How to do a Tanjore Glass Painting?



4 mm glass desired size(18”x 14”)
Isographic pen – Rotring 0.3 mm
Rotring black colour permanent ink
black & white Xerox of design
Cellotape, pencil, carbon, foot scale, bud
Acrylic colours – Super White, Black, Crimson, Prussian Blue,
Burnt Umber, chrome yellow medium, Dark / poster green,
Burnt Sienna –other colours according to the deity chosen.
Pentel poster colour – pearl Gold
Stone colours – Red, White, Green
Good quality brushes for acrylic colours – 0, 2, 6/8
Pebeo Acrylic Glossy Spray(optional).
Aluminium foil – food grade.


a)Readying the glass : Wash glass with soap, air dry for a few minutes, then clean glass again with a glass cleaner spray,  wipe with a paper, set aside for 5 minutes.

Tape the 4 sides of the glass with cellotape. Mark the centre of the glass.

Place the carbon on the reverse of the picture and make a reverse carbon marking on the backside of the xerox – this is done because this is a reverse glass painting on doing so the left and the right parts of the picture will not get reversed when we copy the design on the glass.
Now mark the centre of the reversed design.

b) Drawing the design:
Draw a ½’’ border on all 4 sides of the glass using the rotring pen and foot scale.
Check the design and make alterations wherever necessary.
Fix the centre of the Xerox to the  centre of the glass and tape all 4 sides.
Now trace the details using the rotring pen, let dry for 10-15 minutes and then spary over the markings using Pebeo spray & let dry for at least 12-20 hours till touch dry.


c)Using stone colours and gold: Decide the colours for the stones in the different pieces of jewellery.
Use 0 brush and fill in the different colours.
After this dries,use gold poster colour  fill the designs which have to be filled with gold using the same 0 brush. Let the gold dry.
After the picture is completed, pieces of crushed aluminium foil have to be stuck on the stone colours to give depth to the stones.


d) painting: For any Goddess – use White + 1 drop of Chrome yellow medium as skin colour ( all goddesses except Parvati, Valli, Meenakshi and Kali).

For Ganesha – use White + 1 drop of Burnt Sienna as skin colour.(all Gods except Rama, Krishna, Balaji, Hanuman, have this same colour).

Decide background in accordance with the colours decided for the clothes.
For the clothes use a little white or black to the curved part of the dress  to give it a silk effect.
When this is slightly dry, fill the entire dress with the decided colour and wash the place where the main colour meets the white or black shading.
Similarly, shade curtains with main colour and white or black.

e) Garland or lotus:
Use Crimson directly on the curved part of the petals, fill the rest with white wash the part where white meets crimson.
Use light or dark green on leaves, shade curved parts using white or black, merge/wash.

f) Jasmine, tusks, modaks: Use dilute Prussian blue on the curved part, fill the rest with white and wash.

g) Snake, mouse : Decide body pattern of the snake(dots, checks, stripes), the pattern should have been marked with rotring pen.
Fill body colours, mix body colour with white and paint scales. For mouse, use brown and shade with white.

Check for any adjustments to be done before background is painted.
Mix a little black with prussian blue and paint background.
If  needed, give 2 coatings for the background. Spray Pebeo Acrylic/varnish spray on the painting after fixing the aluminium foil.
Leave it as it is to dry,  frame after 2-3 days.





  1. hi madhavi and others, this painting was done by a student of mine – pooja, have posted it with her permission as i dont have pictures of my tanjore glass paintings in the various stages. will covey your wishes to her!

  2. Iam very much interested in glass painting.But i don’t know how to do the basic pattern .Here you have given a wonderful art piece and details.thanksssssssssssssssssssss

  3. hi padma, you can get an isographic pen in any big stationary shop. the bud is the cotton ear-bud – i use it to wipe out the excess paints on the paintings! the rotring isographic pen size 0.25mm cost me around rs.350/- the last time i bought it- that was more than a year and a half ago!

  4. hi Su…
    I copied a god’s design on the glass with the rotring pen. but I am not able to paint over it as the ink dissolves. If I spray gloss will it stop? please help…

  5. Where can I get these pens in mumbai ?
    Isographic pen – Rotring 0.3 mm
    Rotring black colour permanent ink
    Please let me know if you can ….!!!

  6. hi ramyashrii, check step b) in which have mentioned that you have to spray the design with a pebeo acrylic spray – this prevents the ink lines from getting dissolved when you start painting. su.

  7. hi suchitra, you can get these at any big stationers, like the big stationary suppliers opp the jj school of arts near vt station or at crawford market in the lane which deals only which deal in stationary. or if u are near santacruz-w, go to the stationary shop near podar school on saraswati road- he generally has everything! su.

  8. hi bedianchal,
    pls look at point b) lines 4 and 5 – i have clearly syated that we have to stick the xerox to the glass and trace the reversed design with the rotring pen – after this, you take off the xerox and spray the design!

  9. Beautifull.. and thank you for the tutorial.
    which is the brand which has stone colour paint
    Can I use fabric or oil colours for the dress and lotus instead.
    The back groud is black so where is the foil?
    Thanks bye

  10. hi anchal,
    the foil will just have to be pressed onto the stonepaint parts to give the depth of stones. the painting has to be sprayed to prevent the colours from getting damaged due to water or other causes- the spray is acrylic and is water proof to a certain extent!

  11. hi Su
    Excellent work . thanks a lot for the detailed instructins. . i have some questions. i am planning to make a butter krishna..
    What colour should I use for butter krishna? and which brand ? and what type is it ? poster or acrylic?
    what colour shd i use for shiv and parvathi?
    You have mentioned ..1 drop of Burnt Sienna and chrome yellow medium what is it?
    thanking u

  12. hi anchal, pls chk out my reply to ramyashrii- i have explained about the spray.
    we have to stick the foil to the places where we have used stone colours – this is to give depth to the stones.

  13. hi arm,
    use a lot of white + a drop of crimson for krishna’s skin colour.
    all the brands of acrylic paints can be used for the tanjore glass paintings.
    shiva’s skin colour – use a lot of white + a drop of burnt sienna
    parvati – use a lot of white + a drop of lake/dark green
    crimson, burnt sienna, lake green, dark green are all names of different shades of paints.

  14. Hi all,

    I have been doing couple of glass paintings as a hobby and an ameatuer :-). I have couple of queries

    1. I wish to know other than the water based and solvent based colors, what other colors can be used -? say acrylic colors and can i use brush to paint in a glass.

    2. How to give a dark and a light color effect in a glass painting. I am painting on the back side and will frame from the front.

    Please advise
    Ms. Madhavi, your ideas, your designs are just AWESOME..

  15. hi hema,
    1. you have to use a brush – whatever the medium is – how else will you paint- except n afinger painting??! u need to use acrylic colours as they spread better on glass than posters.
    2. you have to paint a layer of darker shade of paint you are using – on the edge of the part of body/clothing u are painting, then paint a layer of lighter shade and blend the point where the dark colour meets the lighter colour.

  16. hi dear su .. i have finished the tanjore glass and about to frame , I have sprayed once after drwing it with pen,…should i again spray it at the end…bit scared .. whats why the query.

  17. hi .
    Quote..”Spray Pebeo Acrylic/varnish spray on the painting after fixing the aluminium foil.”
    Leave it as it is to dry, frame after 2-3 days.
    Do i spray after keeping the big foil sheet at the back or directly on the back of the painting .. i am not planning to keep a foil.
    I have used a ordinary permenant marker

  18. hey su…
    u hav done a great job…well i hav some doubts.i hav been doin glass painting since 4-5 years..but i hav never tryd glass painting without liner(border) u hav mentioned to use isographic pen …well is it the same pen with which we write on the cd? and about the foil paper…usually i put foil paper behind the whole picture…here wat hav u actually meant(to use foil papre only behind the stones?

  19. Hi!

    I want few more trace (out line) papers of tanjore paint pictures, for learning. Can you provide the pictures (2,3)more. I am like to do them.

  20. hai,
    i have done this painting 5 yrs ago.i know the basics,but forgot about the paints. so i need some help. as i saw the conversations above . for the stone u use stone color. what should i ask for as stone color or anything specific? and the spray after tracing is the varnish what we get frompaint shop is enough?


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