April 24, 2012

Spring Flowers In Blue Jars

Recently I have been experimenting with making clear
glass jars look vintage-y by applying glass paint to them.

One method I tried was to paint the outside of the
jars as seen in the post Making Jars Look Vintage.

Another method I tried was to paint the
 inside of the jars in

I ended up with quite a few blue and green jars.
Twenty one of them are still out partying but the ones
still at home got some Spring flowers added to them today.

In the fields near my house Queen Anne's Lace and
other Spring flowers are growing wild.

My yard has a few flowers now...
gumpo azaleas and clematis.

I cut some of the flowers to put in the most recent jars that I had
 painted to make a small outside tabletop display for photos.

A few more outside tabletop shots were played with over on
the "Pic Monkey" photo editing website:

So that I could enjoy the flowers more, I moved them
inside to the kitchen table and added more jars with flowers.

Is This The "Perfect Mason" Jar Paint Technique?

After trying to paint some jars to look like vintage mason jars
in the blog post Making Jars Look Vintage, (in which the jars
are painted on the outside surface), I decided to try again
 with another technique by My Design Folder 

Instead of painting on the outside of the jar, the Design Folder
folks swirl the paint on the inside of the jar (or bottles too).

I stopped by the thrift store during some "half-off" hours to
find some more jars and bottles to experiment with.

The grand total for these jars (tax included)...$1.51.

I had glass paints left over from the last experiment.
I did try the small glass paints "Perm Enamel" again with this technique but they 
did not give the desired effect this time either.  I would recommend getting a glass
 paint marked "Transparent"like the taller containers are. These all came from  JoAnn's. 

 I got the Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint in Turquoise
 at Michael's for about $4.  It looks like something they stock regularly.

With this paint technique, you mix your paint color with
enough acetone (fingernail polish remover) to make it thin
enough to swirl around in the jar.  That's the tricky part...
how much is enough and how much is too much? 

I would say that I poured about a tablespoon of paint on
the plastic plate and then poured about a teaspoon
of polish remover on top of that and mixed them together
before putting the mixture in the jar.

Once you put the mixture in the jar and start swirling it 
slowly inside the jar, you will be able to tell if it is thin
 enough and if you have enough paint to coat the inside.

 If I didn't think I had enough paint, I would add some
 more polish remover and mix the paint again in the
 bottom of the jar with a long bamboo skewer. 
 This might not be ideal because I sometimes made 
bubbles and bubbles in the jar are not your friend.
Do not put the paint mixture in the jar and shake it...you will have lots of bubbles.

I only mixed up enough paint and acetone for one jar at a
time because the paint starts drying pretty quickly.  I found it
better to turn the jar on its side and rotate it to coat the sides.

When you have paint mixture on the sides, it is time to tilt the
jar enough to get the paint on the inside "shoulders" of the jar
without all of the paint coming out of the jar.  Keep a little pool
of paint in the jar on the shoulders and rotate it while tilted.

After getting the paint mixture on all the inside surfaces of
the jar, I would just dump the excess paint back onto the plate.

Then I let the jar stay upside down on the newspaper to let
more excess paint drain back out.  To try to avoid a build up
of paint on the mouth of the jar, I moved it around frequently.

To get a more blue color on some of the jars, I mixed the
transparent blue, green and white glass paints with acetone.
Here are some of the jars draining with the color of paint
that was used on them to give you an idea of what a
certain color looks like after it is on/in the jar.

This jar and the one above were just the straight turquoise
 paint with some acetone.

The original blog post from My Design Folder said that if
you let these dry for two days, the paint would be permanent.
A commenter suggested that the only way to make them
permanent was to bake them. 

 I had had good results with baking the other "batch" 
so I did these also for 35 minutes at 300 degrees 
on a foil lined cookie sheet after they were dry.
(You should let the jars dry for at least 24 hours before baking)

Sadly, Mr. Miniature Bottle fell off of the cookie sheet.

 With most of my projects, I have high expectations when
starting but then have to adjust when things don't always
turn out as planned.  The jars came out with "some issues".
I'm not blaming the instructions...the issues are "user error".

A couple came out with blotchy areas...

This may have happened if those areas got more acetone than paint in the mixture while swirling.

...or few drips...

... too much or too little paint at the mouth of the jar...
If I tried to wipe off the paint when it collected on the mouth while draining,
too much of the paint came off usually.

...or paint collecting in the bottom of the jar...
I thought this large jar had drained all it was going to so I baked it
right side up and some paint slid down into the bottom of the jar.

even though you might have some imperfections on your
painted jars using this "inside job" as noted above or
 streaks using the "paint on the outside of the jar" method...
(These jars were done by painting on the outside of the jar then baking)

...when you get water and flowers in the jars those
boo-boos are hardly noticeable!

So is this the "perfect mason" jar paint technique?
Well, not when I do it but I will say that it IS
"perfectly fine".  YOU might come out with "perfect" results
(and even if you don't, you will probably be the only one to see the imperfections).

If you would like to see even more jars with flowers on
my kitchen table, click over to Spring Flowers in Blue Jars.

April 22, 2012

Making Jars Look Vintage

I have been meaning to try this project for months but kept
putting it off due to more urgent tasks at hand. 
  Then THIS project became urgent because I wanted 
 to join in on Debbie Doos April 26th Magazine 
Copy Cat Challenge AND a friend of mine needed
table decorations for a baby boy shower. 

There are different methods on the internet for adding a blue or
blue-green tint to mason jars but the one I tried to follow most
closely for this post was Kristin's on the Bridal Buzz blog.

 I also tried another method in "Perfect Mason" Jar Paint Technique? 

The original old mason jars used for canning got their
 aquamarine color from the iron imperfections in the
 glass jars.  The color that Kristin recommended to 
replicate this color was Aquamarine made by Vitrea.

I did not find that paint but this sounded very similar.

While I was at the craft store buying the glass paint, 
I noticed that several of the colors of other types of 
glass paint were marked down so I got some other
 paints to experiement with.

The jars that I had gathered to try this project on were, 
of course, some mason jars...

...some jars from the thrift store...

...and some food jars from home that I washed out.

Make sure that all labels, glue, dust, fingerprints, etc.
 are off of the jars before beginning.  

I found that a foam brush worked the best for me to get the 
 paint onto the outside of the jar with as little streaking as possible.

The blue-ish color on the jars above was made by mixing the
transparent colors of white, dark blue, and green along with
a little clear gloss glass paint in the same brand.

In the photo below, you can see the difference in the 
blue mix and the straight turquoise Pebeo. 
 The Pebeo Porcelaine paint was the easiest to use 
 and was transparent and only one coat was needed.

Either kind of paint tends to catch in the raised "writing" on
 the jars.  I found that it was helpful to have a soft lint-free
 rag on hand to dab the excess paint off  immediately.

The dabbing technique was also good to soften any parts
 of the paint that looked to "streaky". The paint starts drying quickly so work in small areas in "up and down" 
strokes and dab as needed.

My least favorite paint was the non-transparent glass paint.
Even with a dilutant made to go with these paints, they
were harder to work with and get the look that I wanted.

I did discover that you can use fingernail polish remover to
get the glass paint off the jar if you do it before baking.

After the paint dries for 24 hours, you can bake it for 35 minutes
in a 300 degree oven to make the paint permanent.  I did this
even on the paints that said to "air dry" for 10 days and they
all came out wonderfully.

Real canning jars (the one on the left has the non-transparent paint)

The recycled glass food jars

The large thrift store jars

Did you know that John L. Mason created canning jars in
 1858  and revoloutionized food preservation?  His design was copied by the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing
 Company starting in 1884. The Ball canning jar became
 the front runner in canning jar production.
  Kerr is also a major canning jar company.

Now that the jars are tinted, they are ready to party!
First to the Magazine Copy Cat Challenge Link Party:

In the most recent issue of "Southern Living" magazine,

there is an article about growing flowers in your yard,

and then using canning jars as vases for your flowers.

Although I couldn't find the exact flowers for my copy cat
attempt, I did get to use my faux vintage canning jar.

This was not even my favorite jar but with the water and
 flower stems masking the "mistakes" it looks just fine
 The "best" jars had gone to the baby shower.

My friend and I gathered some wild flowers and some
 "store bought" flowers to add to the best tinted vases 
that were going to the actual party/shower.

For the larger jars, we put regular tape in a grid
over the top to help the stems stand up.

We tied raffia around the necks of the jars for a little whimsy.

Hopefully the guests at the shower "got" that the vases
were tinted blue in honor of the new baby boy on the way.

I didn't actually go the the shower so I don't have any photos
of the new "old" vases in action but here they are being
packed up and ready to go party.
My friend said that the arrangements.were a hit at the baby shower.

I did some more blue jars and put flowers in them for my kitchen
table.  You can see them at the Spring Flowers in Blue Jars post.

Update: at the time that I did this blog post, blue mason
jars were not readily available in craft stores. Now you can
buy the jars at a reasonable price so if you need a few blue
jars...no problem. I think this technique is still useful if you
need a large amount of blue jars for a party/wedding, etc.
or if you want a variety of size/shapes of jars. 

© Miss Kopy Kat. Design by FCD.