Decoupage is a simple way to visually enhance a multitude of items in your house by permanently gluing patterns or images to them. A lot of crafters use decoupage to give clay pots, furniture or book covers a new unique look. I personally love to use decoupage to add another level of detail to my crafts. Especially if the detail has to be very intricate because it´s easier to decoupage that detail on my project than to paint it on. For the longest time I thought, that decoupage has a lot of limitations but the more I work with decoupage the more I realize, that there are a lot of solutions and workarounds to these limitations. One such limitation, that I found an almost perfect solution for, is to decoupage on Glass. For the longest time, I thought it to be impossible to permanently decoupage Glass but as it turns out it actually is possible and it is quite easy to do as well. So in this guide, I will show you exactly how to decoupage on glass and even how to make it dishwasher safe.
Decoupage can be done on glass by sealing it with Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge. Simply apply the paper with the glue of your choice, like Mod Podge or Decoupage Glue. Then let the glue dry fully before you apply a sealer on top of the decoupage. The sealer will protect the decoupage from water and scratching, thus making it dishwasher safe.
So while decoupage is normally used on other materials like wood, ceramics, and so on it is still possible to decoupage glass. It just requires you to prepare the surface oft he glass correctly and you need to seal the decoupage afterward to protect it from any damage and water.
If you already know how to do decoupage, then you can simply skip to the last step, where I explain how to seal the decoupage. That ist he only big thing, that changes when you want to decoupage glass. The rest is pretty much the same as doing a decoupage on wood or any other material.
Materials for Doing Decoupage on Glass
First off, you need the right materials for doing decoupage. Don´t worry, it´s not a huge list and most of it is really easy to get.
You will need:
- A soft brush to apply the glue and the sealer
- Decoupage glue or regular Mod Podge (Amazon Link)
- A Sealer like Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge (Amazon Link)
- A piece of paper, napkin, or other design to decoupage on the glass surface
- Rubbing alcohol
- Some fine-grit sandpaper
- And the glass surface you want to decoupage on
The Brush should be soft. I fit is too stiff then you may end up damaging the paper, that you want to use for your decoupage. I usually use a soft paintbrush.
You can use decoupage glue or Mod Podge for gluing the paper to the glass surface. If you don´t have either then you can also use wood glue diluted with a little bit of water.
You need Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge, however. I tried a few other solutions like varnish, for example, and nothing worked as well as Mod Podge for decoupage on glass.
The fine-grit sandpaper is optional, however, I found that my decoupage was more robust, when I lightly sanded the surface oft he glass before gluing the paper to it.
The rubbing alcohol is really only for cleaning the surface before applying the glue. It is nice to have but not necessary. A little bit of soapy water will do the trick as well.
Preparing the Surface of the Glass
Before we can start gluing the design to the glass we first have to make sure, that there are no fingerprints or dust particles on the surface.
To clean the glass you can either use some soapy water and a piece of cloth or some rubbing alcohol.
Once the surface is clean make sure, that you don´t touch the area where you want the design to be later on.
I also lightly sand the area before I move on to the next step but that is entirely optional. In my experience, the decoupage held better on the glass for a longer time if I sanded the surface before applying the glue but you will be fine if you skip this part.
So if you want to sand the glass then simply use a bit of the fine-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the area where you want to apply the decoupage. Make sure to only sand the area, that is later on being covered by the design because the sandpaper will leave tiny scratches on the surface oft he glass.
You have to clean the glass surface a second time after sanding before you can move on with the next step.
Prepare the Design, That You Want to Apply to the Glass
You can either print your own design, you can use napkins, or you can buy decoupage paper.
I wrote a full guide on how to print your own decoupage paper if you are interested in that.
Otherwise, all you have to do is cut the design out and hold it in the area where you want it to go.
Be sure that the position looks good from any angle before you move on to the next steps.
Also keep in mind, for all you decoupage pros out there, that blending the decoupage with color after applying it will not really work on glass.
So make sure, that you work precisely and carefully.
Apply the Design to the Glass
Now is finally time to apply the design to the glass.
Depending on the kind of glue, that you are using, I would recommend diluting it with a little bit of water. The consistency should be so, that you can apply it smoothly to glass but it should not run off the surface.
Decoupage glue is normally thin enough to be applied to glass right away. Mod Podge, however, should be thinned with a little bit of water. I usually use ¾ Mod Podge and ¼ water.
Now apply a thin layer of glue on the backside of your design. You only need a thin layer of glue. If you use too much glue then the paper could start to wrinkle when the glue is drying.
Carefully place the design on the glass. You can adjust the position by carefully moving the design with your hand back and forth.
Once you like the positioning of the design simply add a thin layer oft he glue on top oft he designs.
Don´t use too much force when applying the design or you may damage it in the process.
Use the brush to flatten the paper and make sure, that there are no wrinkles in the paper before you leave it to dry.
Let the glue dry for at least 12 hours.
Once the glue is dry apply a second layer to the whole area and let it dry again.
Seal the Whole Project
This is probably the most important step of the whole guide.
In order for the design to stick to the glass right we have to apply another layer of sealer on top oft he whole design.
I strongly recommend using Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe for that. It is easy to use and works great.
So use a thin layer of Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge (Don´t thin it down!) and apply it evenly on the surface of the whole design.
Make sure to cover every part of the design and every part of the glass, that has been covered in glue in the previous step. This is important. If you just cover the design and not the entire area then the parts, that you didn´t cover will come off when you wash it. Which can eventually lead to water getting underneath the seal damaging the design after a while.
Once you are done with applying the sealer let it dry for about 24 hours.
I usually apply another layer oft he sealer just to be sure, that I covered everything but you don´t have to do this.
Once everything is dry you are free to wash the glass in the dishwasher or by hand and the sealer should protect it from any water damage and scratching. It really is as easy as that to apply decoupage to glass.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.
2 thoughts on “How to Decoupage on Glass: An In-Depth Guide”
Hi , Thank you for your instructions.
I have read of the sanding process and and using the steel wool ,
Can you give me your guidance for this .
I never used steel wood for sanding glass before so I can´t tell you how well it works. But I think that steel wool might be a little too aggressive for some glasses so if you use steel wool then it might be best to work with it very carefully. But other than that the main process will remain the same just that you do the sanding step with steel wool.