Sunday, 7 April 2013

Magpie Make & Do ~ DIY Decorative Mason Jars

Hello, sunshine! What a beautiful spring day we've enjoyed today, at long last - the perfect inspiration to share my latest new feature with you all...

I'll be posting a series of tutorials on various things you can make and do at home on a budget; some for as little as £10.

The first of these tutorials is for decorative mason jars. These are so pretty in their simplicity and provide an attractive means of storing trinkets/knickknacks/stationery, a shabby chic alternative to vases for floral arrangements, or simply look great as ornaments in their own right. They are also popular for creating table centrepieces at weddings and other celebrations.

Just follow these simple instructions to create your own...

Distressed, Hand-painted Mason Jars

Budget: under £10 for three jars
Time to allow: approx. 1 hour for three jars (including drying time)
Difficulty rating: supremely easy - no skill required!
Materials required: mason jars, paints, a sponge, a fine emery board (nail file) or very fine grain sandpaper

Before I start, I should say that you could follow this project using any size or shape of glass jar, in fact, I think an assortment of different jars - which, if you're anything like me, you already have stashed away in a cupboard somewhere - would look great painted in this way. It would also make the project even cheaper!

My inspiration for these came from BeachBlues on Etsy. I love all her different colour schemes, and think the contrasting inside/outside jars are a great idea too (maybe next time...). The Kerr jars you'll see she has used are not easy or economical to find here in the UK, so I settled for Kilner jars, the British alternative, which are very similar. I used the 1L jars, which are widely available and can be purchased cheaply from Hobbycraft, Wilkinson'sAmazon and the like. I bought mine from Hobbycraft, where I paid £7.99 for three jars. I loved the first three so much in fact that I decided to buy three more!

The paints I used were all little tester pots, which can be bought very cheaply from any homeware store. Wilkinson's are currently selling three for £1, so I lucked out there... I picked up a free Farrow and Ball colour chart from Homebase, as I am a big fan of their muted shades, and played about with the colours I wanted to use. Once I'd chosen my shades, I set about finding cheaper brands of paint (Farrow & Ball tester pots are £3.99 each - eek!) that matched the F&B colours most closely. I did resort to mixing paint to achieve two of my colours, but this was simple enough to do. I tested all my colours on a spare glass bottle before I started, just to check how long they would take to dry, and also to see the result of the colour on the glass.

Right, on to the instructions:

1. Ensure your jars are clean and dry. Rubbing over them with a clean tea towel should suffice.

2. Use a sponge to apply your first layer of paint. I swept down the jar in straight lines for this layer, to give underlying texture to the final finish of the paint. I left out the top of the jar, so that I could hold it securely, and the bottom, so that I could stand it upright to dry. Repeat for all your jars in each colour you have chosen.

After one coat of paint.
3. Leave to dry for 15 minutes.

4. Paint the second layer, this time dabbing with the sponge to leave a more even finish. This time, I painted the top and bottom, turning the jar upside down to dry. I didn't want two layers of paint on the top of the jar, in case this affected the thread so that the lids would go on, and I didn't think two layers necessary on the bottom.
Second coat (different colour to the previous image).
5. Leave to dry for at least 30 minutes this time. I ended up leaving mine overnight.

6. If you prefer a perfect, solid finish, then at this point you are all done! For the distressed look, use your nail file/sandpaper to slough off small areas of paint. NB Ensure the paint is completely dry before you undertake this, or you may take off rather more than intended.

7. Find a home for your latest objets d'art and enjoy!

(8. If you wanted to, you could paint the lids as well. I've chosen not to do that at this point, but may spray them gold/silver at a later date - I'll update the post if I do.)

If you wanted to seal the paint and have a glossier rather than a matt finish, you could carefully paint them with a thin layer of PVA glue. I prefer the matt finish, so I will leave mine as they are. Obviously this means they are not waterproof, so take care if you intend to use them as vases. The good thing about the paint washing off though, is that if you tire of your colour scheme, you can simply repaint them any time you fancy. The paint washes off easily with soap and water.

Let me know what you think. I hope some of you will have a go at these yourselves - they are so easy to create and the end result is very effective. I think they would make a lovely homemade gift, especially if you filled them with little treats, like flowers and chocolates.

I would really welcome and appreciate any feedback on this new DIY series! Look out in the next few days for: a cheap and easy Tom Binns inspired necklace, beautifully simple floral corsages & buttonholes and a showstopping ombre cake...

ttfn, pp x

1 comment:

  1. That looks marvellous! I can't wait to try this myself! I wonder if Ragu jars will work as well...probably not got that same rustic/British feel :p
    Jenny x