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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!

Review | DecoArt Americana Chalkboard Paint for Glass

Reported by Deena Ziegler

Americana chalkboard paint for glass

Theres no disputing that chalkboards and chalk art are trending in a big way throughout the craft industry. Today I gave DecoArt’s Americana Glass Chalkboard Paint a trial run.

I have painted regular chalkboard paint on glass before and it did fine until I tried to wash it and then it started to peel. So when I was asked to give the paint specifically for glass a go I was eager to see how it help up.

I decided to paint a variety of small glass condiment jars. I did mask off a rectangle area with masking tape.

As stated in the directions, I cleaned the surface of the glass with rubbing alcohol. The directions next said to dab on the paint. I had reservations about that recommendation, so I grabbed a brush and brushed the paint on. The 1st coat went on smooth and thin. After a short drying period I applied a second coat. At that point the paint was on pretty thick so I allowed a few hours to dry before applying a third coat. The directions do not give any recommendation as to how many coats to apply so I went with my usual three. After drying for another few hours I removed the masking tape and was pleased with how the chalkboard paint looked so far.

This was the hard part for me. The bottle recommends that the paint dry for 4 days and then be baked in an oven for 30 minutes. While it doesn’t indicate why I can only assume that it has something to do with bonding the paint to the glass. I’m not that good at projects that take a long time to complete and I often times wait till the last minute.

After I completed the drying and baking process I put the jars through a series of washings. One hand washing and one cycle through the dishwasher. I’m pleased to say that the chalkboard paint is in perfect condition! I’m looking forward to using all my labeled jars and even making a few more!

Pros:

  • Does stick to glass as claimed
  • Smooth finish

Cons:

  • Drying time

DecoArt’s Americana Glass Chalkboard Paint is available from major crafts retailers and the DecoArt website in 20z and 4oz bottles for an MSRP of $3.29 and $3.99 respectively.

Review | Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paint

Reported by Patti Sokol

Disclosure: This site participates in the Amazon.com affiliate program. Some links in this article may be affiliate links that pay this site a commission when a purchase is made after a click.

I am a big fan of Ranger’s products and use a lot of different items from their extensive product line in my art journals. I also follow a number of crafting blogs and have seen many of my favorite artists demonstrating the effects and looks that they can get with this new line of paints. So, I am excited to post my review of the Tim Holtz Distress Paint that was new earlier this year, and how I think it can best be used.

The Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paints are available in 30 of the Distress palette colors, plus 3 metallics. For this review, I worked with a sample in Forest Moss.

Distress Paint

First: I love the packaging! Anything that makes it simple and fast to get right in and get messy (or in this case not so messy) is a big plus in my book. According to Ranger’s website: “Distress Paints have a convenient dabber system for easy and mess-free application.” After you remove the outside protective plastic covering and then the big plastic cap on the top you have to slightly depress the sponge dabber on the top until you hear it click. This allows the valve to open up and the paint to flow from the bottom and into the sponge top. You need to shake the bottle up and you will hear a metal ball inside the container that helps to keep the paint mixed and helps it from drying out. The paint is a fluid matte finish acrylic and is water based so that means it washes up with soap and water and should not stain your hands or clothing.

Second: The sponge dabber top means that it is perfect for painting with stencils, on stamps, and directly onto your project, all without the need for a paint brush. This is another big advantage of these Distress Paints – fewer items to clean up after you craft!

A very important fact to know when using Distress paint is that the blending ability you are used to with Distress products lasts only until the paint dries. Once the paint is dry the results you’ve created are permanent. It seals everything underneath, but you can add layers over it. I feel that this is an advantage as it will not interfere with additional layers compared, for example, to Distress stains which will continue to react and mix with further layers of color that you add to them. So I consider this a third advantage. But you must work a bit quicker (it dries in 3-5 minutes) with this to get the effect you want and have a bit of a plan or you might feel otherwise.

The paint also acts as a resist when using it with Ranger’s Distress Inks or Stains. For example: I use the paint and dab it onto a stamp and then apply the stamp to my project. I allow the paint to dry completely. I get a very detailed clean look as if I used ink. I even have the option of using it with embossing powder when wet. I dry it with a heat gun or allow it to dry itself which should take 3-5 minutes. Once it is dry I can go back over with my distress stain or ink and the two mediums will not interact at all. In fact, the paint will resist the ink or stain to create a beautiful and layered effect.

Stamped Image with Distress Paint

If I want a watery or mixed color background, I shake the bottle up, turn it over, dab as much as I want out to cover the area and then use either a spray bottle with water or a paintbrush filled with water to flick as much or as little water as I want. I can allow the paint to flow, mix with another color, or use a paper towel to dab in certain areas and or a dry stamp to pick up paint with a ghost image or an object to get cool effects.

Any fluid acrylic paint will give you the same effect, but the easy-to-use dispenser and the coordinating Distress product line set Ranger’s Tim Holtz Distress paint apart.

Pros:

* Convenient packaging

* Easy to use

* Widely available

* Coordinates with other Distress products

Cons:

* Price

The MSRP of Ranger’s Tim Holtz Distress Paint is $4.99/bottle. It is widely available from local and online craft stores, such as Simon Says Stamp, Scrapbook.com, and Amazon.com.