It can be more difficult to decoupage glass than many other surfaces. The reason for this is decoupage involves gluing paper cutouts, painting and, occasionally, using gold leaf. All of these procedures require a medium to be adhered to the substrate. When the substrate is glass, the smooth nonporous surface of can make adhering anything to it problematic. To keep from getting frustrated while practicing this form of art, remember the following five tips.
1. Clean the Base
To ensure that the artwork sticks to the glass, no dust or dirt can remain on it. To prep the base, wash it with soap and water. Water may not clean the glass as thoroughly as needed though. After it has been washed, glass must be wiped with alcohol and dried once again.
2. Make Copies of the Originals
Even if glass isn’t the substrate, it is always a good idea to make copies of the original art that is going to be cut up for the decoupage. Copies are like an insurance policy that can save a project when the original attempt goes awry. If the back-up copies must be used and were made on an ink jet printer, use low moisture content glue to keep the ink from smearing.
3. Use the Backside of the Glass
Apply the art to the side of the glass that is not touched. For instance, if attempting to decoupage a glass platter, flip the platter over and apply the cut out images to the bottom. The images will still be visible through the glass and the lacquer that is applied to seal the art will not distort the smooth surface of the platter. Also, with the art on the back, food that is placed on the platter will never touch the lacquer.
4. Use Thin Glue
Decoupage glue tends to bunch up when applied to nonporous surfaces such as glass. To keep this from happening it is wise to thin the glue as it is applied. The easy way to do this is to dip the glue brush in water first and then into the glue before brushing it onto the art. If back-up copies that were printed on an ink jet printer must be used, and the glue is bunching because it is too thick, it may still be possible to thin the glue without smearing the ink. If not, it may be necessary to try different glue, or make laser copies of the ink jet images. Using a paintbrush, paint the glue onto the glass first and then to the artwork as well. Press the artwork against the glass and let dry.
5. Remove and Air Bubbles
The surface of the glass is smooth and to look like it’s painted on, the decoupage should be too. Make sure to carefully remove any air bubbles by rubbing them out with a finger or using a rubber brayer. A rubber brayer is a tool that can be found at most art stores and is like a rolling pin mounted onto a paint brush handle. The rolling portion is made of soft or hard rubber so that it won’t scratch the glass below the art. Once all the bubbles are gone, apply a decoupage finishing lacquer to complete the project.