How to Paint Glass or Plex With See-thru Nature Effects

Adele Kurtz
by Adele Kurtz
6 Materials
2 Hours

Want to see a COOL EFFECT for Florescent light fixtures or windows where you want a bit of privacy?

I was inspired by the luscious beauty of backlit translucent stone. Fabulous rich textures of nature.

It was time to either replace or update my kitchen florescent light. I had changed the 4' florescent bulbs to LED a couple years ago and used a stained-glass film on the plex that we liked for awhile.

Now I was ready for a change.

So this time I wanted to work directly on the plex to add a classy flash of subtle rich texture.

supplies and test sample on plex




Clear Acrylic Sheet / Plexiglas

DIY Spray: 1:4 diluted rubbing alcohol

OPTIONAL: Dry Pearl Pigment

1: Clean the plex. I used rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle diluted roughly 1:4 in water. The same formula I will be using later to create spatter on the paint.

2: Stipple 50:50 mix of Glaze and Paint quickly with a brush. Work in diagonal sweeps rotating the brush across the plex. You do not need much paint to do a full panel.

You can use acrylic craft paints, metallics, whatever. If you don't like it -- just clean it off with the spray.

I used the same SATIN ALMOND latex I used on my ceiling for a light-n-cream elegant touch.


CONFIDENCE BOOSTER: I made a quick TEST SAMPLE on a smaller sheet of plex to test my color, technique and patterns. I had lots of paints to choose from, but decided to Keep it Simple. This test piece assured me I was headed the right direction restraining my creativity.

I could also see that I would need to use a diffuser in this application (translucent white panel) if I did not want to see the LED bulbs.

3: SPRAY with diluted alcohol

TIP: You can easily touch up any areas that seem uneven or uninteresting. ie: take out brush hairs or.... Gently tap with your brush in the alcohol and glazey-paint until you like your effects. Careful: Don't go too heavy, keep it light and loose.

I use a light table or hold the plex over a large window to see how it's coming together. I want coverage to be fairly even over the entire surface, even though it looks random.

detail AFTER spray and touch up

LIGHT FIXTURE w/ LED Tubes, whitewashed

While my finished panel is drying.... I chose to whitewash the wood before installing the plex. I diluted a white latex pickling stain 50:50 with water so wood grain would show-thru.

4: SEAL Finished Painted Glass with several coats of CLEAR COAT.

I work outside resting my panel on a chair.

IF YOU REQUIRE less transparency... you can spray Frosted Glass on painted pattern as well.

Installed Light panel

This is difficult to photograph detail when shooting straight into the light fixture.

See last photo and other pics for details.

Detail of Finished Panel installed

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2 of 4 comments
  • Dot Dot on Jan 09, 2020

    Any idea where to get frosted plexiglass panels? I need a 4 by 8 panel that I want to do this with for a back lit panel in a hidden room. Thanks great idea

  • Adele Kurtz Adele Kurtz on Jan 09, 2020

    You can easily get frosted plex at the Big Box stores and online. Although I got a more competitive price for exactly the thickness I wanted by shopping around at the mom & pop local GLASS places for the custom light table I made out of milky plex shown on Hometalk.

    This post shows you how to get more dimensional effects using clear plex. White is one of the paint colors you use, and the texture is all in the brushstrokes.

    BTW: I posted this quite a while ago and the panel is still holding out very well. Looks as good as it did on day one. So I'm still pleased.