Painting Glassware 101

By Chris Williams


Glass painting is HOT! Not only is it fun, it’s easy for beginners. Glassware is available in craft stores and discount stores in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Today I am going to give you preparation tips, painting ideas, and important curing and care instructions. Let’s get started.

Surface Preparation:

Before you squeeze the first drop of paint or lift a brush, prepare your glass. Thoroughly wash in warm, soapy water to remove dirt, dust, and grease film. Then rinse in warm water and let it dry.

Wash your glassware.

Next, dampen a paper towel with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar and wipe the stemware to ensure it is clean of any remaining soap film. Set aside for 15 minutes to air dry.

When painting glassware, I use FolkArt Enamels; a water-based paint that is specially formulated for glass painting. It is available in craft stores and in many colors. When cured, it is top-shelf dishwasher safe.

Now gather these supplies: clean stemware, FolkArt Enamels, foam plate, brush basin, paper towels, and soft bristle brushes. Optional items: tracing paper pattern, old sock, stencil tape, and foam daubers or spouncers.

Supplies for glass painting.

One method of glass painting is One Stroke by Donna Dewberry.

A glass painted using Donna Dewberry's One Stroke technique.

Other free-hand styles include making polka dots using the paint brush handle end, foam daubers and spouncers or painted stripes using a flat brush or stencil tape to mask various widths.

The traditional method of tracing and transferring a pattern does not always work well on glass; it is hard to see. Try this tip: place your pattern inside the bowl of the wine stem and tape in place. If a pattern is repeated around the glass, secure several patterns. Voila, you can now see the pattern through the glass!

Tape your pattern to the inside of the glass.

Another technique is to place your pattern inside the glass, then fill the glass with soft fabric (an old sock, quilt batting, etc.) which will keep the pattern close to the glass and ready for painting.

Use soft material to hold your pattern in the glass.

Painting Suggestions:

Stripes: Painting stripes are easy and create interesting backgrounds. Paint free-hand stripes using your flat brush. Or you may also use stencil tape to mask an area to be striped. Apply paint using a flat brush, dauber, or spouncer. While wet, carefully remove tape. Caution: do NOT allow the paint to dry with tape in place; paint may lift when tape is removed later. Hint: if you need to clean an edge after removing the tape, scrape using your craft knife when paint is dry.

Remove the tape from your glass before the paint dries.

You can also use a dauber to paint the stem free hand.

Use a dauber to paint the stem.

Polka Dots: Painting polka dots is fun and especially easy for beginners. They can be painted using a dauber (or spouncer); load with paint, tap on palette, reload, and paint dots!

Use a dauber to add polka dots.

You can shade or highlight by adding a second color and…

Use your dauber for shading and highlighting.

paint the bottom opaque.

Paint the bottom of your glass opaque.

Small dots are painted using the brush handle or a stylus. Simply dip into a “fresh” puddle of paint and touch the surface. Reload for same-sized dots. Paint descending sized dots with one load; simply continue dotting until all paint has been removed.

Use a stylus to make small dots.

NOTE: Be sure when painting dots you carefully set your tool down straight and lift straight up. If lifted at an angle, painted dots will smear. Try this: once your tool is loaded, touch the surface, carefully twist in a circular motion, then lift to remove. The extra twist will ensure a full even circle.

Drying Times: Glassware should be thoroughly dry before handling, at least 24 hours.

Curing Instructions: FolkArt Enamels should be cured prior to using; there are two recommended methods:

Air Dry Method: Air dry the project for 21 days before using.

Bake Method: Place your painted glassware in a cool oven. Set the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for 30 minutes. Note: Glass must heat gradually with the oven to avoid breakage. After 30 minutes, turn the oven off; let the glass cool completely in the oven. Painted glass should heat up and cool down in the oven. Set aside for 72 hours.

Care Instructions:

Once your painted stemware has been cured, it can be hand washed in mild soap and water or dishwasher cleaned on the top shelf.

FolkArt Enamels Paint Important Facts:

  1. Food and beverages should not come in contact with FolkArt Enamels. When painting glasses, it is best to leave 3/4″ top around the rim free of paint. When painting plates only paint the rim; leave the center free of paint. An alternative is to reverse glass paint on a clear plate if artwork is desired in the center of the plate.
  2. Painted items are not microwaveable.
  3. Do not soak painted items.

I hope you have enjoyed learning glass painting 101. It was easy wasn’t it? If you can hold a dauber, a stylus, and a flat brush, you can paint this glass!

You can paint this glass!

4001 Wicker White, 4008 Pure Orange, 4016 School Bus Yellow, 4032 Licorice, 4133 Lipstick Red, 4138 Lime Green

Try these fun projects too. Celebrate with simple polka dots and stripes!

Paint Summer Sun Spots!

7 Comments to “Painting Glassware 101”

  1. I love painting on wine glasses.The only problem is I am not able to find any tools for dots and any stylus that you use with folkart enamels..I live in the uk..I am willing to purchase them from abroad,if I know where..Please help.

  2. Thanks Chuck for following Paint Me Plaid. I am happy to learn you enjoy my work. To answer your question, I believe that in most paintings Burnt Umber would better be used as a low-light or shading color rather than a highlight. Thanks for following and stay tuned, many more informative articles to come!

  3. Chris,

    Would burnt umber be an approppirate color to work with for highlights?

    Love your work!


  4. Thanks for the nice comments, Carol. They are appreciated. Yes, you are so right, a light touch when painting with a brush is best. Also painting with a soft bristle brush is best. I did not mention that because my concentration was on teaching polka dots and stripes – easy for beginners! Thanks for your commitment to follow my articles.

  5. Another great article, Chris! The only thing I would add is to mention that when using a brush to paint on glass, a very light touch with a soft brush works best. Usually two coats (dried very well between) are needed. Daubers and sponges are great for putting down areas of color as you showed so well.

    Again, great job!. I’m looking forward to more articles. I think these will make an excellent tool for teaching beginner basics in our painting Chapters.

  6. I love this! You make me want to try my hand at this project . . . I was thinking of painting my cats’ food bowls! =)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: