How to get started with window painting – and what are important things to think about before you start?
The first time I tried my hand at window painting I found it to be a bit overwhelming. I had all these questions – What paint should I use? How do I go about the painting process? Do I need stencils? I did a lot of Googling and was surprised at how difficult it was to find a short and to the point guide on how to get started. So, I decided to do something about it and wrote my own guide based on my own experiences.
In this post I’ve listed my top 5 tips on how to get started with window painting. This is of course not an exhaustive list on the topic, but this post will give you a good starting point.
Anita’s top 5 tips for getting started with window paintings:
- Know your materials
Are you going to use window or glass paint, acrylic paint, tempera paint or water based Posca pens? The paint you choose will impact your painting process.
Acrylic paint is not water based so it won’t reactivate when you apply water to it and must be washed of with soapy, warm water and sometimes you might need something to scrape the paint off with (like a bank card or something similar).
Tempera is water based and can be used to paint on windows, I don’t have a lot of experience using it myself, but you can find it in most craft/hobby stores.
Posca pens can be used to draw on pretty much all surfaces and is water soluble, which means that it is easy to clean off with just hot water and a drop of soap. Because it is water soluble I recommend you use it on interior window paintings. It would be an awful shame if your hard work suddenly rained away.
What kind of equipment will you need besides paint? Brushes and sponges, paper towels, stencils, water, soap? make a list of all the things you might need. That way you can gather things you already have or purchase what you need ahead of time.
It is important to know the specifics of any given project you are working on and window painting is no exception. The key things you will need to know are – How big is the window you are painting? How much of the surface do you need/want to cover? Can you freehand the painting or do you need stencils? How much time do you have to complete your painting? What time of day is the best time for you to work on the painting (working with direct sunlight in your face can be quite awful)? If you’ve been commissioned to do a window painting by a client it is important to know what the client is expecting or if they have specific criteria you have to meet. Also, ask whether the client will be supplying you with materials or if you have to purchase/print/gather the materials yourself. If you have to purchase the materials be sure to save receipts and add the cost into your fee.
- Prep your work surface
Always clean the surface you are planning to paint on. use hot water and a little drop of dish soap or window cleaner. Sometimes there can be glue or tape residue on windows and you don’t want that to interfere with your painting. A clean surface will also make it easier for your paint to stick to the windows and you will get a better end result. Just make sure the glass is dry before you start painting.
- Mirror it
Are you painting on the inside of a window, or on the outside? And are you doing lettering that is intended to be read by people from the outside? If so, make sure that you mirror the text. If you don’t your words will appear backwards. If in doubt, always double check that you’ve hung up your stencils the right way.
- Dark colors first
Start painting on black or other dark colors first and fill in light colors last. Some colors and elements might also need to be layered on top of each other. So be mindful of what order you paint things in, and make sure your first layer of paint is dry before you paint over it.