The Secret Of How To Mix A Perfect Lump of Glass Paint

Grind a lot, and don’t add too much water:

That’s the secret. Just add some gum Arabic and a little water. Then grind and mix and grind and press some more. That’s how you make a perfect lump of glass paint.

Now for the fascinating proof.

Look at this

A perfect lump of glass paint

Perfect glass paint

Here’s a lump of glass paint I mixed just five minutes ago. Its ingredients are 50 grams of tracing black, 10 grams of Reusche tracing brown #1, a half-teaspoonful of liquid gum Arabic and three half-teaspoonfuls of water.

I use a lot of paint, so I need a good-sized lump like this to get me through a week. You can make more or less, depending on your circumstances.

But I don’t want to talk much about the size of lump today.

I want to talk about the quantity of liquid.

Like I said, three half-teaspoonfuls.

Plus a half-teaspoonful of gum.

Now don’t you fixate on teaspoons: mine might not be the same size as yours.

The raw, un-mixed ingredients

Rather, consider this. Just two minutes before I photographed my perfect glass paint, I had a grainy, powdery mess like this:

Glass paint - before you've mixed it

Glass paint – before you’ve mixed it

That’s what my paint looked like when I’d just lightly tossed the ingredients together.

And what I want to make clear to you today is that when I look at this photo, I know there’s already more than enough liquid here to make the perfect lump of glass paint. I can see there is.

But I can also see that something’s missing.

All the paint needs is …


Grinding isn’t the hard work it used to be. It just takes minutes now. And the transformation is amazing. So I used my knife to grind and squash my paint. And a minute later, see what it looked like:

Glass paint with a little bit of grinding

Glass paint with a little bit of grinding

Another minute’s work, and I am here:

Glass paint - nearly there

Glass paint – nearly there

After one more minute, I can leave the lump to settle overnight. (It gets smoother.)

Before and after

The point is – and I accept this point is difficult to grasp until you’ve experienced it for yourself (and that’s why I’m writing this for you) – there’s the same amount of liquid in both these shots:

Glass paint - before and after

Glass paint – before and after grinding

Grinding makes all the difference.

I’ll write that again:

Grinding makes all the difference

Reason is: it releases and disperses water that’s already there.

So don’t be tricked into adding too much water.

Be sure you grind and mix until you’ve got the most from what’s already there.

Lots more great techniques and tips in this e-book right here. (Immediate download.)

12 thoughts on “The Secret Of How To Mix A Perfect Lump of Glass Paint

  1. Many thanks for that. Pictures / thousand words comes to mind. So useful to have this pictorial guide. Keep up the great work.

  2. Hello Stephen and David:

    A different topic – the best type of glass to use for painting? Perhaps, also, what type of glass to avoid? I recently found a perfect colour for my scheme – called appropriately ‘chartreuse’ and it was Kokomo glass. Cheap glass – and that was probably the problem because it devitrified. Yes, of course, I should have done a test first but … Anyway the glass we used when I did a course with you was perfect – it remained lovely and glossy whatever mess of paint I made on it. Is it possible for you to give me some advice on this rather basic question? Thanking you in advance and also wishing you both, and your families, a Happy Christmas.

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Shelagh,

      The topic of ‘which glass?’ is so big, I can’t answer it in a ‘comment’, so I have started an essay.

      For now, you must just test and experiment and find the right glass for your purposes.

      Glass shouldn’t as a rule get scummy. OK, some cheap glass will. But, as a rule, glass really shouldn’t. So really you should hit it lucky next time.

      Then the main thing to find is a colour/hue/texture which does what you want for a particular window.

      More information another time in another place!


  3. I just wanted to thank you for your unfailing support. I value and save all your invaluable tips and emails and think what you provide is amazing. I can’t imagine why you would ever have disappointed newsletter readers – they can’t realise how lucky they are. Happy Christmas to you both and thank again for making this such an exciting journey.


    • Hi Colleen – thank you!

      Just heard from a Texan colleague what they say about grumblers – “All hat and no cattle”, which I think is perfect.

      And one thing I want you and others to understand is: your companionship and conversation hugely help our journey. We can’t imagine doing it without you.


  4. Hi, I do have the gum arabic but in powder. How I can use it to achieve this consistency? Thank you.

    • Hi Nancy, The answer is, you’ll need to test and experiment for yourself, because, as you see, we don’t use powder: we use liquid – a specific brand, which is available from shops and also Amazon in many countries across the world.

      You certainly don’t need to do things like we do. And in many ways we want you to do things differently and in your own way. But the are somethings which, if you go your own way, we just can tell you anything. And gum Arabic as powder is one of them.

      Mixing paint is a huge topic.


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