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Painting Glassware 101

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. This guide will provide preparation tips, painting ideas, as well as important curing and care instructions.

1. Gather your supplies. 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 plaidonline.com in many colors. When cured, it is top-shelf dishwasher safe.

Now gather these supplies for this tutorial:

  • Clean stemware
  • FolkArt Enamels 4001 Wicker White
  • FolkArt Enamels 4008 Pure Orange
  • FolkArt Enamels 4016 School Bus Yellow
  • FolkArt Enamels 4032 Licorice
  • FolkArt Enamels 4133 Lipstick Red
  • FolkArt Enamels 4138 Lime Green
  • Foam plate
  • Brush basin
  • Paper towels
  • Soft bristle brushes
Optional items: tracing paper pattern, old sock, stencil tape, and foam daubers or spouncers.


Glass Painting Supplies
2. Prepare your surface. 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.

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.

Wash your glassware.

3. Choose how you'll paint your glass. 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.

4. Use a pattern to paint your glass. 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!

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.

Click for full-size pattern.
Tape your pattern to the inside of the glass. Use soft material to hold your pattern in the glass.
5. Painting stripes on your glass: Painting stripes is easy and creates 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. Do note allow the paint to dry with tape in place; paint may lift when tape is removed later. If you need to clean an edge after removing the tape, scrape using your craft knife when paint is dry.You can also use a dauber to paint the stem free hand.
6. Painting large polka dots on your glass: 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! You can shade or highlight by adding a second color and paint the bottom opaque.

7. Painting small polka dots on your glass: 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.

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.

8. Allow your painted glassware project to dry. Glassware should be thoroughly dry before handling, at least 24 hours.

9. Cure your painted glassware project. 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.
10. Make sure to roperly wash your painted project. Once your painted stemware has been cured, it can be hand washed in mild soap and water or dishwasher cleaned on the top shelf.


Ready for more? Try these fun projects too.

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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.

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