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FAQ about glass painting

Some people might ask; is glass paint always black or brown?

The answer to this question is No, glass paints comes in many colors, Blacks, Reds, Blues, Browns and so on, let’s take Brown from Reusche glass paint products, for example; the color Brown exists in Light Brown, Dark brown, Ancient Brown, Bistre Brown just to name a few.

Can I mix different colors together?

Yes, you can. Glass paint can be mixed together, I do mix the colors some time to add another color, some time I mix the dark color with white at a certain proportion. My glass painting teacher in England always add some Bistre Brown to his tracing black mixer, because when left for a while will float over the Black on the Palette which will work as a visual sign to remind him to remix his paint.

What sort of Vehicle and Bender are used with glass paint mixer?

Well let me say; that the most used Vehicle are water, White Vinegar and oil. The usual Bender is Gum Arabic.

To me, I think selecting your paints, your vehicle and bender is a matter of personal preference, while you like to use Vinegar or Water others might not, and  prefer using Lavender oil or even Propylene Glycol. Each one of us got his own reasons. I used Water to mix my paint its; great vehicle that work very well, but when I went to England for my intensive painting course I learned from my teachers how to use oil; yes Lavender and Sandalwood oils.

David and Stephen; my teachers from Williams & Byrne studios in Ludlow/ England tout me to mix my paint using Water as my Vehicle and Gum Arabic as my Bender, to use for my undercoat and tracing, but for more work such as; shadowing, silver stain the tout me to use oils but without any Gum Arabic. The nice thing about this way of mixing glass paints; it will give you more chance to enhance your design; you can highlight, add shadows and blend as much as you want and you can do all of that without firing your painted glass even once.

We mix silver stain and enamels with oil, no Gum Arabic. Mixing them with oil will give you more time to blend and manipulate the work, so you can do more better results.

What are the differences between water mixed and vinegar mixed paints?

Well before any thing else, we need to know that both Water and Vinegar are vehicle, and that in both mixers we need a bender “Gum Arabic” . I think the best thing to do to get the almost right answer to this question is to present this case on advantages and disadvantages bases.

Water Mixed Paint Vinegar Mixed Paint
Advantages Disadvantages Advantages Disadvantages
  1. Water mixed paint allows you correct mistakes more easily, because water washes better.
  2. The paint mixer will be more flexible and water causes less damage to the brush’s hairs than vinegar.
  3. It can be used for undercoats, and also for topcoats, can be used for tracing line and also for reinforcing the tracing lines.
  1. The paint washout very easy, so caution and care is a must when working on further details.
  2. Painter must take care when further working with water mixed paint, therefore some glass painters fire their water painted work to secure it before making any further work.





  1. Once the paint is dry it will become water-repellent and firing before further work will not be necessary.
  2. It makes tracing easier than water because of its hardness and resistance.
  3. Paint is said to be creamier when it is diluted with vinegar.
  1. Once dry, it will be hard to do any correction.
  2. The Prepared Mixer should only be used for tracing.
  3. It will do more damage to your brush’s hairs.
  4. Not recommended to be used for undercoats painting.

After all what has been said, it is very clear that using water mixed or vinegar mixed paints is a matter of personal preference, now that been said; I have to say that I do believe choosing water or vinegar as a vehicle depends on your painting plan. If you are going to do a lot of fine details and back painting I would say choosing vinegar is recommended to avoid and removal for your paint while doing your shading or details. I did that and I find it very safe and good to do.

Is it possible to dilute glass paint with other agents?

As I said before Water and Vinegar are just vehicles that carry the paint, so the answer to this question is yes, you can mix your glass paint with type of vehicles like turpentine, alcohol, oil and Propylene Glycol. Let me put it this way, I find using oil mixed paint and oil mixed silver stain more easy to work with, there flexibility and slow drying process give me more time to blend and more space to do my fine detail work like shading. I did used Lavender and Sandalwood oils; they are great to work with and they leave a pleasant nice smell in my studio. 8-), only one important thing to remember; never add Gum Arabic to your oil mixed paint, it will cause your paint to flick out and ruin your work.

What is the proper equipment for a beginner?

I do recommend buying one of thus glass painting starter kits, they do save the beginner a lot of time and money. They come with some basic glass paints like; Tracing Black, Dark brown, Bistre Brown and other colors like Blue, Green, Red, Silver Stain and Gum Arabic, also the kit includes a Badger Blending brush with a tracing and different sizes of scrubbing brushes, mop brush, palette knife and all of that comes in one nice plastic box. But you also need a light box with sand blasted glass top, a bridge or arm rest, glass jars to store you mixed paint in an air-tight condition, some bowls to keep clean water in when painting, glass palette, 1 or 2 scrubs, needles.

How dose the paint adhere to the surface of the glass and become permanent?

After the painting is done, the painted glass need to be fired in a kiln, some artists like using Gas kilns, others prefer using an Electric ones.

I do prefer the Electric ones, I think they are more easy to control, also can be connected to a computer for more advance firing programs. They are more safe to use and less operating cost than Gas kiln, but again I have to mention that both kiln are both will do the job and OK to use, but the Gas kiln will permits a faster firing, so I think it’s a matter of  personal preference.

What are the risks related to work with glass paints?

Since glass paints are made of fine glass powder, it is very important that the painter take good safety behavior, Lead poisoning or the ingestion of other substances containing heavy metals. So I do recommend wearing a high quality dust mask, this practice will save the  painter many of health issues like Lead poisoning and breathing problems.

I hope this post was useful, Enjoy  😎


6 Responses to FAQ about glass painting

  1. apple iphone says:

    really looking forward to your next post!

  2. Rubie Coman says:

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn’t fail me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I genuinely believed you would probably have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you weren’t too busy looking for attention.

  3. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the website is also really good.

  4. Bernadette says:

    Hi sir,
    I found your site a few months ago and have been following your posts…I’m very passionate about stain glass art and I’m very excited to hopefully start a class with u soon and learn this amazing art.
    I’ve contacted you throu txt previously and will do so again soon to schedule classes with you.
    Thank you for your great site and for sharing your awesome talents with us.

    • Hassan Al-Saffar says:

      I am glad that you liked my website, yes we did corespond few monthes ago. I am looking to have you in one of the courses. At this time I am writeing the course outlines and I will email it to you as soon as it’s done.

      Kinds Regards

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