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

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If you are looking to upgrade your boring windows by giving them art and designs, you should consider painting glass windows. This exciting and creative technique gives your home a cozy ambiance.

So how would you do it? Well, in this article, you can learn how to paint glass windows with basic and simple steps detailed by our painters.  

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?

As mentioned, painting glass windows is 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

Now that you are decided to paint glass windows, our experts share 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. Our experts identified these finishes and how long it takes to dry completely. 

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 the paintbrush, we 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

If the glass is covered with rust, grease, or impurities that can alter your paint, use mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol to remove it. Make sure it’s super clean before painting.

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. 

Make sure that no oils will attach to the base coat and the stained glass effect to prevent it from resisting 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

After the base coat and the stencil trace are completely dried, you can start decorating glass windows. To paint the glass, put your preferred paint to the color palette and pick the appropriate brush. 

fitting design to window

The painted glass area should be the upper corner of the stencil so you can prevent smudges to the entire glass. Avoid the excess paint of the Painter’s tape and use a sponge if you are going to layer the glass. 

If you are going to use resin-based paint, you should use a sponge or foam brush. The brush in your painting contributes to the outcome of the glass such as a bristle brush that can give a smoother finish with less visible stroke. 

Air bubbles in your paint should be popped immediately using a toothpick. 

Our experts pointed out that never 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 color of the paint. If the vibrant content satisfies you, you can seal it already. Otherwise, you can paint the second coat until the design is perfect. 

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 make sure the paint will not be ruined. 

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. It is safe for your kids so if you paint with your kid, you should use this paint. 

sliding window

It has a matte finish and can dry within 20 minutes and 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. 

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.

What Does the Glass Paint Come In?

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 come in a two-ounce bottle and, if you are lucky, you can purchase a set of paint along with a paintbrush. 

You can also buy spray paints for your window glass paintings. Our experts recommend spraying paint for large windows or to use on glass areas.

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 permanence as we 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 our comparison of washable, tempera, acrylic, and solvent-based type of paint. We also include the 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)

Best Paint Options for Glass Windows

1. Arteza Glass Paint Set of 12 Classic Tones

Arteza paint offers rich pigmented and uniform color. We 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 we’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 We Like

What We Don't Like

2. FolkArt Gloss Finish Acrylic Enamel Craft Set

Our next pick is the Folkart Glass Paint, which is an acrylic enamel paint that’s durable, scratch-resistant, and offers a gloss finish. Once cured completely, it’s dishwasher-safe, so cleaning it when wet is easy.

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 We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Colorful Stain Glass Paint Kit

For a budget-friendly glass paint, Colorful Glass Paint is our best bet. It has a variety of colors and sizes ideal for beginners. It has strong adhesion on the glass surface and is resistant to moisture and water, making the painting permanent and durable.

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 We Like

What We Don't Like

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 just by using soap and water and you can easily reshape the tip of the brush. We suggest this brush for tempera paint or acrylic enamel paint applications.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. ARTIFY 24 Pieces Paint Brush Set Expert Series

For a good start in painting, we recommend Artify Paintbrush. It comes in various shapes and sizes for detailed paintings or large coat applications. We like how it bonds on glasses with premium glue on ferrules and synthetic brush options. 

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 We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Bosobo Paint Brushes Set

If you’re looking for fine detailing and art painting options, Bosobo Paintbrush can do the trick. It’s a multi-purpose and versatile paint brushes set for painting acrylic on glass surfaces. It 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. It’s easy to clean with just soapy water and then air-dry afterward.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

How You Can Remove Paint Off Your Glass Windows

Either by accident or you do not want the color of your window paint, you have the urge to remove it but you realized you have no idea how you will do it. 

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

There are lots of glass window painting ideas and techniques that you can try. Glass window paintings started in the 16th century as part of the Gothic architecture development. You can try these inspirational window art ideas and excellent tips.

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. 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 woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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