How to Dye Glass

Two Methods:Water-Proof Glass DyeingGlue Glass Dyeing

Clear glass can be dyed to look like pale sea glass. Whether you want to create blue mason jars or a colorful lighting fixture, dyeing the surface of the glass requires only a few supplies, a few minutes of work and extra drying time. Learn how to dye glass with waterproof paint or food coloring.

Method 1
Water-Proof Glass Dyeing

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    Find clear glass that you would like to color. These methods don’t work for dyeing glass surfaces that are used for eating. However, you can dye the opposite side of serving trays, pitchers and decanters that can be washed by hand.
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    Clean and dry your glass. Use a dishwasher if possible, to ensure all dirt and grime is removed. If you are using a thin bottle, you may need to soak the bottle in soapy water before rinsing.
    • A decanter or bottle cleaning brush will reach into the bottle to remove food or grease residue. They are available online and in kitchen stores.
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    Purchase glass paint in the color of your choice. You can find glass paint at large craft stores and online.
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    Buy acetone-based nail polish remover. It is available in most drug stores. You can also purchase acetone at some craft stores since it is used as paint thinner.
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    Cover your work area with newspapers or paper bags.
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    Mix 1 tsp. (4.9 ml) of glass paint with 1/4 tsp. (1.2 ml) of acetone in a small plastic bowl. Mix together with a paintbrush. The acetone is used to thin the paint, so increase the amount of glass paint or paint thinner, depending upon the color you would like to achieve.
    • Remember that the glass paint will dry lighter than it appears at the start. Increase the paint thinner to dye the glass a subtle shade.
    • The amount you need is commensurate with the size of the project. Increase the amount of paint and acetone if it is a large project.
    • If you are dyeing a glass bottle, you can pour the glass paint and acetone directly into the interior of the bottle and mix it by shaking.
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    Pour the mixed paint into the interior of the bottle or vase. Paint it onto the underside or outside of a bottle or tray if it will be used for serving food. Use a paintbrush to distribute the dye evenly.
    • Dyeing the outside of the surface can make it slightly tacky to the touch. It is recommended for surfaces that don’t have to be used or washed too often.
    • Swirl the paint around the interior of the bottle until it covers the entire area. Roll it around on a surface or turn it in the air slowly to coat the surface.
    • If your paint doesn’t seem to be distributing in an even coat, you have used too much acetone. Add more paint to the interior and mix again.
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    Pour out excess glass paint from the bottle after you have coated the interior or exterior surface. Some accumulation will drip down into the bottom, but you want to avoid pools of glass paint.
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    Set the glass aside to dry for 3 to 7 days. Allow the paint to cure for a week before pouring water into it.[1]

Method 2
Glue Glass Dyeing

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    Clean your clear glass thoroughly. This method of glass dyeing is faster and less expensive; however, it should not be used with glass that will get wet or serve food.
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    Set up a workspace covered with wax paper.
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    Experiment with food coloring shades. Adding your food coloring to glue is similar to adding food coloring to frosting. The Food Network has a guide for achieving vibrant shades, at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/frost-by-numbers-how-to-make-frosting-colors/index.html.
    • Remember that your shade will dry to a lighter tint than it first appears.
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    Mix a measurement of 1 tsp. (4.9 ml) of white glue or Mod Podge with 3 drops of food coloring and 1.5 tsp. (7.4 ml) of water. Use a disposable bowl and spoon to mix the dye.
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    Paint the interior of the glass with a paintbrush. Your glass dye will go further if you paint the surface with a broad brush. However, you can also pour the glue mixture into a jar and swirl it around.
    • The swirl method may result in more dripping and drip marks.
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    Place your jar upside down on a piece of wax paper. Allow it to rest for 6 hours, or until it stops dripping. Excess dye will accumulate at the mouth of a jar.
    • If you are dyeing a flat surface, simply lay it face up.
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    Turn the glass jar or bottle over and let it dry for 12 hours. Once the glass appears tinted, rather than painted, it is ready to use for decoration. [2]

Things You'll Need

  • Clear glass
  • Bottle cleaning brush
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Glass paint
  • Small bowl
  • Broad paintbrush
  • Newspaper
  • Wax paper
  • Food coloring
  • White glue/Mod Podge

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Categories: Featured Articles | Glass and Stained Glass Projects