How to Paint Etched Glass

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You can paint your etched glass project with an airbrush for a long-lasting finish
You can paint your etched glass project with an airbrush for a long-lasting finish (Image: laser etched virgo in the glass image by Igor from Fotolia.com)

Glass etching is the process where a design is permanently engraved on a glass object using either sandblasting or an acid process. You can also add color to etched glass by airbrushing the back of the design, creating an even more custom look to each piece. You can paint etched glass using a few tools found at your local hobby shop.

Things You'll Need

  • Lacquer-based glass paint
  • An airbrush, eye dropper or small paint brush

Clean the surface of the etched glass with soap and water to make sure there is not dirt or any residual chemicals on the surface. You must have a clean surface to ensure the paint will stick properly. Dry the project completely.

Using an airbrush, small paint brush or eye dropper (for very small areas) paint the etched surface of the project with a thin coat of lacquer-based glass paint. This type of paint will allow the light to pass through and create a stained glass effect. The etched surface of the glass will help the paint gain a solid hold on the glass for a permanent finish. Apply the paint in a room where the temperature is within a range of 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit. This will allow the paint to flow smoothly and will keep it from creating unwanted streaks.

Produce three-dimensional and shading effects by adding layers of darker paint around the edges of certain objects. Select a paint that is the same color, but a slightly darker shade. You can mix this by adding a few drops off black paint to darken a given color.

Add additional coats of paint over time. Whether you want to add shading or you want to darken a certain shade over an entire area, allow the first layer of paint to dry. Do not re-paint an area more than two or three times, because the thinner built into the lacquer will dissolve the previous coats of paint, causing a muddy look.

Allow the project to dry for three or four days on a flat surface before hanging it in a window or placing it on display. Lacquer can take a few days to completely cure before it should be handled.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not use a paint that is intended for glass, when the light shines through your project could look muddy and off-color.
  • Apply these paints in a well-ventilated area, as they can be extremely flammable

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