How to Paint Glass Windows?

By Mandy Moss

Many people take advantage of glass windows because they can be clear while still providing privacy, or they can even add style. The trick is that it takes a lot of work to keep them clean and streak-free, but painting them yourself is actually pretty simple!

How to Paint Glass Windows?

Why you Should Paint Glass on your Windows?

Painting glass on your windows can change the look and feel of your home. It is a low-cost way to add decoration or enhance privacy when need it.

What type of Paint should I Use on my glass Windows?

The type of paint you use on the glass will depend on the final outcome you want to achieve. I will describe 4 most popular types of paint used for different purposes.

Acrylic Enamel Paint

Acrylic enamel paint is the most popular type of paint and should be used to paint a window either a solid color for privacy or translucent. You may modify how solid you want the color to seem on your window based on the number of coats.

This type of paint adheres well to glass and has a high sheen. It is available in a large variety of colors and while it does have a strong smell, the odor will dissipate after painting. The paint has good durability and can also be used on other surfaces such as metal or wicker.

Frosted Glass Paint

If you want to use something with visual-blocking capabilities, you can try frosted glass paint. This type of paint is similar to acrylic enamel paint but contains a translucent material that allows light in, but obscures visibility.

Acrylic paint with Gesso

If you want a matte finish, you can try using acrylic paint with gesso. This type of paint is similar to acrylic enamel in its durability and has the ability to cover up existing colors or designs on your window which makes it ideal for covering up old painted windows.

TIP: To make painting easier, use a roller pad when applying it to your window.

Tempera – temporary glass paint

When you want your design to be temporary, you should use tempera. This type of paint is water-based made from egg or casein, which makes it safe for use on glass. Tempera paints come in a large variety of colors and can dry within an hour on your window. It’s best used on painted windows as the paint will not stick to nonpaint surfaces.

Tempera - temporary glass paint.

What type of brush should I Use on my glass Windows?

You will need to use a specific kind of brush for painting glass because the bristles tend to stick against the glass. For large areas, you should use a roller pad or a sponge instead of using a paintbrush.

You should use synthetic bristles for your brushes because these tend to be the least stick against surfaces, which means they are less likely to leave marks on your window which will make painting easier.

Do not load too much paint onto the brush as this can cause it to become stuck on the glass during application.

TIP: To help avoid hairs from sticking out of the brush when applying paint, dip one side in water before you begin coloring. This causes the hairs to bend slightly which helps them sit up against the sides of the container instead of laying flat and sticking to its surface.

How to Paint Glass Windows?

Painting glass can be a time-consuming project, which is why you should have everything that you need before you start this project.

  • A bucket of water to dip your brush into
  • Enough old newspaper or rags to cover your work surface
  • Your chosen paint – acrylic enamel , frosted glass paint, tempera, etc…
  • Paintbrushes or rollers with synthetic bristles
  • An old spoon for mixing the paint thoroughly so it’s consistent throughout
  • Window cleaner and a clean cloth to wipe away excess paint from the window pane itself after you finish painting.

Follow this steps to Paint your Glass Window

  1. Prepare your work area. Make sure that the windows are clean and dry before you put newspaper or rags on the window sills to protect them.
  2. Mask off the pellicle of the window frame and any other parts you don’t want to paint with painters tape.
  3. Fill your bucket with water to dip your paintbrush into when you need to reload it with more paint.
  4. Pour some acrylic enamel into a paint tray and add a small amount of water – just enough to make the paint thin and evenly dispersed in the container. Stir thoroughly to remove any lumps from being formed while pouring in water.
  5. Dip your brush lightly into the paint, making sure all bristles are covered but none stick out above them so they don’t get stuck onto your windowpane. The bristles should sit horizontally for this reason unless you want a thicker line on your window which will be achieved if you hold the brush vertically.
  6. Apply a coat of paint primer if necessary. This is not necessary for acrylic enamel paint, but you may need to apply a coat of gesso or white acrylic if you are using tempera or want to achieve opaque look at the end.
  7. Paint over the glass with your chosen paint color and use a roller pad or sponge if you want to cover large areas without getting yourself into trouble using a brush and its bristles sticking against the glass surface.
  8. Wait for your window to dry before removing painter’s tape and pellicle masking material from it.
  9. Wash out any paintbrushes that you used in soap water thoroughly until they are clean again.
  10. Allow for complete drying of your window paint. Acrylic enamel paint usually dries in about 24 hours, however some types of acrylic might take weeks to completely dry.
TIP: Be careful when cleaning the glass as well because any leftover bits of paint can smear areas that you've already cleaned off, which will make them less transparent than they were original.

How to Decorate Windows with help of Paint?

Painting your window glass allows you to have some fun with the design and possibly even personalize a window that you want to stand out from those of your neighbors.

Below you will find some useful tips and tricks on how to decorate windows:

  • You can use pencil crayons or oil pastels to draw pictures on the glass before you begin painting it. This technique prevents the paint from being applied over your artwork, which means that it will last longer than if you had just painted right through it.
  • Once you have finished drawing what you want to see appear on your windowpane, clean off all pencil crayon residue and dust away any excess oil pastel powder using painter’s tape wrapped around your fingers.
  • Sandwich your window between two pieces of newspaper or cloth to prevent paint drips falling onto the glass and smudging its surface when you are painting it.
  • Decorate your windows using acrylic enamel paints for short-term results that shouldn’t chip or wipe off easily.
  • Painting over the top part of your window glass with white paint makes it easier for you to create designs on it because anything dark will simply blend in with the rest of the material. This is good if you’re not painting an intricate design onto your window but just planning to draw simple shapes such as stars, hearts or even just the letter “I”.
  • Save time by using adhesive-backed stencil materials that stick directly onto glass without needing spray adhesives or temporary adhesives which need quite a bit of time to dry and can leave behind a sticky residue if you don’t clean them off properly after use.

How to paint your Window glass to look transparent?

When you want to achieve transparent look on your window glass , you need to use waterproof acrylic enamel paint. Waterproof paints are designed so that they can be used on any material such as ceramics, plastics and glass.

Acrylic enamel paint should be used to paint a window either a solid color for privacy or translucent. You may modify how solid you want the color to seem on your window based on the amount of coats.

How to paint Window Glass opaque?

If you want to make your window glass look opaque , add white paint to the color you have chosen for your glass. For instance, if you want to paint your window with green tint , mix green and white with 5:1 ratio respectively. Add each of these colors in equal parts to make a darker shade of color on your glass.

If you want To make your color darker, add grey or black pigment to the mixture. This will give you very dark shade which can be used for either creating an opaque look or adding some design element over the existing shade of window pane .

How create Design element over painted Glass Window?

When painting transparent or opaque glass windows, one way to create unique design is by drawing different patterns on the glass pane using painters tape before you begin painting.

When you are drawing patterns on the glass, you should start with the most intricate design on the bottom of your window.

For instance if you are trying to create a floral pattern , draw starting point of rose petal towards top part of your glass pane and work downwards drawing the next layer until the bottom section is reached. Gradually increase complexity as you go down.

TIP: When you create vertical line designs, make horizontal lines first and then continue with vertical lines in between them.

This way you can easily create different painting patterns on Glass Windows for both privacy and decor purpose that will enhance look of any office or home .

Do you need to seal painted glass?

Yes, you should seal painted glass if you want long lasting effect. Follow the simple steps below:

  1. Use clear varnish ( made of multiple layers ) over the paint you used on your window glass . Clear varnish prevents paint from fading or wearing off.
  2. Apply varnish first to new painted surface and allow it dry completely before applying another layer.
  3. Make sure that you follow recommended drying time between two coats of varnish so your finished painting job can last longer.

Additional Window Glass Painting Tips:

  • If possible, leave your window open outside during painting process but shut them inside when weather becomes rainy or humid because humidity and dirt particles may interfere with adhesion process and create marks on your newly painted glass windows.  
  • Do not allow any touch to painted glass window before curing because fingerprints or dust particles may interfere with adhesion process and leave behind marks on your newly painted glass windows.
  • Select the dark colors if there are no curtains on your windows. Light colors will get dirty very soon and your window will lose its beauty. Perfect choices are maroon, teal, brown and similarly dark colors.
  • If you plan to paint directly with a brush, make sure that it is made of synthetic fibers.
  • if possible choose an airy room because fumes from either oil or acrylic can be hazardous for health. These fumes may cause dizziness and nausea too so try to paint the windows only if the air is fresh.
  • Make sure that your glass window is dry and clean . If possible avoid painting on a wet surface to keep the color from running.

Related Questions

Oil based paints are very difficult to clean and will leave a residue on the surface after curing . The color may fade quickly and will not be easy to clean with either soap or water.

Oil based paints are more appropriate for painting wooden frames but even then, acrylic paint is a better choice because of its non-fading property and easy cleaning process.

Before applying any paint or primer, clean the glass windows properly using soap water & dry up them completely. Use mirror-like paint if you want privacy but if you need opacity then use white color.

Mirror-like paint is also called satin finish paint. These paints are available in opaque and transparent form. Opaque mirror-like paints can provide you privacy where as transparent mirror like paints can be used for painting glass windows to get a clear view of the outside world.

You can choose any color according to your taste and demand but white color is the best choice if you need opacity otherwise metallic colors look good on glass windows.  

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