How To Paint A Frosted Glass Lamp Shade

If you have a frosted glass lamp shade that has faded, or you prefer another color, consider painting it. Frosted glass lamp shades are constructed from sandblasted semi-transparent glass sheets, which helps them produce a softer glow.

Painted frosted glass has a different look than clear glass, but that makes it unique, and it doesn't require advanced skills. Paint your frosted glass lamp shade by following these tips.  

Prepare to Paint the Shade

To paint the frosted glass shade, gather:

  • plastic gloves 
  • plastic or drop cloths 
  • liquid dish soap
  • soft scrub brush 
  • lint-free paper towels or cloth
  • painter's tape
  • art brushes and sea sponge 
  • stencils and stencil brush (optional)
  • paper plate
  • spray paint for frosted glass or heat-resistant multipurpose paint 

Plan to paint on days 60 degrees or higher, so the paint sticks better, or work inside on cooler days. If you work outdoors, paint the lamp under a sheltered area, such as a patio or carport. 

Otherwise, spread drop cloth so plastic on the floor, covering parts you don't want to be painted with tape. Keep a window raised inside to help ventilate.

Mix several drops of dish soap in a bucket of water and scrub the lamp shade. Rinse the lamp with a dampened paper towel or cloth and let it dry. 

Paint the Lamp a Solid Color

Be aware paint on glass shades will get hot, so buy paint that can withstand heat. Spray paint for glass covers the surface more evenly than standard paint, and it comes in opaque or translucent. Translucent paint allows more light to come through the shade. 

Shake the spray paint to mix the contents, hold the can eight inches from the surface, and paint in back and forth movements. Keep the can moving, so it doesn't pool in one area. 

Alternately, paint the surface with an artist's brush, moving in one direction and overlapping strokes slightly. Allow the first coat to dry and add another if desired.

Paint the Shade Two Colors or Stencil

To paint two colors, add paint to two paper plates. Dampen a sea sponge in water and wring excess liquid. Moisten a corner of the sponge in paint, then dab it on the plate edge to blot, then make random spots on half the shade. Repeat the process with a clean sponge, covering unpainted areas.

To use stencils, tape the stencil to the lamp. Dab the tip of the stencil brush into the paint, then swirl it on the plate to evenly circulate paint. Blot excess paint, and work the brush into the stencil areas, working in circular motions. Clean the stencil before you use it on other areas of the shade.