Home / Encaustic Techniques / Glass As A Substrate For Encaustic Painting!

Glass As A Substrate For Encaustic Painting!

A good substrate for Encaustic Painting is rigid, absorbent, and heat resistant, it bonds well with the layers of wax without fear of cracking or separation. Yes, you can paint on glass with encaustic, but please understand that glass is not an ideal substrate for encaustic. Glass has no natural tooth to hold the paint. And of course, we can’t do a freezer test without breaking the glass. This means that we can’t say for certain if glass is suitable. Be that as it may, artists have created some beautiful encaustic works on glass.

“As the use of encaustic has expanded into the realm of mixed media over the last 60 years, it is being applied to a greater range of surfaces, including glass, plexiglass, metals, papers, fabrics, commercial panels, ceramic, stone, other paint mediums, etc. “

The R&F website

In a previous post, I wrote about using plexiglass as a substrate for encaustic painting and many of the same ideas apply to glass.

Creating a Toothy Surface

In order for encaustic to adhere to glass, you need to create a toothy surface. Here are three ways to do that:

  1. Paint the glass with Liquitex clear gesso
  2. Use etching cream for glass. For use on clear glass (not on plexiglass), this acid cream will remove a thin layer of glass and frost the surface underneath. Use in a well-ventilated area with plastic gloves and goggles. I haven’t tried this.
  3. Glue rice paper to the glass

Tips for painting on glass with encaustic

  • When painting on a glass substrate, you will need to slow down. The glass will retain the heat and the wax will take longer to cool. And, if you aren’t careful, you can burn yourself by touching the glass surface before it has cooled.
  • If you work in thin translucent layers you can take advantage of the glass substrate and let the light shine through.
  • You don’t need to fill the entire glass surface. Mask off the glass to leave some areas as clear glass the way Lisa Beth Glassman did (see below).

Encaustic Painting on a Vintage Window

I painted a cottage scene on a window that came out of our old cabin. It can be hung on the wall or suspended in a window. It looks very different when illuminated. I used clear gesso for this piece but now that I know about the etching cream, next time I’ll give it a try.

The finished piece works equally well hung in a window illuminated by sunlight as it does against a wall. Installed in the gallery window, the urban scene and tree outside blend with the rural scene.

Lisa Beth Glassman did a series of encaustic paintings on old windows.

Encaustic Mixed Media Glass Vases

Leslie Davis Fisher repurposes old glass vases. She glues rice paper to the vase to create a receptive surface for the encaustic wax.

Add your comments below and hop over to our Facebook Group to post any photos of your own encaustic art on glass.

About Ruth Maude

I enjoy experimenting with a variety of encaustic materials, techniques and tools. Everything I learn pushes my creative journey in new directions. I share what I've learned with other artists through my blog All Things Encaustic.

Visit My Website
View All Posts

4 thoughts on “Glass As A Substrate For Encaustic Painting!”

  1. I just love your blog! So glad I found it. A lot of great information and solid evidence and examples to back it up! I love working in encaustic AND light and now I know I can combine the two!

  2. The windows and the vases are lovely! I didn’t think you could do encaustic on glass ever, but I will give it a try. I have plenty of clear gesso too! Thanks for this article!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top