Can You Spray Paint Glass? (How-To)

Glass surfaces are usually 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 as long as the glass surface is dirt-free and you spray light coats. Also, you should ensure that the spray paint you have can be used on glass material. This is because some spray paints will not stick to glass properly particularly spray paints with high oil content.

However, don’t expect the spray paint to last very 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 Stick To Glass?

Spray paints do stick to glass but not very well. This is because glass surfaces are slick and impermeable. This means that glass is a non-porous material and as such, it allows nothing to pass through or penetrate it.

So, what happens when you spray paint glass is that the paint only stays on the slick top surface of the glass and this doesn’t allow good bonding or sticking. For paint to stick properly, there must be a level of porosity in the material to be painted.

This is why paints stick for a long time on wood, plaster, masonry, fabric, concrete, and the likes. The reason is these materials have a degree of porosity so the paint can easily penetrate and bite into the material to stick well.

Glass doesn’t allow paint to sift through and as such the only thing the paint can stick to is the slick surface. This makes paint adhesion weak meaning that spray paint will not stick very well on glass. But, it will stick better if the glass surface is properly prepped and primed first.

If the glass surface is dusty or filthy, the paint will not stay on the glass. Instead, the paint will stay on the dust nibs or dirt on the glass and this will not make the paint stick properly. So to make the paint stick better, ensure the glass is clean.

You should also prime the glass surface so the paint can sift and bite into something. As explained earlier, glass isn’t porous and paint can penetrate it. But if you use a coat or two of primer on the glass first, the spray paint when applied will stick and bite into the primer coating.

How To Spray Paint Glass?

Spray painting glass is an easy task. But, it can easily produce a poor finish if enough prep work isn’t done first. So before you can spray paint glass, you’ll need to 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)

Here is a quick rundown of how to spray paint glass:

  • Prepare your work area
  • Clean the glass
  • Wet-sand the glass (optional)
  • Apply two coats of paint primer
  • Spray the paint on the glass
  • Leave to dry
  • Seal the paint (optional)

Now, let’s get to work.

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, ensure to cover or remove furniture and objects on or around the glass material.

Also, ensure to cover the floors and walls around the glass object. If you want to paint mobile glass items like flower vases or glass kitchen utensils, it’s better to spray outdoors. This prevents spray stains and fume build-up indoors.

A part of preparing your work area is preparing yourself too. Put on a breathing mask so you don’t inhale spray paint and put on a pair of gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints on the glass. When you are done prepping, you should…

2. Clean The Glass

Clean The Glass

As explained earlier, dust and debris will not let the paint stick well to the glass. So to clean the glass, start by using a glass wipe or rubbing alcohol. Any of this will remove grease, stains, and the likes from the glass. For the glass wipe, you can just wipe the glass surface with the wipe. For rubbing alcohol, add a bit to a clean rag. Then use the damp edge of the rag to wipe 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

This step is optional but it’s a great hack to making the paint last longer on the 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 that will allow the paint to bite and stick better. You shouldn’t dry-sand glass. This can break the glass. Instead, you should wet sand.

To wet sand, put water in a small bowl. Then soak a waterproof sandpaper or sanding block in the water. After a few minutes, take out the sandpaper, squeeze out the excess water, and use the damp sandpaper to wipe the glass repeatedly.

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

Use a paint primer that is made for glass or metal. Using a paintbrush, apply two coats of the primer to the glass. Let each coat dry before applying another coat. You don’t need to sand between coats. When both coats are dry and smooth, you should move into the next step.

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, you can go ahead to…

6. Seal The Paint

Seal The Paint

Though this step is optional, it helps the paint to last longer on glass. Sealed spray paint will not peel or crack as quickly as unsealed paint. You can use gloss on the glass to seal the finish. Speaking of sealing paint on glass, let’s go deeper into that.

Do You Have To Seal Spray Paint on Glass?

You don’t have to seal spray paint on glass but it’s usually advised to make the finish last longer. However, sealing spray paint on glass that will see a lot of action and handling is necessary.

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 it will prevent peeling or cracking.

However, you don’t have to seal spray paint on glass except the glass surface will see a lot of use and holding. 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?

What Is The Best Kind Of Spray Paint To Use On Glass?

The best kind of spray paint to use on glass is spray acrylic enamel (that is designed for glass). The paint sticks well to glass and produces a fine finish that has a glossy topcoat which will prevent the paint from early 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.

Not only is spray acrylic enamel very durable on glass, but the paint is also easy to spray on, dries quickly, and has a very bright color. Spray acrylic enamel is commonly used by artists to add detail and color.

Spray acrylic enamel also comes in a variety of sheen and colors so there is a broad list to pick from. Spray acrylic enamel can also be mixed with other paints due to its absorbent qualities. So, if you want a specific finish or a blend of colors, this is your pick.

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, you should know that spray acrylic enamel only produces a glossy finish. If what you want is a dry, flat, or matte finish, you should go with another spray paint for glass. Though spray acrylic enamel is the best, you can also go for liquid chalk or craft paints.

Does Spray Paint Scrape Off of Glass?

Spray paint does scrape off of glass. This is because spray paint doesn’t stick or penetrate the glass material and as such, 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. Instead, use a plastic putty knife to scrape paint off the glass.

Final Words

Overall, you can spray paint glass easily. A host of spray paints will stay on glass but it’s better to use spray paint designed for use on smooth surfaces like glass.

Also, 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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