The Dumpling and I have experimented with several methods of making faux glass paint, and this simple two-ingredient recipe has consistently been my go-to. It is easy to make with materials readily found and is washable, which is always a plus when working with young children.
The mixture tints clear plastic or glass a with translucent layer of paint that glows with gorgeous colors under direct light. Originally used in a project to make sea glass bottles, the Dumpling and I have applied this “glass paint” to create lanterns and sun catchers as well.
So what are these two magical ingredients? Elmer’s glue and food coloring!
- Elmer’s glue
- Food coloring
- Printout of an image outline
- Black puffy fabric paint with writing tip / black sharpie
- Clear plastic sheets (ex: presentation cover, thick transparency film, acrylic sheet, etc.)
- Paint brushes with thin tip (one for each color)
- Small containers to hold the paint
Trace image onto the plastic sheet with black fabric paint or sharpie. Print out the mermaid tail or draw something of your own. If the latter, start with an image without fine details because the viscous consistency of the paint mixture makes painting small areas difficult. It is like painting with Elmer’s glue…because we are painting with Elmer’s glue!
Either fabric paint or sharpie could be used to trace the outline. I prefer fabric paint because the raised outline helps contain the paint. (Hint: Draw thicker lines for younger children to help them “color within the lines”.)
Mix glue with food coloring. I used one drop of gel food coloring for about a tablespoon of glue. The more food coloring used, the more intense the color. You want the paint to dry opaque so do not go overboard.
Paint the image with colored glue mixture and let dry. The color will lighten/fade — this is normal.
Place the images in direct sunlight or under a flashlight in the dark.