Learn to Paint Glass Bottles & Jars: A Complete Guide

Glass bottles have become extremely popular for DIY projects in the last few years. With a little creativity, you can re-purpose the glass bottles as string light holders, unique table centerpieces, and a number of other inventive items. While a lot of people use glass bottles for their creative projects, few realize how awesome glass craft can look inside as well as outside of your home. With the use of tools such as bottle cutters and new techniques to paint bottles, glass craft has found a new dimension in the recent years. Painted glass bottles can make boring DIY projects fun and exciting as you can use different color schemes and patterns to achieve your intended effect. Below the ins and outs of glass bottle painting will be laid out with a view to answering the basic questions relating to glass bottle painting.

Difference Between Tint and Coloring Glass

Before you start your DIY project, it is important to know the difference between tint and coloring glass. Tint is basically making a color lighter by adding white to it. For example, you can add white color to red and make it appear as pink. On the other hand, coloring glass is simply using the pure colors on an object without adding any shade or tint to make it appear dark or light respectively.

Different Glass Bottle Painting Methods:

There are various methods to paint glass bottles. You can choose between these methods based on the usage and the effect that you are looking for. Based on your methods you can either choose to-

  • paint glass bottles from the outside; or
  • paint glass bottles from the inside.

Both these methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Glass bottles which are painted from the inside are mostly used for decorative purposes. You get smooth and clean finishes without any rough edges or brushstrokes on the outside. However, apart from food-colors most of the colors used to paint glass are not non-toxic. And as such these bottles are not safe to store any kind of food items. Again, these bottles are not water proof, so filling the jar with water is not an option, so it cannot be used as a vase either.

On the other hand, painting glass from the outside has its pros and cons also. The biggest benefit to using this method is that you can use the bottles for not only decorative purpose but you can use it just like any other glass bottles or jar. You can store whatever things you like, even food items can be stored. Plus, it can be used as a flower vase also, because you can fill the bottles or jars with water. One drawback to using this method is that you will not get the same smooth and clean finish compared to the other method. There may be visible brushstrokes or rough edges. Again, paint wear off more quickly if the glass is painted from the outside as it comes with contact with other stuffs more frequently. 

The Best Paints to Use for Glass Bottles:

  • Enamel Glass Paint

Enamel glass paints are known for their glossy appearance and shiny finish. They do not produce as smooth and soft sheen finishes as acrylic paints. Enamels are solvent based paint and it takes longer time to dry compared to acrylic paints. Usually they are baked to cure the paint that means they are put in a warm oven for the color to set on the glass permanently. Moreover, once cured it is quite durable and scratch resistant. Another advantage of enamel glass paint is that they are dishwasher safe after being cured successfully. They can be used in both glass and ceramic.  

  • Acrylic Paint

If you are looking for a smooth, matte and soft sheen finish on you glass then Acrylic paints are the best choice. Acrylic paints are water based and as a result dries faster without the need for baking it. However, unlike enamel paints, it does not stay on permanently. Glass is a non-porous surface and does not have the texture to hold on to paints permanently. So in order to make the paint permanent, you need to prepare the glass before painting. You need to sand the glass to make the surface rough before painting and use several coats to have a permanent effect. Again you can also use a sealant over the painted glass to make it permanent. 

  • Special Markers

Markers are best option for beginners. They are easy to use and control. Due to the unique surface of glass bottle painting in them is quite challenging if you are not used to it. So, for starters special markers for painting on glass might be a good choice. Oil based paint markers are usually works best with glass. Best thing about oil paint markers is that they always produce vibrant colors with a smooth finish. Another advantage is that they are water resistant and dishwasher safe, as a result gives a permanent effect to the craft projects.

Supplies Needed to Paint Glass Bottles

You are going to need the following supplies:

  1. Clean glass bottles
  2. White vinegar or rubbing alcohol
  3. Water and mild soap
  4. Enamels
  5. Paper towels
  6. Foam plate or palette
  7. Foam daubers, soft bristle brushes, and/or spouncers

Preparing the Glass Surface for Painting

Follow these instructions to properly prepare the glass surface for painting:

  1. Thoroughly clean the glass bottles in warm soapy water so that any dust, dirt, and grease film is removed.
  2. Now rinse the glass bottles in clean, warm water and let them dry completely.
  3. Next, dampen a paper towel with white vinegar or rubbing alcohol and wipe the bottles to make sure they are clean of any remaining soap film. Afterwards, set them aside for about 10-15 minutes to air-dry.

Tips for Painting Glass Bottles

Now that your glass bottles are prepared for painting, follow these tips to properly paint them:

  1. Make sure to paint the glass bottles outside when there is little to no wind present. This will make your job easier.
  2. If you are using a pattern, place it inside the bottle and tape in place. By doing this, you will be able to see the pattern through the glass. There is another way to keep the pattern visible: placing a bit of soft fabric inside the glass bottle.
  3. If you are painting stripes on the glass bottle, use stencil tape or employ a flat brush to mask certain areas of the glass. Don’t wait for the paint to dry before removing the stencil tape; remove it while the paint is still wet.
  4. Use a stylus or brush handle to paint small polka dots. To paint large polka dots, use a spouncer or dauber.
  5. Make sure no beverages and food come in contact with the paint. When painting glass bottles, you should leave at least 3/4″ around the rim free of paint.

Caring for Painted Glass Bottles Project

Here’s what you should do:

  1. After painting the glass bottles, let them dry for at least 24 hours before curing.
  2. Once the paint has dried, make sure to cure the painted glass bottles.
  3. Once the glass bottles have been cured, wash them in mild dish soap. Don’t soak painted glass.

Using the tips outlined above will help you get the best result with your glass craft. Painting glass bottles is a great DIY project that can surely impress your family and friends.

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