Introduction: Turn Trash Glass Into Art in 1 Hour

About: I have worked in a great number of fields for everything from architecture to rescue tool design to knife design. I will share as much as I can so you can make whatever you want and build skills you can carry …

This is probably the easiest project in the world to do and makes for a fun date night that costs less than 20 dollars. What are we doing? We're painting the back side of glass with acrylic paint. Sounds simple because it is. Whats great about this is it takes almost no artistic skill and looks awesome making it one of the best ways to turn trash into treasure. The glass helps to naturally blend every stroke so remember to go fast for blends and slow for contrast.

You will need:

A piece of old glass. Pictured above was an old outdoor table found behind a garage.

At least 1 acrylic brush

2-3 tubes or bottles of standard acrylic hobby paint.

A pallet or paper plate

A jar with water in it to clean your brush.

Rubbing alcohol, dish soap, glass cleaner, and running water to clean the glass off.

This can be done on any piece of glass or even done as a mosaic. With that said, lets jump right in!

Step 1: Select Your Glass

You could use an old glass table, or piece of expired double wall insulated glass panes, or just about anything made from transparent glass or plexiglass. No matter what it is you decide to use, there are really only 4 criteria for selecting your glass:

1) Make sure you can clean it

2) It shouldn't have cracks

3) If you decide to use a plexiglass or other acrylic sheet, make sure its not too yellowed.

4) Glass can take a lot of damage from simple weathering and become very brittle so make sure your glass isn't too far gone. This would take years to occur though so most anything you can find intact will likely be just fine.

Step 2: Selecting Paint Colors

This style of painting is best done with just a few simple colors that will blend readily with each other. The best colors are usually:

Red, Blue, Yellow

Green, Blue, Yellow

Black, Grey, White

Or Black and any of the two colors above.

Keep in mind that decals are perfectly fine. If you have a vinyl decal you want to use as a foreground for the piece then just throw that on before you start painting.

Step 3: Select Your Brushes

I have found that, when painting things like whats pictured, its best to go with a large chisel or flat tip brush. Think 3/4 inch or better wide. Beyond that, theres no real science to it unless you want to get super creative. Any old acrylic brush from the local Walmart will do.

Step 4: Clean Your Glass

This is extremely simple.

1) Hose off any big chunks.

2) Wipe off any gunk with a paper towel.

3) Wipe it down with water and dish soap to eliminate any oils.

4) Once its pretty much clean, Hit it with a glass cleaner like Windex.

5) Finish it off with a little rubbing alcohol and let it dry for 5-10 minutes

Step 5: Start Painting!

Just as simple as that, throw big splotches of paint down on your pallet and keep the bottle or tube near by.


1) Work fast with wet paint to get the best blends, going 1 color at a time. The first color you put down will be your most prominent and the last color will be the least prominent.

2) Random strokes about 5-10 inches in length work best.

3) Large pieces (bigger than 2ft x 2ft) will go fast and look good with 2-3 people painting as this helps keep the paint wet across larger areas.

4) MASK whatever you don't want to paint and remove while paint is tacky. This will give you the best lines.

5) Acrylic paint shrinks as it dries, so don't put on a 1/4 inch of paint. IF you do, the glass can crack depending on its age and condition.

6) Don't dilute your paint much at all. a little watter goes a long way.

7) Clean your brush between colors or use multiple brushes.

Step 6: Bask in Success

This is a quick fun project, but you made it your own. Maybe you got to do it with people you like, so let it dry over night and flip that glass over to see your finished result!

Now you can hang it, make a table, give it to someone as a gift, you decide. Nice work!

Trash to Treasure

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Trash to Treasure