How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass: A Quick Guide
Being an artist can be pretty challenging. There are a lot of skills that you need to cover and even more techniques that you need to learn. One such technique is how to seal acrylic paint on glass.
Don’t worry since we’ve got you covered. We will teach you how to do that and more. We’ll also talk about how to choose the right type of acrylic paint for glass painting, provide helpful tips on how to paint glass with your chosen paint, and finally, move on to sealing. We certainly have a lot to cover in this short piece, so let’s get started!
How to Choose the Right Type of Acrylic Paint for Glass
Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing your acrylic paint for glass painting:
- Opacity: The first thing you need to consider is the opacity of the paint. The rule of thumb to remember is the more opaque the paint is, the brighter and darker it is. However, if you want some light coming through, such as the case for window painting, then you should definitely consider getting a more translucent paint set.
- Finish: Aside from the opacity, another thing you should consider is the finish of the paint. The finish is the texture or the look of the paint once dry. There are different ones like matte, glossy, even frosty.
- Type: The finish of the paint is not the only way to categorize them. You can also get them in permanent or washable. So which one should you get? If you’re doing a project with kids or if you want to do a little bit of practice first, then you should get a washable set. On the other hand, if you want your piece to last, then use permanent paint.
More Tips on Paints and Brushes
Aside from the factors mentioned above, here are a few more tips you can keep in mind to create a better piece:
- Acrylic enamel paint is the type of acrylic paint that works best on smooth surfaces, including glass.
- Don’t skimp on paint. High-grade paint is not only easier to work with, but it also produces brighter colors and lasts longer.
- The paintbrush also plays an essential role in how your work will look like once finished. For bolder brush strokes, use a synthetic brush, while for a smoother finish, use natural hair.
- Lastly, don’t forget to give your piece a good cleaning before you start.
How to Prepare Your Glass for Painting
Here are some steps you can follow to prepare the glass for painting:
- Wash your glass piece as you would your dishes. As an additional measure, you can also use warm water to remove any oil that’s sticking to the surface.
- Allow it to air-dry.
- Wear latex gloves since this will prevent your hand’s natural oil from sticking to the surface of the glass. Careful, though, as it can be a bit slippery.
- Wipe down the entire piece with a paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol. White vinegar works well, too.
- Allow it to air-dry again.
Once done, you can go ahead and start painting!
How to Paint Glass with Acrylic
We encourage you to experiment on your own style as much as you can, but if you need a quick guide, then here are some steps you can follow:
- Prepare your paint. Read the instructions on the packaging of your paint set. Does it need an undercoat or overcoat? Does it need any preparation before use? Make sure to follow them to ensure the best results as possible, according to the manufacturers themselves.
- Decide on your design. It’s best to lay it out on paper first.
- Draw the outline. Once you’ve decided on your design’s final look, you can now draw it on the glass surface using a permanent marker.
- Start painting. Use the outline you drew as a guide. Some artists use a syringe to apply the paint onto the glass surface in small and controlled amounts. This is a great technique to use for smaller details. Otherwise, you can begin filling out your outline with the aptly sized brush and your chosen color.
- Erase any mistakes. You can use cotton buts dipped in nail polish remover or alcohol to erase smaller mistakes and areas that require more delicate control.
- Finish your work by sealing it. Don’t worry, we’re going to talk more about it below.
Just a few words before we finish painting, some acrylic paint has toxic components. Hence, if you’re planning on painting drinking glasses, we suggest that you put some tape around the rim to avoid getting paint on it.
If you find it challenging to get the paint to stick, then here’s a pro tip: you can spray the surface with an all-purpose sealer first and let it dry for a full day before drawing your outline.
How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass
While we are already on the topic of letting things dry, make sure your paint has completely dried up before you even think of sealing your work. Once ready, you can now move on and follow our sealing guides below.
There are two ways to seal your work, you see. You can either spray it with sealant or bake it.
The Sealant Method
- Choose your preferred sealant. There are two types: spray-on and brush-on. Honestly, we prefer to use the spray-on type over the brush-on sealant because it offers less interaction with our work just in case it’s still not completely dry after 24 hours of letting it air dry.
- Read the packaging. Regardless of what type of sealant you’ve decided on using, never forget to read the instructions. It’s usually found in the back of the bottle.
- Choose a well-ventilated workspace. Some sealants have strong smells and toxic fumes. It’s best to do your sealing in an open area.
- Spray your sealant. For those using a spray-on sealant, you can now spray it lightly at least 12 inches away from your surface. Cover the entire area using a sweeping back-and-forth motion. Never let it spray on a directed area for too long. This will ensure that the layer is sprayed on evenly.
- Allow the layer to dry. 15 minutes is usually enough depending on the type of sealant you’re using. This is the reason it’s best to read the instructions beforehand.
- Repeat steps 4-5 twice more. Create three even layers of sealant coating.
- Let it dry. Allow your piece to dry undisturbed for 24 hours.
For those who are using a brush-on sealant, follow these steps instead. Picking up from step 3, here’s what you need to do next:
- Dip your brush onto the sealant. Hold it over your sealant container and let the excess varnish drip off.
- Brush the sealant on. Remember, as with the spray-on sealant, what we want is a light and even coating, so brush your varnish on in back-and-forth methodical strokes.
- Allow the layer to dry. Unlike spray-on sealants, brush-on types take longer to dry. Thus, it’s best to wait for an hour just to be sure unless the sealant’s instructions suggest otherwise.
- Repeat steps 2-3 twice more. Again, create three even layers of sealant coating.
- Let it dry. Finally, allow your piece to dry undisturbed for 24 hours.
That’s it! You have just sealed your work. You can now display it without worrying about the paint chipping off or fading away.
Some artists are a bit worried that spraying or brushing sealant on a glass piece may not be enough, though. If you are worried about the same thing, then read on below to learn about the next sealing method.
On a side note, to complement your Acrylic Pours, I highly recommend using a Cricut Machine (my personal favourite is the Explore Air 2 machine) to design and print yourself beautiful crafts on all sort of supports. Check it out here! Now back to another sealing method.
The Baking Method
- Read the packaging of your acrylic paint. Some of them have instructions on how to bake or heat them, including the required temperature for optimum results.
- Place your glass piece inside the oven. There’s no need to preheat your oven. Remember, if you don’t allow your glass piece to heat up and cool down gently, it might break! Anyway, put it on top of a piece of parchment paper and close the oven door.
- Bake it. Turn the oven up to 300 to 350 degrees. With the help of a thermometer, wait for the oven to reach your desired temperature and let your piece bake for thirty minutes.
- Let it cool. Once done, turn off the oven and allow our piece to cool down inside.
Congratulations! You did it. In fact, you can still spray it with sealant once your piece has completely cooled down just to make sure your piece will last for a very long time regardless of the varied circumstances it might be exposed to in the future.
How to Care for Your Artwork
You’ve worked hard on your artwork, so you don’t want it to break or get damaged anytime soon, right? Hence, as our final subtopic, here are some tips on how to care for your artwork aside from sealing its paint:
- Attach it to the surface. Let’s face it; the biggest threat to any piece of artwork made out of glass, both painted and not, is breaking. It’s a fragile material, after all. You can lower the chances of it falling off whatever surface you’re going to put it on by sticking it down with sticky tack or double-sided tape.
- Dust it frequently. The best sealing method still won’t be enough to protect your design if your piece gets too grimy enough that you’d have to wash it all the time. That’s why we recommend dusting it frequently so that it doesn’t get too dirty.
- Wipe it carefully. If it does get too dusty, then you can wipe your glass piece with a damp microfiber cloth. Avoid the painted parts as much as you can, or if you must wipe them clean, do so with utmost care.
- Never use abrasive material for cleaning. It will scratch the glass’ delicately smooth surface.
By keeping the tips we shared with you in mind, we’re sure that your glass piece will last for many years to come. Expect displayed pieces that are not constantly exposed to direct sunlight to last longer than those that are always used and washed, like wine glasses and stained windows.
Don’t worry. If you’ve followed the baking method we shared with you earlier, then, you’ll be pleased to learn that it can even survive the top rack of your dishwasher, granted that you’ve used high-grade acrylic paint as well. Otherwise, you can hand wash it with mild detergent and water. Your work is not microwave-safe, though.
To Sum It Up
Acrylic paint is definitely one of the most flexible mediums one can use for art. You can use it to paint on paper, canvas, wood, porcelain, and yes, even glass. Unlike watercolor, its thicker nature makes it easier to use and work with; and unlike oil, it doesn’t need solvents or other mediums anymore. You can paint with it straight from the tube.
If you’re thinking of using it to paint on glass, though, then you’d have to do a bit of prep work first. You must free the glass surface of any impurities such as dirt and oil, and then you can apply an all-purpose sealer to help the paint to stick to the surface better.
You can then apply varnish on your finished work to help prolong its life. Skipping this crucial step will expose your design to chipping and flaking later on. There are two ways to do this: you can either apply a sealant or bake it. Both are equally effective; in fact, you can even do both for good measure.
After sealing your piece, you may not use or display your work of art for the entire world to see. With this, we encourage you to experiment with painting on different glass surfaces, from wine glasses to mirrors and windows.
We hope you’ve found our article helpful, especially on learning how to seal acrylic paint on glass. Feel free to explore our other articles within the site about acrylic painting. Enjoy!