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Everything you need to know about spray painting glass

Spray paint seems to be a trick up all of us DIYers sleeves. We see an ugly vase at a thrift store and know we can transform it with a can of spray paint. But have you ever been intimidated before spray painting glass?

Well, spray painting glass is just like spray painting any other solid item. Of course, there are certain paints that will adhere better and certain techniques that will make sure the paint doesn’t drip. So there are a few distinctions.

Here, I’ll be diving into those specifics so you can feel confident when starting your own painted glass projects.

woman spraying white spray paint into the air

Can you Use spray paint on glass jars and vases?

Most people think spray paint is only used on wood, metal, or plastic surfaces. However, you can also use it on glass, which I’ll work on today. When done correctly, spray paint can provide a glossy, colorful finish that transforms any glass object into a work of art without requiring much work. 

The key to success is to use glass paint which is specifically designed for use on glass. Using the right product will ensure you won’t have any paint drips. This paint usually comes in a spray bottle and contains chemicals that adhere to the glass surface well.

white painted mason jar

Different options for spray painting glass

If you want to add some personality to your glass items, spray painting is an effortless and long-lasting option.

There are different ways to do it, so you can find the perfect method for your project after some research. Here are some of my favorite spray paint glass methods that you can also try:

Chalk painted glassware

If you love the chalk-painted (affiliate) look, try using chalk paint spray paint. Chalk paint spray paint is a specially formulated type of paint designed for use on delicate glass surfaces.

Unlike regular paint, chalk paint will not run or drip when applied to glass, making it much easier to achieve a professional-looking finish. This paint is also very forgiving, so if you make a mistake, wipe it away and start again.

Whether you’re looking to add a pop of color to your windows or give an old vase a new lease on life, chalk paint is a smart option for spray painting glass because it will adhere to anything.

Pink chalked spray paint on a jar as a vase with flowers.

DIY faux milk glass

Another way to achieve a beautiful and professional-looking finish on a glass piece is to create DIY faux milk glass. This method involves using white spray paint designed specifically for glass surfaces.

When applying the paint, it is important to use light and even strokes to avoid creating heavy or uneven areas.

Once the paint has dried, apply another coat. Milk glass is opaque, so you may have to do several coats to get the thickness that resembles milk glass. Be sure to finish with a clear sealant to protect it from chips and scratches.

faux dit milk painted vase

Frosted glass

Frosted glass spray paint is another product to use on those glass bottles, jars, or glass vases. Rustoleum frosted glass (affiliate) spray paint will keep your jar clear, while also giving it a bit of a foggy distressed look.

You can also use this project on any glass that you want to be opaque; like your bathroom window! Be sure to do thin coats across the entire surface of your glass, with plenty of dry time in-between.

Also, you shouldn’t use said painted project for at least 24 hours after it’s been painted. This will allow the paint to dry fully. Surfaces will stay tacky if you don’t allow enough dry time.

spray painted frosted glass
Frosted glass spray paint.

White spray paint

There are so many different spray paint brands on the market, how are you to know which is the right spray paint to use that will give that factory finish.

I find that the top the line spray paint is either Krylon or Rustoleum. Krylon (affiliate) has a 5 times adhesion spray paint specially formulated for surfaces like glass, metal, plastic, and more.

Rustoleum (affiliate) has a universal gloss spray paint that gives the perfect finish. The most important thing to remember when painting glass is that you need to do light coats. Otherwise drips will form.

You can immediately try to remove the drip with a paper towel, but I find that even after that you are left with an uneven finish.

The goal is that when dry, our glass project has an even tone and a smooth surface. A great way to achieve that is to do light coats about 1–12 inches away from the surface.

Spray painted white bottle

Sea glass

If you love the look of tinted mason jars, give Krylon sea glass (affiliate) spray paint a try. Sea glass is lighter and just barely tinted.

So, if you’re looking for a subtle color, this is the spray for you. You can buy it in so many different colors, you’ll definitely find one you love. Beware, this one can be a bit runny.

Spray painted pink tinted jar.
Sea glass spray paint.

Stained glass

Stained glass spray paint from Krylon in one of my favorites. It’s similar to sea glass, but a little thicker. This makes it more user friendly as it won’t drip as much as the sea glass will. Also, the color is just a bit more opaque as well.

You can actually use stained glass spray paint to achieve that tinted look too. Just spray a thin coat of stained glass and when dry, a coat of frosted glass. You’ll get the same look, with an easier product to work with.

Green tinted jar using spray paint
Stained glass spray paint

Metallic Finishes

Metallic finishes are a great choice for glass because they bring a sense of luxury and sophistication. The right metallic spray paint can make even the most ordinary glassware look like a work of art – and that’s what we want.

To apply a metallic finish to the glass, spray paint it with the desired color, and let it dry. Metallic paint is straightforward to work with, and it dries quickly, so you can enjoy your new glassware in no time.

I find that the best gold spray paint to use is Krylons Premium metallic in 18K gold (affiliate). If you are looking for a chrome metallic finish, I prefer using Krylon metallic silver (affiliate).

Metallic spray paint silver.


You can also turn glass into a mirror just by using spray paint! Simply use mirror spray paint on an old window, a glass top table or desk, or even an old picture frame.

DIY projects can be challenging, but this one is a no brainer. You can literally transform a glass object into a mirror (affiliate) with spray paint.

My absolute favorite one is Krylons looking glass silver aerosol spray paint. It is by far the best I’ve used. You can also touch up an existing mirror with this spray. Maybe your antique mirror has a crack or a small piece is missing; You can use this spray to make it new again!

Old picture frame tuned into a mirror with mirror spray paint.
Mirror spray paint

Best spray paints for solid colors in any sheen: Matte, Satin, Semi-Gloss & Gloss

Glass is the perfect canvas for a quick and easy makeover. And the best part is that you can achieve any look you want, from subtle and sophisticated to bold and vibrant.

Whether you’re looking for a matte, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss finish, spray paint will give you the perfect result. With so many different colors, the projects are endless.

The type of spray paint you use will determine the finish. For a matte finish, try Rust-Oleum Universal Matte Spray Paint.

This Rust-Oleum spray paint for glass provides excellent coverage and adhesion, and it’s easy to clean up with just soap and warm water.

Rust-Oleum Universal Semi-Gloss Spray Paint will surely catch your attention if you prefer something with a little more sheen. It gives the glass a beautiful shimmery finish that is still soft

. For a high-gloss finish, Rust-Oleum Universal High Gloss Spray Paint is the way to go, as it gives your glassware a brilliant shine that is sure to turn heads.

No matter what look you’re going for; these are the best spray paints for achieving solid colors on glass. So get creative and start spray painting your way to brand new home décor.

Green rust oleum spray paint semi gloss

How do you spray paint glass so It doesn’t chip off?

Now that we know spray painting glass is possible and practical, let’s get to work spray painting some glass! Here’s my step-by-step method for spray painting glass:

  1. Before spray painting, clean the glass surface thoroughly because any dirt or grime will show through once the paint is applied.
  2. Next, pick the best spray paint for glass. Special paints are available for glass surfaces, which are a good option if you want a long-lasting and durable finish. However, you can also use regular spray paint – be sure to use primer first to make sure it will adhere and follow up with a top coat.
  3. When you’re ready to start painting, shake the can well and hold it about 10-12 inches away from the surface of the glass. Apply the paint in even, sweeping strokes, moving back and forth until the entire surface is covered. Once dry, paint the reverse side of the glass if needed. After your first coat, you may need a second coat. This will depend on the depth of the color you are trying to achieve. Just be sure to do light layers so it dried evenly. You want the paint to dry completely before handling or using the glass again.

Just take your time and work in a well-ventilated area for the best results.

White spray painted glass jars.

Considerations for the best spray paints for glass

Below is a checklist of the most important factors to remember when selecting the right paint for your project. A lot of paints will disclose if they will work well with glass, so It’s a good idea take notice and pick accordingly. Also, try and keep these things in mind as well:

  • Drip 

Drip is the term used to describe the runny paint that happens after applying the paint to a surface. It happens because the paint isn’t thick enough to stick to the surface and dries too quickly.

As a result, it leaves behind a trail of runny paint that can be difficult to clean up. When choosing spray paint for glass jars or windows, select one that will have minimal dripping to prevent damage and make cleanup much easier. Choosing a paint that is meant for glass will help with drips.

  • Sheen

The sheen of spray paint is the paint’s finish, or how light reflects off the surface. A high-gloss sheen will reflect more light than a low-gloss sheen.

For example, high-gloss paint would be good for painting a vase because it would reflect more light and make it shine. However, a low-gloss sheen would be better for painting a picture frame because it would not be as reflective and would not cause glare.

When choosing a spray paint for glass, you must understand the desired effect and choose a paint with the appropriate sheen.

  • Dry time

Most spray paints have a dry time of around 10 minutes, which is the time the paint takes to dry. Of course, it takes much longer for the paint to completely cure.

Depending on the paint, temperature, and humidity, it can take days or even weeks for the paint to reach its full strength.

However, 10 minutes is usually long enough to get a decent finish on glass. So, when choosing spray paint, check the dry time to ensure it’s suitable for your project.

  • Price

When you are looking for spray paint for glass windows or other surfaces as such, understand the price of the product to be sure that you are getting the best value for your money.

The price of spray paint is determined by the quality of the product, the size of the can, and the retailer you purchase it from. If you are looking for a high-quality product, you should expect to pay more. However, if you need a cheap spray paint for a small craft project, it’s ok to save.

How do you permanently paint on glass?

You can follow multiple methods to paint on glass permanently. One is to use spray paint specifically designed for the glass, such as Krylon’s Fusion for Glass. Another option is to use enamel paint, which you can also use on glass, metal and other surfaces.

When looking to paint glass, you’ll find most are acrylic spray paints. But enamel paint (affiliate) is more durable. Or you could just use a transparent enamel paint as a top coat. Either way, you can find enamel paints at most art supply stores.

A third option is to use oil-based paint. However, this paint can take up to 72 hours to dry completely, so it’s not the best choice if you need a quick turnaround. Oil-based paints tend to be yellow over time, making your vibrant colors dull. Oil paint is not always the best for glass surfaces. 

Blue enamel spray paint

Do you prime glass before painting?

Yes, priming first is a great option. Glass is a difficult surface to paint on, and the primer will help the paint to adhere better. You can use any primer, but make sure it is suitable for use on glass.

Apply the primer in a spray paint form or if the surface allows, with a brush or roller. Just be careful of leaving behind brush strokes.

Clear primers are available at home improvement stores like the Home Depot; however, if you are working with oil- or shellac-based paints, you will need to purchase a primer specific to the type of paint you are using.

A lot of spray paint is actually a two-in-one. Meaning it is both a primer and a spray paint. Both products work well, so use whatever your preference is.

Do you need to sand glass before painting?

Preparing a glass surface for paint is all about creating a smooth, even surface for the paint to adhere to. I find that sanding glass or metal surfaces creates texture that inevitable shows up after spray painting.

If the glass is particularly rough or uneven, sanding can help create an ideal surface for painting. However, if the glass is already relatively smooth, you should skip sanding.

Should you use a topcoat over painted glass?

You should use a topcoat (affiliate)over painted glass to protect the paint from chipping and fading. Also, it provides the best finish.

Clear enamel spray paint top coat.

Want to shop my favorite spray paints? Click on an image below to be taken to the source. *These are affiliate links and if used I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog of mine!

Rounding Up

The key to spray painting glass jars, vases, windows, or even a candle holder is to use a good primer and paint designed for the glass and to carefully clean the surface beforehand.

A lot of spray paints are a paint and primer in one. So read the manufactures instructions before hand. If you do it right, you can achieve a beautiful, professional-looking finish that will add a touch of style to any room.

Even though glass isn’t the most ideal surface to paint, following these steps will make it so your glass project will hold up the best over time.

I hope this guide will help your future DIY glass projects! By following the simple steps I have outlined above, you can create stunning designs that will add a personal touch to your home. With a little creativity, the sky’s the limit when spray painting glass. 

Pin for later

Woman spray painting with text over the image.

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Thanks for reading!

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