I love the colored glass bottles, I just wish they were more accessible. And I find plenty of beach glass, but what I was really keep an eye out for are fully-preserved colored glass or milky glass bottles; they look pretty sitting on a windowsill gently diffusing the light or holding flowers. Of course, finding beautifully colored glass bottles at garage sales isn’t easy, and hunting them down at vintage shops doesn’t feel quite so authentic (kind of take what you can get out of desperation and pay out of pocket for it), so I had this idea in mind to try colored glass DIY-style.
I’ve seen a few tutorials that involved spray painting over vases and glasses, but what I didn’t like about those examples is that it eliminated the whole shiny, naturally glassy look that’s was still desirable to me. Truthfully, I was really hoping I could come up with a way to transparently dye the glass (thinking food coloring in a varnish or something and if anyone out there has any clue how to do this, share the know-how), but I couldn’t figure it out and went with Plan B instead.
Now might also be an appropriate time to note that I started collecting glass jars over the winter. Almost obsessively. Really, Pete just asked me to start saving the glass parmasan and sauce jars so that we could organize nuts and bolts and other easy-to-lose-goodies on his workbench, but I got a little carried away since some of the jars were really, really cute. Stars. Grids. Interesting shapes that were far too intriguing to be stuck into the basement and filled with assorted phillips head screws that I’m having trouble parting with just incase I need one that’s a random size.
And from the growing collection, I grabbed a few I knew I would want to experiment with. Not sure how to approach the whole painting the inside of a jar project, I started by testing two methods using junkier jars that I was less concerned with the final outcome of. (read: still had stickers attached or were gooey with sticker residue. The test subjects will go on to land themselves a full-time gig in the basement with the carriage bolts and glue sticks.) For testing paint, I used some that I had on hand (and conveniently opened, since I was in the middle of watching paint dry in the sunroom after I stenciled some of the floor).
Method #1 (A FAIL. KEEP READING. DON’T TRY.): Spraypaint the inside of the jar with clear glossy paint (on hand, read: free) and then pour in some paint straight from the can. Swirl the paint around to cover all surfaces.
This was a true fail; the paint and the not-dried spray paint congealed together like water and oil. It look a long time to swish the paint around the jar and make it stick, and even then, it took a long, long time to try (like, a record week) and left me with a clumpy, scratchy paint job. It doesn’t look so horrible in the picture, aside from the Wegmans Pickle label that I’m intentionally showing you here so you don’t actually think this one was going to win a gold ribbon:
Method #2 (MUCH BETTER, TRY THIS AT HOME): Another attempt omitted the spraypaint, and went straight for the plain ol’ paint. The inside of the jar was clean and dry, so I poured some right in and let it swirl around to cover the surfaces. In this test, I was also seeing how the paint would hold up to the glass, so I didn’t coat the entire jar, only about 2/3 the way up. I left the uneven line and even a blotch unpainted somehow right in the thick of it all to see how it shifted around in the drying process. Fortunately, it didn’t shift at all and stuck really nicely (without looking drippy or washed down); that was a nice surprise, and also gave me the confidence to proceed with some of the other jars I had.
For the next batch, I chose to use some leftover flat ceiling paint that was used in the third bedroom a.k.a. my walk-in-closet. It’s light blue, and I’m not planning on painting other ceilings blue yet, so I figured this was a good use for the leftover paint.
I started with a narrow tall one from IKEA with the little raised dots; it’s from the Emma Dafnas collection (umlaut over one of those A’s), and was a bargain at something-around-79-cents/each (I grabbed 2 when we made our last trip). They were my inspiration to really try this project. I used a little foil DIY funnel to guide the paint (add funnel to the shopping list next time I’m at the dollar store):
And then let the extra paint drip into the original paint can while I ate stir fry and rice.
I proceeded with the next one once I was satisfied that the paint had grasped onto the glass well enough. This second jar was one I found in Grandma’s attic of treasures; interesting shape, cute little dimples. I actually took 4 of them.
Verdict? Awesome. Also, it looks like I spilled some rice on the table.
I let them dry for a few days in the sunroom with better ventilation, and was happy with the end result. True story, I did an extra coat inside the IKEA tall skinny vase and even then it didn’t cling on as well as I had hoped; perhaps this has something to do with the manufacturing or the mold used to create the vase.
But it still looks pretty sitting on my bookshelf.
Ironically I was already letting the paint dry on my own tutorial as I saw this post by Finnish blogger kootut murut which admittedly is the same thing I did, but so smartly mentioned using non-acrylic paint if you wanted to consider using these final pieces for holding flowers in water. I didn’t think of this myself, so I’ll leave all credit to the awesome crafters over yonder.