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Airbrushing/airbrushing on glass


Hi There, I am a specialist painter and muralist in the traditional way.I am new to airbrushing. How exciting!
My client has a glass panel dividing the kitchen from the living room and they would like some art work on the glass.
Can you tell me what I have to do to prepare the surface, what type of paint to use with my Iwata airbrush and how to seal the artwork?
Thank you

Hi, Susan! This is an easy one, I think.

I painted a glass panel that was set into the wall at a hair salon. It was visible from both sides and looked much the same from both sides because of the transparent nature of the paint and the thin layers made possible with the airbrush.

I did sandpaper the glass a little with a silica grit sandpaper. I don't know if this actually did anything useful, to be honest. I knew that usage and handling wouldn't be an issue, but I thought it couldn't hurt. If you wanted a more grippy surface, you could lightly etch the glass.
I used my usual all purpose, all surface Createx transparent water base colors. You could use model airplane paints or OneShot if you need to make it more durable or more washable and there are glazes and paints made for glass now that I have not tried. Please use appropriate respirators if you decide to use one of these solvent based paints. You want to be breathing these even less than you want to inhale the latex paints.

I did use several light coats of Krylon semi gloss clear to seal the painting and it worked well. The panel was dusted weekly and is still in place and looks good 18 years later.
I would recommend getting a piece of glass and doing some tests to determine the best colors to use for the look and finish you want to achieve.

I hope this helps and gives you at least a good place to start!


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Ellen Choate


I can answer questions relating to basic and advanced airbrushing technique, general how-tos, preparation and compatible media for different substrates, proper paint-to-air ratios, troubleshooting, color theory, maintenance and repair, stencil cutting and use, and most other areas relating to airbrush. I'll be posting tutorials in the future if that would be helpful, and if possible.


I learned to airbrush the hard way, watching and collaborating with people who didn't know much more than I did. Later I got instruction from people who knew what they were doing and learned what I had been doing wrong. I have been airbrushing for over 30 years; the first two years were in an amusement park painting as fast as I could, often for 12 hours a day, six days a week. You get good real fast. I have painted on almost everything imaginable, from walls to a bus to prosthetic limbs.

I studied art at the University of Texas at Arlington for three years but haven't made the time to complete my now obsolete "graphic arts" degree. We did layouts and color separations by hand, thank you very much. It has served me well, but not in the way I expected.

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