gallery Glass is an excellent option for your faux stained glass project.
- Holds shape and won’t run
- Comes in a variety of finishes
- Creates solid opaque lines
- Can be hard to squeeze out
- Long dry time
5. Pebeo Vitrea 160, Glossy Glass PaintFor those artists looking to create something that goes beyond your everyday arts and crafts project, there is Pebeo Vitrea. This water-based acrylic paint, which works on a variety of surfaces ranging from porcelain to sheet steel to glass, is formulated to meet the demands of professional artists.
These are glass paints designed for studio use. The paint’s consistency is thick, allowing for a textured finish if desired. The paint colors, of which there are many, can be mixed and blended for an unlimited number of hues and tones, allowing for an endless amount of overlays and collages.
This paint also goes on very smoothly, allowing for intricate details. It will become tacky dry in minutes and fully dries in about a day.
The paint’s finish can be permanent or temporary. If you’re planning on painting a window, it’s crucial to understand how this paint works. The paint is washable until it has been baked in an oven at 325 degrees for 40 minutes, after which it becomes permanent. So, if you’re planning to paint a window, you’ll need to make sure it’s in an area that doesn’t see much action.
In terms of cost, these paints are more expensive than other options. Colors are wide-ranging with 36 available colors, but are sold individually and not as part of a set.
- Artistic capabilities are endless
- Studio-grade paint
- Many color options
- Adheres well to glass
- Only permanent if baked
6. Paint Pens for GlassOften paint pens are designed with kids in mind, which means more emphasis is put on limiting mess than on a quality finish. Artistro’s paint pens are a bit more sophisticated. These acrylic pens produce a permanent high gloss opaque finish to pretty much any surface you want to apply it to, including glass.
This pack comes in 12 different vibrant colors ranging from hot pink to metallic silver. Markers have medium tips, allowing for a wide range of different designs. A transparent pen barrel will enable you to see exactly how much paint you have left.
And, since they’re in pen form, this makes it relatively easy to create intricate designs or even writing. That said, don’t expect to produce studio-style paintings with these pens. These pens are for drawing on windows, rocks, or even shoes.
And Paint Pen, like all acrylic paints, are only permanent on the glass when baked in an oven at 350 degrees. So, while you can use them to create a design on a glass window, it won’t be permanent. Be aware that, unlike other paint markers designed for kids, acrylic paint will stain fabric, so make sure your kids are only using them on what they’re supposed to be using them on.
- Adheres to just about any surface
- Creates opaque, vibrant colors
- Pens are easy to use
- Very inexpensive
- Not permanent unless baked in an oven
- Will stain clothing
7. Rust-Oleum 1903830 Specialty Glass Spray PaintFrosting a window in your home is one of the easier glass painting projects you can take on, and this product from Rust-Oleum will help you get the job done quickly.
Simply tape off the window frame, spray the glass, wait 10 minutes, and your project is complete. The spray paint leaves a frosted, semi-transparent finish, providing you with some much-needed privacy. You can also use it for more artistic applications by using stencils to create an etched glass look.
Although this product is durable, it does have its limitations. It cannot be exposed regularly to water. So, using this in a shower area or outside your home won’t work. You also want to limit your use to surfaces that don’t see much action.
This paint is also oil-based, which means it will put off plenty of VOCs and is difficult to remove from places you don’t want it to be, including your hands. Make sure you ventilate the space you’re working in, don rubber gloves, and protect the area around the glass before you get started.
With its low cost and easy application, this glass spray paint is an excellent way to transform the look of glass with minimal effort.
- Easy to apply
- Can’t be used in wet areas
- Produces a lot of fumes when applied
8. Arteza Acrylic Pouring PaintThis pouring style paint is for creating the mixed tie-dyed effect you often find on glass art pieces. Unlike other pouring paints, these are pre-mixed, meaning they are ready to pour directly on the glass without the need for any additives.
Simply squeeze the paint onto the glass and begin mixing your colors. Resist the temptation to use a brush. Apply the paint with strategic pouring. Layer color on top of color and use a hairdryer or your lungs to blend the paint.
As you might have guessed, this process can be messy, so you’ll need to make sure you protect the area around your project workspace as this thin paint has the potential to run everywhere. It also means you won’t be applying this to windows that cannot be removed and laid flat. For obvious reasons, don’t attempt on a vertical surface. Once applied, it takes about a day or so to dry and is opaque.
Arteza’s pouring paints are sold individually and come in 27 different colors, including neon, pastels and primary colors. As these are pro-grade paints, they are a little pricier than other options on this list. If you’re looking to get a beautiful abstract finish and can lay your glass project, this paint is a great option.
- Pre-mixed for pouring out of the bottle
- Comes in a wide variety of colors
- No brushes required
- Beautiful glossy finish
- Too thin to apply to a vertical surface
9. Krylon K05150107 ColorMaster Paint + PrimerFor those not interested in creating art, but rather, are looking to create a shiny finish that will hold up against wear and tear, there is acrylic enamel, and the paint that Krylon puts out is some of the best.
It combines paint and primer to create a rock hard shell on smooth surfaces, so no pre-priming is required. Just clean and dry the glass, and you’re ready to paint.
This acrylic paint, which comes in spray paint form, will create a shiny, durable shell over chairs, furniture, metal, and, yes, glass windows. Available in dozens of colors, there is a hue available for whatever you’re looking to paint.
The application is straightforward. Tape off the area around the glass that you don’t want to be painted and use drop cloths to protect the floor.
Next, spray a thin layer on the glass. Just make sure you don’t get carried away, or you’ll get drips. For the best coverage and a smooth finish, use multiple thin coats. Krylon comes in three finishes: flat, satin, and gloss, with the latter being the most durable.
As with many acrylic paints, fumes are an issue, so apply this paint outdoors. If that isn’t possible, ventilate your work area before beginning.
- Creates a durable coating
- No priming required
- Easy application
- Adheres well to glass
- High VOCs
10. Paint Mark Quick-Dry Paint PensPaint pens aren’t just for kids. These paint markers from Paint Mark are heavy-duty. Oil-based: it creates a permanent finish on ceramic, glass, and a variety of other surfaces.
Paint Mark Paint Pens resist smearing, fading, wear and tear, and water, making them an excellent option for permanent applications that require the precision of a marker tip over a brush. That said, these are paint markers and not conventional markers.
Therefore, they function a bit differently. You’ll need to hold the pen a bit more upright than a standard marker to achieve good coverage. These markers also need to be shaken and primed before use to mix the paint thoroughly. That said, if prepared correctly, these pens create a smooth finish with excellent coverage.
Despite the fact they are oil-based, they are quick to dry. Unlike acrylic markers, these paint markers don’t need to be baked for the paint to be permanent.
Paint Mark Paint Pens come in 15-pen or 20-pen sets with a wide range of bright colors. All pens are medium-tipped, making them versatile enough for a variety of designs. These pens present a great option if you’re looking for a permanent glass paint option but aren’t good with a brush.
- Permanent marker
- Good coverage
- Fade and Water-resistant
- Can be tricky to use
- Adheres well to glass
Types of Paint for Glass
Acrylic Enamel Paint
Acrylic Enamels adhere well to shiny, smooth surfaces such as glass and metal. This type of paint is very durable, resisting chipping, corrosion, and UV damage, which is why auto manufacturers use it to paint cars.
Acrylic enamel is available as spray paint or can be applied with a brush and is available as an opaque or transparent paint with finishes ranging from matte to satin to high gloss.
Most acrylic enamel paints, such as craft paints by FolkArt, require the painted object to be baked to create a permanent finish, which is important to consider if your project is not something that will fit the oven.
Acrylic enamel paints such as Krylon are quite permanent without baking, but you’ll need to allow for about three weeks of air drying for proper curing.
Acrylic paint is available in most art supply stores and sites. It typically comes in tubes and can be much thicker than other types of paint (some acrylics having the consistency of a thick cream). This paint works best on a painters canvas where it can be mixed and blended with visible brush strokes.
Specially designed Acrylic paints for glass are typically transparent. Most acrylic paints mix well, allowing you to create a limitless number of colors.
Unlike enamel, which is glossy, acrylic paint typically dries with a matte finish. You can change the finish by layering with gloss.
Specially Formulated Solvent-Based Paints
Solvent-based paints are typically oil-based. As such, they are not as popular for glass painting as other paints on this list because they are difficult to apply to glass evenly. Clean -up can also be a pain as a paint thinner is required to clean brushes.
The flip side to solvent-based paints is that they are typically more durable and resist water better than other glass paints.
Glass Paint Markers
The significant advantage of glass paint markers is that they allow you to write more easily than standard paint. Many markers also have the advantage of being washable. Glass paint markers are typically temporary and often washable.
Some manufacturers design their markers to be permanent with baking.
There are some oil-based markers (including one on our list) that offer a more permanent finish, making them an excellent option for glasses and coffee mugs that will see use. Just keep in mind that these markers are typically not washable and will stain clothes or furniture easily.
Spray Paint for Glass
Spray paint is perhaps the easiest and quickest way to paint glass. Simply tape off the areas you want to protect, shake the can, and spray away. Krylon is one of the best-known manufacturers of spray paint.
Their spray enamel creates a hard shell designed to be very durable. Other glass spray paint options include frosted spray paint, which frosts glass, creating a classic opaque look that adds privacy.
Pebeo Vitrea designs its paints to color glass while maintaining its transparency. While transparent paints do not offer privacy, they allow for attractive art designs while still allowing plenty of light filtration. Transparent glass paints are popular in the making of faux stained glass projects.
Most glass paints provide a temporary coating to glass. Even those designed for permanent applications will eventually wear over time. Certain high-grade glass paint products will last forever.
Paints such as Glass Paint create a permanent adhesion to glass, meaning it will never peel, fade, or chip regardless of how wet it gets. Just keep in mind that these paints are typically costly and designed for single color applications and not art projects.
Things to Consider When Buying Glass Paint
What do you want to paint?
Before you go picking up a jar, tube, can or marker of glass paint, consider first what it is you’re planning to paint. Is it a drinking glass or vase that will see a lot of use? Is it a window that you can’t remove? Is it a fish tank that is continuously wet?
The item you’re planning to paint largely determines the type of paint you need to buy.
If you’re planning to paint a small object, such as a glass or jar, consider paint pens or artistic paint such as Pebeo Vitra, which can be heated to make the finish permanent.
If you’re painting a window, keep in mind that if you want something permanent, it will need to be a paint that doesn’t require heat for the curing process.
If it’s something you’re planning on drinking out of, make sure you choose a paint that can be safe to use. By considering what paint works best for your project, you can ensure a good result.
Type of Paint Finish
Acrylic paint finishes range from flat matte to high gloss. Determining which you want primarily determines what kind of paint you buy. If you’re looking for a matte look, then consider artistic acrylics like Pebeo Vitra, which are permanent, or temporary paints such as Tempura.
Acrylic enamel, in comparison, will give you a matte, satin, or high gloss finish depending on what finish you choose. In contrast, specialty paints will create a stylized finish, such as frosted.
Also, consider the type of look you want. Are you going for visual brush strokes, or would you rather have a smooth finish? Will you be writing on the glass?
Permanent or Temporary
This is a crucial decision to make early on. Is the glass your painting intended to be a temporary art project or a permanent design in your home? If the former is the case, consider using tempera paints or paint markers that can easily be wiped clean with a wet rag.
Keep in mind that some paints are more permanent or temporary than others. Tempera paint cleans easily with water. Frosted spray paint is durable, but will not hold up well against repeated exposure to water.
Krylon and certain specially formulated solvent paints are very durable and water-resistant.
Color availability is also essential to consider. Some glass paints, including more markers, are typically only sold in very vibrant dark colors. Artistic acrylic paints come in a wide variety of colors, while acrylic enamel usually comes in a more limited range.
Consider how varied you need your color palette to be before picking what type of paint to use.
The most significant differences between water-based and oil-based paints are permanence and durability. Most oil-based glass paint is harder and, therefore, better withstands abuse than most water-based glass paint.
And, given that it is oil-based, most oil-based paints do a better job of holding up against moisture.
Just keep in mind that oil-based paints have more VOCs, so make sure you have plenty of ventilation. Oil-based paint can also be challenging to clean, so it’s best reserved for adults.
How to Paint Glass
Painting glass is a lot easier than you might think, but you need to follow some important steps to get the best results.
Before you begin, gather your materials. If you’re using paint, you’ll need brushes. A variety of brushes will work for the application, including sponges, large brushes, and smaller artistic brushes.
Different brush materials will give you different looks. Use synthetic bristles for visible brush marks while natural bristle brushes will provide you with a much smoother look. For textured coats, try sponges.
Size, of course, depends on your project. For large solid-color windows, use a broad brush or even a roller. For artistic projects, you’ll need a variety of brush sizes.
Once you’ve gathered your materials, it’s time to begin:
- Clean the glass thoroughly. You’ll want to use soapy water to remove any oils that might be on the glass. For glass that’s dirty, use rubbing alcohol to break through the grime.
- Tape off any areas you don’t want to be painted. If you’re painting a window, that might mean the wood frame. You can also use tape to protect any areas of a glass or plate that you don’t want to receive paint.
- Add a base coat if needed. Use a larger brush to apply the paint to the glass. Wait until the base coat is completely dry before adding any additional coats or the top coat.
- Outline the design. Draw the design you want on the glass using a marker or liquid leading.
- Begin painting. Apply a small amount of paint, starting with the area furthest away from you. Start with a small amount, then slowly add more to the brush as you get comfortable with the paint. You’ll need to work with one color at a time to avoid mixing unless of course, you want to blend the paints. Keep a paper towel handy to fix any drips or mistakes. Allow each color to dry before moving onto the next.
- Wait until each coat has dried before adding additional coats. Dry time can range anywhere from an hour for water-based paints to a full day for some enamel paints
How to Cure Paint on Glass
The curing process is vital for many glass paints if you want your paint job to be permanent. While some paints only need to dry to be permanent, others need to cure by baking in an oven.
This is especially important if you’re painting a glass or plate that you plan on using for eating or drinking. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for correct curing temperature and time.
Once the paint has completely dried, you can begin the curing process:
- Some paints require only time to fully cure. This could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Find a warm place where the project can safely dry for the required amount of time. If you’re painting a window, you may need to protect it until the paint has cured.
- When curing paint using an oven, it’s always wise to start and end in a cold oven. This prevents exposing the glass to extreme temperature changes, which can crack the glass. Once you’ve placed your glass in the oven, set the temperature.
- Allow the glass to bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
- Turn the oven off. Leave the glass in the oven until both have cooled.
- Once cured, you can safely wash your glass using soap and water. Avoid using the dishwasher, which can cause the paint to fade and peel.
Whether you’re planning a weekend art project with the kids or a faux stained glass window for your living room, choosing the right paint is critical to the success of your glass painting project.
But with so many glass paint products on the market today, figuring out which one to buy can be a little overwhelming. I hope this guide has helped you better understand what types of glass paint are available and which works best for your project.