Glass painting on store windows can be a great way to make a lot of money over the holidays, but figuring out how to do it right is not as easy as you think.
I’ve done holiday-themed window paintings before, but I’ve always used acrylic paints. However, though acrylic looks good, it’s a pain to take off the window because you have to scrape the whole thing off with a razor blade.
I could never figure out how to use tempera paints like the pros do, but this year I was determined to learn. After researching and trying different techniques, here is what I learned about window painting with tempera paints.
How Not to do Window Painting
DO NOT PAINT ON THE INSIDE of the window unless you live in a very rainy climate. Painting on the inside means the reflection on the outer side of the glass will hide your painting for the most part.
DO NOT USE the tempera paints that are PRE-MIXED for school use unless you also have powdered tempera to thicken it with.
DO NOT USE OLD PAINT. Let me tell you what happened when I used old paint. Soon after painting a fall scene complete with cornucopia and falling leaves, all the colored paints that had a bit of yellow in it (the yellow was old) began to flake off. Within hours, the inside of the store I was painting it for looked like a real fall scene. There were flakes of yellows, oranges, and green all over the floor. The only color that stayed was black and pure red. Anything that had yellow mixed in, flaked off. I’m glad the black outline stayed because I used it as my template when I re-painted the window from the outside today.
How to do Window Painting like a Pro
Watch this video, but the main tips for correct window painting with tempera paints are:
USE POWDERED TEMPERA mixed with very little water, ADD DISH SOAP to your paints to make them stick, and ADD A LITTLE BIT OF WHITE to all your colors (except the black outline) to make them visible. I would change the color of the acorns in my painting above to make them lighter (but since it’s almost time to change the theme of the window painting, I’m letting it stand). All dark paints disappear into the dark background of the store.
Now, get thee to the streets and make thee some money this holiday doing window painting!
I live in British Columbia–it does rain a lot here during the winter months. I have been using a polymer acrylic and painting mostly on the inside of the stores, but it does, like you show, take away from the vibrancy and visibility from the road. Today I painted with the same paints outside, but I am very worried that they will be washed away with the first rainfall. Is this powder tempura weatherproof? If not, what kind of paint should I be using? I would hate to charge someone for a painting that would wash away in a couple days. Also, I wonder if the paint will be able to completely dry since the weather is so cold. Is there something that I can spray over top of it that will protect it but still be removable? I would love some answers to these questions! I have been searching high and low!
You know, when I first started painting, I used regular acrylic house paint. It worked great, but was a pain to remove, as it could only be taken off with a razor edge. Alas, I’m told that’s exactly what people do in climates such as yours. The colors are pretty good and it definitely won’t come off in the rain. Give it a try!
Is the dish soap different from dishwashing detergeant/liquid at all?
Yes, it is. You will want to use the kind you DON’T put in the dishwasher, but rather the kind you use for hand-washing dishes. I hope that helps. Have fun painting!
Where I live I would have to worry more about childrens fingers than rain or a glare. I usually decorate the windows with foam snow (on the inside) but there was so many holes from curious fingers it looked aweful, and we hardly get any kids. So I decied to try window painting in hopes it will stay longer
THank You SOOSOSO SO much!!! I have been looking for this information for like a week! Calling Stores and searching online! Now I pray that I will get some business!!
You’re welcome! I hope you the best of luck and a possible new business venture!
Thank you Marta for your post and video clip, very helpful. I was just asked by a friend to do their store window and this clip and the replies have helped me to move forward.
Glad to help, Jorge. Maybe you can make some money with this! Cheers!
Hello, thank your for you post very helpful. I do have a few questions for you, one being should I get a license or insurance? (I’m looking to make extra money not spend it.) Another question is if you have ever tried to paint residential homes? If so is that successful? Any help would be great thank you.
Hi, Kim. Those are good questions. I suppose if you’re going to do this as a business, then you may need a license from the city. Check with your local city offices. I haven’t heard of anyone getting insurance for window painting, but you may be aware of risks that I am not aware of.
As for painting residential homes, why not? I don’t think I’ve ever seen holiday paintings on house windows, but you could start a new and lucrative trend. Go for it! And let us know what you learn from it, ok?