Airbrushing/AB on glass



I really want to airbrush portraits on wineglasses, i know that i have to clean the glass first, soapy water or window cleaner, apply rubbing alcohol, though i have never done glass before.

My questions are:  
- what are the prepping steps to ABing on glass?Do i need to apply a primer to the glass first?
- What kind of paints do I use that will withstand washing? I heard of Pebeo vitrea, and I think Oneshot has a glass paint but I'm unsure if that's airbrush ready or if it would be insanely hard to use and clog up the nozzle really badly. I'm not sure if those need to be heat set either.
- After, Do i have to seal it with anything?

Thank you so much for your help!

Hi, Jenn.  
I have to say I've only done one project on glass, and it was an interior window that didn't get any wear or use.  I lightly sanded with fine grit paper and cleaned it with TSP (trisodium phosphate) that lightly etches the surface, giving some tooth to the surface for the paint.

Wineglasses, though, are a different thing altogether.  

First, if you're planning to use and wash them, I have to say I am not aware of any paint that is truly permanent on glass. I would get some inexpensive glasses and experiment. I have heard good things about Pebeo vitrea, but I also know it's not very washable. One Shot is a good product, but I don't recommend airbrushing it.  One reason is that it is very hard on your equipment and difficult to clean out.  The other reason is that it's really bad stuff to breathe.  If you use it, please do it outside and with a paint respirator.  

Artists are artists because they like to experiment and do things their own way.  I encourage you to do some trials with different paints and see what works best for your application.  
I'm sorry I couldn't be more specific in my recommendations, but I hope this helps and encourages you a little.  
Let me know how this turns out!


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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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