You want to paint glass, but you want a cheap and convenient way to do it. So, spray painting comes to your mind. However, a question nags at you: can you even spray paint glass? 

You can spray paint glass. You can use special paint designed for glass, such as enamel, acrylic, and oil paint, or you can opt for any kind of spray paint. Your painting process – from cleaning the glass to painting it and then drying it – is what matters the most when spraying paint on glass.

This article will guide you about spray paints that work on glass and the process of spray painting glass. You’ll also learn a couple of things you should keep in mind when painting glass.

Paint That Sticks to Glass

When you choose to spray paint glass instead of brush painting it, all you’re asked to do is aim and then fire away. Spray painting guarantees none of those messy and uneven brushstrokes. It’s also a cheaper option than other paint methods. But then, will spray painting glass require you to use specific types of paint?

Any type of spray paint will work on glass if your goal is simply to color your piece. However, if you want a specific look to your glass, you can use glass-designed or glass-compatible spray paint, such as enamel, acrylic, and oil paint.

Regular Paint

Regular spray paint works well enough on glass, especially if you’re only aiming to color your glass with solid shades. You can go to your local store and get whichever color attracts you and then prepare and paint your glass piece.

However, if you want a smoother surface to paint on, you can use a primer first. Besides helping paint stick to the glass better, a primer will also give you a more durable output. An excellent example of a primer is a 3M Single Step Primer from Amazon, but two-in-ones like the Krylon ColorMaxx Spray Paint and Primer also exist. 

Enamel Paint

Spray paint made out of enamel goes well with glass. Enamel paint itself has been designed to be used for painting smooth surfaces, such as glass, metal, or ceramics. If you decide on an oil-based enamel, you’ll need to wait about 8 to 24 hours for it to dry. 

You can choose between transparent or opaque enamel spray paints. When you spray paint your glass with opaque enamel paint, you’ll have a stained-looking glass. If your glass piece is a jar or a vase, filling it with a liquid of a different color will change your painted piece’s shade.

Meanwhile, choosing to spray paint glass with a transparent enamel paint will result in concrete paint that isn’t as thick-looking as opaque paint. Both enamel paint types can dry themselves well enough with the air. 

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic spray paint is applied to plastic, glass, or crystal. Spray painting glass with acrylic paint usually results in a transparent shade, making the glass look like stained glass.

However, a disadvantage to choosing acrylic spray paint for glass is that you’ll need to cure it in the oven. On the other hand, it sets out great after that, and cleaning the spray-painted piece will be easier.

Oil Paint

Spraying glass with oil paint isn’t a popular choice among painters. Generally, people avoid oil paint due to its toxicity. If inhaled in large doses, this paint can cause poisoning.

However, the chances of being poisoned by oil paint can be lowered by wearing proper gear. This means wearing a mask and gloves when you’re spray painting glass with oil paint.

Oil paint is an excellent choice if you’re after colorful and glossy shades. Moreover, once your glass piece dries off, you can run it through water whenever you’re cleaning it. This is because oil doesn’t come with water.

How to Spray Paint Glass

You only need to follow a few steps to spray paint glass. As mentioned before, the process you follow when you spray paint glass matters even more than the type of paint you’ll use on the glass.

To spray paint glass, you’ll first have to clean it thoroughly. After that, you’ll pick a good spray-painting spot, get the paint ready, and then start painting. Lastly, you’ll have to let the paint dry. The drying process could take a few hours to a few days depending on your chosen paint type.

Clean Your Glass

It’s crucial that you clean your glass before you paint it. This will ensure that paint will stick to your glass. To clean your glass, start by washing it with water. It doesn’t matter if the glass piece doesn’t have any visible dirt on it – washing it removes any debris or film that might be stuck in there. 

Then, rinse or wipe your glass with alcohol or vinegar. This will eliminate both the leftover debris that might still be on your glass and the water that might have stuck.

Note that you’ll have to clean the whole glass piece. This means even if you will not be painting certain spots on the glass, you’ll still have to ensure they’re clean. Likewise, opting to soak or wipe your piece should be at your discretion. Generally, jars, plates, and bottles can be soaked, while mirrors and windows need wiping.

If your glass piece has a label on it and you find that you’re unable to remove it, check out Popular Mechanic’s guide to removing bottle labels. 

Prepare Your Space

Before you start spray painting, it’s best to prepare your painting space. Leave your cleaned glass piece somewhere to dry while you do this.

When choosing a painting spot, pick a well-ventilated area. It’s best if you’re outdoors and the wind isn’t raging. This should ensure the paint fumes won’t affect you as much.

Then, find newspapers or boxes and place them on top of your painting area. This should make cleaning up after painting easier.

Prepare Your Paint

Once your glass is clean and you have a space to work on, it’s time to prepare your paint. To prepare your spray paint, start by shaking the can for a minute or two. 

After that, spray your paint on a flat surface. This is to see whether splotches will show up or not. It also ensures the next spray will be smooth.

Spray Paint Your Glass

Spray paint your glass by creating a thin first layer. If you didn’t get a primer, this would act as the primer. This part is crucial in ensuring a smooth finish because a good base will significantly affect the paint output.

Leave the first layer to dry for 15 minutes before commencing with the next layer. To start spray painting your glass, make sure your can is at least 12 inches away from the piece. Then, spray in a sweeping motion.

The number of layers your glass should have depended on how solid you want your finished product’s color. A transparent shade would need about two layers, while an opaque one will need at least four. Remember to let each layer adequately dry for some minutes before adding a new layer.

Things to Keep in Mind When Spray Painting Glass

  • Spray paint will eventually flake and chip. Keep that in mind, and treat your painted glass accordingly. Generally, this means limiting the number of times you touch the piece or interact with it. It also means avoiding water if the spray paint you used on your glass wasn’t oil-based.
  • Practice on something else before painting your glass piece. You may want to do a test paint first, especially if you like the piece you’ll be painting.
  • Place your patterns inside the glass jars or bottles. If you are spray painting a pattern on glass, this will make things easier for you. Alternatively, you can use tape to cover the parts you don’t want paint to get on if you’re aiming to make stripes.
  • Don’t place food inside the glass. Non-toxic does not mean food-safe, so be wary of putting food inside your glass piece if it’s a jar, plate, or bottle.

Final Thoughts

You can spray paint glass, and you can use any kind of paint to do so. However, if you’re looking for a specific finish, you can opt for enamel, acrylic, or oil paint. Just remember that the process of painting the glass piece itself matters more than the paint you use.

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