Painted mason jars are a great way to add a personal touch to your home décor, and painting them in beautiful colors is a quick, easy way to do it.
Especially on occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and holiday seasons like Christmas, painting mason jars and using them as vases or candle holders is a popular way to add some creativity and charm to the home.
When it comes to painting glass jars and bottles, many different types of paint can be used. But acrylic paint is somewhat more popular than other types due to its permanency, durability, and ease of application.
Acrylic paint, specifically designed for use on glass, will adhere very well to the mason jar surface, but if you can’t find acrylic, you can use enamel paint. Just make sure to use only a thin layer so that it doesn’t crack or peel off over time.
Below in this detailed article, I will discuss in detail all the options to consider when painting mason jars, as well as provide a few tips and tricks. So, stay tuned if you are working on a DIY home decor project made of glass jars, bottles, and vases.
The Best Paints You Can Use on Mason Jars
To ensure your mason jar paint job lasts without chipping or peeling, it’s crucial to use paints specifically designed for glass.
And also, if the artwork is used near the kids or in the kitchen, the type of paint you decide to use must be non-toxic. Some of the best paints that adhere well and will stay there for a long time on mason jars include:
1- Acrylic Paint
Acrylic paints are fast-drying, easy to find, and come in a variety of colors and finishes – perfect for crafting projects. Plus, they’re non-toxic and water-based, so they are safe to use around children and food.
The best thing about acrylic paints is that they hold their color permanently and can be used on various glass surfaces that are not limited to mason jars but include windows, vases, wine glasses, and more.
When selecting the colors, remember that if you want to use your mason jars outside, it’s important to choose acrylic paints meant for outdoor use. These paints are more resistant to the elements and won’t fade easily in the sun.
2- Enamel Paint
Enamel paint is also a good choice for painting mason jars, bottles, and vases made of glass. Most enamel paints are water-resistant and can also be applied on surfaces such as wood, metal, and plastic.
So, you need not worry about the paint chipping off or fading due to the rain or snow if you want to put up the painted mason jar decorations outside on the entrance or balcony.
Enamel paint is also very durable and a great choice for indoor mason jar decors, especially if the colors you are using are very vibrant and you don’t want them to fade away.
However, enamel paints are usually oil-based and therefore not as safe for use around food or near children – so keep that in mind before using it.
3- Glass Paint
Mason jars can also be painted using glass-specific paint, which comes in a range of colors and finishes. You can even find spray paint versions of this paint, which will make the process of painting mason jars much more effortless.
There are also a few heat-drying glass paints that can be baked in the oven for extra durability. If you choose one of these varieties, remember to check the temperature at which they need to be baked and the maximum baking time to avoid ruining your paint job.
4- Whitewash Mason Jars
If you want to paint your jars but don’t want the color to be permanent, you can whitewash them instead with watercolors or latex paint. This technique is perfect for giving your glass jars a more rustic or distressed look and can be used on any color jar.
To give your mason jars a whitewashed look, simply mix equal parts of water and white paint and brush them on the jars. When the paint is dry, gently rub the fine grit sandpaper over the paint to give it a slightly aged look.
After that, you can consider gluing some decor elements if you want and let the jars dry completely before using them.
5- Chalk Paint for Mason Jars
Chalk paint is another excellent choice for painting various glass items, including mason jars, bottles, bowls, and containers. When applied correctly, it provides a distressed matte finish that can enhance the jars’ rustic appearance.
Chalk paint for glass surfaces is available in various colors to find the perfect shade for your project and surroundings. And the best part is if you don’t want to spend money on expensive products from the market, you can even make your own DIY chalk paint using household items.
The only catch is that it won’t be as durable and long-lasting as the store-bought variety. However, you’ll still get a good amount of use out of it.
6- Paint Markers
If you want to decorate your frosted or clouded mason jars without covering them entirely in paint, markers are a great option. These marker pens are available in various colors and can be found at most craft stores based on your specific project.
You can use them to personalize your projects by drawing, writing letters, poems, numbers, recipes, etc., on the glass surface. The dye used in these markers will remain intact on the glass for a long and will not chip or peel off over time like the paint.
7- Decoupage Glue
Decoupage is an age-old art form, and to bring it into the 21st century, we have decoupage glue. This special adhesive has a milky white consistency, just like watered-down school glue used for the craft in centuries past.
But modern versions also come with protection from rain or other outdoor conditions. It’s available in matte, satin, gloss – even glitter finish – giving you plenty of options so your painted mason jar project can be truly unique.
If you wish to decorate your mason jars with a unique design but don’t want to resort to painting them, you could opt for this decoupage glue. This product is cost-effective and works to deliver excellent results by affixing materials like paper or fabric to the jar’s surface, and once it dries, it secures the design in place.
Painting Your Glass Mason Jars, Bottles, or Vases
Before you start to paint, the very first thing is to clean the jars with soapy water and a sponge to remove any dirt or grime from the surface. Then, rinse the jars with clean water and let them air dry.
Once you have cleaned and dried the glass surface, it’s time to start painting. If you’re using regular paint, use a paintbrush or sponge to apply the paint to the jars. Use several thin coats of paint rather than one thick coat for the best results, and let the paint dry completely between each coat.
After ensuring the surface is properly cleaned and dried, you can begin painting the glass. Utilize a paintbrush or sponge to apply multiple thin coats of paint on the jars instead of one thick coat. And for optimal results, it’s necessary to let the paint dry completely between each coat.
If you’re using spray paint, hold the can about 6-8 inches away from the jar’s surface and apply the paint in a steady back-and-forth motion. Again, focus on applying several thin coats of paint rather than one thick coat. Once the paint is dry, add some embellishments or decorations to give your painted jars a more attractive look.
What to Use to Make Painted Mason Jars Waterproof?
If you are decorating the jars for outdoor use, it’s good to protect the paint job on them with a clear coat of sealer.
The best sealant to use on glass mason jars is a two-part epoxy sealer, which is water-resistant and provides a glossy finish. But if you can’t find one, a clear coat of varnish or lacquer will also work.
Waterproofing your painted glass jars, drinking glasses, and kitchen glassware is also vital if you want to use them for food serving and storage. Especially in the case of drinking glasses and cups, you want to ensure that the paint is heat-resistant and won’t come off in your mouth.
But to seal painted glass surfaces used in the kitchen, you should not use epoxy, varnish, or lacquer as a sealant because they are not food safe.
Instead, use a non-toxic clear waterproof sealer or a food-safe mod podge to protect the paint job and keep it from chipping or peeling off. You can find them at most hardware stores or online at stores like Amazon.
Food-safe mod podge is a type of glue designed explicitly for food-related projects and will seal the paint job while still being safe to use. Apply it to the surface of the jars according to the instructions on the product, and let your jars dry completely before using them.
A Few Additional Tips for Decorating Glass Jars That are Freshly Painted
When you have painted the jars and have already waterproofed them, it’s time to embellish them with the finishing touches and add some extra flair.
You can use a variety of different materials and ideas to add decorations, such as:
- Glitter: works best if you mix it with clear glue before applying it to the jars.
- Ribbons: can be tied around the neck of the jar or glued to the surface.
- Rhinestones: can be glued to the surface of the jars.
- Faux flowers: may be glued or decoupage to the exterior of the jars.
- Yarn: can be wrapped around the neck of the jar or glued to the surface.
Besides the above, you also have the option to use fondant, fabric, colored paper, buttons, pom-poms, stencils, green leaves and flowers, and a variety of other materials to decorate your jars.
The bottom line
Painted mason jars make great gifts, party favors, or home decor items. With a little bit of paint, the right tools, and some creativity, turning a plain glass jar into a work of art isn’t that tough.
Just remember to use the correct type of paint and waterproof the jars when you’re finished painting them. Hopefully, by following the above tips, your painted mason jars will be sure to stay beautiful for years to come.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.