Today, I’m going to show you how I hand painted glasses to compliment table settings and as favors for several parties.

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I was prompted by several readers who asked how to make the decorated pilsners featured in last week’s Casual St. Patrick’s Day Table & Shamrock Glasses.

So far, I have created hand painted glasses for four different occasions. It all started when I wanted peacock themed tableware and favors for the second My Favorite Things Party.

Since the feather decorated wine glasses were such a crowd pleaser (everyone thought I had bought them!), I went on to paint Holly Golightly figures on champagnes for the Breakfast at Tiffany’s Theme Brunch. More recently for the Unbirthday Party, I upped the ante, painting four different Alice in Wonderland character goblets.

You don’t have to be an artist to create fun and unique hand painted glasses to grace a table or give as favors for a bridal or wedding shower. All it takes is a little patience and steady hand. Let me show you.

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Iced tea goblets, for the Alice in Wonderland Table and Party Favors, were the most involved and time-consuming hand painted glasses I have made so far. I wouldn’t recommend you start with Wonderland characters as your first project. Plus, I painted 18 of them over a two month period. A labor of love for family and friends.

Don’t let that intimidate you from trying this fun and rewarding craft project!

Because, no matter how simple or complex the design, the same basic materials, steps and process applies.

Materials & Supplies
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  • Heavy-Duty Glassware
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paper Towels & Q-Tips
  • Paint Pen(s)
  • Glass Paint

For each project, I used heavy-duty or thicker stemware when hand painting glasses. It’s not only sturdier and less fragile to work with, but more economical than high-end glassware or crystal.

Dollar Tree offers single stem options in different shapes and sizes. It’s convenient to order bulk online (with in store pickup) for boxed quantities. Walmart also offers a variety of durable Libbey glasses. Another good option are Macy’s Cellar boxed sets.

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3 Basic Steps for Hand Painted Glasses

Regardless of the design or image complexity, surface area covered, or number of colors used, follow this process:

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  1. Prep Glassware: Begin by washing the glasses either in the dishwasher or with warm soap and water. Let dry completely. Clean painting surfaces with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Paint Design: Use speciality paint and pens designed for multi-surfaces and/or glass. Some colors or designs may require multiple layers for desired coverage (let dry two-hours between coats). Keep rubbing alcohol, paper towels and Q-tips handy to quickly remove mistakes.
  3. Air and/or Oven Cure: Air-curing requires 21 days to be handwashing and/or top-rack, dishwasher safe. For oven curing, first air-cure 4 days. Follow paint manufacturer instructions, which usually direct placing glasses in a cool oven. Next, heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Let glasses fully cool in the oven.

Start Simple

A quick and easy project for beginners were the pilsners in St. Patrick’s Day Table & DIY Shamrock Glasses.

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To paint the shamrocks onto the pilsners (Dollar Tree), I followed the simple 3-step process outlined in How to Draw a Shamrock on FaveCrafts.com.

Using speciality paint (Hunter Green, FolkArt enamel) for glass and other surfaces, I freehanded the shamrocks — letting the paint dry between each step. To attract leprechauns to the table, I then highlighted the shamrocks with metallic gold paint (Pure Gold, FolkArt).

Prior to making the shamrock glasses, I had never used the oven-baked method for curing — afraid to risk my work being ruined in a oven. And I never trusted any of my hand painted glasses to the dishwasher either.

But, my eldest son placed the shamrock decorated pilsners I gave him into the dishwasher, and they were fine and dandy.

Peacock Feather Glasses

For the Peacock Theme Party Menu, I wanted to create special, hand painted glasses to serve white sangria Peacocktails.

After searching on Pinterest, I found a great, easy-to-follow tutorial. Check out lucydesignsonline.com for DIY Hand Painted Glasses with Peacock Feather Design.

For my version, I used large, 20-ounce wine goblets from Dollar Tree and five paint colors. Two of the colors were later used in the shamrock hand painted glasses.

Tip: One little mistake I made was painting the design too close to the rim of the wine glass. You never want the paint to come in contact with the mouth. So, I reminded my guests to sip their beverage from the opposite side of the glass.

Champagne Flutes

For the Breakfast at Tiffany’s Theme Brunch, I had a mimosa bar and lots of bottles of bubbly on hand. I decided to challenge myself by hand painting glasses with a slender Holly Golightly figure.

Do you see the general resemblance to Audrey Hepburn from the movie?

For the Terrific Tiffany Theme Party Favors and Gifts,  I used a case of small, Libbey champagne flutes (Macy’s). On sale, each glass cost less than a dollar. Because the color Tiffany blue is copyrighted, I used Martha Stewart‘ Pool, satin paint (Michael’s). Rhinestone stickers were glued on for a little glam.

There were no tutorials to follow on Pinterest. So, I came up with my own method for hand painting glasses depicting figures.

How to Paint Character Glasses

Let me show you how I did it; using the Mad Hatter hand painted glasses from the Alice in Wonderland Table & Party Favors as an example.

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First, I ordered two cases of the 20-ounce wine goblet from Dollar Tree online. Having them in boxes made for easy transport home, and safe storage for all the hand painted glasses until the party.

1. Locate, Size & Cutout Desired Image

For the character “templates”, I located copyright-free images of the original story illustrations online.

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Then, I measured the height and width of the space where I wanted to paint each character on the goblet. By inserting the various images onto a Microsoft Word page, I was able to resize each to fit the paint area dimensions. Finally, I cut out the images and inserted them into a glass to see how well they fit.

2. Secure Image Inside Glass

First, tape the image to the inside of the glass, carefully positioning it in proper place.

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Now insert a paper towel or napkin inside, so that the image is flattened against the curve of the glass surface.

3. Trace Outline of Image

I like to support and angle the glass against a paper towel roll as a sort-of work easel.

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Use a thin paint pen to outline the image onto the glass. Because of the curve of the stemware, you need to make adjustments.

Be careful to keep the image in the same position at all times while tracing.

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Remove the paper towel from inside the glass and here’s what you have.

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Tip: Only copy as many details as necessary. I mistakenly copied the lettering on Mad Hatter’s tag — something I then had to paint over. On subsequent glasses, I traced far fewer details; adding those instead as a finishing step.

4. Paint with Brush, Add Details with Paint Pen

Here’s the finished Mad Hatter glass. He was the most time-intensive to create because of all the colors and details.

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There were four character designs in all for the Unbirthday Party. I particularly liked the White Rabbit Herald.

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Of course, I had to have one of the Queen of Hearts hand painted glasses — Queen Bee and Queen of Theme that I am LOL!

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And, you can’t have a Wonderland theme party without Alice.

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In this image, she’s playing flamingo crochet just as my guests did in Playing Flamingo Croquet & Building a House of Cards. Although, we played with balls not poor little hedgehogs!

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Which is your favorite Wonderland character glass?

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5. Embellish Stems

An option when hand painting glasses is to decorate the stem and bottom. I liked the look of painting the underside of the glass bottom.

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It took about three coats to get the desired coverage. Mad Hatter glasses had soft yellow undersides.

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Another option is to add ribbon, charms and other embellishments to the stem of each glass.

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Since there were four or five of each Alice in Wonderland character glass, I used different charms so guests could tell which was theirs during the party.

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Keys, crown, royal bee, and flamingo charms were found on clearance at Joann Fabrics. An unexpected and lucky find that made them cost-effective to embellish each glass.

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Are you enticed to try hand painting glasses for a spring or Easter table?

I hope you’ll give it a try!

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