Carolina Propper is one of our X-Team Wizards who ensures that all X-Teamers have the best possible experience in our community. She has also recently picked up a new hobby: glass painting. In this interview, we discuss how she discovered glass painting, what she likes about it, and what materials you need for it.

Disclaimer from Carolina: I am still very much a newbie at glass painting, so take everything I say here with a grain of salt 😄. There are no strict rules to glass painting, so take all the creative liberties you want. You will learn as you go along.

How did you find out about glass painting?

On TikTok! All the glass-painted art there always looked amazing. One day, I stumbled on a video that explained how to do it. It didn't seem very hard, so I decided to try it myself.

What do you like about it?

I like that it's not complicated. It's an easy hobby to adopt. It also doesn't require a lot of things, so it's fairly budget-friendly. Coloring of any kind (with pencils, watercolors, etc...) has always been really soothing to me, but now that I do it on glass I get some amazing decoration pieces out of it that I can gift to family and friends.

What materials do you need?

You really just need four things:

  1. Glass. I use the glass that comes with picture frames, which costs $1 at the dollar store 😄. Some people like to use Plexiglass. Just make sure you handle it with care because that kind of glass scratches easily.
  2. An oil-based marker (I've read that Edding and Sharpie are the best ones).
  3. Acrylic colors. You don't need to buy a lot of colors if you don't want to because you can just mix them and make new colors. To start out, get at least the four primary colors plus black and white.
  4. Brushes! Small ones for details and big ones for the rest.

Additionally, you may need: A sponge, a paper towel or an old kitchen towel to dry off your brushes, a cup with water to clean the brushes, toothpicks or cocktail sticks, cotton swabs, rubbing alcohol, and a precision knife or box cutter knife.

So how does it work? How is it different from regular painting?

You can either draw something yourself or pick something that you want to trace onto the glass. In my case, I've mostly painted anime characters, which seems to make it a lot easier to match colors. But here's how it works:

  1. You grab your image and put it under the glass. Attach it with some masking tape on the top so it doesn't move when you're tracing it but also allows you to move it out of the way when you hold the glass against the light (explained in step four).
  2. Trace it with your oil-based marker. Make sure to use the correct brush sizes for thick and fine lines. If you make a mistake, you can easily clean it off with a cotton swab and a little bit of rubbing alcohol or, if it's a small mistake, you can scratch it off delicately with a box cutter knife or precision knife.
  3. Wait a bit until it dries, which really doesn't take long. Then start color matching (i.e. mixing the colors you have to get the colors you need).
  4. Start painting in layers. Begin with small details and lighter colors first. Then work yourself up to bigger areas. Wait until a layer dries before applying the next one and make sure to hold the glass up to the light to see what spots are missing. It is a game of patience, young Padawan! Let your layers dry.
  5. Once dried, some people like to paint over everything with a dark color so the back doesn't look weird. This is optional.

I'm not sure if there is a big difference with regular painting because you're basically just painting on glass. That's the only difference: Your canvas is glass instead of a traditional canvas. But that's the beauty of art, you can use whatever tools you want or have available to you and let your mind wander and create!

To me, glass painting is a way to paint the anime characters that I love (and wouldn't know how to draw 😂) as cool decoration items and as cool gifts for others. I believe that the best gifts are those that we've put a little bit of our own effort into.

Absolutely true. So where do you get ideas for what to paint?

Ideas can come from anywhere. Just open up Google and find something you like or, if you're feeling adventurous, draw something yourself. Anime characters, cartoon characters, video game characters, portraits, landscapes, buildings, really anything!

It will all depend on your skill, but practice really does make perfect. So don't get discouraged if you don't get the result you had in mind on the first try 😉.

Can you show us what you've painted so far?

Absolutely! For the girl on the left below, I used a regular sharpie, so you can see that the eyes and other lines are bit smudged. But that was my first attempt, so go easy on me!

The Titanic one next to it was for my boyfriend. Those are our characters in a videogame we play together (GTA V RP). I used two glass panels and wrote "I love you" on the one in the back and attached them to each other with a little bit of liquid glass, which created some additional depth for a background.

If you're also interested in learning how to paint glass, I'll point you to a few TikTok videos to help with learning and ideas:

And here are a few videos about common issues with glass painting:

Do you want to join a company full of creative people like Carolina, who frequently explore new and exciting hobbies? You can! X-Team is always looking for experienced software engineers. Send through your application today.