Painting on Glass Using Glass

I am sure you have seen those examples of painting on glass using glass. This procedure is accomplished by using glass along with a medium to give the appearance of a painted piece.

These pieces are so detailed and amazing that I am sure you have thought you could never do anything as complicated as that. Hopefully, this page will help you see how easy this technique can be accomplished with just a few items. Put away all your preconceived views of this technique and let's get started.

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Glass painting doesn’t have to be intimidating. Painting with glass can be precise and difficult, or carefree and simplistic. The decision is up to you, the individual. Painting on glass doesn’t have to be scary, but sometimes watching the professionals make some of their intricate paintings can shy you away from trying the process. This is a clear-cut painted glass project that anyone can accomplish with a variety of effects.

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  • Pre-cut clear circle or clear glass cut to fit your mold
  • Glass cleaner or soap and water
  • Lint free towel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Elmer’s glue or Glassline paint
  • Plastic bottle with tip
  • Glass Powder
  • Kiln
  • Kiln shelf
  • Kiln shelf paper
  • Mold
  • Kiln wash
  • To make painting on glass even simpler, try purchasing a pre-cut shape. It is more expensive to buy pre-cut circles, but they can make painting on glass easier. So, even if you don’t possess cutting skills, this project can be simple and easy to finish. For my plate I have chosen to cut out my glass using a glass saw. Although this doesn’t give the even round edge, it is easier for me to just pull out the saw, trace around my mold and cut out the design.

    With the painting on glass procedure, like all your fusing projects, make sure that you are using the same COE on all of your glass. All of the painting on glass materials (base and frit) that are used for this project need to be tested to have the same coefficient of expansion.

    This procedure of painting on glass will take two firings. Because you are working with frit there is the possibility that it will move out of place if you try to slump at the same time as fusing the glass. Take your time…slow and easy.

    The first step in painting on glass is to decide the size and shape you want to design. This can be achieved by first deciding on the slumping mold you would like to use, then decide on whether you are going to cut or purchase the glass needed. Remember that you will need to prepare the mold with kiln wash before firing.

    Once you have decided on the size and shape of your design, either draw or find a pattern. Sketch or print the design on some plain paper. For a beginner at painting on glass, I suggest a simple pattern. Draw the shape of your mold on the paper also, so that you can line up the glass with the outline.

    Clean glass thoroughly and dry with lint free towel. To avoid getting oil from your hands on the project, try wearing rubber gloves.

    Place your cut glass on top of the design. Line up the outside dimensions with your glass.

    Trace the design on the glass either using Glassline paints or glue. If using Elmer’s glue, mix one tablespoon of glue with one teaspoon of water. Place this diluted mixture in a bottle with a tip that can easily disperse an even line.

    Using the paint or glue, draw the outline onto the glass. Try to use even pressure on the bottle to achieve consistent lines. Move the paper occasionally to have better access to the design. Trace over all the lines with the mixture.

    Gently sprinkle glass frit over the mixture design. Make sure to cover the pattern completely. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes.

    Now tip the piece of glass onto a clean sheet of paper. Move the glass around as you tip it allowing all the tiny unsecured pieces of frit to fall onto the paper. All of the frit that has fallen onto the paper can be poured back into its original container for future usage.

    Allow the piece to either air dry for a few hours, or use a hair dryer to speed up the drying action.

    At this point, there are a couple of things you can do. You can add more color to the piece. If you have used an opaque black frit, you could add some transparent colors to fill in the clear areas of glass. Transparent colors can be spread over the opaque black and the black will still show when fired.

    Place a piece of kiln shelf paper on the shelf. Make sure that you have cut the paper to fit the shelf. This could be placed on a shelf prepared with kiln wash, but when firing a single sheet of glass, you run the risk of having air bubbles form under the piece. The shelf paper is porous and allows any air to escape instead of getting trapped in the glass.

    Place the decorated piece of glass on the shelf paper inside the kiln. If any of the loose frit should fall off of the decorated piece, use a soft brush to try to move and remove any stray pieces.

    Close the kiln and turn it on. Fire the piece at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit per hour until it reaches approximately 1450 degrees Fahrenheit. Hold the piece at this temperature for about 20 minutes. Allow the piece to cool down gradually to about 950 degrees Fahrenheit and hold it at that temperature for approximately one hour. Then gradually drop the temperature to below 100 degrees Fahrenheit before opening the kiln.

    painting on glass, glass painting, painting with glass, painted glass

    Once the piece has cooled to room temperature it can be removed from the shelf. Wash the piece to remove any kiln paper residue. Prepare the mold with kiln wash. Be sure to coat it with several layers. Allow it to dry completely before proceeding. This can be sped up by using a hair dryer. Allow the piece to cool if using a hair dryer.

    Place the mold inside the kiln and place the cooled piece on top. The piece should be the same size as the mold.

    Close the kiln and turn the unit on. Fire the piece at about 500 degrees per hour to around 1225 degrees. Soak and observe the piece at this temperature. It shouldn’t take more than about 10 minutes for the piece to slump down into the mold. Drop the temperature slowly to 950 degrees Fahrenheit and hold at this temperature for about an hour. Now allow the temperature to gradually descend to below 100 degrees Fahrenheit before opening the kiln.

    Once the piece has cooled to room temperature, wash it to remove any residue.

    Show your piece off to your friends, and let them know that you have mastered the process of painting with glass. Now that you have learned the technique, try making more detailed pieces.

    Return from this page to one of the following pages:

    Glass Art for Beginners

    Fusing Projects

    Painting on Glass Using Glass to Glass Fusing Made Easy

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