Tutorial: Bubble Glass Painting

Bubble Painted Glass Vase
I got my hands on some of the Martha Stewart glass paints, and I instantly had about five different ideas of what I could do with them. I settled on an idea I had for an ombre inspired technique (it was so gorgeous in my head) and then completely failed. I botched it thoroughly. But in my botching, I discovered another incredible technique. I’m discovering penicillin over here!

Click through for step by step instructions!

Bubble Painted Glass Vase Tutorial Step 1
My friends at Plaid sent me a box of supplies to play with, so I ran out to the thrift store to look for glass that would inspire me. I found this simple little jar – the label on the bottle said it was one of those reed defuser air fresheners – and thought I could do something interesting with it. I love the way glass looks when it’s painted on the inside. You get the paint job, but through the shimmer of the layer of glass. I thought I could do something cool by swirling the paint around inside the bottle. And I was right, but as I mentioned, not at all what I meant to do.

Bubble Painted Glass Vase Tutorial Step 2
For starters, you have to thin the paint down. I mixed a couple of paints together, one of which had glitter in it, and mixed that with a gloss medium also made by Martha Stewart. I made it pretty runny, which is where my ombre pattern went wrong. My intent was to swirl the paint around inside the bottle, and then as it dried I’d swirl around another layer after another layer, bringing the paint up the side less with each go round. So by the time I was done the bottom would have about five coats of paint on it and the top only one. But I made it so runny that the paint kind of just dripped down the side.

Bubble Painted Glass Vase Tutorial Step 3
The consistency that works for this bubble technique is like whole milk. With the paint that thin, waiting for layer after layer to dry was not really happening. So I gave the bottle one last good swirl and then put it in the microwave to speed the process along.

Bubble Painted Glass Vase Tutorial Step 4
But you know what happens when you heat up water? It boils. And guess what thinned down paint is mostly made up of. After only a minute in the microwave the boiling paint had dried on the hot glass in all kinds of interesting ways. On the glass on the inside of the bottle, the outside of the bottle, and all over the microwave. This photo is a total cheat, taken only after I cleaned everything up and realized that I accidentally made something pretty cool.

Bubble Painted Glass Vase Tutorial Step 5
Before the bottle cools down and the paint hardens, give it a good scrub to get rid of any paint that didn’t stay where you wanted it.

Bubble Painted Glass Vase Tutorial
When I teach classes I’m always telling people to be gentle with themselves during the creative process – there are no mistakes, just happy accidents. Sometimes your failing can teach you how to do it better next time. And sometimes you’ll discover a whole new painting technique, just because you were too impatient to wait for paint to dry.

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And look at what all these other bloggers made with this great stuff!

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, but all pictures, words, and ideas are my own and I only work with companies I would support wholeheartedly. I mean, come on, it’s Martha Stewart!