If you’re like me, you have an abundance of plain, boring glass vases sitting around that you’ve collected over the years from random gifts of bouquets of flowers. Sure, they get the job done and hold your flowers just fine, but they’re probably nothing you’d write home about or leave out as a decorative piece on a regular basis. What if I told you that you could transform your plain glass vases into pieces of pottery with two items you probably have sitting around your house right now? You’d probably say, “TELL ME HOW!”
It’s your lucky day because that’s just what I’m going to do!
Follow along to see how to paint your glass vase to look just like pottery.
What You Need
- A Glass Vase— If you don’t have one sitting around already, you can easily find one at any Dollar Tree, Walmart, thrift store, or probably at a neighbor’s house. This is a thrifty project! The size is completely up to you. Different sizes and shapes will give you completely different results, so maybe try several and see which you like best!
- Water-based paint— Any latex or acrylic paint will work for this, which means you can use the dredges of the wall paint you’ve had lying around your house for the last few years! You could also use any sort of craft paint you’ve got around, or a sample of any latex paint from a hardware store.
- Baking Soda— Any old baking soda will do. You only need a tiny bit, so unless you’re completely out, what you’ve got in your pantry will probably be more than enough. This requires somewhere between 2 tablespoons and 1/2 cup, depending on how much paint you want to make.
- Mixing Tools— You’ll need measure spoons, measuring cups, spoons, and a vessel to hold it all in that can get paint in them. The paint shouldn’t ruin anything as long as you don’t let it sit a long time, but a disposable bowl is probably a good idea if you’ve got one handy.
- Paintbrushes— A wide craft paint brush is perfect for this. It will help you paint a bigger surface more quickly than a smaller, more detail-sized paintbrush would.
- Something to create texture— This is where you can get creative and use what you’ve got on hand. If you’ve got a paintbrush created to make texture, use that! If you don’t, look around your house and see if you’ve got something else that could work similarly. A clean sponge, a wadded up paper towel, or an old washcloth could all work well to texturize the paint.
- Something to protect your work surface— Seems trivial, but don’t skip this step. The more prepared you are, the easier clean up will be. The easier clean up is, the more you’ll feel like crafting! It’s worth it!
Steps to Follow
1. Mix the paint and baking soda.
Using your bowl, measuring cup, and measuring spoon, mix between 1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda for every cup of paint. A full cup of paint is going to be way more than you need to paint a single vase, so you could also do 2-4 tablespoons of baking soda to a half cup of paint. You’ll know the ratio is right when you can see the texture in your paint strokes and little bubbles start forming. You can always adjust and add more if you feel it’s necessary.
2. Paint your first layer of paint on your glass vase.
Using a thick coat, completely cover all the sides of your glass vase. It will probably look chunky and streaky, but that’s ok! You’re doing more than one coat and you’re going for a textured look. Since it’s so thick, it will take a while for this first coat to dry. You can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. Make sure to keep the paint you’ve mixed up covered with some plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out in between coats. Also, make sure the brush is wrapped up in a plastic bag or something similar to help hold in the moisture.
3. Paint your second layer of paint on your glass vase (probably before you think it’s time).
While your first coat is still a little tacky, start applying your second coat. If it starts to move around the first coat and clump it up a little bit, thats ok. You’re trying to create texture, so that just helps the process. It should look pretty thick and even a little gloppy. It’s also ok if it’s shiny right now, even if that feels counterintuitive to creating a ceramic feel. When it’s completely dry it will be very matte.
4. Add the texture.
While the second coat is still tacky, take whatever you’re using to add texture, add a little paint to it, and start stippling the glass vase. To stipple means you’re quickly and relatively gently tapping the vase over and over again to create some texture in all of the tacky and fresh paint. You want to make sure to stipple out all of the brush strokes you can see if you want to really accomplish the ceramic look. Continue until you’ve gone around the whole outside of the vase.
5. Add some dimension. (OPTIONAL!)
If you’ve got a lighter colored paint sitting around, you could dry brush your finished product (once it’s completely dry) to give it a little extra dimension. That simply means you use a basically dry brush with the tiniest amount of paint to go over the whole vase to highlight the textured area. Take some paint onto your brush, wipe most of it off on a paper towel, and gently go over the vase so the paint catches on the raised up texture. I chose not to do this, but I wanted to give you the option in case you’re looking to add some umph to your glass vase.
6. Clean up and ENJOY!
While the vase is drying, thoroughly wash out the brush and bowl and throw away whatever was keeping your surface clean. If the vase still isn’t dry, you can help it along with a hair dryer, just be careful how you hold it so you don’t put any unwanted fingerprints in the fresh paint. Now, put something beautiful in your vase, sit back, and enjoy looking at all your hard work!
You did it!
There you go! You did it! You transformed your boring, run-of-the-mill glass vase into a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece that you can leave out year round. Simply change out the filler you put inside of it to match the seasons.
Daffodils are great for the spring. What a celebration of a new season, right?
English roses would make a beautiful addition for the summer. Their fragrance and beauty would certainly brighten up any room.
Wheat stalks are a great choice for fall. They represent harvest and everything cozy and warm that autumn has to offer us.
Branches from a tree outside could fill your new vase in the winter! It doesn’t get more budget friendly then heading outside for something to make your home beautiful.
If all else fails, a handful of greenery cut from your yard would work any time of year! GWhatever you choose to put in it, you’ll always enjoy seeing something that you created with your own two hands.
Variations to Think About Trying
This technique will work with almost any vessel in which you could put a floral arrangement. You could find a really large vessel at a thrift store for under five dollars and make it look like a giant piece of pottery that would’ve cost you well over one hundred dollars!
It would also work with decorative bowls. I wouldn’t use it on anything you plan to eat or serve food out of, but if you have a bowl you use as a decoration, you can make it look like a piece of pottery.
If you’ve looking for some more texture, try adding in kosher salt. That will definitely up the grittiness factor of your paint.
If you want to be really natural, you could even rub some dirt into your first layer of paint to give it more texture with natural elements.
What will you do?
This painted glass vase project is a wonderful, affordable, easy project to do for any family members or friends who could use an extra bit of beauty in their lives. They’re great Christmas or birthday presents, but they’re so affordable that it could be a, “Hey, I’m just thinking of you,” kind of present.
The sky is really the limit when it comes to how you can use this technique. We’ve already talked about glass vases, other floral arrangement vessels, and bowls. Let us know in the comments—what else could you use this painting technique on? Can’t wait to hear your ideas! You’re so creative and we love hearing from you!