Yes, you can spray paint glass! I'm sharing all my tips to transform glass and crystal with a flawless spray paint finish that stays put!
I love sparkly things just as much as the next girl, but clear cut crystal and glass has never floated my boat. It's just a bit too fancy for our not-so-fancy lifestyle. But the facets and designs are beautiful, and that's what I wanted to showcase with this quick and easy project.
Spray paint is a great way to give old pieces new life! Don't let your great-grandmother's prized candy dish sit gathering dust in storage just because it's not your style. Paint it a fun color to make it your own, and put it to good use again.
I've spray painted a LOT of things over the years, from window blinds to wooden beads to PVC pipe. I'm constantly amazed at how well spray paint holds up on almost any surface, including glass! You can find all my tips and tricks for how to spray paint like a pro here!
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Materials needed to spray paint glass
- Glass or crystal piece to be painted
- Spray paint
- Check the label to make sure it specifically mentions glass!
- Clear top coat spray (optional)
- A top coat is only really necessary on pieces that will get a lot of handling and use.
- Protective mask and eye wear
- Rubbing alcohol
- Lint free rag
- Cardboard or newspaper to protect your worksurface from overspray
- Spray paint handle (optional)
- Spray shelter (optional)
How to spray paint glass
Choose the right spray paint
Before you go crazy spray painting everything in sight, check the can to make sure your paint will stick to glass. It should be listed right on the label.
Nowadays, you can find spray paint for glass in a variety of sheens and effects. There's frosted glass, sea glass or looking glass effects that will totally transform your project! I used opaque paint for the projects below, but I'm planning to use sea glass spray paint on a mason jar project soon!
Clean the glass thoroughly
I found a vase, which I believe was a wedding gift, stuck on a shelf in the pantry and forgotten. I also dug up a couple of glass dishes and bowls that we've moved from house to house and were still packed with paper padding between them.
They were all dirty and dusty, so I gave them a good cleaning with soap and water first, and allowed them to air dry.
Wipe down the glass with isopropyl alcohol, making sure to get all the dust out of the facets. Use a lint free cloth like microfiber, so you don't leave fibers behind.
Prepare your work area
Spray paint can get everywhere if you're not careful, so it's important to prep your work area before you start spraying! You also want to prevent dust, bugs and anything else from falling into the paint and ruining your hard work.
I use this little pop up tent whenever I spray paint small items. It folds flat when not in use, and protects the walls and surrounding area from overspray. A large sheet of paper on the bottom prevents the previous paint colors from transferring to the glass piece.
Elevate your glass piece off the ground to make it easier to access the bottom edge. I used the spray paint can top to raise up my glass candy dish so spray paint could coat the piece evenly.
If you're spray painting outside, you can walk around the piece to access all the sides. But when it's inside the spray shelter, you need to be able to turn the piece as you work. For this short, wide dish, I could just spin the paper around. But for taller items like a vase, I'd recommend using a lazy Susan turntable instead.
Apply multiple thin coats
The trick to getting a flawless finish with spray paint on glass is to apply multiple thin coats! The first layer should still be translucent, without much color yet. If you go too heavy, the spray paint will run and drip. You want to preserve all those details in the glass!
For better control, try a spray paint can handle. It allows you to fine tune the spray intensity while also keeping your fingers clean!
For more vertical pieces like a tall vase, you will want to apply a tack coat first. This is just a light mist of paint that covers the entire piece, and will help prevent the paint from dripping and running.
Apply paint only to one side of the glass
The beauty of spray painting glass is that you only have to do one side! Choose the side that won't be handled as much, to protect the paint from chips and scratches.
For this small dish, I chose to paint the outside since earring backs and pointy jewelry may scratch up the paint. You can see the color of the paint through the glass, while keeping the durable glass surface inside that can handle more abuse.
Coat the facets on all sides
It can be difficult to get paint into all the facets of cut glass and crystal. After a few coats with the piece facing down, flip it right side up and take a look at the grooves. You may spot a few areas that weren't coated well due to the angle of the cuts. Another round of spray paint should fix it!
Allow the spray paint to dry thoroughly
It can be tempting to place your spray painted glass on the shelf right away, but try to avoid handling it for at least a few hours! The smooth surface of the glass can pick up fingerprints easily if the paint isn't fully cured. I usually leave my piece to dry overnight just to be safe.
Apply top coat if necessary
Most of my painted glass projects won't see a lot of handling, so I skip the clear top coat. But if you're worried about the finish getting scratched or worn off over time, you can spray on a few coats to protect it. A top coat can also change the sheen of the paint from glossy to matte or vice versa.
Now that you know how to spray paint glass, hopefully you're itching to paint all.the.things! Take a stroll through your local thrift store or unpack your grandmother's pieces to find glass that just needs a new color to give it new life!