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September 24, 2012

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Can you use spray paint on glass? Yes, you can!

Madigan made… tips for spray painting glassware and ceramics.

Tips for spray painting glassware and ceramics at

It is no secret around here that I love spray paint. It is one of the fastest ways to update an old object and give it new life.

Have you ever wondered if you can spray paint glassware?

Well, I’ve used spray paint on multiple glass surfaces with success:

There are some really cool craft paints out on the market now that can be used on glass. But sometimes, I like the smooth, sprayed look of spray paint.  I thought I’d share with you a few of my tips for using spray paint on glass. (These same tips can be used with ceramic pieces, too.)

Do’s and Don’t for Using Spray Paint on Glass at


Do’s and Don’t for Using Spray Paint on Glass:

Do clean your glassware thoroughly.

I usually run mine through the dishwasher AND then clean the glass with isopropyl alcohol about 10-15 minutes before I spray it.

Do use light coats.

I do not prime my pieces, but I do spray my projects with very light and very frequent coats of spray paint. I apply the paint outside, in a well ventilated area. 
I’ve used a range of different spray paint brands and finishes (matte to glossy) with similar success. (And… psst… I sometimes think that the cheaper spray paint might stick better!) You don’t have to seal it with a clear acrylic coat, but it might help protect the finish.


Do NOT expect spray painted glass surfaces to last a lifetime.

Spray painting glass is easy and pretty. It is a nice, cheap fix. But I’m not going to lie to you. Even if you take the above precautions, it can (and will) chip over time. I handle all of the pieces I’ve painted with extra care. They are all decorative accessories and are rarely moved or used.
If you need more durability for your project, I suggest using craft paint specifically designed for glass. They can be baked and will cure to a hard, chip-resistant finish. Keep in mind that most of those paints require you to brush the paint on the glass… which will give you a slightly different look than a sprayed coat.

Do consider working from the inside.

To help improve durability, you might want to try spraying the inside of a pretty container. The paint surface is then protected since it is on the interior of the glass. You can’t store anything in the piece once painted (the finish could chip), but the appearance of your glass might mimic the look of milk glass. I have tips how to spray the inside of containers in my DIY milk glass apothecary jar tutorial.
Note: If you want a vase to hold water, I suggest painting the outside of it (since the paint could wash off if painted on the inside). I painted the exterior of cut glass vases with matte spray paint for an elegant look for a black and white bridal shower.

Do NOT use the paint in areas that will come in contact with food.

Since spray paint can chip and flake, using on pieces that will be near food is typically not recommended. As I mentioned above, there are some paints made for glass and ceramics and they may be safe to use on food serving dishes. Read the manufacturer’s guidance carefully. Regardless of the paint you use, always check to see if the product you are using is food safe and/or non-toxic prior to using it.

Do NOT place the glassware in the dishwasher.

As you may have already guessed, this paint treatment is not very sturdy and will likely  not withstand the heat and scrubbing of a dishwasher. I suggest dusting or cleaning your pieces with a damp cloth. And if needed, careful hand washing may be OK.

While the paint treatment is not super durable and the function of your pieces will be primarily decorative… I love how quick and easy it is to spray paint glass.  Don’t you love the power of a little paint?

Spray paint tips for glass -
The high heat and humidity from the summer is gone and we are moving into great ‘spray paint weather’ here in Pennsylvania.  I’m hoping to get some spray painting projects finished soon. How about you?

UPDATE: If you wanted a paint option that was more durable on glass… I would strongly suggest trying glass paint instead of spray paint. Get my essential tips for using glass paint here:
Helpful tips and advice about using glass paint on glass and ceramics.

And are you interested in more simple and creative inspiration? Check out these ideas:

Over 50 simple craft tutorials - Over 50 simple DIY decor ideas -
Over 30 easy recipes at Over 50 elegant and simple holiday ideas.