Curious About Glass Painting? I Have Some Tips For You!

How It's Made

See My Finished Products at the National Cherry Festival – July 4, 2021

Curious about how I get that magical stained glass look on my glassware? It is a unique process, and can be finicky. Discovering how to work in this medium took some time and effort, but I am so glad that I learned how so that I can share my beautiful work with all of you – catch me soon at the Grand Traverse National Cherry Festival on July 4th, 2021.

Stop by my booth, and hold one of my glasses up to the light – preferably the sun –  and you can see the intricate details and the work that went into it. Each glass is hand painted with love and care. The end result is beautiful. The colors are rich and glass-like. The textures vary from glass to glass and offer a ton of uniqueness. You’ll want to leave them on a windowsill as I do – they look beautiful all day long.

Creating these beautiful works of art is an art in itself – stay tuned for my technique…

Before beginning to paint, I wash the glassware then I rub each down with rubbing alcohol. This must be done before beginning to paint! Watch out for fingerprints – try not to leave any in the areas you are going to paint.

I start the process by using a black liner to draw my design on the glass. This helps prevent the paint from running, and it gives the glass that beautiful stained glass look! I use Pebeo Vitrea 160 glass paints and always order from dickblick.com. These paints are designed specifically for use on glass. They are non-toxic, thermo-hardening, and transparent. They are tricky to work with since they have a gel-like consistency. I use a thinner to help make the paint more fluid. Watch out though – the thinner can make or break you. When painting on a rounded surface such as a wine glass, if it’s too thin it will run. Too thick, it won’t move. You have to find the perfect sweet spot of consistency – right in the middle. I also always move the glass around as I paint because paint will move a little as I work and I don’t want it to pool.

I use soft watercolor brushes. The harder the brush the more streaks – and you don’t want that. A soft watercolor brush will hold a lot of paint – this is great because you are racing with time. This paint dries quickly. As soon as it becomes tacky, you can no longer work with it and what you have is what you have. So you gotta be quick and precise!

As no one is perfect – mistakes and bubbles sometimes occur. I use a small blow torch to help take care of the larger bubbles. You have to be very careful; set your torch to a low flame and just barely go over the glass. I do one quick flash and that’s it! I like to leave the small bubbles  – they really give the glass a unique look and cool texture. They remind me of stars. I fix small mistakes with a pocket knife. For example, scraping off paint that went into an area I didn’t want it.

Once I am done painting, I’ll keep handling the glass for 10-15 minutes afterwards to keep paint from pooling. After letting the glasses sit for a full 24 hours, I then bake them to cure (following the paint instructions). This intensifies the colors.

What a fun way to spend a day! Now I am ready for a glass of wine – I’ll grab a glass off my windowsill and get ready for a relaxing evening. Not into wine? Grab your favorite beverage  – each will change the look of the paints.

Come see my booth at the Grand Traverse National Cherry Festival on July 4th! I would love to meet you. The National Cherry Festival began in 1925 and is located in Traverse City, MI – which is the Cherry Capital of the World. It will run from July 3 – 10, 2021. There is food, art, events, and activities.

See you there!