Somewhere in your home, probably in the back of a cupboard or on a shelf in your garage, is a small collection of interestingly shaped jars, bottles, and vases. They’re too nice to throw away, but they don’t get much use because they don’t seem to go with your decor. Fortunately, just a little bit of spray paint can transform ordinary glass objects into pretty and stylish home accessories.
Can You Spray Paint Glass?
Spray paint might not be the first idea that comes to mind when thinking of ways to transform plain glass items. Because glass is so smooth, it can be tricky to get spray paint applied evenly, without a lot of drips and smears. It’s not impossible though. Using the proper spray paints and techniques is key to achieving the prettiest results.
What Spray Paint Sticks to Glass?
Because glass is so smooth, some paints will stick to it better than others. Enamel or acrylic-based paints will give you the best finish and are less likely to drip or run. It’s always a good idea to read the labels on any spray paint to see what surfaces it will adhere to.
Technically, you can use any spray paint for glass projects. Check the label on any spray paint you want to use to make sure it is appropriate for glass. If it doesn’t specifically say it will work on glass, you might be able to use it if you spray a primer coat first. There are many excellent spray primers on the market. However, there are plenty of fun spray paints available that are specifically made for painting glass! These paints won’t require buying separate primers and are formulated for the best possible adhesion and finish on smooth glass surfaces.
Different Spray Paints for Different Results
There are so many spray paints formulated for glass. You can use them to easily transform ordinary glass pieces into eye-catching accessories. Krylon and Rustoleum are the two major spray paint brands that produce a variety of paint suitable for use on glass.
For solid, glossy colors you can’t go wrong with Rustoleum brand Universal Gloss spray paint. It comes in a variety of vibrant colors with a super glossy finish. If you want to transform a piece to look like vintage milk glass, the white color of Rustoleum Universal Gloss will give you the results you’re looking for! The color sprays on evenly, partly because this paint has a good built-in primer. It’s really easy to use, too. The can has an ergonomic nozzle that fits nicely in one’s hand, and reduces the chance of the paint dripping or running.
If you want jewel-toned translucent colors, you should try Krylon Stained Glass Spray Paint. It’s available in a variety of colors, and is made especially for glass. You can decide the intensity of the color you want simply by how many coats you apply. One or two coats will give you a nice pastel finish, while three to five coats produce a pretty jewel-toned effect. No matter how many coats of this spray paint you apply, the final product will be translucent like a beautiful piece of stained glass.
Both Krylon and Rustoleum brands have a Frosted Glass spray paint. These paints will leave whatever you’re painting with a semi-transparent “frosted” finish. Light will still filter through any glass piece painted with this paint, but it will be softened. You can use stencils with this paint to create the look of etched glass. Frosted Glass spray paint isn’t just for decorative pieces. It can also be used to create a little extra privacy on windows, such as in a bathroom or home office.
If you like the frosted glass finish but would also like some color, Krylon brand has a line of Sea Glass finish spray paint in eight eye-catching shades. This paint dries to a semi-translucent, frosted finish that resembles pieces of sea glass you might find on a beach. Much like with the frosted glass spray paint, you can use stencils with this paint for an eye-catching, dramatic effect.
If you like the “farmhouse” or “cottage core” aesthetic for your home decorating, glass accessories painted with chalk finish spray paint make adorable accent pieces. Both Krylon and Rustoleum sell a line of chalk finish spray paint with a good selection of colors. Chalk finish paint transforms ordinary glass jars or bottles into distinctive home decor items. A light rub with fine sandpaper creates a “distressed” look, which looks especially nice on glass pieces that have raised designs on them. Since chalk finish paint does have a tendency to chip after some time, you might consider lightly spraying anything you’ve painted with a matte finish top coat.
You can use metallic finish spray paint to transform jars and plain vases into pretty accents that are perfect for parties, holiday decorations, or even wedding receptions. There are several brands of metallic finish spray paint that work for painting glass objects. They’re available not only in gold and silver colors but also steel, gunmetal, copper, and rose gold. It’s amazing how a coating of metallic paint can make something as simple as an empty jar look chic and trendy. Metallic finish paints usually need at least three to four coats to get the best finish.
Is Spray Paint Dishwasher Safe?
It is not recommended to put any spray-painted glass pieces in the dishwasher. After a few washings, they may begin to chip. Some spray paints, especially chalk finish and metallic paints, might react to the sudden temperature changes in a dishwasher. The best way to wash any spray-painted pieces is by gentle hand washing in warm soapy water.
Is Spray Paint Safe For Dishes and Drinking Glasses?
Many spray paints are labeled as being “non-toxic”. However, being non-toxic is not the same as being food-safe. You shouldn’t spray paint any surface that will come in contact with food or drink. If you have a large glass bowl you wanted to paint, for example, you could spray paint the outside of the bowl but leave the inside surface where you would place food unpainted.
Spray Painting Tips
Before painting any piece of glass, you need to make sure it’s absolutely clean. Remove any labels and the adhesive residue from those labels. Wash the glass with soap and warm water, being sure to rinse well. After it’s dry, wipe it down again with some diluted rubbing alcohol or white vinegar, and then rinse. Dry your glass with a lint-free towel. You want to be absolutely sure there isn’t any stray lint or fuzz on it. You might not see a speck or two of fuzz left on your glass piece, but it will show up when you spray paint. Don’t use window cleaning spray. Many window cleaning products contain ammonia. Even the slightest leftover ammonia residue on your piece will cause the spray paint to run or bubble.
When using any spray paint, it’s important to be in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. Before painting your piece, make a few “test sprays” on a large piece of cardboard just to make sure the paint sprays out evenly. Light, thin coats of spray paint are best; this will ensure the paint coverage is without streaks or drips, and it will last longer. Be sure to let your spray painted piece dry thoroughly between coats.
While your spray painted pieces are drying, make sure they’re in a spot that will be free of dust and wind. This is especially important if your painted pieces are drying outside. You don’t want to have spray-painted objects outside drying on very windy days. Don’t forget to lay down a tarp or drop cloth to protect the ground or your table from paint overspray!
You can use painters’ tape to make stripes, or shapes cut out of contact paper, on any glass surface. Then spray with paint to create fun designs. If you have access to a cutting machine such as a Cricut, you can design and cut stencils to personalize your spray painted glass art. Frosted and Sea Glass finish spray paints look especially nice when used with stencils
Spray painting on glass is a fun, easy hobby. It’s also very affordable. The various glass spray paints are not very expensive. Clear glass candlesticks, bowls, and vases can be found at yard sales, thrift shops, and discount stores. You can paint empty glass food jars and bottles to create pretty accents for your home or office. Crafting with empty bottles and jars is not only affordable, but it keeps these items out of landfills. You can buy clear glass Christmas ornaments at discount stores and spray paint them to match your holiday decorating theme; an easy way to achieve a designer look for pennies!
Now look around your house and your garage for glass pieces that might be fun to paint! Even the most unassuming old bottle can be transformed into a designer looking vase with a little spray paint and imagination!1