If you have ever wondered does acrylic paint work on glass then you should know the answer is simply Yes, acrylic paint works on glass. Acrylic paint is water-based, so it dries quickly and does not require oil or solvents to dry. This makes it perfect for painting on glass because all you need to do is ensure the surface is clean before painting.
After you are done with your project, you can seal the paint by spraying an acrylic sealant over the top of it. It will make your piece more durable and also give a glossy appearance that many people enjoy when working with art projects.
That’s short of it, but having worked on countless projects where I painted on glass such as wine and champagne glasses and also based on my own research, there are many more things about painting acrylic on glass that you should know about and i have covered those in a little more detail in this complete guide.
Is acrylic paint good for glass?
Yes, not only does acrylic paint work on glass but its a marriage made in heaven. Acrylic paint can be used on glass because it has low odor and does not require solvents to dry. It is also easy to work and you can paint on glass quite quickly.
Both work well and I found from personal experience that if you make a mistake painting acrylic on glass then the project is quite forgiving. You can simply wait for the acrylic paint to dry and then scrape the paint off the glass, wipe the glass down and start again in no time at all.
After your project is done you should spray a sealant over the top of it. This will make your piece more durable but also give a glossy appearance many people enjoy when working with art projects.
Will regular acrylic paint work on glass?
Regular acrylic paint will work well on glass and there is no need to buy expensive specialty paints.
You just need to be mindful that with cheaper acrylic paints that there may be lower quality pigments which will not be opaque enough to cover the area without showing brush marks in the first coat.
If the first layer of your project has dried before you get back then this could result in brush strokes or areas without any additional color painted onto them, not an attractive look!
Quality paints will make a difference and I will cover those later in this guide but rest assured you can use regular acrylic paints to paint on glass and still get a pretty good result.
I would also recommend using a sable brush rather than a hog hair brush as sable is softer and applies acrylic paint to glass in a smoother manner than a rougher tougher brush.
What type of glass will work with acrylic paint?
Any type of clean glass will work well with acrylic paint. The choices are endless. I have seen people paint glass plates using the acrylic pour technique, glass wine glasses, glass christmas baubles etc you name it, if it’s glass you can paint on it with acrylic paints.
How do I prep the glass for painting with acrylic paint?
The first thing you should do is clean the glass with soap and water, rinse then dry it.
If there are any stubborn marks left on your glass after cleaning them try using some white spirit to remove these before applying acrylic paint.
I also found white spirit will help dry the glass without leaving any grease from your fingers or skin which helps the acrylic paint to stick better.
There is no need to apply an undercoat or primer but these can help if you wish your paint to appear more opaque.
Just ensure the area you are going to paint is completely dry before you start painting.
What side of the glass do I paint on? (inside or outside)
Ideally paint the inside of your glass but this easier said than done especially if you are painting a wine glass, champagne glass or a jar.
If you are painting a wine or champagne glass with acrylic paint then it is totally fine to paint the outside of the glass.
This serves two purposes, the first that you can easily paint the glass and secondly you can actually use the glass to drink a toast (which is what usually happens when I have painted a flute to commemorate a 21st birthday).
Painting inside the glass is great if you are looking for a stained glass effect.
If you are using a flat piece of glass then I suggest the underside of the glass so that the finished effect is of a glossy nicely finished work.
Again, there are no rules just preferences and if you can get away with doing a test run you should. As I stated at the beginning, painting acrylic on glass is very forgiving and if you don’t like the test result you can simply scrape the paint away and start again.
How many coats of acrylic paint do i need on glass?
You want the finished result to be smooth so you will need at least one layer of acrylic paint underneath your sealer. I tend to give the paint two coats just to be sure but with some designs you can’t do more than one coat of paint.
Now you see why I suggest a good quality acrylic paint.
Can glass painted with acrylic paint be washed?
Yes, only by hand though and it’s best not to use anything abrasive or scouring pads. You can just wipe over the surface with a slightly damp cloth if needed.
I tend to give the glass a quick rinse and let it air dry.
Also note that glass painted with acrylic paint is mostly meant to be decorative and should not be used and washed regularly.
How to Make Acrylic Paint Stay On Glass
To ensure that the paint will stay on glass you should seal it with a clear varnish.
But be careful not to use anything too glossy as this could make your design look uneven and strange once painted onto the glass.
A matte or satin finish is best, which means don’t go for one of those super expensive varnishes! Just buy yourself some $20 spray can at any DIY store or on Amazon instead.
I’ve experimented with many different types but I’ve found that Angelus products work well because they dry very quickly and leaves no residue behind either. I use these when painting acrylic on shoes so they are quite hardy.
Plus it seals in acrylic paints really well so they won’t rub off easily when washed by hand afterwards like cheaper varnishes do.
Do I need to seal acrylic paint on glass with anything else?
No, but if you want a glass surface that is completely smudge and fingerprint free then use a spray varnish in the end.
Just make sure to apply it in thin coats because otherwise it can get too shiny on your acrylic paint art.
Can I mix my own glass paints with acrylic paints or watercolors?
Any artist grade or craft quality watercolor paint or acrylic paint will work well without mixing them first.
Also avoid anything with metallic elements as these type of pigments tend to flake off easily during washing.
Can I used Posca paint pens on glass?
Posca paint pens are specifically designed for smooth surfaces like metal, plastic and glass.
They work well on windows too if you want an artistic message to your customers or visitors passing by outside.
I have a bunch of Posca related articles if you wish to explore using Posca paint pens as these are basically acrylic paint in a pen form and make painting on glass easier.
When I painted my niece’s 21st birthday champagne glass I used a combination of Posca paint pens to draw the outlines and then colored them in with acrylic paints and then added detail with finer Posca pens.
Do I need to bake glass to keep the acrylic paint on?
No, acrylic paint does not need to be baked the glass.
Can I coat the acrylic paint on glass with a clear resin varnish?
Yes you can apply a clear resin varnish to the acrylic paint on glass, this not only seals the paint on the glass but gives it an added layer of glossiness that blends well with glass.
Just be careful when working with resins – I have some information here.
Also, to use a resin as a varnish, apply the thinnest of layers or it will drip and harden like a plastic.
What is the best paint to use on glass?
Acrylic paint is the best paint to use on glass.
You can also spray acrylic paints onto a glass surface using an airbrush.
Make sure that it’s in a well ventilated area and the glass is covered with an old sheet of newspaper or plastic bag before spraying so there’s no risk of overspray landing onto any surfaces close by, don’t forget to wear protective gloves too!
There are other types of paints you can use to paint on glass, these are oil paint, enamel paint and lacquer.
The small tubs of enamel paints used to paint model planes work great on glass but the drawbacks are listed below.
These are all opaque paints that dry well on glass but they do have their drawbacks too.
For example oil/enamel paints take a long time to cure which can be frustrating when you want to use the item straight away while using lacquers will result in an extremely shiny surface that’s difficult to clean properly.
You will also need to clean your brushes with various chemicals and can be quite smelly.
Can I seal acrylic paint on glasses with Mod Podge?
No, this will not work. You need something more permanent like resin varnish instead which also has better protection against UV rays than mod podge does.
How do you remove dried up Posca Pen ink lines from your pen nibs using them for painting on glass?
You need to soak the pen nibs in water and leave them overnight. The ink will be removed by morning.
Can you use matte acrylic paint on glass?
Yes, you can use matte acrylic paint on glass. However, this will only work if the surface of the glass is very smooth and not shiny.
Can I use permanent markers to paint on glass?
You may want to consider buying some from a local office supplies store or online retailer such as Amazon.
I found anything from Sharpies to Posca pens work well. You do need to do some test runs on glass to see if you like the results as I found Sharpie type markers to show up streaks and lines when holding the glass up to the light.
Does acrylic paint work on glass – Wrap Up!
Yes, you can use acrylic paint on glass. Just be sure to follow the instructions for your specific product and test out some different products before deciding which one is best for your project.
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Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech).
While Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney.
While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts making Art his full time source of income from the age of 18 until 25.
His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia.
He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.