There are many forms of glass painting, but reverse glass painting is one of the most popular & oldest that exist since times of ancient Rome. In reverse glass painting, the painter works on back of the glass. Glass painting differs from stained glass as stained glass technique uses glass pieces that are already colored using oxides where as glass painting uses clear glass as a canvas & then designs are created using paints.  A light source is used from the back of any glass work to magnify its beauty.

This art form has been around for many years. It was widely used for sacral paintings since Middle Ages. The most famous was the art of icons in the Byzantine Empire. Later the painting on glass spread to Italy where in Venice it influenced its Renaissance art. Since the middle of the 18th century, painting on glass became favoured by the Church and the nobility throughout Central Europe.

Throughout the 19th century painting on glass was widely popular as folk art in Austria, Bavaria, Moravia, Bohemia and Slovakia. Unfortunately, during the inter-war period (1914–1945) this traditional “naive” technique fell nearly to a complete oblivion and its methods of paint composition and structural layout had to be re-invented by combining acrylic and oil paints. Also the style of painting and especially the themes had to be varied and adjusted to new perceptions of the world in modern times. Thus painting on glass started to become popular again since 1990s.

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Tools & Supplies

  1. Surface to paint – clear glass item like glass pate or glass jar
  2. Glass cleaner – soapy water or thinner
  3. Surface conditioner – It helps adhere the paint faster & better on difficult surfaces
  4. Pattern, tracing paper, masking tape
  5. Glass paints – Enamel Glass paints for opaque finish & acrylic glass paints for translucent finish. always buy of same brand as it allows to mix colors
  6. Paint brush – of different sizes


  1. Glass outliner for creating designs on the glass surface
  2. Liquid Lead – for creating stained glass effect on your glass design
  3. Sponge for creating textured look
  4. Rubber stamp for creating designs on the surface

  1. Clean the glass surface with soapy water & dry thoroughly
  2. Apply a coat of surface conditioner with brush. Let it dry & do not rinse after the conditioner coat.
  3. Place the pattern underneath the glass surface secure it in place using masking tape. Trace the design using an outliner. If using stencil, position it on to the glass surface & secure it using tape.
  4. Fill in the colors into the pattern as desired using paint brush. One may use sponge to give a textured look.
  5. Allow the paint to dry for days or cure it in the oven as per the instructions given on the paint bottle label.

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