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Easiest Way to Paint Glass for Summer Decor

Are you ready to decorate your home for summer? My summer decorating journey started with a DIY paint project that I’m so excited to share with you. It’s the easiest way to paint glass for summer decor.

The first room on my summer decorating agenda is our living room. 

I had a vision of how I wanted our living room to look for summer. This vision led to one of the most satisfying craft projects I’ve ever done.

The results of this project turned out better than I imagined.

colored vases with zinnias on mantel

Inspiration for My Living Room Summer Decor

Summer decor can focus on a soft, neutral color scheme or a bright color-drenched color palette. 

I decided to use a bright, saturated color scheme. My inspiration was the painting above our living room mantel. 

modern abstract painting in bright colors on white mantel

The mantel would be the first area to decorate.

The bright combination of colors in this painting (canvas from Etsy) – pink, blue, yellow, orange – reminded me of summer flowers. Zinnias, purslane, and lantana came to mind. 

How to get these bright flower colors into our living room?

Vases, Bottles and Jars, Oh My!

A collection of brightly painted vases, bottles, or jars would be the perfect solution. 

I have seen collections of brightly colored glass used for decorative purposes. Those would be my guide.

Would I be able to find enough brightly colored vases to give my summer decor the impact I wanted?

Where would be a good source of colored glass vases or bottles?

My first thought would be thrift stores or antique malls. I headed to one of my favorite local thrift stores, St. Vincent de Paul. I knew they would have a nice selection of glass, both plain and colored.

This shelf is only one of about five with glass.

thrift store shelf of glass vases

I hit the jackpot with my search for glass items.

I found a few colored glass items that would work, but not enough to meet my needs. But there were plenty of clear glass vases and glass jars. I looked for different sizes and shapes for interest and contrast. 

I filled my cart with some great finds. The cheapest item was $1.49 and the most expensive was $6.99.

shopping cart filled with colored and clear glass vases

What to do? I didn’t hesitate. I would paint the plain glass vase and glass jars with bright paint colors. I have found that any glass surface takes paint very well.

That’s when the idea for the easiest way to paint glass was born.

June Creative Craft Blog Hop

Today is the perfect time to share an easy paint project. It’s Creative Craft Blog Hop Day. 

Creative Craft Blog Hop graphic

Donna of Modern on Monticello is our hostess this month. If you are joining me from Tammy of Patina and Paint, then welcome to Bluesky at Home. Wasn’t Tammy’s DIY flower project special? The complete list of talented DIYers is at the end of the post.

This post contains affiliate links to products used in the creation of this project. If you should order any item from this site, I may receive compensation, but you do not pay a penny more. Your purchase is greatly appreciated as it helps support the continued publication of this site.

My Thrift Shop Glass Collection

When I returned home with my shopping bonanza, I set most of the items on the kitchen counter.

colored and plain glass vases

There are two colored glass vases that would work as is. The lime green and blue vase are perfect. The pale yellow pitcher and tall green vase were possibilities.

I also went through my own stash of ceramic containers and glass bottles (I save interesting-shaped wine and liqueur bottles.)

I pulled out the glass items that had a variety of shapes and sizes. 

colored and plain glass vases

I started with seven pieces and decided more would give me more options and variety in my DIY project. I added more pieces for a total of eleven. Three pieces were already colored, so I only had to paint eight items.

Choosing the Type of Paint for this Project

Once I had my collection, the next step was deciding what kind of paint would I use for this project?

I know that different types of paint will work on glass, such as acrylic paint, chalk paint, and ceramic paint. I’ve used all three. There is also sea glass paints which is fun to use.

Glass can also be painted with glass paint that looks translucent. I wanted a paint that would provide a solid coverage for the glass vases.

I wanted a shiny, smooth finish to my glass pieces. I knew that chalk paint wouldn’t give me that look. 

I also didn’t want any brush strokes on my glass. 

Also, the idea of cleaning brushes multiple times for the variety of colors I envisioned didn’t sign like much fun.

How about Spray Paint? 

Why do I suggest using spray paint for this glass painting project?

  • lots of available colors
  • easy application
  • minimal tools needed – no paint brush or paper towel, 
  • minimal setup
  • minimal clean up
  • smooth, shiny finish to the glass
  • relatively inexpensive

I only had one can of spray paint at home that I could use for this project. A trip to Lowe’s was the fastest way to get the number of colors I needed.

I bought six cans of paint in pinks, blues, yellow and orange. 

When I got home I lined up the cans of paint. I realized that I bought another pale pink in the same color I already had. I knew I would use it.

​Here are the colors of spray paint I used:

cans of colored spray paint

From Left to Right: Candy Pink, Seaside, Berry Pink, Gloss Yellow, Gloss Orange, Habor Blue*, Candy Pink

*This paint was not gloss (satin) and I didn’t use it for my mantel project. I used it on a couple of other pieces.

To get the best shine for this project, you want to use a Gloss finish.

Krylon and Rustoleum are the two major spray paint brands that produce a variety of paint suitable for use on glass. I’ve used both brands and they work equally well. I focus on the color and the finish I want.

Preparing the Glass Jars and Vases

Before you start painting, there are two steps to take:

  1. Remove any stickers or labels from the glass. If there are labels that are hard to remove (like on the liqueur bottles), I use Goo Gone.
  2. Wash the glass with just a drop of Dawn and hot water. I also added a drop of Dawn with lots of water to the inside of the liqueur bottles to remove any remnants of liquid from the bottom of the jar. Rinse completely and dry the glass with lint-free cloth towels to eliminate dirt, oils, and fingerprints.

Set Up Your Painting Station

One thing you have to consider when using spray paint is location and temperature.

  • You need to find a place that has a well-ventilated area, ideally outdoors, to ensure adequate air circulation and limited exposure to paint fumes.  
  • If you have to paint inside, use fans to circulate air or open windows and doors to maintain a constant supply of fresh air. This precaution reduces exposure to potentially harmful fumes and also helps in drying and curing the paint. If you have any masks left over, you would wear one or a painter’s mask.
  • You need to cover nearby surfaces with drop cloths or plastic sheets to protect them from paint mist.

TIP: I have used a spray tent which is a great solution.

spray paint tent

For a quick set-up, find a cardboard box that is big enough to hold your item with area around it for the paint mist. I saved a large Amazon box just for this purpose. 

NOTE: Spray painting in a garage with the doors open is a good solution. Just make sure you move your cars out of the garage first. 

  • The other thing to consider with spray paint is temperature. Spray paint should be used in temperatures between 50˚ and 90˚ F. Extreme cold or high humidity can affect paint drying, so make sure that your workspace remains within the recommended range.
  • You also don’t want to spray paint on a windy day.

It is June, so to paint below the 90˚F. limit, I painted in the morning. Since it was sunny outside, I painted between 8:30 and 11:00 to stay in the shade on our front driveway.

What Else Do You Need to Make Painting Easier? 

  • A plastic turn table. I have used one of these for years. They allow you to turn the direction of the item without touching it. This makes painting anything, especially using spray paint. so easy. It means you can paint an entire piece in seconds.
plastic turn table inside a cardboard box

TIP: I cover my turn table with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to keep it clean and free of paint.

  • A spray paint gripper for the can of paint. I can’t paint without this handy little gadget. It is one of the easiest ways to keep your index finger clean and there is less stress on your hand.
spray paint handle gripper

Painting Your Glass

Once your painting station is set up with your covered turn table inside, place your piece of glass inside. Just follow these easy steps;

  1. Start by shaking the can of spray paint vigorously for at least a minute to ensure thorough mixing.
  2. Place your glass piece on the turn table.
glass vase in cardboard box
glass liqueur bottle in cardboard box on turn table

3. Hold the spray can 8-12 inches away from the glass surface. This part is very important for even application.

4. Apply the paint in smooth, overlapping strokes, moving smoothly and consistently in a single direction to avoid streaks or drips. I went slowly side-to-side.

pale pink vase spray painted
bright pink bottle spray painted
pale pink spray painted bottle

5. When you have finished one side or section of a piece, use your finger to turn the turn table to the next section. Repeat until you have covered the entire jar. This shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds.

6. Allow the piece to dry completely before moving it.

NOTE: For these pieces, I only used one coat of spray paint. The coverage was complete and had the shine I wanted. 

If you want to add a second coat, use multiple thin coats, giving each one time to dry completely before adding the next layer. 

When a piece was completely dry to the touch (at least 30 minutes), I carefully moved it to a drop cloth that I placed on our dining room table.

bright pink and pale pink glass painted vases

That is how easy this fun project was. I believe it is the best way to get the colored glass look for your summer home decor. 

I repeated the steps with all the glass pieces. I used the pale pink, hot pink and aqua color on two pieces each. One piece I painted yellow and one piece I painted orange. 

collection of brightly colored painted glass vases

NOTE: Because I was only working a couple of hours at a time, it took me a couple of days to completely paint all the glass pieces. I also painted some that I’m not showing here. It takes longer for the paint to dry than to paint the glass items. In between, I worked on other tasks and took Nola for a couple of walks.

Displaying My Spray-Painted Glass Vases

Now the fun part. 

The mantel in the living room was the stage for my painted vase collection. I rearranged the vases until I was happy with the arrangement to maximize the colors, sizes, and shapes.

Remember: The blue vase, green container and pale yellow pieces were already colored.

brightly colored painted glass vases on mantel

I placed six vases on one side of the mantel and five on the other side. I added the yellow pitcher to the mix.

6 glass painted vases in pale pink, blue, orange, bright pink, pale yellow, and aqua

I love how the vases pick up the colors from the painting.

glass painted vases in green, bright pink, bright yellow, aqua, and pale pink on white mantel

This colorful display brightens up our mantel and provides a wonderful focal point. 

colored vases on mantel

I will be using other spray paint projects in other parts of our living room, so look for my summer home decor tour. To ensure you don’t miss those posts, join my Bluesky at Home community.

What ways to use these painted glasses vases?

  • use individually throughout your home
  • use in smaller groupings
  • use as a centerpiece in the dining room or breakfast room
  • use outside on your patio
  • use in a vignette on the coffee table

Remember that the colors of zinnias were one of my inspirations? To ensure that the zinnias lasted for weeks, I found a great option of faux zinnias online. I ordered two bunches of 15 to a package.

faux zinnias in pink, yellow, orange, and white

The zinnias had five colors of three each: two shades of pink, yellow, orange, and white.

I placed one zinnia in each vase. The stems on these faux flowers are soft and so easy to bend to fit your container.

faux zinnias in painted glass vases on mantel
colorful vases with colored faux zinnias

Isn’t this easiest way to paint glass for my summer decor? Do you like the look? Would you try making pretty colorful vases?

colored vases with zinnias on mantel

More Glass DIY Projects:

If you like this paint project and want to save it, PIN it to one of your Pinterest Boards. Visit my Pinterest Boards, DIY ProjectsPaint Projects, and Summer Home Decor.

Want more creative crafts? The complete list is below. Start with our hostess, Donna of Modern on Monticello.

Enjoy painting!

PIn graphic for now for later

colored glass painted vases with zinnias on mantel
Hugs, Carol blog signature graphic

Rachel @Tea and Forget Me Nots – Laser Engraved Chopping Board
Tammy @Patina and Paint – Coffee Filter Hydrangeas
Carol @Bluesky at Home – Easiest Way to Paint Glass for Summer Decor
Donna @Modern on Monticello – Embellish A Sign With DIY Cricut Paper Flowers
Ann @Apple Street Cottage – Wall Vase Makeover
Purple Hues and Me – Wood Veneer Edging Door Basket
Terri @Decorate and More with Tip – Patriotic Gnome Craft
Sara @Birdz of a Feather – Tissue Box Cover

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13 Comments

  1. Your glass bottles look lovely in so many varying colors Carol. We have a St. Vincent DePaul too, but their prices have gone sky high recently, I guess like everywhere else. I need to expand my spray paint colors a bit, I seem to only have black and white, lol!

    1. Cara, thanks for your feedback and sweet compliment. Yes, they have gone up – by a few dollars an item. But, still much lower than buying new, and we don’t need new for projects like this. I need to tell Sweet Shark to drink more so I have more bottles to paint!

  2. I love anything with colored glass! These glass jars and vases turned out so well and they match that gorgeous painting so well. Going to give this a try!

  3. I love the bright colours so much. I think I’ll do this in my craft space. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. They look amazing paired with that piece of art! Such a fun way to decorate for the summer months too. Do you change out the art for Fall and Winter? Thanks for sharing your tips on how to use spray paint on glass. It has been a while since I tried that and your choice of bright colors just makes me smile.

  5. You certainly knocked the ball out of the park with matching your beautiful piece of artwork with your colorful painted glass containers, Carol! Your mantel looks quite pretty and inviting! I love that you go into great detail every step of the way! Thanks!

  6. Your mantel looks gorgeous Carol; those painted vases are amazing with that painting! I’d be tempted to keep that up year round lol!

  7. You’ve created a beautiful display with all of your vases and bottle, Carol. I love all the bright colors that match your painting. Great project!