Gluing Painted Glass to Wood or MDF

Woodworkers discuss colored coatings for glass, and adhesives that will reliably fasten the coated glass to a wood fiber substrate.July 12, 2012

I see furniture in upscale stores that have back-painted colored glass over MDF. How is this done without common glues that will not eat through the paint, leaving spots? I've had some experience with back-painted glass with doors and table coverings. With regard to the latter, we've set the glass using double-faced tape that has no show-through, although it raises the surface 2mm.

I've a project now where I need to face a vertical structure with back-painted glass in a RAL color using back panels of MDF. My largest panels are 2'x8'. I need a clean surface. I can't attach the glass with screws.

The back-painted glass I've been using is from a local source that requires the glass to be tempered so that it can adequately absorb the paint while in the oven. This method, which is the best quality, cannot be glued without the glue showing, hence using double-sided tape, 2-3mm thick.

There are of course suppliers that sell paint for back-painted glass, but ultimately you don't have the quality of paint that has been applied and passed through an oven. How can you apply a back-painted glass over a surface with a type of adhesive that will not show through?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor D:
I think you are on the right track with the double sided tape. I worked for an office furniture manufacturer that had a lot of glass spec'd on vertical panels. We used the 3M VHB type tapes with no failures in the field. We did, however, have some failures internally. Once you set one end of the glass in, there was no moving to be done. We snapped several pieces of glass in half trying to reset them.

From contributor J:
Glass can be coated with ceramic paint and cooked in a kiln to have a surface that has the same qualities. Glue would not interact with this coating. The glass can be laminated to the wood using special resin and equipment. This can be expensive at around $40 per square foot for lamination and more for the coating/baking process. Rich Lamothe at Glass Strategies in Portland, OR will point you in the right direction. He has done excellent work for us.

From contributor J:
Since I am in Portland today with a bunch of glass artists from around the world, I asked a few about back painting glass, so this is an update to the last post. There is a product called Glasskote that should be able to handle being glued to backer board.

From contributor M:
We do a lot of this work and just use a non-acidic/neutral cure silicone.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for of the feedback. I'm in Mexico City, Mexico, so I'm limited in options. The info on the 3M VHB tapes is very interesting, not only for this project, but for others.

Can one use a non-acidic, neutral cure silicone on glass that has been back-painted with NC lacquer? I'll do a sample… interesting.

I'm aware of Glasspaint, but it's very expensive. I'll talk to them regarding adhesive techniques.

Although the client would probably go along with whatever I offered, I don't want to over-tech, and if this can be done without using ceramic back-painted tempered glass, safely, with a guarantee of adhesive not showing through, then this is the direction I prefer to go.

From contributor M:
I've sprayed glass with both single and two pack paints after applying a fine mist of a glass adhesion product. Two pack is better, as it's a harder product, but both were fine with the silicone. Do your tests, but you will find it's pretty easy in the end.

From the original questioner:
I'm not familiar with your term of 1 or 2-pack materials. Is the latter a 2-component, e.g. a polyurethane, as opposed to a 1-pack being NC lacquer? And what is this glass adhesion product you speak of?

From contributor M:
What we call 2 pack has an added catalyst (2 to 1 generally). Single pack is straight from the can. The product we use is called "Gla-StikZ"