Free Instructions for Creating a Mosaic Glass Painting
Easy to follow instructions on creating a mosaic glass painting. Any questions let us know.
Meg Quinlisk - Mosaic Artist
Why Mosaic Glass?
Mosaic glass paintings are never static. In the course of the day they are animated by changing light, their patterns wandering across the floor, inviting your thoughts to wander with them. They were essential to the fabric of ancient churches, illuminating the building and the people within, both literally and spiritually. Complex patterns of different colored glasses are used to create a stunning effect. You can see the way the uneven handmade glass distorts the light, giving a natural organic quality with bubbles trapped forever in the heart of the glass – bubbles that were frozen in as the hot liquid cooled.
Do you love the beauty of mosaic glass? Are you curious how these beautiful pieces of colored glass can be randomly placed on a canvas and somehow develop into an object we recognize? Creating a mosaic glass painting is like creating your own jigsaw puzzle using mosaic glass. If you are a beginner to painting or if you are a very experienced artists, these classes will inspire and amaze you.
Diamond Glaze a glue, helps the glass grip the canvas, sold on Amazon
Acrylic Paint Brushes harder/firmer bristles work best
Glass Cutter Tool (nippers) sold on Amazon and other vendors
Flat Canvas, or Wood sold on Amazon, Michaels and other vendors
Mosaic Glass sold on Amazon and other vendors
Carbon/Transfer Paper sold on Amazon, Staples & used to copy image onto canvas
Photo of Your Subject Pinterest is my top pick for finding inspiration
Old Cotton Towels to cover your hands when you cut the glass, see video
Several Small bowls to use for mixing paint and modeling paste together
Rubbing Alcohol to clean mosaic glass
Straight Razor removes dried unwanted paint mixture from glass
- Draw or transfer your image onto a flat panel canvas or wood. Transfer paper can make your lines really dark. To lighten your lines paint over your transferred drawing with a thin layer of white paint. This will ensure your lines don’t show on your finished mosaic.
- Pick the glass colors for your subject. I try to use at least 2-3 different shades for each glass color I will use. A sunflower requires yellow glass. I would pick a light yellow glass or a bright yellow glass and a darker yellow type of glass.
- The glass must be washed using rubbing alcohol to remove the dust from the factory or store. Fastest way to do this is by placing the glass in a bowl with alcohol and let it soak a bit. Dry the glass by laying it on a clean towel.
- It’s time to pick the acrylic paint colors and paint your subject. Pick one shade (mid tone) for each color. For example, a sunflower would require a primary yellow paint or a cadmium yellow paint for the petals. The paint is a background color for each section of your subject. Not every inch of your canvas needs to be covered in glass. The paint will act as a guideline or roadmap for your mosaic glass. For the green leaves, use a mid tone like Martha Stewart Scottish Highlands. For the bud or center of the sunflower use a medium brown like Burnt Sienna with Burnt Umber.
- Paint your subject on your flat canvas or board before adding any glass.
- Use your glass cutters to cut the pieces of glass. Make different size cuts, thin, thick, triangular, etc., to make the painting more interesting. I have a video link at the end of this document that shows you a demonstration on cutting the glass. Be sure to wear safety goggles or use an old towel to cover your hands when you cut the glass. Cut various unique pieces of glass first and then plan out where they will be placed.
- Arrange the glass on your canvas. This planning step should be done without glue to get an idea of where you want the glass. Rearrange the glass as needed. It’s easier to work on small sections at a time. When you are happy with the arrangement move the glass to the corresponding area on the photo to help remember where it goes. This becomes your roadmap.
- Place a small dab of Diamond Glaze glue onto your glass piece and place it gently on top of the canvas with the subject you painted. This is like putting together a puzzle. Refer to your photo to remember where the glass goes.
- Remember to make each area of the small section you are working unique. Use various shades of glass and various shapes of glass to make the mosaic more interesting. Try using 2 or 3 different color values per area, i.e., dark yellow and light yellow glass, rather than just all dark yellow. Variety with the glass color and shape are what gives your work a 3 dimensional effect.
- Repeat the process for each area of your subject. Cut the glass for just that section prior to adding the glass that area.
- When you have completed your mosaic you may have to clean some of glass on your painting. Use a small razor to scrap off any paint that landed on the top of the glass. Using a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol, vinegar or Windex on a clean brush works to clean off extra paint.
Meg Quinlisk - Mosaic Artist
- Lessons Learned or Mistakes to Avoid
- Paint - The best type of acrylic paint to use is a thicker or heavy body paint. The cheap acrylic paint (DecoArt, Delta Ceramcoat, Plaid, Craft Smart, etc. brands) are very thin, making adhesion difficult. Thicker paint will help the mosaic glass adhere to the canvas better. I like Liquitex Basics or Martha Stewart paints, they are thicker and better quality paints.
- Paint the entire canvas first with just acrylic paint. Let it dry. Use a clear-drying glue like Mod Podge to cover the back of each piece of mosaic glass. Place the glass on the canvas. Do not use modeling paste as your glue since it does not dry clear.
- It is easier to cut a large amount of glass in various unique shapes before you begin working on a section. From these pieces you will “puzzle” out where the glass pieces will go. Cutting the glass to fit a specific spot is difficult and will really slow you down. It will be necessary at some point to do this but don’t start off with this precise cutting method.
- Use tweezers to place some of the smaller glass pieces on the canvas especially in tight spaces.
- Separating the glass by color before you begin is a great time saver.
- 8x10” is a good size canvas to work on. It takes about 6-8 hours or more to complete. A smaller size canvas goes quicker but it is more challenging to work smaller. A 4x4” canvas with a simple subject can be done in about 4 hours. The time really depends on your experience level and how much glass you use. Remember sometimes less is more.
I hope you feel informed and inspired to try your hand at Mosaic Glass Painting. The results are beautiful and rewarding. If you would like a more hands on approach, I offer both private and group classes. Classes are available on my website: Meg Quinlisk - LovingToPaint
Meg Quinlisk - Mosaic Artist