How to Remove Paint From a Glass Lily Shade

A careful touch and the right supplies can help you remove paint from a glass lily lampshade without damaging it. Lily lampshades have a narrow throat and fluted opening that fit over a light bulb in a lamp or light fixture. The delicate and often iridescent lily lamps by Tiffany Glass made this style popular in the late 19th century. Originally, Tiffany's lily lampshades were blown glass. Contemporary lily shades are generally mass-manufactured and are far less expensive than their antique counterparts. Lily glass shades of any age require careful handling to prevent chips, cracks and scratches.

Close-up of chandelier with tulip motif
credit: Jupiterimages/ Images
Tiffany lamps inspired glass shades shaped like lilies and tulips.

Step 1

Pour 1/4 cup of vinegar into a heat-safe container. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan of water to a simmer. Turn off the burner. Set the container of vinegar in the hot water to warm the vinegar.

Step 2

Dip a cotton swap in the vinegar. Squeeze the swab between your fingers to reduce the moisture. This will ensure the vinegar soaks into the paint without dripping on the rest of the glass.

Step 3

Cover all the paint with the warmed vinegar and let it soak in for 10 minutes.

Step 4

Gently flick or scrape at the paint with a stiff rubber spatula or a credit card. Take care to use a quick motion with light pressure to avoid scratching the lily's finish. If the paint resists removal, carefully apply more warm vinegar and let it soak in again.

Gryphon Adams

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.