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Glass Painting

Introduction    
         
In this beginner's guide to glass painting, you'll discover everything you need to get started in this popular craft.
 
Equipment Needed    
         

Paints

There are two different types of glass paint - waterbased and non-waterbased. Both have a good range of colours and are intermixable within their ranges.

Waterbased paints can be diluted with water, tools are easy to clean, drying time is 20 minutes, fully dry in 2 or 3 days.

Non-waterbased paints can be diluted with ceramic thinner, brushes can be cleaned in white spirit or thinner, drying time is 2 hours, fully dry in 8 hours.

Outliners

There are three different ways of applying an outline in glass painting:

1. Glass Paint Outline stickers - these are ideal for beginners and are best used on flat, smooth surfaces. Starting in one corner, gently peel up the sticker taking care not to stretch or distort it and apply it to a clean glass surface. When using a large sticker, the most accurate way to position it is to lay it sticky side up on a flat surface. Place the glass item over the top of the sticker then press down firmly. This method will only work with transparent projects.

2. Glass paint outliners - these are applied by squeezing from a tube to provide a fine outline. They come in a range of colours. They can be used as an outline for your design before paint is applied or piped over a pre-painted surface as fine detailing.

3. Leading tape - this is another way of creating an outline for your design, particularly on doors and windows. The leading tape comes on a roll in two different widths. Peel off the backing tape, stick it onto the glass and bend it to fit your design.

 
Tip
 

Always squeeze a little outliner into a tissue to check there are no blockages or airbubbles in the nozzle. As you work, keep wiping the tip. This should help prevent lines becoming too thick.

Method    
         

Preparing glass

Before starting to paint, remove any traces of dust and grease from the surface to ensure good adherence. Use a solvent such as white spirit or methylated spirit.

Transferring designs

When working on a flat surface such as a clip frame or acetate, the design can be traced straight through. Flat surfaces are the easiest to work on so if painting a window or door, try to lay it on a horizontal surface. To transfer a design onto a more rounded piece such as a vase, you will need to fix the design to the inside of the glass.

Using Outliners

To create a straight line with outliner touch the nozzle onto the glass surface then applying a gentle, even pressure, lift the nozzle away from the surface and stretch the outliner along in a straight line. Touch the nozzle down on the glass surface at the end of your line.

Applying the paint

When filling in areas between outlines with a brush, apply paint generously by puddling the paint or using a pipette. This will give a flat, stained-glass effect. To get a lighter colour paint, dilute with water for the water based paint or gloss varnish for the non-water based paints.

Always pour paint into a palette rather than using straight from the jar. This prevents colours becoming dirty or diluted. Sponging is another way of applying glass paint, this is good for covering large areas and blending colours while wet. The first coat can also be allowed to dry then oversponged with a second colour.

 
Tip
 

Always prepare your surface by wiping the surface with a solvent (such as white spirit or methylated spirit) to remove grease and surface dust.

Finishing

You may want to protect your solvent based paint with a coat of varnish. Glass paint varnish comes in a gloss or matt finish. The gloss varnish can be used as a colourless thinner to obtain pastel shades, without affecting the transparency and depth of colour. The matt varnish gives a finish like frosted glass.

To add finishing touches to a project, while the paint is still wet, you can use tweezers to add beads or sequins. The wet paint will act as a glue. You can also add glitter by sprinkling it over the wet paint.

Glass paint should be used only for decorative objects, the colours are not dishwasher proof. It can however be cleaned by wiping with a damp cloth.

 
   
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