Are Glassline Paints for You?

If you're new to painting on glass, you're probably bewildered about what brand of fusible glass paints to get. Here at my Glass Art Tools website, I carry several different lines of paints, chalks, powders, and enamels. So what's right for you?

One way to find out is to contact an artist whose work has a palette you find especially attractive, then contact them via their website or FB page to find out what they use. Another popular method is to take a class--a hands-on way of experimenting with a line of paints your teacher uses.  A third approach is to read up, then purchase a few basic colors and do your own testing. That's why I've packed the introduction to each color collection on the Glass Art Tools website with information about how each type of color is applied and fused.

In this blog, I want to share with you my own experience in using Glassline Paints. I've done a lot of experimentation with these colors, and I've found that they're quite versatile. Here are some of the things I like about them:
    They don't require you to purchase special medium; instead, they thin with water
           (I use distilled). They also work on all types and COEs of glass.
      They can be applied in a variety of ways:
        --thinned with water and sprayed with an airbrush
        --squirted from their bottle top, with finer lines possible using optional tips
        --spread with a palette knife or silicone spatula
        --partially dried and then carved through, scraped, or textured
           using Colour Shapers, chopsticks, or decorative palette knives                     
        --brushed on as a wash, texture-fused, and brushed again with the same color  to deepen its intensity, or with a different color to create shadows and blends
        --mixed with glass powders and gel and applied as a paste        

Glassline colors can be applied to either polished or sandblasted glass, and after they dry, you can experiment by sprinkling glass powders over them, and full-fusing.
     They can be tack-fused (at temps around 1300 degrees F), resulting in
        a pastel, matte surface
     They can be full-fused, resulting in deeper, richer colors and a glossy
        surface that becomes part of your glass.
     They seem to stand up to repeated fusing events without degrading.
There are some cons to Glassline paints. One is not serious, just annoying: Over months, the paint requires that you add little bits of water to the bottle and then shake like crazy to get it to a working consistency.

The MAIN drawback design-wise is that getting the best, richest color out of these paints requires a full fuse. So if you're only working at lower temperatures and desire jewel tones instead of matte pastels, these might not be the paints for you. Also, it means that if you are planning a texture fuse, a slump, or tacking on accessory glasses, you have to plan carefully to get the painted part of your piece full-fused first, and do the lower-temperature work after the full fuse has been completed. There are ways around this, such as creating "part sheets" with your painted images or patterns ahead of time, then cutting, shaping, and attaching them to a larger piece later using a tack fuse.

While Glassline Paints aren't like acrylics in that they can be mixed with abandon to produce totally predictable blends, you can mix them. I suggest pulling out a 10 x 10" sheet of white opal and placing daubs of mixed colors on it so that you have a color reference (just don't forget to make up a written guide to what colors/proportions are in each daub before  firing). Again, these paints will tend to fuse towards the darker end of the spectrum, so in mixing, I suggest creating pastel tones initially--they'll look darker after firing. A few basic colors, plus black and white, might provide enough to play with, to see if they're for you. Get them from Glass Art Tools and save.

The brand that is closest to Glassline in terms of a broad range of hues and similar firing ranges are Colors for Earth, available on the Glass Art Tools website. If you've seen Mark Hufford's work on Facebook or visited the Colors for Earth website, you'll be impressed by the painterly imagery that can be captured with this brand.  Plus, CFE has wonderful educational opportunities for people who use their enamel powders. The only drawback from my own user experience is that the colors must be applied to glass in "puddles" to achieve their full potential in fusing. From that viewpoint, Glassline paints are more versatile.

The other color set that has a wonderful selection of colors is Thompson Enamels. I carry a sample set of their non-toxic, fusible colors on the Glass Art Tools website. But these are enamel powders, and to my knowledge, they're designed to be applied in powder form, so if you're not familiar with how to do that, taking an enameling class might be a good idea.

I hope this overview has helped...Please feel free to comment with your own experience in what you've learned, which in turn will help others. Good luck and have fun!


Scoping out the new Glassline Beach Fusible Paint Colors

Who doesn't love the beach? The sand, the waves, the myriad hues of water and sky from dawn til sunset--those are pretty awesome colors.

And that's what Glassline's new color set, called "Beach," is supposed to be about. But how do they look after fusing? And how do these new colors compare with those already in Glassline's fusible paint collection? This blog post is my way of trying to help you figure that out.

First, I'll describe verbally how each color appears after a full fuse. Then I'll show you photos of samples that I fused of warm and cool colors, both old and new, and I'll compare them for you to see. Last, I'm posting a full sample set of "fused swatches" so you can see everything in the Beach set all at once.

Here's the list of Beach colors, and how they appear after a full-fuse:

  • Aegean--deep teal
  • Aqua--rich, medium teal
  • Blue Ice--a soft, dusky aqua   
  • Butterscotch--true to its name, like a butterscotch candy
  • Celadon--soft, muted medium green
  • Coral--a rich red wine color
  • Dusty Rose--yep, exactly like it sounds
  • Marine--a gorgeous, deep-sea blue
  • Mist--a blue grey, perfect for shadows
  • Peach--warm, deep skin tone
  • Sand--lovely warm beige or tan
  • Summer Sun--Wow, a bold, bright Primrose yellow

Next, I picked similar colors and full-fused them on the top surface of two layers of glass, white opal over clear. For color accuracy, I took these photos in bright, full sunlight so you can easily evaluate the new vs. older related hues:

A.   Aqua vs. Aegean vs. Teal vs. Marine
Comparison of blue green Glassline Colors

Aqua and Aegean are extremely similar. If you've mixed acrylics or watercolors, the only difference is that the Aqua is slightly lighter, not like a pastel, but more like if you added a bit more water to an acrylic color. The Aegean is a deeper tone.

Teal (an original color) is quite a lot deeper, with more green than Aegean.
Marine is a different hue altogether, bluer than the other three. It is a luscious color which reminds me of deep water ocean colors off the coast of Hawaii.

B. Turquoise vs. Blue Ice vs. Mist
Glassline Pastel Blues
These are all pretty pastel colors, even when full-fused. Turquoise reads to my eye like a sky blue, more blue-blue than the other two. The two new colors are different:
Blue Ice tends more towards a soft, dusky aqua.
Mist is what I think would be a versatile blue-grey.

C. Summer Sun vs. Celadon vs. Light Green
Glassline greens and yellow
Light Green, an original color, is a nice, medium Spring Green, while by comparison Celadon is more of a wash of an olive green with a hint of blue.
Summer Sun is a cool bright yellow, a must-have if you want bright color.

D.Warm Earth Colors
Glassline Warm Tones
Left Sample: Peach doesn't read "fruit" as much as it does "skin," and would probably be my suggestion for artists who paint people. I suggest using white or black to lighten or darken it. The Orange, an original color, is pure, bright orange.
Right Sample: All of these warm-tone colors are pretty, and useful for earth tones, landscapes, and skin colors. Sand (new) and Sesame (original) are slightly pinker, so they might be good for creating flesh tones. (Peach seems to have the most pink, though). Butterscotch is a lovely dark gold. Sand comes across as the lightest, while Butterscotch and Sesame are more intense values.

E. The Reds
Glassline red hues color sample
I've loved Glassline's Red Orange for years. It's lush, bright, and vibrant, and it doesn't poop out or get oxidized during firing (no need to crack open your kiln!). Deep Red is a darker, but still intense shade, while Coral is much more of a red wine hue. All of these reds really "pop" over black glass. The pastel Pink is an original color, while Dusty Rose reads as more muted than the others. For me, Glassline's reds are pretty unparalleled, and now you have even more red-related options.

Finally, here's a photo of the full set of Beach Color Swatches, again, shot in brilliant sunlight. A key to the names appears below the photo.
Glassline Sample Sheet of Fused Beach Colors
                                               Key to the colors:
Double row A, left to right:   Sand          Butterscotch          Peach          Coral

Double row B, left to right: Dusty Rose  Summer Sun        Blue Ice      Celadon

Double row C, left to right:     Mist                Aqua                Aegean         Marine

In summary, there are some lovely colors in this set, including some that would do well if you're looking for something for shadows (Mist) or flesh tones (Peach and/or Sand). And I'm already eyeing some of the bolder, intense colors as good candidates for mixing. However, some of the new colors are very similar to original ones, so you might want to use these photos to help you pick just the really unusual colors that resemble nothing else in your arsenal. However, if you're one of those people who want the full set so you don't miss out on anything, I'm offering the Beach set at a nice discount, which includes all 12 Beach colors plus bottles of Black and White, as well as a free tip set as a bonus. Find any and all on our second and third Glassline Paints pages.  Oh, and please let me know if you found this analysis helpful. Thanks!