How to Paint Glass Windows — Steps + Best Paints To Use

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If you are looking to upgrade your home with art and designs, you should consider painting glass windows. This exciting and creative technique will not only give your home a cozy ambiance but also a creative flair.

In this guide, I’ll show you how to paint glass windows with basic and simple steps!  

Why Paint Your Glass Windows?

If you already set the sheens of your walls, floorings, and furniture, including other elements in your house, you should check your glass windows. Does it fit with everything in your house, especially the porch, and terrace?

Painting glass windows is also a fun paint job for you and your family. You can actually invite your kids to join you. 

For starters, it would be challenging, but if you finished painting windows in an area of your house, say your room, you can do it with the rest. 

Aside from being a creative, fun, and exciting paint job, here are the reasons why you should do it:

glass window

Glass Windows Painting: Detailed Guide

If you have decided to paint glass windows, I’ll now outline the eight basic steps and necessary tools. 

glass panel on working table


For the tools, you will need to prepare the following:

Step #1: Prepare the Tools and Your Paint

To paint glass windows, you can choose gloss, shimmer, and frosted glass painting. 

painting materials

Your decision should be based on the finish and permanence of the paint. The durability of the paint is also another factor and the designs that you are going to paint.

For a paintbrush, I’d recommend smaller and narrower shafts to get the detailed work. While for coverage and finish, you can use broad and flat brushes. 

You can also use a sponge for a frosted glass painting and a textured finish to your glass window.

Step #2: Ready the Surface

With all your paint foam brushes and paints prepared, you have to verify if the glass surface is spotless or just need to remove dirt and oil. Before cleaning the glass, wear your gloves and mask. 

For dirt or dust particles, wipe the glass surface using a lint-free cloth soaked in warm soapy water until it has smooth surfaces for painting. 

absorbent cloth for cleaning

When the glass is still covered with rust, grease, or any impurities that might interfere with the paint, grab some mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol. It’s vital to ensure the surface is impeccably clean before diving into the painting process.

Recommended Reading: Can You Use Mineral Spirits on Wood?

After you clean the window panes, use masking or painter’s tape to cover the window frame and areas to remain paint-free. Then, you can apply a base coat that will serve as the background of your design. 

Your option before applying the base coat is to apply a gesso primer if you want your glass to have an opaque effect. It gives the perfect primer to the glass surface. 

Before applying the top coat, make sure the base coat is completely dry. Look for the instructions indicated in the coat’s container.

For a faux stained glass effect, make sure you apply the liquid leading prior to the base coat. 

glass paint

This is an essential part to begin painting glass that will give good adhesion to the paint. Once cured, you can outline your design on the faux stained glass. 

Step #3: Think of the Design

Think and plan what you wanted to paint over the stained glass windows effect and the colors in it so you can prepare everything. You can use a paint liner or ordinary marker to outline your design. 

However, ensure that the base coat remains free from any oil residues and that the stained glass effect is maintained to prevent any resistance to the paint.

Also, you can use stencils for window art ideas and to have an opaque base coat. Hold the stencil and attach it to the opposite side of the stained glass effect. Then carefully trace the design using your marker or paint liner.

making design

The shades of the color that you are going to use can be mixed and matched before painting over the stained glass. You can test your colors based on your design. 

After you’re done with your design outline, let it dry before painting.

Step #4: Transfer Your Design/Stencil

When transferring your stencil or design to your stained glass, you will be needing the liquid leading. This is a tool that can trace the stencil or window art ideas to your window glass. 

Once you traced the stencil, let it dry before painting. Also, do not forget to protect the border around your stencil so it should be painted-free.

Step #5: Start Painting

Once the base coat and the stencil trace dries, you can start decorating glass windows. To paint the glass, put your preferred paint to the color palette and pick an appropriate brush. 

fitting design to window

Starting at the upper corner of the stencil when painting on glass helps prevent smudging across the entire surface. To avoid excess paint–especially near areas secured with painter’s tape–I’d recommend using a sponge, particularly when layering on the glass.

If you opt for resin-based paints, I’d advise using a sponge or foam brush. The type of brush you select can significantly influence the final appearance of the glass. For instance, a bristle brush often results in a smoother finish with less visible strokes.

Also, air bubbles in your paint should be popped immediately using a toothpick. 

And make sure not to ever use the same brush for different colors. You should wash your brush in between your painting using water for water-based and paint thinner for solvent-based paint.

painting window glass white

But how about its appearance outside the house? To keep your house appealing from the outside, you can still follow the same steps on how to paint glass windows. 

However, you can only do this during summer so the paint can be completely dry. The painted glass on the outside can hide the shadow of your painting inside.

More painting tips? Check these posts

Step #6: Let the Design and Paint Dry

Once you paint the glass windows and let them dry, it will reveal the true color of the paint. If the vibrant content satisfies you, you can seal it already. Otherwise, you can add a paint of second coat until you attain the design you’re aiming for. 

Step #7: Let it Cure and Seal Your Painted Glass

Every type of paint has different curing times and you can also speed up the drying time. Say, you can use a UV lamp or hair dryer. But you need to watch out so you don’t ruin the paint. 

painting with foam brush

A natural method to cure is to expose the painted window to the sun and wait for it to completely dry. If you are satisfied with your painted glass, apply it as a sealer to protect it from dust and damage. 

Choosing the Right Glass Paint for Your Windows: Things to Consider When Purchasing

There are many types of paint for glass windows including finishes. So what are your considerations before purchasing glass paint and how would you know it’s the correct paint? 

It depends on what type of paint projects you would have. So, here is what you need to know:

Temporary Glass Painting Task

If your paint project is temporary, you must use washable window paints or tempera paint. This type is safe for kids, so if you’re planning to paint with your children, I highly recommend it. 

sliding window

It has a matte finish and can dry within 20 minutes. You can also wash it with warm water.

Semi-Permanent Glass Painting Task

For semi-permanent glass paint, you should use acrylic enamels and water-based paint. This is non-toxic and it takes months before it can be peeled and chipped. 

If you want to change permanent acrylic glass, you can use vinegar and a blade or paint scraper to remove it.

Permanent Glass Painting Task

If you want your painted window glass to be permanent, you should use solvent-based paint. Solvent-based products emit strong fumes that are not safe for kids. 

You have to be extra careful in using this because it is highly hazardous and flammable. But is paint really flammable? Find out next!

Glass Paint Finishes

As mentioned, you can finish your paint project with matte and frosted glass painting for a temporary finish. 

store window

You can also finish it with gloss or semi-gloss which can be achieved if you are going to use solvent-based and acrylic paint. 

You can opt for epoxy resin-based paint for glass windows to have a transparent finish. It makes the glass tinted but still, the light can pass through with effect because of the painted windows design. 

But you will need to wait for 24 hours to completely dry and almost a week to cure.

Type of Glass Paint

Acrylic Enamel Paints

Most painters use acrylic enamel paints because the paint has good adhesion to the painted glass surface. 


You can choose from its variations of colors to give your room privacy and colorful translucent. 

Acrylic Paints for Glass

Acrylic paints offer good coverage to old-painted windows. It has a matte finish to add more personality to your painted window. 

Also, you can rely on the durability of this paint which is similar to acrylic enamel paints.

Solvent-Based Paints

To prevent corrosion of your painted window glass, you can use solvent-based paint. It offers moisture and water resistance. 

You can have spray paint that’s oil-based. The drying and curing time is within 2 to 8 hours.

Variations of Glass Paint

Glass paint has different colors, forms, and sizes of acrylic paints, washable or tempera paints, and solvent-based paints. 

lady painting glass window

You can purchase various paint brands depending on the finish you want to achieve and the designs you are going to paint. 

Most paint products for glass are typically packaged in two-ounce bottles. Occasionally, you might find sets that come with a bonus paintbrush.

Spray paints are also an excellent choice for window glass paintings. I often suggest them for larger windows or expansive glass areas. To get the right amount of paint you need, check the various paint can sizes available. 

Paint Features/Opacity

The consistency of paints is different so you cannot rely on how many coats you need to apply to see its opacity. For instance, advertised acrylic enamel paint offers a lot of opaquer as compared to normal acrylic paint. 

glass painting

Other glass paints can be used to achieve the stained-glass effect. So, paint features are important when learning how to paint glass windows to know the thickness or thinness you need for your project.


Other than opacity, the permanence of paint affects the results of your glass painting. Each painting has different levels of permanence as I mentioned earlier. 

You can have painting acrylic that is less permanent, solvent-based for permanent, and tempera paints that are temporary. 

Temporary paintings use on glass windows are ideal if you just want decorating glass windows for an occasion. But if you want something to be permanent, you can always use solvent-based paint or acrylic paints.


When you paint with your kids, you have to use tempera paint because it is toxic-free. Acrylic paints are less toxic and emit minimal odor compared to solvent-based paints, which are highly hazardous, and contain high levels of VOC (volatile organic compounds). 

protective gears

Also, consider using a paintbrush rather than spray paint because the latter has higher risks to your safety on your glass painting. So, you need to wear a mask and gloves if you paint glass windows. 

To summarize, here is a comparison of washable, tempera, acrylic, and solvent-based type of paint. I also included epoxy resin if you opt to use one:

Type of Paint




Washable/ Tempera





Less Toxic


Opaque with multiple finishes 

(gloss, matte, or frost)




Transparent or Opaque with multiple finishes 

(gloss, matter, or frost)

Epoxy resin 

More Toxic


Transparent with multiple finishes 

(gloss, matte, or frost)

My Best Paint Options for Glass Windows

1. Arteza Glass Paint Set of 12 Classic Tones

This Arteza paint product offers rich pigmented and uniform color. I like how it creates an array of glass and ceramic surfaces because of how the colors blend when painted on the glass. It brings art to life, and you can use this paint without leaving streaks behind.

Among the glass paints, this is the most versatile and has the best neon shades I’ve tried. It does not contain animal byproducts and the ingredients are not tested on animals. You can get this paint in sealed and durable aluminum tubes [1]

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. FolkArt Gloss Finish Acrylic Enamel Craft Set

The Folkart Glass Paint is another one of my top recommendations. This acrylic enamel paint boasts durability, resistance to scratching, and offers a glossy finish. A standout feature is its ability to be dishwasher-safe once fully cured, simplifying the cleaning process.

Though it’s a little pricey, this is ideal for professional and young aspiring artists. It has a dry-fast formula that allows adding layers or other elements to your painting.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. Colorful Stain Glass Paint Kit

If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, I’d recommend the Colorful Glass Paint. It offers a diverse range of colors and sizes, making it very suitable for those just starting out. Not only does it provide robust adhesion to the glass, but its resistance to moisture ensures that your artwork remains permanent and long-lasting.

Besides, it adheres well on a glass window, wine glass, ceramics, and porcelain. The drying time is about 48 hours, but you can speed up using a hairdryer or by exposure to direct sunlight.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

My Best Brushes for Glass Windows Painting

1. Aroic Acrylic Paint Brush Set of 6

The Aroic paintbrush set has various shapes–suitable for learners and crafters. It’s multi-functional, and the design of the brushes has anti-rust nickel ferrule. Also, the solid wood handles allow brushing smoothly.

Cleaning the brush is convenient. By just using soap and water, you can easily reshape the tip of the brush. I recommend this brush for tempera paint or acrylic enamel paint applications.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. ARTIFY 24 Pieces Paint Brush Set Expert Series

For those looking to kick off their painting journey on the right foot, I highly recommend the Artify Paintbrush. Available in an array of shapes and sizes, it’s versatile enough for both detailed work and broader applications. What stands out is its exceptional bonding on glass, thanks to the premium glue used on the ferrules and the choice of synthetic brush bristles.

Also, it’s stylish, light, and flexible for acrylic glass paints and colorations washable tempera paints. Though it’s pricey, it has less shedding while painting. The shape of the brush isn’t distorted after long-term use. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. Bosobo Paint Brushes Set

If you’re looking for fine detailing and art painting options, this Bosobo Paintbrush set can do the trick. It’s a multi-purpose and versatile paint brushes set for painting acrylic on glass surfaces. The brushes works well with oil-based, water-based, and washable window paint or tempera paints. 

These paintbrushes are durable with high-quality nylon bristles and rust-proof ferrules. The wooden handles aid excellent workmanship. And when it comes to cleaning, it’s hassle-free: simply wash with soapy water and allow them to air-dry.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

How You Can Remove Paint Off Your Glass Windows

If you find yourself needing to remove paint from your window, either due to a change of heart or an accidental spill, don’t worry—it happens.

Well, we already gave you the basic steps to use on glass window painting so here are the quick steps on how to remove it.

First, you have to prepare a measuring cup, white vinegar, rubber gloves, cleaning rags (lint-free), a bucket, dish soap, a hand razor blade or thin knife, and glass cleaner. 

After you have prepared the supplies, get ready to remove the paint from your glass windows. 

heat vinegar

Next, boil one cup of white vinegar and make sure to wear rubber gloves to hold it afterward. Then dip the cleaning rag into the vinegar and rub it into the paint. Put pressure when rubbing but be careful not to break the glass. 

The vinegar has a natural solution that can loosen the paint and it will come off immediately if the vinegar is soaked into the paint. While most of the paint has been removed, there is still paint attached to the glass. 

In that case, you have to get warm water and dish soap. Mix it in the bucket or small dish until you get a foamy or lathery solution. 

Then soak a clean cloth into it and apply it to the painted area. The solution acts as a lubricant to use on glass windows for damage-free.

Before scraping the paint, make sure that the solution penetrates the paint. Then, get a hand razor blade or a thin knife. 

KAKURI Japanese Kiridashi Carving Knife closeup

The shard edge of your knife or blade should be at a 45-degree angle from the windowpane so you can avoid scratching or breaking your glass window. Then, scrape the paint slowly in the same direction to remove the entire paint at once. 

Otherwise, you can flake off the glass, but the window areas will need another floor cleaning. Apply the soap solution intermittently using the cloth to remove the paint easily.

Lastly, after every bit of paint is taken off, get the glass cleaner and spray to the areas where the paint has been removed. Use a clean, lint-free cloth to buff the window and wipe off the dirt and other impurities on the glass. 

See Also: Wood vs Vinyl Window Replacement

Interesting Window Painting Ideas and Tips

Glass window paintings started in the 16th century as part of the Gothic architecture development. But there are lots of modern glass window painting ideas and techniques that you can try. If you’re looking for some fresh inspiration, I’ve curated a collection of modern window art concepts and invaluable tips for you to delve into:

painted glass window

Make sure that the paint you are using is washable paint or tempera since it’s non-toxic and the finish is temporary only. 

So you easily remove it and clean your window, then you or your child can paint another unique canvas into it.

glass painting Christmas design

Using tempera or acrylic glass paint ensures that you can replace your paint immediately.

Holiday-themed designs are budget-friendly and unique decoratives for festivities. You could easily turn your interior into a brand-new look and appearance. 


What paint will stay on the glass?

The paint that will stay on the glass is solvent-based. Solvent-based paint is permanent, and you can only remove it using solutions and scraping it off the window. But you can also use acrylic paint that can last over a year when sealed.

Do I need to prime the glass before painting?

Yes, you need to prime the glass before painting to create adhesion for your designs on the window. After cleaning the glass surfaces, applying primer is essential in your glass painting to make sure it will last more than a year.

How long does it take for a glass design to last?

Depending on the type of paint, the permanency can be temporary or permanent. If you use washable window paint or tempera paints, you can remove them easily with water and soap. While solvent-based and acrylic paints can last more than a year. 

How to make paint colors look better when applied to the glass?

Your window paint can look more attractive and appealing by adding more layers of transparent paint intersecting each other. Use different shades of color and hues for your glass painting.

Can I paint on the glass directly?

Of course, you can paint directly on the glass. You can create your own decorative painting using stencils. More importantly, know the designs you want to do which complement the elements in your house.  


Now that you have everything you need and know how to paint glass windows properly, you can start your paint job seamlessly. Just follow the steps and tips in this guide, and you’re just a step away from making your own masterpiece! 

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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