How to Paint Glass With Oil Paints

Brandy Alexander

Painting glass with oil paints is an exciting way to enhance your work. Oil paints work for both soda lime and borosilicate glasses and allow the artist to expand his color palette and use techniques that may not be achievable in the studio.

There are various methods for painting; however, whatever technique you choose, sandblast your work first. This ensures the permanence of the oil paint and also takes advantage of the attractive, light-diffusing characteristics that sandblasting provides.

  1. Use a sandblaster to chip away the glossy surface of the glass so that the oil paint permanently adheres to it. A recommended pressure is 30 pounds per square inch (psi), using aluminum oxide as the grit. If you do not have access to a sandblaster, contact your local glass studio to see if you can rent time on a machine.

  2. Lay your glass piece down on newspaper or other material that protects the surface you are working on,and paint the piece with your paint brush and oil paint. Experiment with color gradients by applying two colors next to each other and, using a paper towel, pulling one color into the other.

  3. Wipe the paint off of your glass with paper towels. This leaves just the paint that is secured in the texture of the sandblasted glass.

  4. Allow your piece to dry for at least 24 hours or according to the time specified on the oil paint instructions.

  5. Tip

    When sandblasting, you can choose to spot blast only certain sections of glass by covering parts with a sandblast resist. The pieces covered will retain the smooth glass surface and the blasted areas will have a matte surface.


    Always wear a mask or respirator when sandblasting because inhaling the dust can cause serious lung damage.