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Delta Air-Dry PermEnamel Paint

Reported by Dana Vitek


I first bought and used Delta Air-Dry PermEnamel paint nearly nine years ago while trying to come up with wedding favors. I didn’t wind up using the “hand-painted flowerpots” idea, because, oy, a painter I am not. But, I saved the paint. It was stashed in a plastic drawer for all these years.

Just recently, I went through a glass ornament phase… you know, the kind of phase that requires you to buy one billion empty glass bulbs on December 26th so that you can spend ALL YEAR preparing for the next holiday season craft fairs. Ahem. Is it June already? Anyway, my bulb-painting phase consisted of using alcohol inks, etc., and not paint, but for the purpose of this report, I sacrificed three out of my vast stash to try it out:


Not too shabby. I used a few different Delta Air-Dry PermEnamel products for these; the Azure Blue paint is thick and definitely opaque. The White Frost claims to give an “etched glass effect.” I don’t know about all that, but I will say that I liked the way it lined the inside of the ornaments and made the glass look thicker and not so fragile. And my new favorite shimmery paint: Shimmers in White Pearl. I think I’ll be incorporating this paint into this year’s ornaments (just as soon as I get started on them).

The folks at Delta recommend using their three-step process:

  1. Surface conditioner
  2. Paint
  3. Sealant

Luckily, the bottles are all labeled Step 1, 2 or 3, in case you find yourself suddenly unable to read words. Normally, I’m all, “Bah! Surface Conditioner?! Who needs it?” Well, you need it, especially when painting on glass. Actually, it’s mostly isopropyl alcohol, so you could probably substitute that if you wanted to (don’t tell the Delta people I said so). Mostly you’re just looking to clean off smudgies, fingerprints, and oil from your hands.

Now, not everybody gets into glass crafts, but every paper crafter I know is nuts about plastic embellishments, especially those spendy ghost shapes or whatever. To me, anything that claims to work on glass really just means that you should be able to use it on non-porous materials, so I broke into my stash of plastic packaging pieces that I’ve been hoarding saving, to try it out.


I used a foam brush, and painted the backs of these stars (cut with Cuttlebug dies) with some of the regular PermEnamel (Classic Navy Blue), the White Frost, and the Shimmers. On a couple of the dark blue ones, I painted the fronts with the White Frost and the Shimmers to see what kind of effect I wound up with. Honestly, I wasn’t all that impressed with the White Frost by itself or over the blue (I didn’t think it looked etched, even after a prolonged stirring), but I was pretty happy with the Shimmers.

Here’s a card with my DesignerImposter embellishments:

(Stamp credits: PaperTrey Ink-Out on a Limb Extras, K&Company-Amy Butler Lotus Greeting Stamps; Ink: VersaMagic-Night Sky, Brilliance-Pearlescent Beige; Cardstock: PaperTrey Ink-Paper Basics Kraft; Accessories: Cuttlebug Star dies, plastic packaging, Scor-Pal.)

And a close-up of the stars of the show…

To be honest, it was a whole lot of effort for these embellishments, and this card took close to two hours from start to finish (and I don’t even love it!), but, the stars were as close to free as you can get.

Pros:

  • Price. The bottles I have from 9 years ago are marked $2.99. The bottles I picked up a month ago were, you guessed it, $2.99. This is the only product in America unaffected by inflation (well, that and McD’s double cheeseburgers, but that’s a different post.)
  • According to Delta’s website, the paints are dishwasher, microwave and oven-safe (up to 350 degrees).
  • Easy to use, and keep well, provided the caps are all the way closed when you put them in a drawer for nearly a decade. Duh.

Cons:

  • I didn’t love that it’s opaque, because I think if you’re painting on glass, you want the light to shine through. However, for painting on ceramics, I think it would be great. Delta does make a translucent glass paint that I’m going to try.
  • The suggested drying/curing time is, get this- 10 days. HAHAHA… these people do not craft the way I craft. It dried to the touch in about 30 minutes though, so that’s closer to acceptable.
  • All the bottles, including the glaze/sealant, are marked “Not for surfaces with food contact” so I guess I don’t understand why it’s such a coup to be oven & microwave safe if you can’t use them with food. I suppose you could paint the underside of dishes… that makes more sense.
  • The bottles also come with the following warning: “This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” That sounds like some bad juju right there, so be careful with it; don’t go painting it on your skin or inhaling it.

You can find Delta Air-Dry PermEnamel at any craft store; I got mine at A.C. Moore. You can also find it at Joann’s and Create For Less.

Do you use Delta’s Air-Dry PermEnamel for something cool? Leave us a comment, and show us your stuff!

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Dana Vitek

Dana Vitek is a craft-‐‑supply hoarder with an obscenely understanding husband. She works full-‐‑time as a geologist, and spends her free time sort of paying attention to her two kids, reading a lot, and crafting. She's a crocheter, but not a knitter because knitting seems way too complicated. She's a card maker, but usually only 10 minutes before a birthday party. She cusses at her sewing machine. She has at least 12 different types of glue, but can never find the scissors she wants when she wants them. Dana started writing and editing for Craft Critique in 2008. She is perhaps best known for her Mother of All Black Ink Tests, and her annual April Fool's posts. She blogs extremely irregularly at Stamping Science. http://stampingscience.blogspot.com

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10 Responses to Delta Air-Dry PermEnamel Paint

  1. Stephanie Wheeler June 25, 2008 at 10:01 am #

    I just want to say…I love this blog. So many great tips…love the pros and cons!

  2. Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor June 25, 2008 at 8:26 pm #

    I used to teach classes years ago on painted wineglasses and have used Perm Enamel quite a bit. I would recommend baking it anyways, even though they say it is not necessary, on anything that can handle going into the oven at a low temp. This will make the paint much more durable.

    Even though the bottle says it is dishwasher safe by air drying it isn’t. You can hand wash them though with good success.

    I like Ultra Gloss made by DecoArt better though, it is less gloopy and is easier to paint with. Plus I found it to be even more durable.

  3. Joan B July 4, 2008 at 2:41 am #

    You are cracking me up. I love your critiques. OH, and world — I got this card. Dana is the best!!

  4. vsilcoxdesigns September 30, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    I have lost nearly 100 pieces, at a value of nearly $2,000.00, due to the failure of Delta Permenamel surface conditioner. Their technical department confirmed the failure, the Director of Marketing approved the claim for time and materials, and the President declined reimbursement to me stating that Delta is not in the business of reimbursement! Most importantly, he stated to me that the company does not and will not guarantee the products.

    I have painted thousands of pieces, with fantastic results, never one dissatisfied client….you might say I was a Delta disciple, proficient in every way in the application of these products…….but I am no longer that gal. I will never touch this product again.

    I lost the ability to sell these 100 pieces and Delta Creative is responsible, and Iam now suffering the aftermath. Loss of inventory to sell, loss of revenue to purchase glass, paint, book future shows. Cut off at the knees.

    I’m posting this to give other Glass Painters using Delta Permenamel products the opportunity to weigh the risk that they are taking when using this paint. And to seriously evaluate the consequences, if the process fails. You will have no recourse.

    I have reported Delta Creative with the Better Business Bureau, and will take further steps if necessary for them to right this wrong.

    Finally, when you read that label that says “dishwasher safe”, what it should really say is “sometimes dishwasher safe” or perhaps….”dishwasher safe only at the Delta Plant.

    Vickie Silcox
    vsilcoxdesigns

  5. vsilcoxdesigns October 5, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    “I have used the Delta Permenamel Products for several years with marvelous results. This was an isolated incident which I would not expect to recur. This isolated incident has been resolved to my complete satisfaction. Thank you, Delta Creative, Inc.”

    Vickie Silcox/Artist
    A Painted Setting

  6. Anonymous October 29, 2008 at 11:11 am #

    Thanks for your very informative and humorous critique!

  7. Val Garber July 12, 2009 at 7:27 am #

    I’m making ceramic beads, and when I sometimes have problems with the fired clear glaze, the clear gloss glaze by Delta seems to save them.

  8. Anonymous November 24, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    Hi, I’m an art teacher and was looking to use this product to have the kids paint tiles for an outdoor mural. Do you think this stuff would hold up to the elements? (We don’t have a kiln, so I’m not sure what to use!) Thanks!
    Kelley

  9. glass paint December 11, 2010 at 6:06 am #

    i really like your blog with beautiful colors.just saved for the further update.

  10. Cristina August 8, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Do you think this paint would work for inside glass vases? I want to paint the inside of glass vases black for my bridal shower and then put flowers inside. I dont know if the water will affect the paint though? What are your thoughts?