DIY “Vintage” Blue Mason Jars

Wedding Bouquet - bring pinks and peaches with blue ribbonI don’t think of myself as a very crafty person but I’ve decided to take on some DIY projects for our wedding. I’m really happy with how my first project is turning out so I thought I would post a little how-to tutorial on my blog!

Update:  Interested to see how my DIY blue mason jars and flowers turned out at my wedding?
Visit my 
Wedding Flowers post to see them!

That’s one of my bridesmaids’ bouquets in a
“vintage” painted blue jar on the right!  —>

Turn clear mason jars into vintage blue ball jars

Perfect Wedding FlowersSeveral months ago I found a beautiful photo on Ella Bella Floral’s web site. I immediately knew that it was exactly what I wanted my wedding flowers to look like, right down to the aqua ribbon and vintage blue Ball mason jar. I started researching jars and was shocked to see that these special blue jars cost $10-15 each! There was no way I could justify spending $15 for a jar so I decided to take a do-it-yourself approach instead.

After a quick google search, I discovered that luckily I am not the first person to want to make my own vintage blue jars. I consulted several blogs but by far found this post from My Greenbrae Cottage to be the most helpful. From that post I learned what type of paint to use and also that wiping the paint onto the jars with a cloth works far better than a paintbrush.

After painting 25+ jars (with 18 or so more to go…) I tweaked the process a little and ended up with the following process:

How to make your own ‘Vintage’ blue Ball jars

You will need…
Rubbing Alcohol
Pebeo Vitrea 160 Turquoise Glass Paint
Pebeo Vitrea 160 Thinner / Dilutant
Small bowl to mix the paint in
Soft cloth to apply the paint (I used a 6″ x 6″ piece of cut up T-shirt)
Several Mason Jars, thoroughly cleaned and all label residue removed
Foil-lined baking sheet
Nitrile or other type of Gloves (optional)

To prepare for painting, line a counter top with a towel and/or foil to protect from any spills. Remove the lids from your mason jars and set aside. Don your gloves (if using), and use a paper towel to wipe down the outside of each jar with rubbing alcohol.  This will remove any residue or dust and help the paint stick better.

Mix together 1 part of the glass paint with 5 parts thinner in a small bowl. Dip a corner of the cloth in the paint mixture and start painting the outside of your first jar, beginning at the top around the threads. Move the cloth in the direction of the threads until they are evenly coated.

Painting Mason Jars to create 'Vintage' blue Ball Jars

Next, paint the sides of the jar with a liberal amount of paint, moving the cloth only in up and down motions (from the top of the jar to the bottom; never side-to-side). Coat the jar sides and bottom completely, then reposition your cloth so that a side that doesn’t have much paint on it is facing the jar. Quickly rub the cloth up and down over the sides of the jar to remove the excess paint, leaving just a thin film of blue paint. Don’t stress too much about getting this part perfect (it’s never going to be streak-free!) because luckily the baking step will reduce some of the streaks for you. Place the jar upside down on the baking sheet.

Paint your other jars, then carefully insert the baking sheet into a preheated 350° oven and bake for 45 minutes. Allow the jars to cool completely before handling.

Clear and Blue Mason Jars

Some Helpful Tips:

  • Try practicing on some empty sauce jars first before painting your “real” jars. This will help you get a feel for the painting technique.
  • If you mess up while painting a jar, immediately run it under hot water. The paint will rub off and then you can dry the jar and try again!
  • If you are reusing jars, make sure to clean the outside of the jar very well. If the jar has any residue on it the paint will get gummy. I update this post on 4/30/13 to add in the first step where you wipe the jars with rubbing alcohol.  I’ve been doing this with my latest batches of brand new jars and I think it helps.
  • I’ve read other blogs that say it is critical to allow the painted jars to cure for 24 hours before baking.  I am impatient and I always immediately bake the jars when I’m done painting.  I haven’t noticed any issues so I’ll continue to bake immediately!
  • As I mentioned above, don’t stress about making the jars look perfect. It’s just not going to happen and you can drive yourself crazy. Once you bake the jar and fill it with water and pretty flowers no one is going to notice that streak or smudge!

Daffodils in Blue Mason Jar 2

24 thoughts on “DIY “Vintage” Blue Mason Jars

  1. …I did this same thing with some mod podge and food coloring 😉 Mine are brighter, though. I assume you can just use less food coloring to get the lighter color, haha.

    These will be beautiful at your wedding!

    • Cool! If I had time I think I’d like to play around with getting a brighter color but I’m on a mission to get 36 jars done and out of the way ASAP so I can move on to other projects. Next up is burlap table runners! 🙂

      • Yeah. I can totally understand that. I like the way yours came out. Mine turned out bright and cartoonish kinda, and I think yours are the perfect ‘vintage’ look! They’re really pretty and are going to look amazing at your wedding!

        Good luck with the rest of your projects! Keeping busy will make the time go faster 😉

    • Thanks, Crystal!! I read your DIY mason jar post and I LOVE the ideas that you’ve gathered! I have a lot of jars left over from the wedding so I think I may have to try a few projects this fall! 🙂

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  3. Hi Ashley,

    I used about 2 tablespoons of paint thinner and then about a teaspoon or so of the blue paint. That amount of paint probably ended up covering at least 6 jars if not more.

    Once you have your initial paint mixture made try applying it on a practice jar and, if you want, adjust the ratios to your preference. More thinner for a lighter coating and more paint for a darker blue.

    Thanks for stopping by!


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  7. Thanks for the great tutorial. I’m also planning on doing this for the centerpieces at my wedding in March. I’m trying to figure out how much paint and paint thinner to buy since I’m buying it online beforehand. You said you were working with about 36 jars. What sizes were they and did you only need one jar of each paint and thinner?

    I’m planning on doing this for 48 quart sized jars and 12 pint sized jars. Just trying to figure out how much I would need. Thinking maybe 2 or 3 of the paint and 4-5 of the thinner. Any advice would be awesome! Thanks!

    • Hi Sabrina,

      Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! I ended up painting approx. 36 x quart jars. I purchased 1 bottle of blue paint and 3 bottles of thinner. If I remember correctly I did not need the 3rd bottle of thinner and didn’t even open the 2nd bottle until I was almost done. Still, it was good peace of mind to know that I had the extra bottles on hand if I needed them. 🙂

      I stored my mixed paint and thinner in an airtight container between paint sessions and it kept very well so I’d definitely recommend doing that. Good luck!


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    • Hi Stephanie, Yes! These can definitely be hand washed. I even dish wash my jars occasionally which doesn’t seem to affect the paint, but to keep them looking their best probably just stick to hand washing. If painted correctly all of the paint will end up on the outside of the jar so I would think that these would be absolutely fine for food storage.

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  13. Thank you so much for this! This post saved me from paying an arm and a leg for vintage blue ball jars. And as someone who is generally incompetent with any and all art projects, your instructions were perfect and easy to follow. They came out great!

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