Maybe home spray painting projects are new for you—or perhaps you have some experience but wonder how to spray paint on glass specifically. Can you spray paint glass to look beautiful permanently? This article outlines basic techniques to get great results when spray painting common glass surfaces.
Essentially, spray paint is aerosol paint. It comes out like a room freshener or furniture polish. This makes it an easier, faster way to get an evenly painted surface. To make isolated zones/shapes of color with spray paint, you can tape over parts of the surface while spraying.
Generally, spray paint works on glass, but it is usually best to use a spray paint indicated for the purpose. However, with appropriate preparation, technique, and curing—it works as well as any other paint on glass.
Can you spray paint glass jars and vases?
Can you spray paint glass light fixtures & candle holders?
Can you spray paint glass frames?
Can you spray paint wine glasses & bottles?
Can you spray paint glass table tops/windows?
How To Easily Spray Paint Glass Step By Step
1. Spray Paint Type To Use On Glass Surfaces:
Overall, acrylic is the most glass-friendly type of spray paint, but some oil spray paints work well on glass, too. Many spray paints indicated for glasswork are titled enamel paint. The word enamel just means hard coating, but, in this context, it often implies a glossy finish.
2. Tools, Supplies, And Materials Needed:
You need old newspapers or cloth to protect the surrounding workspace. If you want to cover part of the surface to create an unpainted space, you need painter's tape. For 360° projects (e.g., jars, vases, bowls, or candleholders), it is nice to have a way to spin the object without touching it, so try using a Lazy Susan or other turntable-like platform.
If you want to make other designs along with the spray painted surface, you might need regular paint, glitter/sparkles, foam brushes, fine brushes, stencils/reverse stencils, or markers. Also, it helps to have xylene, mineral spirits, acetone, alcohol, or other paint thinning solvent suitable for acrylic or oil paint.
3. Preparing The Glass Before Painting:
Krylon recommends sanding, allowing for better paint adhesion. However, note that, after you do this, the glass will never be transparent again. Moreover, depending on your project, sanding might not be strictly necessary. For most home glasswork projects, the key is just getting the glass completely clean—first, use soap and water; then rubbing/isopropyl alcohol, white vinegar, or detergent; and then allow the glass to dry completely.
It is not uncommon for people to find that spray paints are not quite the color or texture they expected, so consider testing the paint on a comparable test surface before going through with the whole project. For more serious projects, a primer might help make the paint stick more reliably; however, if this feels like a hassle, note that there are combination spray paints with built-in primer.
4. The Spray Painting Process:
Most people find that 2-3 layers, allowing about 10-20 minutes for drying between each, is ideal. Primer layers and sealer layers should be similarly allowed to dry completely before proceeding to the next step or before handling the painted object. Some glass or ceramic paints (usually acrylics) lend themselves to oven curing for quick drying and permanence.
Always read the directions—on the label and any supplemental directions on the company website—for best results. Note that you need to choose a location (and maybe use a light covering) to keep your project safe from touching, knocking over, and other damage while it is still in progress.
5. Sealing Spray Paint On Glass:
Sealers are not strictly necessary for many glass spray paint projects. However, they do give an added protective layer—especially important for outdoor glass projects. Alternatively, many sealers can give the finished product a slightly different sheen or texture. There are countless acrylic sealers/finishes that can be sprayed on glass projects to protect the paint surface; wax sealer, however, is ideal for chalk paints.
Why Use Spray Paint On Glass Surfaces?
Spray painting is a way to reuse or revamp an older piece—basically, it is a form of upcycling. Plus, it allows you to personalize a glass piece or give it a desired aesthetic to fit a given space, situation, or purpose.
Note that spray painting does not really benefit the glass surface directly. If done right, it does provide a protective coating, but there are always some risks involved in prepping and painting a surface. Depending on the processes you use and the level of permanence and durability you aim for, it might be very difficult (or impossible) to restore the glass to its former state.
Rather, the most relevant question is, how does it benefit the painter/owner? A full coating (usually several layers) of spray paint will cover scratches, unclean-able smudges, and other imperfections. Most spray painted objects and surfaces look like a newly-bought item and have a totally different aesthetic.
Brightly colored chalkboard paint is especially attractive for children’s spaces; meanwhile, metallic, reflective, stone texture, stained glass, or iridescent effects give a cool, modern, classy, or artsy vibe to objects or surfaces in teen or adult spaces.
Helpful Tips To Keep In Mind
Wear protective goggles and gloves to avoid getting spray paint in your eyes or on your skin. Most important, ventilation: You do not want to be trapped in a closed space with the paint fumes, even with “non-toxic” paint; if getting full ventilation is difficult, consider wearing a facemask. Spray paints are flammable, so do not spray close to active candles, fireplaces, or grills.
Never paint areas that will be licked, eaten off of, or drunk out of. Some sealers or paints might indicate that you can eat off it if you go through the whole curing process, but in general, unless this is expressly stated and you have meticulously completed the curing process, do not assume you can ingest anything off a painted surface.
Note that many mirror-effect paints are reflective on the reverse side, so to maximize the effect, you should paint the interior of the vase, jar, or votive, if possible.
Many people question how to make spray paint stick to glass, while others ask how to make it last on glass. At first glance, these might look like two ways of asking the same question. However, whether paint will stick and whether paint will last are related but not identical concepts: One refers to how well the paint adheres to the surface; the other refers to how long the finished paint coating remains intact.
So, how can you make spray paint stick on glass? In most cases, if the glass is truly clean and completely dry, this should not be a problem. However, sanding and primer application give added assurance, especially for outdoor projects.
And, how can you make spray paint last on glass? Paints labeled as enamel paint tend to last longer. Aside from sufficient coatings and good painting techniques, the best way to make any spray paint endure is to use a sealer.
Lastly, to ensure good adherence and durability, the primer or sealer should match the paint as much as possible—the same brand, or at least the same basic kind (acrylic, oil, etc.).
Spray Painting Glass FAQs
Can you use Rust-Oleum spray paint on glass?
Yes, Rust-Oleum has some glass-friendly options, as does Krylon—they are the dominant brands of household spray paints. Testors is also a good brand of spray paints for glass.
Can enamel spray paint be used on glass?
In general, yes. Many enamel spray paints are multi-surface, usually including glass.
Can you spray paint over painted glass?
Yes, you can. It will completely cover the previous paint coating, unless you are using a clear finish or glass-effects spray paint. Ideally, you should clean and dry the surface thoroughly before adding a new paint job. Alternatively, if the previous paint coating is severely peeled, scrape it off to the best of your ability using an old card, your nails—or possibly sandpaper, if you do not mind some superficial damage; and then thoroughly clean the surface.
What if I accidentally get spray paint on my eyeglasses?
This is one reason that even glasses-wearers should wear goggles while spray painting. Removing paint from glasses is pretty straightforward: avoid any overzealous approaches—no sharp objects or harsh detergents.
Is there a way to tint glass using spray paint?
No. Because most colored spray paints are matte, satin, glossy, etc., they give some opacity to the surface. Some effects and coatings support some translucence, but there is no way to merely tint transparent glass with spray paint.
How do I spray paint glasses frames?
This is a little off-topic, but some people want to personalize their frames, and really it is not much different from spray painting windows, mirrors, or picture frames—only on a smaller scale.
You can use spray paint on glass—very effectively and easily. However, good technique is critical to getting beautiful results in the least amount of time. Consider the shape of your glass object and visualize how to proceed.