DIY: Painted Metal Glass Dishes

The idea of metal dishes

Back in college, I wanted metal dishes cuz I just thought that would be so cool.  That was right before the everyday convenience of Amazon Prime[1], and an internet brimming with product data and consumer reviews was still evolving.  I was quite the the thrift store junkie, but never found any metal dishes I could make a complete set of.  Retail stores were also unhelpful since the mainstream consumer's idea of metal dishes are generally enameled for camping.  The non-microwavability of real metal dishes was also a bummer, and normal ceramic and porcelain dishes didn't offer any styles close to what I imagined.

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Metal dishes are neutral enough to blend in with any tabletop ensemble, and noteworthy by their own accord!

Luckily, during an inquisitive venture in the art store I discovered Pebeo's Porcelain Paint[2] was specifically formulated for painting on glass and ceramics.  I bought my recent lil' jar of Pewter color at the local Blick's Art Store[3].  At about $7.00 a jar, a few jars transformed my four piece set for four people.  The best part is it's water based for easy clean up, bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes, and then it's microwave and dishwasher safe.  No one is paying me to share this paint tip with you, just me using awesome DIY products.  Below is my set that's been working hard for nearly two decades, and I've replaced only a few individual pieces that have broken during this time.

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The gradual sheen and light effect gives these grey dishes the dimension that suggests metal material.

A stiff bristle makes a textured feeling to the bowl on the left. The plate on the right is smoother feeling finish with a softer brush.

The smooth glass and lustrous metal paint are a beautiful and practical combination.

The Project:  Painting Glass Dishes

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1.  Get to know your tools

The Paint:  It's water based so non-smelly and easy to clean.  Shake or stir to mix well, but beware of bubbles from shaking.

The Brush:  Select your brush.  Harder bristles will make a stronger brush texture, and a softer brush (soft enough for your face) makes a smoother finish.

The Hand:  Practice holding the dish and brush in your hand, as well as strokes and maneuvering.

2.  The set up

Steady the dish, food side down, on a stable mug or bowl.

Use wax paper for a work surface, or,  on a glass table that will easily clean up with a drenching of water.


Prepare yourself a friendly drink to help out. I've chosen a quick sangria made with wine, lemon slice, and frozen berries.

3.  The first coat

Use your hand to keep the dish balanced on the mug.

Or, carefully pick up the dish and use fingers to grip and rotate dish for easier painting.

Work in layers.  A slower stroke reduces tiny bubbles, and defined brush strokes appear as the paint dries.

Don't forget to rinse and dry brush between layers.

The wrist is a natural pivot for rotating and angling the dish.

4.  Consecutive layers

Each layer takes about 10-15 minutes to dry to the touch.  I vacuumed, hung up a picture, and checked my email in between each layer.  Great project if you like working in spurts!

Add additional layers as desired.

Don't worry is first coat is uneven. The additional layers will all together look even toned and opaque.

ON RIGHT, the first painted layer. PICTURED ABOVE, three generous layers.

5.  Last bits

Once the dish has dried for at least an hour on the final coat, flip it over and check if the opaqueness is evenly distributed.  Spot brush as needed.

Dry finished dishes for 24 hours.  Bake 300 degrees for 35 minutes. 

Once dish fully dried, gently clean edges with a damp non-scratching scrubby like this Twist Pad[4], to even out the edges before baking.

Allow the dishes to cool to touch, and then you're ready to rock.  Welcome to the good life!  Cheers to DIY and sangria!


Interested in learning more? Read about more green upholstery topics below!