How to Paint Glass Bottles With Acrylic

Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by Masha Eretnova

Do you want to give new life to some glass bottles you have? Acrylics are amazing for that and super easy to use!

I tested acrylic paint pens and primed an old champagne bottle to see how acrylics perform.

Let me share with you a step-by-step guide to paint on glass with acrylics.

Materials you will need to use acrylic paint on glass

  • acrylic glass paints, try Folk art Enamel acrylic paint for glass
  • palette to mix colors and setup paints you will use
  • glass bottles (or any glassware)
  • brushes
  • markers, you can use them for outline and fine details.
  • 2 jars with clean water
  • paper towels
  • rubbing alcohol
  • acrylic sealer or Mod Podge
  • Stencils (if you aren’t comfortable painting free-hand)
  • *Liquitex Acrylic Glass Medium – if the paint feels too thick.
  • latex gloves, tape and trash bag to cover your workplace and glass for skin oil
  • 150-180 grit sandpaper * (optional, to create rough surface for better paint adhesion)

How to use acrylic paint on glass – Tutorial

Step 1 – Prepare the glass surface for painting

Before you start using acrylic paint on glass, you’ll want to make sure that your surface is ready. Put gloves on to make sure your skin doesn’t leave oil traces.

Clean the surface with soapy water, let it dry, then wipe it with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar and let it air dry again.

Tape areas you want to protect from paint.

Coat the glass or the area where you will paint with a layer of gesso. It will prepare the surface for the paint to stick to the glass. The layer of gesso will also make the paint more opaque.

To enhance the adhesion you can also sand the glass before applying gesso.

Alternative to gesso is a glass primer like GAC 200. The brand tested it on glass but I should note that it doesn’t make paint more scratch-resistant.

Step 2 – Prepare the paint – How to thin acrylic paint for glass

Thin down the acrylic colors before painting on glass or use fluid paint. Some artists use just water, some prefer using special acrylic mediums I’ve described here.

If you’re still not sure that the paint will stick to the surface, you can mix paint with Liquitex Acrylic Glass Medium. Premix this medium with the paint in ratio 10% of paint to 90% of the medium. The Liquitex medium can be also baked.

You can also skip thinning if you are using special acrylics for glass.

Step 3 – Painting with acrylics on glass

A good choice for acrylic painting on glass is an artist’s flat sable, synthetic, or bristle brush, all of which are designed to hold more acrylic than other types of bristles.

How to Paint Glass Bottles With Acrylic

Use acrylic paint that is compatible with the surface you’re painting on. Acrylic can be used for glass, but it might not stick.

The best acrylic paints are acrylic enamel which has been specifically designed as food safe or 100% skin-safe decoration acrylic paints for diverse surfaces.

  • Paint your acrylics onto the surface using even strokes trying to avoid brushstrokes.
  • Paint from one edge to another, but don’t paint too closely into corners or creases. This will produce clean lines and smooth surfaces if you’re using acrylic paints for glass painting. If you’re taped areas you want to keep clean, be careful with painting over them.
  • Prepare the sketch on the paper and transfer it to the glass. You can also use markers for outlining or correcting small mistakes.
  • Keep your acrylics on a flat surface such as an acrylic palette with wells. You can also use disposable palettes made of acrylic, which are great for acrylic painting on glass. Don’t pour too much paint, as acrylics are fast drying.
  • Paint the acrylics onto your surface into thin layers to create depth and shadowing effects. Moreover, painting in layers helps paint dry properly and avoid cracking. Let each layer dry before applying the next color or another design element on top of it.
  • Change up the color intensity by alternating between shades just as you would in acrylic paint on paper. Try adding a little bit of white acrylic paint to your blue acrylic paints for example, or use the same color but put less pigment into it. A white underlayer will always add more opacity.
  • You can make dots using the back tip of the brush handle!
  • If you are worried you will mess up – use tape to cover the parts you don’t want to paint.

Step 4 – Seal acrylic on glass

There are two ways to seal and protect acrylic paint on glass: sealing it with a special medium or Mod Podge and baking it.

Most decorative projects can be sealed, but if you want to make a glass piece dishwasher safe you should bake it in the oven.

There are new paints on the market like Colorful that do not require baking or sealing at all, the paint is waterproof once dry.

Read more: How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Glass: 2 Ways

Notes on Painting on Perspex

Perspex aka acrylic glass is a brand that produces transparent (and colored) plastic material that is used instead of glass or plastic.

It is actually considered to be stronger and more cost-efficient than glass. But we are only interested in painting on perspex, right, we won’t go into details on how it is manufactured and used.

Similar to plastic and glass our main concern while painting perspex is to make sure the paint sticks – we must clean, degrease the plastic sheet and dry it.

Perspex themselves say that the best paints for painting on perspex are acrylics and oils. Same as for wood or other surfaces, you can lightly sand the perspex with a 220-grit sandpaper if you feel like it, but degreasing should be enough.

Good-quality acrylics won’t require a primer.

The same painting tips apply to most plastic sheets and plexiglass!

After Care & Cleaning Your Acrylic Painted Glassware

To make sure your painted glass stays cute longer, there are a few easy tips to follow.

  • If the paint you used was dishwasher safe, and you sealed the painted area – only place it on the top shelf in the dishwasher.
  • Do not use painted glass in microwave.
  • No scrubbing, harsh solvent-based cleaning products to use on painted glass.
  • Avoid putting painted glass items outdoor under full sun for long time. Even good paint will fade eventually.
  • Remember that most sealents and paints are not food grade so don’t let painted area contact with food.

Painting Ideas for glass bottles

Wine or water bottles can be a great creative surface.

Acrylic paint for glass bottles

Acrylic paint for glass jars

dot painting on glass candle holder
Acrylic paint for glass jars

Do you have any questions on how to paint a glass bottle or glassware with acrylics? Let me know in comments!