Last weekend I was looking at my friend’s Pinterest boards and she had pinned a bunch of stuff to do with Mason jars. Most of the time I don’t love Mason jar crafts, but I have been obsessed with bottles and jars because I always figure I am going to do awesome things with them for Halloween (and actually did do some awesome things this past Halloween), but I still had a bunch of plain glass jars I’d been saving for some unknown purpose. Anyway, I had pretty much decided to toss the jars when I saw this post about making tinted glass jars on my friend’s Pinterest board and decided to save the jars after all. The weird thing is, right after I finished looking at her boards, all but one of the the pins on a couple of her boards disappeared, and I would be super mad if I were her.
So last night, I decided it was time to deal with these jars and I enlisted my kid to help, because although he’s a teenager, he still likes to make stuff, especially if making the stuff seems sort of science experimenty, which this does. And as a mother of a teenage boy, having him be distracted by making stuff is the only way I can get him to talk to me about stuff and not play video games and watch YouTube videos. So win-win. You could also do this with little kids because everything you’re using is safe.
If you’ve ever read about any of my craft attempts before, you know that I have a long history of not following instructions. That was not the case here. In this case, I read all the instructions, and the comments. And I followed them. Which is how I know that some of the instructions are better off not followed.
This is actually quite easy to do, however, it is messy and time consuming, but most of the time is waiting around time.
Here’s what you need:
- Jars. We used various food jars that I’d saved
- Mod Podge Gloss (I also made a couple with Mod Podge Glitter and that worked out okay too)
- Food Colouring
- Mixing bowls and stuff to stir with
- Paper towel and trays and stuff to clean up
So the short method of how to do this is:
- Make sure your jars are clean
- Put Mod Podge in a bowl and add food colouring of your choice until you have a colour that you like (or you give up on being able to make a colour that you think you like — check out my notes below though, really all the colours are good, even if they look gross at first)
- Mix it up
- Dump it into a jar and swirl it around until the jar is completely covered
- Dump any remaining mixture back into the mixing bowl or into another jar
- Turn your jar upside-down on something for a while to let the remaining mixture drip out (otherwise you will have a pool of glue in the bottom of your jar and it might not dry well). The original post said to wait an hour. I waited more like an hour and half to two hours.
- Put the drained jars in the oven at 225 for a while until the glue is dry. The original post said 45 minutes. I left mine in the oven over 2 hours.
The long drawn out version with all my explanations:
- I don’t know the exact amounts of Mod Podge and food colouring you need to cover a jar. It depends on the size of the jar, how dark you want the tint to be and what kind of coverage you want. I like deep, jewel colours, so I went very heavy on the food colouring. I would say that you likely need less Mod Podge than you think — there can be a lot of waste. I did end up re-using mixtures and adding different colours to try and change things up. That’s how I got the brown jar, which was actually a pleasant surprise.
- On food colouring — we just used what we had, and sadly we were pretty much out of red, so that left us with blue, yellow and green. Later on I managed to find some neon food colouring that I had stashed somewhere, and let me say, I totally recommend that neon stuff for this project — the colours are fantastic. The bright purple jar is just one colour of neon food colouring. In the future I may also try cake icing colour because they have unusual colours (like black, and clearly I will need to make Halloween themed jars this way).
- Other posts that talk about how to do this added some water to the Mod Podge/food colouring mix. However, I actually read all the comments, and a few people said that the jars where they used water had a bunch of streaks so I chose not to use water. I guess some of my jars have streaks, but I don’t really care. I think they’re supposed to look kind of rustic anyway. The water may aid in the mixture dripping out of the jar better though.
- The colour of your mixture will likely look nothing like the end colour of the jar. For example, the small jar that’s a dark grey colour in the middle of the picture below turned out a beautiful dark purple. And the kind of ugly brown one is the colour of a beer bottle and looks really cool. Honestly, I can’t imagine a colour that I wouldn’t like.
- The original post says to leave your jars upside-down on newspaper or paper towel to let the extra mixture drip out. Don’t do that. Put them on plastic or tin foil or something that glue doesn’t stick to all that well. Mod Podge is glue. When it drips out, some of it will get under the rim of the upside-down jar and when you try to take it off the paper, the paper will stick to the rim of the jar, and you will be annoyed. Or at least I was. You can peel this off before you bake them, or scrape or sand it off afterwards, but still, better to avoid it if possible.
- I found it was impossible to avoid at least a small puddle of mixture in the bottom of the jar. This does not bother me as it hardened up fine in the oven.
- I would let the mixture drip out of the jars as long as possible to avoid bigger puddles though.
- A baking time of 2 hours worked for me. No way they were ready after 45 minutes.
- Speaking of baking time, I’ve read that you don’t have to bake them at all. I imagine they would dry fine on their own but it would take a lot longer and I need instant gratification.
- You can use glitter Mod Podge and it looks pretty cool, but not nearly as cool as I thought it would. Maybe because the colours I made with the glitter stuff were really dark.
- Mod Podge and food colouring are safe and non toxic, but I still wouldn’t put anything you plan to eat in these jars.
- I have read that if you put water in the jars (e.g. to use them as vases), the paint will come off and/or the colour will turn opaque. I have no idea. I don’t intend to put water in them, so it doesn’t matter much to me, but just an FYI.
- Some people mentioned that maybe painting them with a paint brush would help avoid streaks. As I said above, I don’t really notice the streaks (or care about them when I do notice), but I have seen at least one tutorial where they painted the mixture on. The advantage I think would be that you would have less waste if you painted them as you wouldn’t have to let the mixture drip out. However, you’d have less coverage so if you wanted a really deep colour, you wouldn’t get it by painting. So it’s a tradeoff. Oh, and some people said that brush stokes are super obvious if you paint them, so who knows.
- Speaking of painting, someone else mentioned maybe painting them on the outside so that you could use them with water. I have no idea how you’d paint the outside of these without it being a monstrous hassle and a huge mess, so I don’t intend to do that.
- And speaking of the outside of the jars, you may want to make sure they are cleaned of any residue of mixture that ended up on the outside before you bake them, just so you don’t bake on stuff that makes them look bad.
So that’s it. I’m totally in love with these and I basically plan to never throw away another jar, much to the chagrin of my boyfriend. I’ve also got some ideas for trying to make them with cool designs, so if that works out, I will come back with another post.