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How to Paint on Clear Glass Vases

Carly Reynolds
Table of Contents

Create a custom piece of home decor by taking leftover glass vases and giving them a fresh coat of glass paint.

Transform any clear glass vase into a custom piece of home decor with some paint and a little imagination. Different painting techniques will provide you with different results for your finished glass vase. Glass vases are readily available at big box stores and are very inexpensive. This is also a way to dress up the free glass vases that come with many floral arrangements.

Prepare the Vase

Before you can paint the vase, it is important to take the time to prepare it to receive paint. Start by washing the vase, both inside and out, with hot soapy water. Dry the vase thoroughly with paper towels. Next, use rubbing alcohol and a paper towel to clean the glass that is going to receive paint. This rubbing alcohol step is important because it helps the glass paint adhere to the surface properly. Allow the vase to dry thoroughly before painting.

Painting the Inside

If you want your vase to be a single, solid color, paint the inside of the vase. The color will show through and you will get the shine of the outside of the painted glass vase.

  1. Pour some glass paint directly into the vase. Swirl the paint around the inside of the vase to start coating it. You may also use a paintbrush or your fingers to draw the paint up the sides of the vase. Continue this process until the entire inside of the vase is painted.

  2. If there is extra paint inside the vase, turn the vase over on a paper plate and allow the paint to drip out for a few minutes.

  3. If a second coat is required, allow the paint to dry completely before applying it.

Painting the Outside

A second option is adding hand-painted embellishments to the outside of the glass vase. Painted flowers, stripes, monograms, polka dots and graphic designs are all possible additions to standard glass vases. If you choose to paint the outside of the vase a solid color, you will get a flat matte finish after curing.

  1. Decide upon a design. If you are opting for stripes, use painter's tape to mask off the areas you want left unpainted. If you are painting a design directly onto the glass, draw it first on a piece of paper and then tape the paper to the inside of the vase. You will be able to see the design through the glass and follow along.

  2. Use paint brushes or paint dabbers to complete your design. You may need to allow the paint to dry and then apply a second coat for thicker coverage. Allow the paint to dry.

  3. Tip

    Paint dabbers make great polka dots. Dabbers are available in various sizes and are typically used for stenciling.

Allow Paint to Cure

Depending upon the brand, paint can cure in one of two ways. It can either be baked in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or it can be allowed to air dry for a period of 21 days. Follow the manufacturer instructions and allow your paint to cure. If the brand of paint has a proper curing process on the instructions label, sealant is not required.


When baking a vase, make sure to place the vase in a cold oven. Preheat the oven with the vase inside so the it warms up gradually. Allow the oven to fully cool down after turning it off before removing the vase. A quick, drastic change in temperature can cause glass to crack.