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Questions & Answers About Painting on Windows!

Hopefully this page will answer some of the most common questions that you may have about window painting.

You can also find answers to questions I get in email by visiting my new FACEBOOK page here. Using facebook was a great way for me to answer some of the more UNcommon questions plus share PHOTOS of past windows I've painted around town.

 Happy Painting! 

the Window Woman

What type of paint & brushes do you use for window painting?
Our patterns were designed for the home painter and can be used with ACRYLIC CRAFT PAINTS because of the ease of use, color selection, low cost, weather resistance and easy cleanup. However, TEMPERA can also be used if you prefer. I prefer tempera. Keep in mind that temperas will run if hit by heavy rain so you may want to consider painting from the inside when using these.  



Basic Acrylic Craft Paint- If you are just doing a small home window using any of the "basic" acrylic craft paints such as DecoArt's Americana or Ceramcoat will work fine. DON'T use acrylics that are designed for painting on glass as they are INTENDED to be permanent and can be difficult to remove after the holidays. The basic ordinary craft paints are what you want. 



Tempera Paint -  My personal preference for windowpainting is ProArt Tempera. I used it almost exclusively in my window painting business. It has excellent coverage, the colors are vibrant and it flows on well. I love working with it.

Pay attention to the labels. If the tempera is labeled "Washable" or "For Kids" it will not have as much pigment as the higher artist quality but if you will be working with young children "washable" is probably a good choice as it washes out of clothes easier. And don't forget drop cloths with little painters.  

Available online from Varneys. and Jerrolls Bookstore in Ellensburg Washington. I asked Jerrolls if they would ship and they said yes but you may have to contact them by email or phone. I am not an affiliate of either company.


Brushes - The most wonderful for painting on glass are Loew-Cornell GOLDEN TAKLON in either a " or " for filling in color and their Golden Taklon liner brush for doing the outlines. Synthetic white brushes also work. Natural hair or very soft brushes will work but not as well as the other. For large areas of color the one inch sponge brushes are also nice (especially with kids) as well as being inexpensive.


Optional: Garden Craft Terra Cotta Marker (6mm BLACK) We just recently discovered these and they work great for outlining and because it is acrylic based it washes off easily just like regular acrylic. They have also recently come out with a broad tip marker in basic colors but we haven't had a chance to experiment with those for filling in with color. 
Available online from Durable Supply Co. (I am not an affiliate)


What do you use to clean the windows before starting?
Most windows just require a general cleaning with your basic HOUSEHOLD WINDOW CLEANER. However, if you have a heavy buildup from road exhaust or if you have used a cleaner that contains silicones or wax you will want to get this off or your paint may "fish eye" while you are painting which is a sign that it will most likely peel or flake off.  In this case, use a mixture of ammonia and water. Spray it on the glass and let it sit for a minute, then scrub and rinse off. 
Note: Any cleaner that says it will repel dust or is a polish of some sort, leaves a layer of film on the window that not only repels dust but also paint!  Don't use it.

There are times, but not often, when no amount of cleaning will keep temperas from peeling.  Either switch to acylics or use an undercoat of white latex wall paint.

Why is the paint flaking off when I use tempera?
Here are some tips to avoid this situation. You will seldom, if ever, have a problem with your paint flaking or peeling if you are using acrylic craft paint. If you are using temperas and have this problem it could be one of several reasons.
  Mixing Brands. Stick with one brand of tempera paint. Manufacturers use different formulas and mixing them together or painting with one brand over the other will often cause this problem. 

  Film on window. You may have a heavy film on the window. See the answer above for cleaning windows before painting. There are times, but not often, when no amount of cleaning will keep temperas from peeling.  Either switch to acrylics or use an undercoat of white latex wall paint.

  Out dated Paint. Use fresh paint. Tempera paint has a shelf life. I don't know how long the shelf life is but I know what it smells like when it goes bad. Watch for this if you are using paint that has been in the cupboard for a couple years. If your paint has a funny sour smell it probably is outdated and will flake off the window after it has dried. 

What's the easiest way to clean the windows off after the holidays?

Here it is...the SUPER EASY CLEANING METHOD for painted windows. "You get someone else to do it!!!"  That's my favorite method, but,... okay, so we know that's not always going to happen (it's always worth a try.) So here's the SECOND BEST way to clean painted windows. Take it from someone who has had to clean a LOT of paint off windows, this is a piece of cake... 

1. Wet the windows using a spray bottle of  window cleaner or straight water. The key here is to get the paint wet enough so the water will soften the paint with out soaking the window and making huge puddles at the bottom. (If you used temperas you may want to place some paper towels at the bottom to catch the drips.)
Give the water time to soften the paint, re-spraying as necessary to keep it wet, usually a full minute or two. 

2. When the paint has softened, use a straight edge (razor if you are an adult) or a credit card to scoop the loosened paint off the glass. Acrylics will become like a soft plastic. Wipe it onto a rag or paper towel. When most of it is removed, wash the window again like you would normally do with window cleaner and paper towels. SEE?! All done and ready for the next holiday!

How do you determine how much to charge for painting windows for a business?

I must get asked this particular question more than any other. It's a very good question, and one that has been very difficult to answer with exact numbers since there are so many variables. Such as your own personal abilities, the standard of living in your area, etc, etc.  But the following method will work in all situations...

You give them a price and if the customer says
"Wow, is that all?" then you're not charging enough.
If they reply with, "..........yeah,....(cough, choke)...let me get back to you.
I have to run this by my wife/husband."  and then they never call you back,
you're charging too much.
If they wince just a wee bit, and then say "Okay, when can you start?"
then you got it just right.


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