How to Apply Acrylic Paint to Glass for Beginners

Acrylic paint is a versatile paint that can be used on canvas, stone, wood, polymer clay, and even glass. Yes, you can apply acrylic paint to the glass. However, there is a caveat to this statement.

Painting glass with acrylic paint isn’t as straightforward as it is when using acrylic on canvas or stone. Below I’ll discuss how you can successfully paint glass with acrylic paint.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Glass?

The short answer is yes, you can use acrylic paint on glass. However, as I mentioned earlier, painting glass with acrylic paint isn’t as simple as it applying your paint to the glass. When painting with acrylic, you should first apply a primer to the glass.

This will allow the paint to stick to the smooth glass surface. It will also prevent your paint from peeling once it dries. Additionally, once your paint is dry, you must apply a sealant that will ensure your paint remains on the glass permanently.

There are acrylic paints that have been formulated to be painted on glass without a primer; however, I still use a primer to ensure that the paint stays on the glass for years to come.

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tulip glass painting
Artist Credit: Blooms and Crafts by C Etsy Shop

Why Should you Apply a Primer and Sealant?

Glass is a smooth, non-porous surface, meaning acrylic paint cannot adhere to its surface as it would on canvas.

You’ll notice that when you’re using canvas, the paint soaks into the surface; however, when you’re using glass, the paint has nothing to soak into. Meaning it can easily be removed from the glass.

confetti dot glass painting
Artist Credit: J Turcotte Designs Etsy Shop

Is Acrylic Paint Food Safe?

No, acrylic paint is not food safe. If you plan on eating or drinking from your glass, you’ll want to keep the paint away from the area that your food or mouth will touch.

Additionally, you can use a food-grade sealant on your finished glass. A layer of food-grade sealant can make acrylic paint food-safe.

Always remember to take the proper precautions when painting your kitchenware with acrylic paint. Specifically, if you plan to eat or drink from the dishware.

flower and butterfly glass painting
Artist Credit: Amy Lemmon on Instagram

How to Choose Acrylic Paint for Glass

There are no special requirements when it comes to choosing acrylic paint for glass. The same paint that you would use for your other acrylic projects, you can use for glass.

For best results though, I recommend choosing a high-quality paint like FolkArt Glass Finish Paint.

This paint comes in 16 different colors: wicker white, yellow light, pure orange, Parisian pink, lipstick red, perfect purple, true blue, calypso sky, turquoise, lime green, evergreen, coffee bean, burnt umber, licorice, silver sterling, and gold.

acrylic paint for glass

It’s been formulated to work especially well with glass. That’s because it uses a non-toxic formula and doesn’t require that you prime or seal your glass.

Furthermore, once cured in the oven, it becomes scratch-resistant and dishwasher safe. I recommend always handwashing your handpainted glass to keep it looking good for a long time.

Preparing Your Glass for Acrylic paint

If you’re using acrylic paint that hasn’t been formulated for glass, you will need to prime your glass first. For starters, be sure to clean your glass using mild soap and warm water.

Allow your glass to air dry completely. Once dry, put on gloves to make sure your hands don’t leave oil prints on the glass and wipe down your glass with rubbing alcohol and allow it to air dry once again.

As a side note, you should be wearing gloves during the entire painting process. This will ensure that you do not leave behind fingerprints on your glass.

Once your glass is dry, tape off any area that you don’t want to apply paint.

If you plan on drinking from your glass, make sure you apply tape to the rim (drinking area) of the glass.

Next, apply a coat of gesso to your glass. If you’re painting the entire glass, apply this coating to the entire glass.

If you’re not painting the entire glass, you can apply it only to the areas that will be painted.

I like gesso because it helps make your paint more opaque. Allow the base coat to dry for 45 minutes to an hour.

While your glass is drying, you can use this time to set up your workspace. That means pulling out your brushes, making sure you have paper towels, mixing your paints, etc.

sunflower glass painting
Artist Credit: LK Custom Creations Etsy Shop

Applying Acrylic Paint to Glass

As you’re painting the glass, make sure you use multiple thin layers to give your art an opaque appearance.

Additionally, to prevent your brush strokes from showing, be sure to use very thin and even layers.

To prevent colors from blending into each other, allow your paint to dry for about an hour before adding the next color.

Furthermore, to make your colors stand out, you may need to allow the lighter layer to dry completely before adding a second coat of the same color.

If you make mistakes, they can be erased using rubbing alcohol that’s been soaked into a cotton swab.

floral glass painting
Artist Credit: Bindle By Amelia Etsy Shop

How to Seal Your Acrylic Paint

There are two ways that you can go about sealing your paint. You can oven cure your glass, or you can apply a sealant. Allow your paint to dry for at least 24 hours before doing either of these techniques.

If you want to seal your glass, you can use the Aleenes Gloss Finish Sealant (NOT FOOD GRADE). I prefer using a spray sealant because it requires less contact with the glass.

Be sure to use the sealant in a well-ventilated space and allow your layer to dry completely before applying additional coats.

If you want to cure your glass in the oven, here are a few basic guidelines.

  • Place your glass in a cold oven at set it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Let your glass bake for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off your oven and let the glass cool completely before removing it from the oven.
  • Wait 72 hours before washing your cured glass.

You can absolutely use acrylic paint on glass. Just make sure to follow the proper steps and precautions when working on your art.

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Hello! I'm Tiffany, a crochet pattern designer and creator of the Crochet Project Planner. Crafting has always been an integral part of who I am. It’s how I express myself and make something beautiful out of seemingly ordinary materials.