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Tips for Using Spray Paint on Glass

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The Birch Cottage shares some tips for spray painting on glass surfaces.

I recently shared a blog post on how to spray paint glass vases over on Kenarry. If you haven’t tried spray painting glass, you’ve really missed out on an easy and fun DIY project. But, don’t worry, I’m going to share some tips for using spray paint on glass so that when you’re ready to tackle this easy super easy project, you’ll be properly prepared and informed.

Tips for Using Spray Paint on Glass

Clean your glassware

Wash your glass piece thoroughly with soap and water. Dry completely. You want to make sure your pieces are free from dirt, grease, grime and fingerprints. I think it goes without saying, but you want to make sure your glassware is completely dry.

Clean your glassware with alcohol

Having a clean surface really is key to a great looking finish – regardless of what you’re painting. With glassware, you want to make extra sure the surface is clean. You should always clean your glassware with isopropyl alcohol at least 10 minutes before painting. Just take a cotton ball or lint free cloth that’s been doused with isopropyl alcohol and wipe over the surface to be painted. Even though alcohol air dries pretty quickly, you’ll want to give it at least 10 minutes to make sure it’s good and dry.

Paint outdoors

Paint has fumes. Spray paint has fumes and “spray.”  Although it may not always be possible, your lungs and furnishings will thank you if you use spray paint outdoors. (At the very least, you’ll want to use it in a well-ventilated room.) Like I said, spray paint not only has fumes, spray paint “sprays”.  Little particles of paint will fly or float through the air and land on nearby surfaces.

Wear gloves

When you use spray paint, the paint comes out of the nozzle and guess what will quickly be covered in spray paint? Yep, your fingers! Wearing gloves helps to keep your hands clean. You’ll also want to wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting a little bit of spray paint on. Like I said, you can’t help but have some over-spray when using spray paint. Hint: spray paint “sprays”! 

Save your pizza boxes

Cardboard pizza boxes make for great painting surfaces. So, save your cardboard pizza boxes. They can be used on a table, driveway or even in the grass. What are some other options if you don’t have cardboard pizza boxes? Well, you can always, of course, use drop cloths. But there are less expensive options. You can buy shower curtains at the dollar store or other discount stores for literally one dollar and they make great alternatives to more expensive plastic drop cloths. Cardboard boxes of any type (say, Amazon shipping boxes) will work as well.

Use light even coats

When you apply the spray paint, you’ll want to use light, even coats of paint. The lighter the coat of paint, the better. If you rush the paint job and apply thick layers of paint, it’s more likely to dry uneven or for your paint to run.  So, use light even coats for the optimum coverage and beautiful results. Like most rules, there are often times exceptions. The exception to applying light even coats is when you’re using metallic spray paint. It seems that applying multiple coats of metallic spray paint causes the paint to, well, lose its shine. So, when you’re using metallic spray paint, you’ll want to apply a little heavier coat and use a few coats of paint as possible.

Shake the can

Be sure to shake the spray paint can for the manufacturer’s recommended amount of time. I also shake often while I’m spray painting. For the best coverage, spray left to right and then back right to left. (Did you know some people can’t shake a spray paint can? Seriously! They just seem to lack the muscle or coordination.)

Do NOT use the paint in areas that will come in contact with food

Spray painting glass can be beautiful, but truth-be-told, spray paint can chip and flake. So, using spray paint on surfaces that will come in contact with food is not recommended. There are actually paints specifically made for glass surfaces that are food safe, but spray paint isn’t one of them. Just be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and make sure the product you are using is food safe and/or non-toxic prior to using it on glass surfaces that will come into contact with food.

Hand wash only

Your spray painted glassware will be stunning. If you want to keep it stunning, you’ll want to only wash it gently by hand. The pressure and temperature of an automatic dishwasher can and probably will chip the paint right off your new favorite spray painted glass piece.

I hope these tips for using spray paint on glass will help you to achieve better results with your glass spray paint projects. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to share!

The Birch Cottage shares some tips for spray painting on glass surfaces.

Til next time…

Pam from The Birch Cottage

Be sure to check out these projects:


How to Spray Paint Glass

A super easy DIY project for spray painting ordinary glass vases by The Birch Cottage.

DIY Curtain Rod

A really cheap way to make a DIY Curtain Rod.



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