Ultimate Guide to Recycled Glass Crafts

Painting Recycled Windows

Window painting is a fun and creative way to recycle your old windows and glass. Not only will you free up space in your local landfill, but you'll be able to spend an afternoon with your family doing a hands-on, kid-friendly craft, or express yourself through an individualized artistic adventure. Either way, you have plenty of options for making your old windows into beautiful works of art.

Before you start, decide if your painting project will be permanent or temporary. Many businesses choose to display different window murals based on the season. Temporary jobs call for acrylic based paints, used for general painting projects. Avoid sealers, as these products are intended to last. They're marked for glass or tile and are appropriate for permanent jobs only [sources: Window Woman, Short]. Beyond your old window and paint, other helpful supplies include window cleaner, paper towels, a razor or credit card, a variety of brushes, painting sponges, water, painting tape and disposable plates.

Start by cleaning the glass using the window cleaner. Wipe dry with towel or paper towel and use the razor blade to scrape any remaining paint or marked areas. Then, set your paints out on the plates. Use your brushes to apply the paint to the window. Half-inch (1.27 cm) or .75-inch (1.90 cm) brushes work well for spreading large amounts of paint. Sponges are helpful here. Be sure to have thin liner brushes available for outlining and adding detail. Try to keep the paint free of any debris or harsh conditions until the paint has dried.

For permanent jobs, finish with a window sealant to protect the design. With temporary jobs, leave your piece up until you're ready to clean it off or start over. At this time, spray warm water over the paint. Allow the water to soak into the paint for a minute or two and then use your razor or credit card to scrape the paint off. Finish with a quick spray of your window cleaner to get the residual paint off [sources: Window Woman, Short].

If you're interested in learning even more about recycling your glass, be sure to check out the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Blick. "Window Painting." Blick Art Supply. (Accessed 04/13/2009). http://www.dickblick.com/categories/windowpaint/
  • Grays Harbor County. "Recycling Glass." Grays Harbor Country Department of Public Services. (Accessed 04/13/2009). http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/pub_svcs/Recycle/GlassRecycling.htm
  • Kilaen, Skye. "Mosaics Anyone? Recycled Glass to the Rescue." Crafting a Green World. Sept. 25, 2008. (Accessed 04/12/2009). http://craftingagreenworld.com/2008/09/25/mosaics-anyone-recycled-glass-to-the-rescue/
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. "What Can Be Recycled?" (Accessed 04/13/2009). http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/airwaste/wm/Recycle/Recywrks/recywrks2.htm
  • Sandhill Industries. "About Us." (Accessed 04/12/2009). http://www.sandhillind.com/aboutus.asp
  • Short, Crystal. "One Stroke Decorative Painting on Windows." Carolina Paints. 2004. (Accessed 04/13/2009). http://www.carolinapaints.com/articles/200406-01WindowPainting.html
  • Tsong, Nicole. "Do-it-yourself project: Create a sharp glass mosaic." The Seattle Times. August 4th 2007. (Accessed 04/03/2009) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/homegarden/2003818732_mosaic04.html
  • Tsong, Nicole. "Do-it-yourself project: Create a sharp glass mosaic - How-to gallery." The Seattle Times. August 4th 2007. (Accessed 04/03/2009) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/photogalleries/homegarden2003820025/
  • WWF. "Recycling Glass - How it helps the environment." (Accessed 04/13/2009). http://www.panda.org/about_our_earth/teacher_resources/project_ideas/recycling_glass/
  • Window Woman, the. "Questions & Answers About Painting on Windows!" (Accessed 04/13/2009). http://www.windowwoman.com/faq.htm