by Crystal Short, OSCI, DDWFS
Painted glassware and ceramics are unique decorative accents that you can add to your kitchen, dining and living spaces. A wide selection of glassware and ceramics are available for purchase at many stores, including wine goblets, vases, and plates. I will cover three different techniques to paint on glassware and ceramics. Each uses a different type of paint. These are the techniques that have worked for me, and should help you be successful when painting your glass and ceramic items. Any specific product recommendations that I make are only based on my experience. I am not paid to endorse any specific products.
For all of these techniques, you should follow the directions on the paint or glass and tile medium bottle.
Surface Preparation - Glassware and Ceramic
Before you can begin painting you will need to clean the surface. For glassware and ceramic items, I've found that rubbing alcohol works well. It will remove any oils and/or dirt from your painting surface.
Technique 1 - Folk Art Glass and Tile Medium
This glass vase was painted using the Folk Art Enamels paints.
There are two methods you can use with the Folk Art Glass and Tile Medium. You can use the medium as a base coat or mix it with your paint.
Using the Glass and Tile Medium as a Base Coat
Following the directions on the bottle, begin by painting the glass and tile medium on the area you want to paint your design. Allow this base coat to dry. When dry, the glass and tile medium will give the glass a frosted appearance. Paint your design over the base coat. You can seal the design using the glass and tile medium (as directed on the bottle), a water-based varnish, or a spray lacquer. The spray lacquer, when properly applied, should make the frosted appearance disappear. It has been my experience that using the glass and tile medium as a sealer will sometimes cause the painted design to lift off of the glass.
Mix the Glass and Tile Medium with Your Paint
The other method when using the glass and tile medium is to mix it with your paint. You should add approximately 3 drops of glass and tile medium to a quarter sized (1 inch diameter) puddle of paint. If you use too much glass and tile medium, the paint will be too thin. Paint your design using the paint/glass and tile medium mixture, and then seal with either a water-based varnish or spray lacquer.
Technique 2 - Apple Barrel Gloss Indoor/Outdoor Paint
This blue glass vase was painted using glass and tile medium mixed with the paint.
This method is easier than the first since it does not require you to paint a base coat or seal the design. Following the directions on the bottle, paint your design. Allow the paint to completely dry; I usually wait about 24 hours. Finally, seal the design by baking according to the directions on the bottle.
Technique 3 - Folk Art Enamels
While I have used the previous two methods in the past, I now use the Folk Art Enamels to paint all my glassware and ceramics. I love using this paint; it is very versatile and comes in a wide range of colors.
To begin, I only use the Folk Art Enamel brushes with this paint. The brushes have white bristles and a light, mint green handle. Make sure you follow the directions on the paint bottle. You do not want to use water with this paint since it will decrease the durability. Paint your design on the prepared surface. You can use the Folk Art Enamels Clear Medium to make the parts of the design more transparent or for shadows and shading.
When you are finished painting your design, you can either wait 21 days for the design to completely cure or you can bake the item in the oven by following the directions on the bottle.
You should not use any of these techniques on a surface that will come in direct contact with food. For glass plates, you can use a reverse painting technique to paint on the bottom of the plate. For drinking glasses, goblets, and mugs, you should avoid painting within about 1 inch of the top rim.
Cleaning Your Painted Glassware or Ceramic Item
Once the design has completely dried or cured as described above, you can gently hand wash it when cleaning is required.
My favorite technique is to use the Folk Art Enamels paints when working with glassware and ceramics. If you haven't tried them, I urge you to do so. They are easy to work with and generate beautiful results. Good Luck and keep painting!
This article and pictures © 2004 Crystal Short, All Rights Reserved.
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