The impending arrival of summer brings with it a steady diet of ice cream and ice tea in my world! In this week’s How-Tuesday project, Etsy artist Yevgenia Davidoff (a.k.a. Yevgenia) shares tips for painting glassware. I think I might apply her advice to a glass painting endeavor to decorate vessels for my favorite summer confections. This project would also make for a great Father’s Day present!
I started painting on objects by accident about 6 years ago while searching for a birthday present for my dad. I wondered, what can you possibly get for someone who has seen it all? It definitely has to be something original and meaningful. Because I am a classically trained painter my past gift ideas have usually been paintings on canvas, and at this point the majority of his walls are already decorated with my work. That’s when I decided that I wanted the next present to be beautiful, yet functional, and hand-painted by me.
With this in mind, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out my next move because one of his favorite pastimes is cooking. I decided to extend my talents of painting to a few of his dishes so he’d think of me every time he used them. This also gave me the opportunity to continue onto his cups, plates, vases and containers, and even the lighting fixtures and the bathroom sink! Now his whole house is engulfed with my drawings. I know that sounds a little crazy, but that’s the amazing thing about my family: they love the fact that each of their items is personalized. My father sees this as living in a tender and artistically enriching lifestyle, created by his daughter.
Supplies you’ll need:
- A glass piece to paint (I selected a glass that may be used as a votive candle holder or a small vase.)
- 2 Pebeo Vitrea 160 markers (I used Glossy Ink Black and Glossy Sandalwood Green.)
- A couple of colors of Pebeo Vitrea 160 paint (I used Sapphire Blue 09 and Amaranthe Purple 07.)
- Paint brushes, a palette, cotton swabs
- Rubbing alcohol or glass cleaner
- A standard kitchen oven to bake the piece and set the colors
First, clean the piece with rubbing alcohol or glass cleaner to remove any fingerprints or grease. If this is a new marker, you need to gently “pump” the tip on a piece of paper to start the flow of the paint. Test the tip to be sure the flow is continuous.
Pebeo Vitrea 160 colors are water-based, luminous and intense. They have a fairly thick consistency which tends to hold brush strokes. If you prefer less brush strokes, use a natural hair brush and add a bit of Vitrea 160 Thinner. It is always a good idea to practice first to learn how to control the paint.
The glass I chose has a distinct lower and upper half. I decided that this could work to my advantage to create depth in the design. Since the warm spring weather made me feel exuberant and happy, I was inspired me to paint air balloons. I also thought that simple shapes like circles would be a good way to learn to use these paints. I drew bigger circles on the lower half of the glass, so they appear closer, and smaller ones on the top, so they appear further away. Once the little triangles are added to the bottom of the circles the balloons come “alive.” Then all you need to do is add a string to “fly off” each one.
I always start by drawing an outline around my design with the marker — it creates a nice border that can be filled in once dry. To make drawing the design easier, place a piece of paper to fit inside the glass, then draw your design on the glass. Keep in mind that the transparency of the glass allows the design (from the opposite side) to be seen through the glass. Place the balloon shapes in such a way that the empty space on the back surface is filled by the shape on the front. The glass transparency works to your advantage so you do not need many shapes to create a fully covered effect.
Once the outline is complete, wait a few moments for the paint to dry to prevent the colors from smudging.
The great thing about the Vitrea 160 glass paints is that they are translucent, so the overlapping balloons are very easy to reproduce with these paints. Be sure to start by painting with the lightest color first. The consistency of the paint is nice and thick straight from the bottle. However, if it’s too thick, or if you prefer a lighter color, add a tiny bit of Pebeo Dilutant. You may also add up to 10% water to the paint — more than 10% could lessen the durability of the paint over time. I painted about half of the balloons using the sandalwood green marker, then about a quarter of the non-overlapping balloons in the blue color.
Now, for the mixing of the colors. You can create four colors using only one marker and one paint bottle. Press the tip of the green marker on your palette and pump it a little. You’ll get a little puddle of the green paint. Add a little bit of blue to it and you have a “bluish green” color. At the same time, add a little bit of green to the blue color and you obtain a slightly warmer blue.
Once the first two colors dry (after 5 minutes) you can paint the overlapping balloons with a different color; the overlapping area will be a mix of two colors now! Voilà!
What happens if you go out of the lines or mess up? No problem! If the paint is still wet simply wipe it with a cotton swab or a clean damp brush. If the paint has dried use a moist cotton swab with a bit of rubbing alcohol. If the whole thing is a big disaster and you want to start over just soak the glass in warm water or rinse with rubbing alcohol and dry it off before starting over.
If you want to make some of the colors more intense allow the first layer to dry completely. Once dry, paint a second coat with a light, sweeping stroke and it will add color and density. I also added a bit of purple over a few of the blue balloons and it added a nice variety of color tones.
Once the painting is complete and dry (allow 24 hours to make sure), it is time to bake the glass to make the paint permanent. Place the piece in a cool oven directly on the middle oven rack and set the temperature to 325°F/160°C. When the temperature has been reached, set the timer for 40 minutes and bake. Once complete turn off the oven and allow the piece to cool down gradually before removing. Now you are really finished! Enjoy your glass!
A few more tips…
- If the cap has not been properly secured the paint in the bottle may start to thicken. Simply add a little bit of Vitrea 160 Dilutant to the paint on the palette and mix well or add up to 10% water. Reminder that more than 10% water may lessen the durability of the paint.
- For best results use an oven thermometer, as many ovens are not calibrated correctly. Place the dishes in the cool oven and then turn the oven on.
- Please note: Pebeo is non-toxic. However, it is not recommended for use on surfaces that come in contact with food.
Thank you to Yevgenia Davidoff for sharing this project with us.
For more glass painting inspiration, check out Yevgenia’s Etsy shop.