Are you wondering how to paint glass jars? Or which paint to use on glass jars? Look no more. Let me share some tips and tricks on how I colored glass jars permanently.
Recently I had a fun afternoon crafting with my sister. We spent a few hours playing with glass jars, dye, and glass paint, made a big mess, had lots of fun, and ended up with a whole bunch of DIY colored glass jars to decorate with.
I made two sets for myself: a set of pink glass jars and a set of ombre mason jars in shades of blue.
These are so much fun to decorate with! I love them.
The pink tinted jars are perfect for a little romantic (Valentine’s Day!) decoration.
The ombre colored mason jars are just perfect for a lineup of small flower vases on a window sill or ledge.
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Our crafting adventure was such a fun afternoon. The first time ever, I crafted with my big sister, and we made a gigantic, wonderful mess, and I had a smile on my face the whole time. My sister had seen my line of blue mason jars with flowers on my blog, and she felt inspired to add a little decoration like that to her own home. But her color of choice is purple, so she wanted purple jars. I didn’t think you could buy them, but “we can make them.”
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I searched online for the best tutorials that seemed the most useful. I found several, and they all had slight differences in their approaches. So we just gathered materials and started to see what would work best for us.
While working on the renovation, we live in a temporary apartment that we created on the house’s first floor. The apartment is cozy and comfortable but still has a lot of unfinished touches. That’s OK. It will get its final makeover one day. If you’d like to follow our renovating adventures, watch them on our Youtube Channel: Lex and Marianne.
How to make colored glass jars: the Preparations
Step 1. Gather your materials.
First, you’ll need glass jars, of course. I mostly used jars from the recycling bin, like marmalade and mustard jars. But I also used a collection of small mason jars I found In a Dutch store.
✅ I often get asked where I got my glass jars. I found the small jars in a Dutch store. But these marmalade jars I found on Amazon have a very similar look.
Depending on your glass coloring method of choice, you will either need ModPodge or Elmer’s glue and food coloring or glass paint.
To transfer the color to the glass, disposable foam craft brushes work the best.
Step 2. Clean your glass jars.
Wash the jars in soapy water and rinse them well. Remove any leftover labels and glue from the outside, and make sure the inside is grease and dirt free.
Step 3. Prepare Your Work Surface
Protect your crafting table with a water resistant sheet, and make sure you have plenty of paper towels ready. This is a fun but messy DIY project, so be ready for that.
How to Color Glass with Food Coloring
If it isn’t important that your jars are water resistant, you can use ModPodge or Elmer’s glue as the medium to transfer the color dye. These jars will be perfect for a tea light, or you can turn them into little vases by placing an inner container (like I did).
Here are some tips on how to go about tinting jars with food coloring.
Step 1. Mix your glue with your food coloring.
The more food coloring you use, the stronger the color effect (makes sense, doesn’t it). Start with a ratio of 3 drops of food coloring to 1 tsp of glue.
Mix the drops of food coloring for different effects. Blue and green make aqua, and yellow and blue make green. You get my drift.
Some tutorials water down the glue with water (about 1.5 tsp of water to the above ratio). We found that that makes it easier to get a nice non-stripy distribution of the color, but the end effect is a more transparent color.
Step 2. Apply the glue-dye mix to the glass.
If you are doing this craft project for the first time, I suggest doing a few trial runs first. So make sure you have some test pots available to work on. We found that the result is quite unpredictable, and you might have to try several times to get the look you want.
The good thing is that the coloring with white glue isn’t permanent, so you can always start over and try again until you have your ratios perfect to get your desired effect.
Coloring the pots on the inside gives a more true-to-life look. You can use a brush technique (more likely to give stripes) or a swirl technique (more messy and more waste).
Use super-strength food coloring. The ones we used are probably not as strong as the ones available in the US. We could not get a proper strong purple color. Even when we added more food coloring than in the tutorials. We went up by a factor of 20, and the pots still were too transparent to our liking.
Step 3. Dry Your Tinted Jars
When you turn them over to drip out, place them on a drying rack or some super absorbent paper (like kitchen towels). I placed this badge on baking paper and ended up with a little ring of extra thick medium on the edge.
When you put them right side up again to dry out, they look pastel and not see-through at all, don’t worry, they are supposed to look like that. They become transparent as they dry further.
You can use the oven or microwave (on low) for quicker drying or leave them to air dry. We tried it both ways and saw no difference in the end result. Using the oven or microwave obviously makes your jars dry much faster, and you can do multiple coloring sessions in one afternoon.
Using glue to tint your jars leaves you with much room for experimenting because you can always start over. If they don’t turn out the way you envisioned them, soak your jars in water for a few minutes, you can then scrape and peel off the ModPodge. This is actually a lot of fun to do, and the challenge, of course, is to peel the layer of in one go without breaking it…
More Decorating With Glass Jars Ideas for You
How to paint glass permanently
I liked the ease of the mod podge and the food coloring way of painting glass jars. But I also wanted some glass jars that were colored permanently and water resistant. So I tried out the glass paint option too.
You can buy glass paint in many colors, and all come with slightly different instructions. Some glass paints have to be diluted with a thinner or white spirit. And the glass paint can be applied in the twirling technique or with a brush.
All instructions for dying your glass with paint permanently involve using the oven to make the paint stick.
Just choose your glass paint of choice, follow the instructions that come with it, and then start experimenting with mixing colors and different applying techniques like I did.
To make the ombre effect, I did either of two things. I mixed the glass paint to get color variations. I had blue and yellow glass paint, and I mixed it in different ratios to get the ombre effect.
I also diluted some of the mixed colors with a thinner (as instructed by my brand of glass paint) to get a more sheer effect, which also helped to make the finished product look more ombre.
Other than that most of the tips I gave when dying glass jars with glue and food coloring also apply here: protect your work surface (and your hands), use a foam brush or swirl the paint mixture inside the jar, and leave the jars to drip on a rack or paper towel.
The only extra step is setting and curing the paint in the oven. You can use a baking sheet for that.
After that step, you are done, and I can testify that the finished product has a durable and lasting color that will not come off, even when you use your jars as vases.
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And as always.
I love you so much……
Marianne Songbird is the founder of Songbird, where she hopes to inspire everyone to create a home they love, one DIY project at a time. She shares anything from craft ideas to home decor inspiration and from DIY projects to decorating hacks. Originally from the Netherlands Marianne and her husband Lex are currently renovating a 250-year-old farmhouse in Germany.