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. 


  1. Your copycat turned out great! The flower arrangements for the shower are really pretty. I love the blue jars.
    Thanks for the tutorial. I might have to try this one.

  2. I did not know why vintage canning jars were coloured. Thanks for the info and for trying all the different ways of doing this. Pinning! ~ Maureen

  3. This is great, it has earned a book mark LOL!! I have always wondered how to do it! Thank you


  4. You always do such a great copycat job and this one is no exception. Good job, they look so pretty :)
    Tami @ Curb Alert!

  5. T O T A L L Y Cool! How simple too. I love mason jars and flowers..one of my favs. Thanks so much for joining!

  6. I love your mason jars! Awesome copycat! Perfect!

  7. What a beautiful project! Your copycat is just perfect!

  8. Great idea! Love this copycat.

  9. I agree, this was a GREAT copy cat!

  10. I have looked at this same "painted jar" project. Thank you for this great tutorial. Beautiful flowers!

  11. What a *neat* project! I love it. I might want to paint one of yoru images.

    Linking from Debbiedoos,
    Ricki Jill

  12. What a great way to add a vintage touch to household jars. Your copy cat vase looked beautiful. (Thanks for sharing the technique.)

  13. Your jars and arrangements are gorgeous! Thank you for the tutorial and for the little bits of info on mason jars. I'll keep my eye out for this type of paint!

    Have a lovely weekend,



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