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Comparison | Painting Mason Jars

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Painting-Mason-Jars

Mason jars are very trendy lately, and painting them has been catching on as well. But they aren’t the easiest surface to work with…how do you know what to use? I decided to buy a box of pint mason jars, experiment with various paint mediums, and share the results with Craft Critique’s readers to find out!

After experimenting over the course of doing this project, I learned a few tips that help to improve the results when painting mason jars.

The first thing I learned was that priming the jars can help with both the application and the final appearance of the paint if you are using an opaque paint (obviously for a transparent color, the priming would show). I used Krylon ColorMaster Primer in White to prime most of the jars that I painted below, placing them upside down on a scrap piece of 1×2 and standing outside to spray them. Then I propped the 1×2 against the side of my desk while the jar dried. One coat of primer was sufficient to provide a base for painting over.

After priming, then you are faced with how to apply the finish coat of paint. A lot of paints have instructions that say to apply with a brush. After trying several different methods, my preferred method became to use a large sized spouncer, applying the paint by smoothing thin coats from top to bottom while holding the jar upside down on my other hand and rotating it around as I worked. At the very end I would paint around the threaded part of it, leaving that part clean until then to avoid messing up my hands.

But what paint should you use? It depends on what effect or look you want to get on your mason jar.

Folkart Acrylic

Mason Jar Folkart Acrylic
Mason Jar Folkart Acrylic close

The jar above used Plaid’s Folkart Acrylic Paint in Bright Baby Pink. It is a nice thick acrylic paint compared to many on the market, providing amazing coverage and control. In some lights, the coverage appears fine, while it appears spotty in others. The overall effect is very rustic, with visible graining from the spouncer.

Opaque/Transparent: Opaque
Application: primer, two coats with large spouncer
Surface: exterior
Finish: matte
Waterproof: no
Uses: Vase, Storage

Krylon Premium 18kt Gold Plate

Mason Jar Krylon Metallic
Mason Jar Krylon Metallic close

The finish I got with the Krylon 18kt Gold Plate Spray Paint is downright gorgeous. I used the same spray technique – with a 1×2 as a prop – that I used for the items that I coated with spray primer (that wood is very colorful now). The resulting finish is virtually flawless, showing only imperfections in the actual glass underneath. This finish would make a beautiful addition to a party table or home decor but there is one major drawback – the cost. With a retail price of around $6, this paint isn’t cheap, and it feels like I’ve depleted over half of the can finishing just this one jar.

Opaque/Transparent: Opaque
Application: sprayed three coats
Surface: exterior
Finish: metallic
Waterproof: no
Uses: Vase, Storage

DecoArt Americana Decor Chalky Finish Acrylic

Mason Jar Americana Decor Chalky Finish
Mason Jar Americana Decor Chalky Finish close

The Americana Decor Chalky Finish paints seem to primarily be marketed to use on cottage-style furniture in the burgeoning DIY market, but they can also be used on surfaces like metal and glass. This paint is water-based and has a wonderful soft feel when you run your fingers over the dried finish. It distressed easily with a piece of sandpaper to complete the antique, shabby look for the jar (and showing off the logo in the process). It’s also a fairly cost-effective option. A small-looking 8oz jar retails for $6-8, depending on the outlet, but this thick paint spreads and goes a long way so a single jar will get you loads of coverage. I barely made a dent in mine doing this jar and two failed previous versions.
Opaque/Transparent: Opaque
Application: sprayed primer, painted three coats with spouncer
Surface: exterior
Finish: chalky (matte)
Waterproof: no
Uses: Vase, Storage

Martha Stewart Crafts Vintage Decor Paint

Mason Jar Martha Stewart Vintage
Mason Jar Martha Stewart Vintage close

This new Vintage Decor paint by Martha Stewart, which just launched in-store at Michaels Stores and on HSN, has a chalky finish. It’s not as soft of a finish to the touch as the Americana chalky paint, but the coverage is excellent with very minimal visible brushstrokes. It distressed very nicely to reveal the logo. The 8oz bottle isn’t cheap at $9.99, but this paint spreads for huge coverage. You’ll get many jars out of a single bottle.

Opaque/Transparent: Opaque
Application: sprayed primer, painted three coats with medium spouncer
Surface: exterior
Finish: chalky (matte)
Waterproof: no
Uses: Vase, Storage

DecoArt Americana Crystal Gloss Enamel

Mason Jar Americana Crystal
Mason Jar Americana Crystal close

This Americana Crystal Gloss Enamel is the first of three paints that I tried that are designed to be transparent, but all three achieve different looks. The Crystal Gloss shows a lot of brush strokes. If you don’t want to make them a feature of the design (such as in the product samples on the website) the only way to minimize them I found is to apply very light coats of color. This minimized the brush strokes to where they weren’t visible unless you picked up the item to examine it closely. After three coats, I got a pale tint, almost a pink version of the traditional blue or green Ball jars. A 2 ounce bottle retails for about $3 and despite its small size goes surprisingly far. Several jars like this could be tinted from one bottle.

Opaque/Transparent: Transparent
Application: painted three coats with large spouncer
Surface: exterior
Finish: gloss
Waterproof: yes, if baked
Uses: Vase, Storage, candle light

Martha Stewart Crafts Glass Paint – Liquid Fill Transparent

Mason Jar Martha Stewart Glass
Mason Jar Martha Stewart Glass close

This Liquid Fill glass paint offering from Martha Stewart can be used several different ways, but I chose to apply it using the drip technique. I applied the paint around the rim of the jar and then waited for it to drip to the bottom. I found this method used a lot of paint when I did it (I don’t think I could get a second jar out of the bottle). It also took some practice to get the paint applied without visible drips. Where it worked perfectly, the finish is beautiful and vibrant. Since this paint can be baked, the finish is also dishwasher safe and can be use for applications like candle holders. At around $3 for a 2 ounce bottle that doesn’t go far, this isn’t the cheapest way to paint a mason jar, but it is a great option for  dishwasher safe finish if you can master the drip method.

Opaque/Transparent: Transparent
Application: one coat with drip technique
Surface: exterior
Finish: gloss
Waterproof: yes, if baked
Uses: Vase, Storage, candle light

Mod Podge Sheer

Mason Jar Mod Podge Sheer
Mason Jar Mod Podge Sheer close

The biggest surprise about the new Mod Podge Sheer colors paint is the smell, which I found quite overwhelming at times. This paint is not waterproof, and the recommended application is via a drip technique inside the item being painted, making jars painted with it not ideal for uses like vases or even storage (as items might chip the paint). Using a secondary container such as a water bottle to hold water inside of the jar, would allow the painted item to hold water, but requires an extra step and the bottle would be somewhat visible. All of that said, however, this paint gives amazing vibrant color, and this is not the best application for this paint. A better use for Mod Podge Sheer than mason jars would be for tinting glass holiday ornaments or decorations. Although not heat proof, this paint could be used on a container to hold a battery-powered tea light. At $5 for a 4 ounce bottle, it’s a relatively affordable option although you have to be careful doing the drip method or you will use a lot of paint.

Opaque/Transparent: Transparent
Application: one coat with drip technique
Surface: interior
Finish: gloss
Waterproof: no
Uses: Storage

Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Chalkboard Acrylic Paint

Mason Jar Martha Stewart Chalkboard
Mason Jar Martha Stewart Chalkboard close

This chalkboard paint by Martha Stewart Crafts has a lovely semi-gloss finish that showed few brush strokes, and it was an absolute delight to work with. It went on so smoothly and finished perfectly – I’m tempted to reach for this anytime I want a nice semi-gloss finish. It just went on like butter. However, when it came to this specific application on glass, the surface’s durability was an issue. On the glass surface, the paint would not stand up to being conditioned with chalk to turn it into a true chalkboard finish. It distressed and chipped during my attempts to chalk it. So, if you want a beautiful finish, reach for this paint – but don’t expect to be able to chalk it on a glass application. I would definitely try this on a surface that has more tooth to hold the paint, like wood, though. If all you care about is how it looks, though,the price of $6 for 6 ounces – which goes a long way – makes this a pretty economical choice in cost per coverage.

Opaque/Transparent: Opaque
Application: spray primer, applied four coats paint with large spouncer
Surface: exterior
Finish: semi-gloss
Waterproof: no
Uses: Vase, Storage

Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint

Mason Jar Krylon Chalkboard
Mason Jar Krylon Chalkboard close

The strength of spray paint for this project is shown again with the Krylon Chalkboard Paint. This finish came out virtually perfect and very even after just two coats. However, like with the Martha Stewart Chalkboard Acrylic, I had difficulty chalking this paint to prep it for use as true “chalkboard” without damaging the paint, despite this paint’s long track record on other surfaces. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this paint again but just know that on glass the finish is more decorative than useful. This paint retails for about $7.50 for a 12 ounce can that still feels completely full after doing this first jar.

Opaque/Transparent: Opaque
Application: two spray coats
Surface: exterior
Finish: semi-gloss
Waterproof: no
Uses: Vase, Storage

So, what options have you tried for painting mason jars? I’d love to hear about your results! Post them in the comments!

CHA Winter 2013: Crafts for Kids

Reported by Cassandra Darwin

I’m happy to report that I saw a number of new and innovative craft products and kits at the CHA Winter 2013 show, geared specifically for the younger crowd.  The last time I went to CHA I was not a mom, so it was interesting seeing the new product offerings at the show this time from a different perspective.  I am always on the lookout for something fun to do with my toddler, and have a number of these items on my wish list now.

Do-A-Dot Art offers markers in the form of a dauber that look so easy and fun for kids to use.  I have seen these before at my local teacher’s store but was happy to learn more about them.  They have ink in them, not paint, so they will not get clogged up or dried out like a paint dabber.  They also have a felt tip applicator with a valve that does not allow the ink to flow unless the kids are pressing down, so the mess is kept to a minimum if the young artist gets a little wild.  I especially loved the glitter set and the coordinating coloring books.

Do-A-Dot Art

The same company also offers a kit called Glam Art that is geared for a slightly older age group (ages 5+).  It comes with three pre-printed images that already have adhesive on them that can be covered with colored sequins.  Kids peel away one section at a time to reveal the adhesive and use the included applicator to get the sequins perfectly positioned.

Glam Art

The end result is a sparkly masterpiece. I would guess that it might take a few sessions to complete each of the pictures, depending on how patient and focused your kid is, so it would be a great activity for rainy days or school vacations.

Glam Art

Another innovative product was a device that combines your iPad with Perler Beads.  The iPegboard from EK Success comes with a tray that fits over your iPad screen to create designs with Perler beads.  First you download the free iPad app, and then you can use the 50 free designs, buy additional designs, or customize designs before placing the tray over the screen to get started.

Perler i-Pegboard

Once you are done placing the Perler beads, you remove the tray from the base and iPad, then fuse everything together with an iron.  The i-Pegboard retails for less than $10, and opens up a whole host of possibilities for customizing your own designs.

Perler i-Pegboard

Something that I had seen online and really wanted to check out in person was the Amy Tangerine Travel Kit (from American Crafts).  I would love one of these for myself for scrapbooking on the go, but I also realized looking at it that it would make a great travel kit for a crafter in the tween years.  It includes all the tools you would need to create a mixed media journal or simple scrapbook – just add a small notebook and some pictures.  The only warning here is that I noticed it has a needle and thread as well as a push pin, so you would need to adjust the contents depending on the age of your young crafter.

Amy Tangerine Scrapbook Travel Kit

The “Lace and Play Hedgehog” set from Imagine I Can also caught my eye.  I love the simple designs on these sets and how they teach stitching in a fun and easy way.  And since you can stitch the pieces together over and over again in different patterns, it is a craft that is reusable.  I also appreciate that this is appropriate for the younger crafters with a 3+ age range.

Imagine I Can Stitching Kit

The Crafter’s Caddy from Creative Options is bright colored and just the right size for holding all the tools for children’s crafts.  It would keep everything contained and easy to find, and the pull out drawer on the bottom is great for smaller items.

Creative Options Crafter's Caddy

The Face-a-Day book: Doodle Your Mood journal is a great option for any young crafter.  It gives them an opportunity to write a bit about their day and draw a picture of their face to depict a mood.

Face-a-Day Book

This book would make a great gift, and would come in handy for those kids that have a hard time expressing how they feel.  You can see that the pages are guided so the author can write down meals, weather, and other tidbits about your day.  And each page has a different colored circle for drawing the mood/face.

Face-a-Day Book

And more exciting book news!  On June 18th the new “Martha Stewart: Crafts for Kids” book will be released.  It was on display at the CHA show, but the cover had not been finalized so I don’t have a picture.  I got to take a look at the inside and in true Martha style the crafts are well thought out with clear instructions.  I can’t wait for this book!

And as I was leaving the CHA show I was drawn into one of the most colorful displays there.  Take a look at this rainbow of tie-dye onesies and see if you could resist these happy colors!

Tulip Tie Dye Kits

Tulip offers a huge range of tie-dye kits and I think any kid would love to make a wearable piece of art.  To me, it is the quintessential summertime craft, so I have a few months to plan out some tie-dye projects.

Tulip Tie Dye Kits

So what CHA Winter 2013 kids’ crafts are you excited to try out?

Review | Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint

Reported by Christian Tamez

One of the first Martha Stewart Paints products that I wanted to try was the chalkboard paint. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved chalkboards and chalk and anything involving the two. Martha’s chalkboard paint comes in 6 oz bottles available in four different colors: black, grey, blue, and green.


For my first project I decided to paint some terra cotta flower pots so that I could label their contents and organize some of my bulkier items. This was one of the suggested products for the paint, and since I had an abundance of flower pots, I thought it would be a great way to test out the new paint.

Leaving the top rim of the flower pot plain terra cotta, and using the black color, I painted on the first coat, and set it to dry. The paint coated the surface well, and was easy to work with. The paint itself, I thought, was not too thick and not too thin, I had no worries of drips or splatters from this paint.

In between applying the different coats of paint (3 total), I was happy to find that the paint easily washed out of my brush with water, and left no stain whatsoever in my kitchen sink.

You’re instructed to wait an hour between coats and to let the painted project dry completely for at least 24 hours. Once the paint is completely dry you’re supposed to cure the paint by rubbing chalk over the surface of your project. Then you’re ready to draw, label, sketch, whatever you want on the flower pots.

SouthKingstown-20120217-00115

For my second project I got a 2′ x 2′ piece of plywood from the hardware store and painted the entire surface with the black chalkboard paint, following the paints instructions, I applied three coats, (the instructions only call for two coats, but I preferred three) and let it dry overnight.

SouthKingstown-20120217-00113
SouthKingstown-20120217-00117

I marked out some guide points to help me divide the surface into a calendars grid.

Martha’s paint line has some great accessories, one happens to be something called “Patterning Tape” basically a very thin blue painters tape. You get two different widths in each package and for this project I used the 1/8″ tape to divide out my grid.

Once I marked out the grid, I used the grey chalkboard paint and applied three separate coats over the tape. I made sure to let the paint dry for one hour in between each coat, and before removing the blue tape.

Once the tape was removed I let everything dry for 24 hours. Then I repeated the process of curing the surface of my project by rubbing chalk over the entire surface.

The chalk easily wiped off with a damp towel. Then I filled in the information for the month and a few important dates and set out my new calendar!

Pros:

  • Great quality paint, smooth, nice viscosity.
  • Secure bottle design, I don’t feel like the lid is going to accidentally pop off in storage.
  • Easy clean up.

Cons:

  • Limited color selection.
  • The 6oz bottle is larger than most of the other paints in the collection but would be nice to have larger bottles.
  • Getting leftover paint back into the bottle is hard, even after you pop off the top. The actual opening into the bottle is fairly small.

Have you tried Martha Stewart’s new chalkboard paint? Tell us what kind of projects you’re making! Leave us a comment and let us know!