Garden Decor How-to: DIY Painted Vintage Window

Modern Masters
by Modern Masters
Dress up your outdoor decor with this colorful DIY Painted Vintage Window project by Katie Gaines from Love Paper Paint! She says, “I’ve had an old glass pane window sitting in my studio for a few years, just collecting dust and spider webs. It needed a little love and a chance to shine again and I thought it would be fun to repurpose this lonely window into a colorful garden decoration. My style is a bit global-boho, so I imagined this window creating an uplifting vibe in a meditation garden or a lush, tropical backyard retreat. With this easy step-by-step DIY, I’ll show you a few tips and tricks for creating your own eye-catching painted window, suitable for hanging as wall art or set out in the garden."

  • Glass-paned window or door (you can find them at antique stores, garage sales, Craigslist, junkyards, or an architectural salvage)
  • Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer for All Surfaces
  • Modern Masters Never Fades Front Door Paint in assorted colors: Tranquil turquoise, Ambitious red, Playful plum, Calm blue, Fortunate green, Happy yellow, and Hopeful white. You can find smaller sizes at Hobby Lobby, too.
  • Assorted paint brushes such as inexpensive nylon brushes available in sets at craft stores and a 2” chip brush
  • Craft paper or a drop cloth
  • Paper towels or a clean rag

Prep your work space with craft paper or a drop cloth. Using a slightly damp paper towel or rag, wipe down the old window to clean off any dirt, dust, spider webs.
With a 2” chip brush, paint the clean, dry window frame with the Tranquil non fade Front Door Paint. It dries quickly so you can add a second coat fairly quickly. The turquoise color provides a pop of color that works well against all the green in a garden setting.
Use a smaller brush for the detail areas of the frame close to the glass. You can tape off the glass if you’d prefer to not cut in freehand.  Otherwise, you can use a paper towel to quickly wipe off any paint that gets onto the glass, while the paint is still wet. Paint a second coat of the Tranquil Front Door paint onto the frame after the first coat has dried.
Next, find the design you’d like to paint on the glass panes and size it to fit each pane. Katie found floral mandala clipart online, enlarged the graphics, and scaled it to print for six separate 8.5” X 14” pages to fit my glass frame. Then she taped the pages to the back of each window pane. Be sure to scale your preferred art to your window pane size.
Using a small round nylon brush, “trace” the design onto the glass by painting on Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer for all surfaces.  Since this primer sticks to anything, including glass, it will give a strong, durable base for the Front Door Paint to adhere to.
After the primer has dried, you can start “coloring” in the design. Pour a little bit of each color into a paint palette or little plastic cups, and paint over the primer to your heart’s desire…have fun with it! She kept the three mandalas consistent by using the same color scheme for each element of all three graphics.
You may need to go over some of the colors with a second coat of Front Door Paint, then you can start some detail work by highlighting with white. She mixed Front Door Paint in Hopeful(white) with each Front Door Paint color to create a lighter shade.
After a couple of hours, the Front Door paint is fully dry and ready to go! You can attach brackets to the back of the window for hanging the window as wall art, or prop the window against a wall (or fence or bricks) for a colorful display that you can move around anywhere in your garden.

Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 7 questions
Join the conversation
2 of 13 comments
  • Carol Cole Carol Cole on Mar 23, 2019

    I love this. I want to do this to a door windows that I am going to make in to a seat.

  • Tammy Tammy on May 18, 2019

    Beautiful project love it! Thanks for the tip about using a primer! I have painted on glass before only to have it peel up or shrink. I am excited to try the primer down first . This great job thanks again