How to Paint Glass Vases

Painted glass vases with small flower bundles stacked on books closeup

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 vase
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to $15

If you've noticed that you have somehow accumulated lots of plain glass vases and are wondering if there's a way to spruce them up, look no further. Spray painting them is a quick and easy way to give them new life and turn a boring old vase into a striking new centerpiece or decorative item. With just a couple of inexpensive supplies and easy-to-follow steps, we'll show you how to create a beautiful new vase in a matter of hours!

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Clean dish towel
  • Protective cloth or plastic
  • Protective face mask


  • Glass vase
  • Spray paint
  • Paint markers (optional)
  • Soapy water


Materials and tools to paint glass vases

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  1. Come up With a Design

    First, figure out what you want your vase to look like, since this will determine the specific supplies that you will need. Maybe you want to spray paint several glass vases and use them as a festive party centerpiece, or perhaps you want to create one statement piece to style your mantel with. If you're going for a more understated, mid-century modern look, use matte spray paint; if you want to create a bolder vase, say to use as seasonal decor, try using glossy spray paint.

    Vases set up next to spray paint cans and materials to determine design

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Clean the Vase

    Before you begin, wash the glass vase with soapy hot water, making sure you get off any dirt or grime. Then, dry it well with a clean dish towel and see that there isn't any fuzz or other debris left on the vase.

    Tall glass vase cleaned with soapy water and placed on brown towel

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Prep Your Workspace

    Now that you are ready to start painting the vase, prep your work space. Work in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside. Cover the surface area under the vase with protective cloth or plastic so that it doesn't get damaged by the spray paint.


    Whenever you use spray paint, make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside. Use a face mask to protect yourself while spraying, even if you are outside.

    Clean glass vases placed outside to prepare for painting

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Start Painting

    Turn the vase upside down so that the bottom is facing up, shake the can well, then evenly spray one coat on the entire vase, including the bottom. Make sure that you don't get too close to the vase and only spray a thin, even layer of paint on, so that you don't start getting paint drips all over it.

    Let the first coat dry completely. Then, spray a second coat and let that dry. You may need to do several coats depending, on how opaque the paint is—just make sure that you let each coat fully dry before spraying the next.

    Glass vase placed upside down and spray painted gold

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. Add Decorative Elements (Optional)

    This is an optional step because you may be happy with your vase as it is, sprayed with one solid color. However, if you would like to add some decorative elements, a great way to do this is with paint markers. If your paint markers are brand new, test them out on a piece of paper first before using them on the vase (sometimes the paint can run a little bit, and you don't want it to ruin your brand new creation).

    Once the spray paint is completely dry, use the markers to draw decorative patterns on the vase, then let the vase dry completely before use. This technique would work particularly well if you spray painted your vase a dark, glossy color and you used metallic paint markers to add some striking details.

    Paint markers used to add decorative elements on painted glass vases

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  6. Go Ombre (Optional)

    Another decorative option that you can use is creating an ombre effect using different colored spray paint, either a lighter or darker color than the main color you used. If you want to use this method, start spraying the ombre effect on before the main color has fully dried. To create the effect, if you want it to start at the bottom of the vase, begin spraying the bottom of the vase with the second color, spraying until about halfway up the vase, gradually increasing your distance from it as you spray, so as to create that gradual, fading look. Let the paint dry completely, and your beautiful vase is ready to be used, styled, and filled with flowers!

    What Is an Ombre Effect?

    An ombre effect is the the gradual fading of a color from light to dark or from one color to another. The word "ombre" has French origins and means to shade, hinting at the gradient look we have come to know today.

    Glass vase painted an ombre brown color with orange flower bundle inside

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald