Can You Spray Paint Glass? (How-To)

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 the glass surface is clean and apply light coats. However, you must use spray paint that is made for glass material. That’s because some spray paint won’t stick to glass, especially spray paint with oil content.

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

But that’s not all. There is more to know about spray painting glass so let’s get to it.

Does Spray Paint Work on Glass?

Spray paints stick to glass, but not very well. That’s because the glass surfaces are 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 glass, the paint stays on top of the surface and doesn’t penetrate. Paint must penetrate the surface a bit to stick. But, since glass is non-porous, it doesn’t allow penetration. That’s why paint sticks to wood, plaster, masonry, and concrete better. These materials are porous and allow paints to penetrate their surface. 

Since paint can’t penetrate the glass surface, it weakens paint adhesion. To improve paint adhesion on glass, clean and prime the glass surface first, then apply paint.

You must clean the glass surface because if it’s dusty or filthy, the paint won’t stay on glass. Instead, the paint will stay on the dust nibs or dirt on the glass and won’t stick. So to make the paint stick better, you must clean the glass.

Also, you must prime the glass surface to help the paint stick better. The primer gives the paint a smooth surface to stick and bite into. So, the paint will stick to the primer instead of the glass. 

Best Spray Paint To Use on Glass

The best spray paint to use on glass is spray acrylic enamel (designed for glass). This spray paint sticks well to glass and produces a glossy finish that prevents paint from chipping and wearing off.

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 glass (doors). It can last over 6 years on decorative glass vases that don’t see much action or movement.

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

With spray acrylic enamel for glass, you are guaranteed a paint that will stick better, quicker, and a finish that will last longer than most.

However, spray acrylic enamel only produces a glossy finish. If you want a dry, flat, or matte finish, you must pick a water-based paint. You can also go for liquid chalk or craft paints.

How To Spray Paint Glass?

You can mess up the panting project if you don’t do enough prep work. So before you can spray paint glass, you must prep the glass, 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)
  • Paint 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 spray painting on glass, the paint can easily stain other surfaces. So, cover or remove furniture and objects on or around the glass material. Also, cover the floors and walls around the glass object.

If spray painting portable items such as flower vases, it’s better to spray outdoors.

You must prep yourself too. Put on a breathing mask and a pair of gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints on the glass. 

2. Clean The Glass

Clean The Glass

Dust and debris don’t let the paint stick well to the glass. So, you must properly clean the glass. 

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

For glass items like vases, put your hand inside the vase and hold it, then wipe the glass. This prevents you from leaving fingerprints and stains on the glass 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 on glass. As explained earlier, glass is slick and smooth so there is nothing for the paint to bind to. But if you sand the glass, you’ll create small scratches in the glass material, allowing the paint to bite and stick better. Also, you shouldn’t dry-sand glass as you can break the glass. Instead, you should wet sand.

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 glass that the paint can bite into. After that, wipe the glass. This helps to clean the glass and get rid of water.

4. Apply Two Coats of Primer

Apply Two Coats of Primer

Next, prime the glass. You can apply primer by using a paintbrush. You must apply two coats of primer to glass. Each coat must dry before applying the next coat. You shouldn’t sand between coats. 

5. Spray The Paint on The Glass

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 glass 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 a large glass material like a door. A paint shield will prevent staining on other materials or parts of the glass that you don’t want to spray. When all coats of the sprayed paint are dry, move to the next step.

6. Seal The Paint

Seal The Paint

Sealing spray paint is optional, but it helps paint last longer. This is because sealed paint will not peel or crack as fast as unsealed paint. To seal spray paint, you can use gloss.

Should You Seal Spray Paint on Glass?

Sealing spray paint on glass is mandatory, but it helps the finish last longer. However, sealing is necessary if you are spray painting a glass that will see a lot of action.

The purpose of sealing spray paint on glass is to protect and preserve the finish. A sealant will prevent dust, moisture, and stains from affecting the finish. This will make the paint last longer and prevent peeling or cracking.

A sealer, such as polyurethane, will give the spray paint a thick glossy finish. The glossy finish is moisture-resistant and will protect the paint from moisture and scratches. 

However, only glass items like doors, windows, and tables should be sealed after being spray painted. This is because these items will be used heavily, and the paint will be quickly damaged without a sealant. But, glass items like a flower vase and room decor don’t need a sealant since these items are not heavily used. So the paint will last if you or don’t use a sealant.

Related Read: Can You Spray Paint Grass?

Does Spray Paint Scrape Off of Glass?

Spray paint can scrape off the glass. That’s because spray paint doesn’t stick or penetrate the glass material, so it takes very little to scrape paint off.

You can even scrape paint off of glass with your fingernails. It’s that easy. However, to scrape paint off of glass on purpose, you shouldn’t use a metallic scrapper like a trowel.

This is because such materials can damage and even break the glass. So instead, use a plastic putty knife to scrape paint off the glass.

Final Words

You can spray paint glass, but you must prep the glass and use the right type of spray paint.

Remember that spray paint doesn’t last very long on the glass. So, it’s better used as decorative paint. For glass materials that will require durability, you should go with craft paint.

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