How to do Glass Painting for Greetings Cards

The glass painting technique is a fantastic and cheap way to get lovely looking handmade greetings cards. If you are new to or have never tried glass painting then this easy to follow guide will explain what it is and how to do it in a simple way.

First things first – glass painting doesn’t actually involve any glass. It’s merely a technique used in card making on clear acetate that can then be framed or mounted on a card. It’s much easier than it sounds, so don’t worry. 

You will need some acetate to achieve your glass painting effect. It can be bought in many places and comes in A4 sheets. Try office suppliers and stationery shops. Alternatively if you prefer online then Amazon and eBay are excellent places to find acetate.

Materials You Will Need

  • Acetate
  • Outliners – before painting your design they are usually outlined in different colours. Outliners tend to come in tubes and are squeezed into a raised line that will contain the paint when dry. Make sure to practice a few times first intimate you feel confident about getting a straight line!
  • Paintbrushes – used to paint (obviously!). When applying glass paint then a round synthetic brush is good; a No. 4 brush for the smaller areas and a flat washer brush for the larger.
  • White Spirit – use white spirit to clean the paint off your brushes
  • Water – to clean solvent based paints from brushes
  • A palette – used for mixing your paints
  • A technical pen – for the very detailed work. A 0.5mm nib is best. It should produce a flat line that the paint can then fill in the design.
  • Draughting Film Ink – use in the technical pen. 

How to use Outliners

  • Holding the Outliners tube between your forefinger and thumb squeeze it slowly and gently
  • Make sure you keep the tube nozzle clean so wipe it frequently
  • You will want to get a straight line so try a technique where you touch the acetate with the tip very gently, squeeze the tube and then lift it off whilst pulling it along. Try to keep the flow at a smooth rate. 
  • If you find the Outliners tube begins to ooze then squeeze it on both side of the top to halt it.
  • Try to outline towards yourself, as you’ll be able to see what you’re doing more clearly and get a smoother flow. Turn the glass as you go to avoid smudging areas you’ve already done. 

If you make a mistake then the best method to correct it is to leave the outliner to dry and then cu the mistake away with a craft knife before redrawing with fresh outliner. You can try and wipe away any mistakes as they happen but that can often be messy and cause more problems.


  • Solvent paints – these paints take longer to dry but are more likely to last longer. 
  • Glass paints – perfect for using on acetate. Paint onto the outlined area and leave to dry. 
  • Water based paints – very quick drying and easy to use.
  • White paint – used to create opaqueness. 


  1. Place the acetate on top of the design. In this case we’re using the design above. 
  2. Use some masking tape or a bulldog clip to hold the acetate and design together.
  3. Take your outliner and squeeze it gently onto the acetate. Trace the outliner along the outline of the design underneath the acetate. Just like using tracing paper.
  4. Ensure there are no breaks or gaps in the lines as the glass paints will leak through of so. Go back over any gaps and fill them in. 
  5. Leave the outliner to dry. This should take a couple of hours. You should be able to tell when it’s dried as it will become a hard, solid raised black line. 
  6. Now you can move onto painting. 
  7. Very straightforward – get some paint on your brush and paint in between the black lines. Leave overnight stored somewhere that is free of dust and anything else that may stick to the wet paint.
  8. Now we’re onto the card.
  9. Select a blank card that works with the paint colours you’ve used. 
  10. Mounting it to the card is relatively straightforward. Cut around the outline and use some clear drying glue applied to the reverse edge to attach the acetate. 
  11. If you have decided to use an aperture card then cut the acetate a bit larger than the window and glue the acetate edges to the edges of the aperture. And you’re finished.

That’s it! It’s as simple as that.

As you continue to try different glass painting techniques your skills will grow. 

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