If there’s anything I love more than mason jars, it’s colored mason jars. Especially the lovely blue green ones that I have seen popping up more often lately. Sadly, these beauties tend to be much harder to find and more expensive then their clear glass counterparts. So naturally, the DIY community has begun to develop all different ways to overcome this minor setback and fake it. I’ve seen tons of tutorials running the full gamut of materials and strategies.
The two most common ways I seem to keep seeing are either staining the outside with glass paint or staining the inside via Modge Podge and food coloring. So I decided to attempt the project using both tactics side by side to see which produced the best results. I chose a few jars for each side of the project.
Modge Podge + Food Coloring
For this method, I used the Gloss Modge Podge and both blue and green liquid food coloring. To start, I filled one jar with a little bit of Modge Podge in the bottom, maybe around 1/4 of a cup (I just eyeballed it.) In a second container, I put a few spoonfuls of water then added several drops of food coloring. The first time around I think I did about four drops of blue only.
Yes, that is my dryer in the background. We might be just a tad limited on counter space 🙂 I poured the food coloring mixture into the jar with Modge Podge and stirred until it was a uniform color. Then, just swirl it around until the entire inside of the jar is coated and pour into the next jar. I had enough to do three jars and probably could’ve done at least one more. Once fully coated, I flipped the jars upside down to drain.
I would recommend some kind of drying rack here. The mixture puddles as the bottom, so I had to keep moving the jars periodically. When mostly dry, turn them right side up so could finish.I recommend laying down wax paper on top of cardboard or heavy paper to protect your counters…or washer/dryer 😉 . I tried packing paper the first time and it stuck to the rim of the jars, but the wax paper pulled off cleanly.
For this one, I used Americana Gloss Enamel in Calypso Blue. The paint is very thick so I tried thinning first with water, then with paint thinner and coated with a sponge brush. Neither of these options looked too pretty.
Some of the tutorials I’ve seen use Vitrea glass paint here. I could not find it at any of my local craft stores, which is why I went with the Americana brand. Obviously, these must be two very different types of glass paint.
Once finished, I let both versions dry about 24 hours, then baked them. All of the tutorials I’ve seen have suggested baking the jars after drying to set the color. Notice that even at this point the ones done with glass paint look streaky and awful. The Modge Podge ones were actually quite pretty. Until…
When I pulled them out of the oven, I was surprised to find that the color baked right out of the Modge Podged jars. They were totally clear. Whah whah. The glass painted ones still looked awful. I redid the Modge Podge jars again and let dry, skipping the baking process (results from version 2 in the photo below). I added a few drops of green as well this time and I think they came out quite nice.
For the jars with the painted outside, I used the rough side of a sponge and tried to clean up the awful streakiness a bit. It came off pretty easily even after being baked but clung to the ridges in the wording and designs. Not exactly the result I was originally looking for, but still kind of neat.
So here are the initial results. The Modge Podged jars look a little lighter on camera.
Pros & Cons of each method:
Modge Podge Pros: This method was way easier, took less time and yielded a really nice result.
Modge Podge Cons: Notice in the photo above that there is no water in the Modge Podged jars with flowers. Modge Podge is a water based product and will break back down if it gets wet. I tried adding water to one of the jars and after an hour or so the result was a goopy white mess inside the jar. But, as long as you use items that don’t necessarily need water, this way would work fine.
Glass Paint Pros: Although it wasn’t quite what I was going for, the clear jar with blue outlines around the detailing actually looks pretty neat.
Glass Paint Cons: This method didn’t really work at all the way I thought it would and my whole kitchen smelled like paint thinner for at least a day. Ick. I wouldn’t be opposed to trying again with Vitrea though.
After wrapping up most of the project, I decided to do one more Modge Podge jar with more food coloring to see if I could get it darker. This time I used maybe 10 drops of blue and 4 or 5 green. I LOVE the way it came out. See the difference?
I’d definitely say Modge Podge was the winner here. These would be perfect for using elements that don’t really require water, such as wheat and lavender or succulents. They’d also be great for bouquets of paper or fabric flowers. I gathered up some wheat, lavender and my old friend Mr. Billy Button (aka: craspedia) and gave my jar a new home on my mantle.
What do you think?