19th May 2024

Rescuing glass paints. A guide.

Rescuing glass paints which have gone thick.
Rescuing glass paints.

One of the questions we often get via the contact form and email  is about rescuing glass paints. They often start with something like “I was given these old paints”, or “I haven’t done any glass painting for a couple of years and I just dug my paints up”

Now whether these paints can be revived or not depends on a few things.

Firstly, have they gone rock hard?

If they have you might as well give up now. It is very doubtful that anything you do will help you in rescuing your glass paints.  I know it sounds hard but sometimes it’s better to know when you are beaten.

Rescuing Your glass paints.
Rescuing Your glass paints.

Have they gone thick/glupey ?

If this is the case then there may be something you can do. It isn’t guaranteed but more often than not you will be able to make the paints usable again.

Firstly you will need to know what type of paints you have? What the base is? For water-based paints this is obvious but be very careful. Do not add water to a glass paint unless you are certain it is water-based. If you do you will ruin the paint completely even with the smallest amount of water.

For none waterbased paints it is best to look at the manufacturers or distributors website. Hopefully one of those will tell you what the base is. Better still they should also be able to tell you if there is a thinners available. Many (most?) of the glass paint manufacturers do make a thinners for their paints.  Fred Aldous still a Cellulose based thinners for their “glass lac”. Pebeo do a thinners for their Vitrea 160.

Rescuing glass paints.
Rescuing glass paints.

Rescuing glass paints.

So now you’ve found the base of your paint what you need to do is thin it down. This needs to be done VERY carefully. Whist it’s not such an issue with solvent based paints adding water to the the waterbased ones can produce a lot of bubbles which are quite difficult to get rid on. Try NOT to shake the paint. Mix it by folding, as if you were making a cake.

However careful you are you are probably going to have to leave the paints for a couple of days in order to let the bubblse come back out. The odd tap of the bottle onto a work surface can help with this as well. Just don’t expect to be able to rescue the paints and use them on the same day!

Well we wish you the best of luck with rescuing glass paints. Whilst it is impossible to completely stop them from thickening up there are a couple of things you can remember which will help.

  • Obviously always seal the bottle tightly when you have finished with the paints.
  • Keep them out of direct sunlight at all times.
  • Don’t misplace the lid liners. There are there for a reason and most bottles wont seal properly if they are missing.


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