Can You Spray Paint Glass? (How-To)

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Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

Glass surfaces are slick and transparent, but that can get boring to look at after a while. So to add beauty, can you spray paint glass?

You can spray paint glass if its surface is clean and apply light coats. However, you must use a spray paint type that is made for glass surfaces because some types won’t stick to non-porous surfaces.

However, the finish doesn’t last long on the glass. At best, it will last about 18 months because it starts to chip and fade. So if you plan on spray painting glass, it’s advised to do it on surfaces that wouldn’t see much use.


Spray paints stick to glass surfaces, but not very well because the surface is slick and impermeable. This means that glass is a non-porous material and doesn’t allow anything to pass through or penetrate.

So, when you spray paint it, the coating stays on top of the surface and doesn’t penetrate it. However, the coating must penetrate a surface a bit to stick. But, since glass is non-porous and doesn’t allow penetration, the paint won’t stick well over it. 

That’s why paint sticks to wood, plaster, masonry, and concrete better. These materials are porous and allow paints to penetrate their surface. 

Since it can’t penetrate the glass surface, the adhesion will be weak. So, to improve the adhesion, you must sand and prime the surface first and then spray paint it. The primer gives the paint a smooth surface to stick and bite into. So, the coating will stick to the primer instead of the surface underneath it. 

Types of Spray Paint To Use:

Use spray acrylic enamel for glass surfaces. This spray paint sticks well to non-porous surfaces and produces a glossy finish that protects the surface from different elements.

While most spray paints will not retain the finish on glass after 18 months, spray acrylic enamel can last for over 3 years on heavily used surfaces. It can last over 6 years on decorative surfaces that don’t see much action or movement.

Spray acrylic enamel is easy to spray, dries quickly, and has a bright color. Artists use it to add detail and color. It comes in various sheens and colors, so there is a broad list to pick from. In addition, you can mix it with other paints due to its absorbent qualities.

However, spray acrylic enamel only produces a glossy finish. If you want a dry, flat, or matte finish, you must pick a water-based spray paint.

How To Spray Paint Glass?

You can mess up the painting project if you don’t do enough prep work. So before you can spray paint glass, you must prep the surface, and you’ll need a few tools and supplies to do that:

  • The required spray paint (remember, it must be designed for use on glass)
  • Primer
  • Rags
  • Glass wipe or rubbing alcohol
  • Gloves
  • Water
  • Paint shield
  • Waterproof sandpaper (optional)

1. Prepare Your Work Area

Prepare Your Work Area

The first step is to prepare your work area. Since you will be using a sprayer, the paint can easily stain other surfaces. So, cover or remove furniture and objects on or around the surface. Also, cover the floors and walls.

If you can, move the object outdoors as it will also dry faster.

Note: Use safety goggles while doing this project. 

2. Clean The Glass

Clean The Glass

Dust and debris don’t let the paint stick well to a surface. So, you must clean the surface first. 

To clean glass, use a glass wipe or rubbing alcohol. These will remove grease, stains, and dirt. If you use rubbing alcohol, damp a rag with it and use the dampened rag to clean the surface. 

For glass items like vases, put your hand inside the vase and hold it, then wipe it. This prevents you from leaving fingerprints and stains on the surface as you clean it. A pair of clean gloves will also prevent this.

3. Wet-Sand The Glass

Wet-Sand The Glass

Wet sanding glass is optional but helps paint last longer. If you sand it, you’ll create small scratches on the surface, allowing the paint to bite and stick better. Also, you shouldn’t dry-sand glass as you can break it

To wet sand glass:

  1. Put water in a small bowl.
  2. Soak a waterproof sandpaper or sanding block in the water.
  3. After a few minutes, take out the sandpaper, squeeze out the excess water, and repeatedly use the damp sandpaper to wipe the glass.

This will remove stubborn stains and create tiny marks in the surface that the paint can bite into. After that, wipe the surface. This helps to clean the glass and get rid of water.

4. Apply Two Coats of Primer

Apply Two Coats of Primer

Next, apply 2 coats of primer using a brush. Wait until one coat dries before applying the next one. 

5. Spray The Paint

Spray The Paint on The Glass

Spray light coats of the paint on the glass. Thick coats will lead to runs and drip on the since. Give enough time for each coat to dry before spraying another. This prevents the finish from being tacky or sticky.

You can use a paint shield if you are spraying large surfaces, such as a door. A paint shield will prevent staining on other materials or parts of the glass that you don’t want to spray.

Sealing The Finish

Sealing the finish isn’t mandatory, but it helps it last longer. But, if the glass surface will be used heavily, it’s necessary to seal the finish if you want it to last longer. 

The purpose of sealing is to protect the finish underneath it. A sealant will prevent dust, moisture, and liquid from penetrating and damaging a finish. 

A sealer, such as polyurethane, will form a glossy thick layer over the finish and protect it from different elements. Most sealers are clear coats (transparent finish), so they won’t interfere with the color shade of the finish. 

Related Read: Can You Spray Paint Grass?

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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