Friday, August 17, 2012

OK, so I can’t tell you how to make an actual mason jar, but I can show you how to turn a clear one blue to get a similar look to the beautiful blue Ball Mason Jars that have cluttered Pinterest and wedding blogs for the past few years. I don’t think there is a more perfect colour than the blue on those jars, but they’re hard to come by here in Australia. Next best thing? A DIY, of course. I have a bunch of these and have been playing with them this week – I messed up a few times but finally got there. The good thing about this paint is it’s not permanent until you bake it and easily washes away with water and a little scrubbing – even when dry (i know this because I tried several things and started over a few times). The end result is paler than I wanted, but is actually slightly darker in real life than in the photograph. Still, I’d like it to be slightly closer to the colour it was before the excess paint dripped out so will try it again with another one. After all, I’m not sure it’s possible to have too many of them all clustered along a table filled with flowers, right?

I also thought I’d be really tricky and try my hand at an ombre coloured jar. Yes I did. I painfully waited until the paint dried before swirling it back up from the bottom several times at different heights to layer the paint and create it dark to light from bottom to top. You can’t see the results in the picture – it’s SO subtle – but I really love the colour it ended up as so am keeping it!

You’ll need:Clear mason jars – I used a 500ml jar ($19.95 for a set of 6) and a 1-litre jar ($22.95 for a set of 4) from Howards Storage WorldGlass paint – I used Pebeo Vitrea 160 in Oriental Green and Gitane Blue (from Spotlight) and mixed until I reached the desired colour.
Glass paint thinner – I used Pebeo Vitrea 160 Thinner (from Spotlight)
Also handy: A paintbrush, a plastic plate
How to:

1. Pour some thinner into the bottom of your jar. Now place a dollop of the paint. I used as little as possible because I didn’t want to waste the paint, but you can always use more and tip the excess into another jar.

2. If you’re mixing colours like I did, add the second colour and gently swirl to mix. Gently.

3. If they’re not mixing nicely (or quickly enough for you!) gently mix with a paintbrush. I mean it when I say gently as you don’t want to create bubbles – they can ruin the end result. I know this because I had to do it again!

4. Some bubbles are unavoidable but you want to minimise them as much as you can. Now gently swirl the paint around the jar creeping up towards to the rim all the while turning the jar so it covers all of the inside surface. Once you’ve swirled it to the top, ensure the inside rim is also covered and let the excess pour out in a sink.

5. Once it’s down to drips, turn it upside down on a flat plastic surface (paper will stick if it dries) like the back of a melamine plate you’re not precious about in case it leaves a stain. Leave for a little while – no longer than an hour, but check it every 10 minutes or so by lifting it straight up and placing it back down again, letting any of the paint that has pooled to escape. Now turn it straight up the right way and leave it to sit until dry. Some paint will slide back down and settle to the bottom – this is what you want. Once it’s totally dry, you can bake in the oven. I looked into this as was a bit worried about baking glass, but apparently you can bake glass as long as you place it in a cold oven, then heat it up the temperature it’s meant to be baked at (check your glass paint instructions), then leave it in for the required amount of time, then turn the oven off and let it cool in the oven as well. I followed those instructions and it was all totally fine. As a precaution, I place it on a tray with baking paper in case there was a breakage and it could be cleaned up a little easier than if it was just sat on a rack!
Once cool you can use – fill with water or place a candle, whatever! If you make a mistake or don’t like the result or have drips or whatever, simply fill with water, scrub a little and start again (or give up! ha!) – but once it’s baked, there is no going back!

I wish I had more time to take better pictures. I nicked the magnolias from a friend’s yard not realising they don’t last as long as other flowers and so they were practically dead by the time I got around to taking the photos (I was very much interrupted for two days by various things and people). Shame as they looked so pretty first picked too!
So there you go – obviously you’re not limited to blue nor are you limited to mason jars! Go forth and dye your drinking glasses, vases, glass bowls and more. Because coloured glass is so pretty! It’s a little trickier than using the old-interior-paint-in-the-jar-and-tip-out-again DIY because it can streak, but the transparent nature of the end result is totally worth it.

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