DIY Craft - Painted Mason Jars with School Glue/ Mod Podge and Food Color

In my last post I told that we recently shifted to our new condo, a town-home to exact. Decorating our new abode on a budget means repeated visits to IKEA. That store has never failed me. This summer we often found ourselves eating Swiss meatballs and Najad Salmon (smoked salmon) for lunch there. After our lunch, I would deposit Sid at the Småland (Småland is a play area where children can feel Swedish forest atmosphere. While they are playing, you can enjoy your shopping experience knowing your children will be safe and cared for.) and enjoy 60-minutes of me-time and retail therapy. The retail therapy was not limited to just me. Sid grabbed some color pencils, markers, water colors and paint brushes too.

In our old home, there wasn't a dedicated space for Sid to do his homework or crafts. Our dining table used double as Sid's work area too. This home came with a single-seater breakfast table, which we promptly converted to Sid's study/craft table. Earlier his crayons and markers used to be strewn throughout the house as he was constantly shuttling between his room and the dining table. Now that his activities are contained in his room, it was imperative that we provide a home for everything. That way, at cleanup time, he knows exactly where everything goes. Hopefully, this will also teach him to be organized. I can hope.... right!

I already had a mental note to get some pencil holders on my next trip to Walmart or Dollar Tree. And it was a beautiful coincidence that very  evening, I saw a post on Frosted Mason Jars by Happy Hooligans

Happy Hooligans an amazing blog that centers around the daily activities of the home-daycare run by Jackie, and is dedicated to easy and affordable arts & crafts and good old-fashioned play. I wish I had found the site when Sid was little. They have awesome sensory play ideas for toddlers and preschoolers. 

I totally fell in love with the frosted look of the mason jars. I have often been ridiculed by Sam for hoarding on empty glass jars. Having a kindergartner (a first grader in 2 days) at home means I always have a steady supply of school glue. And being a baker and a cake decorator, there is never dearth of food gel colors at my house. Is there any reason for delay in creating these cute jars?

The first time I tried the Hooligan way and painted the outside of my jars with a foam brush. It left terrible brush marks and the result was far from being pretty. A little digging on Google and YouTube, I found the easiest and the coolest way to paint my jars. 

Take a clean jar.  
Add your glue, water and a smidgen of food color (I used Wilton gel colors) to the jar and mix well with a  popsicle stick or a brush. The amount of glue will depend on the size of the jar. Just eyeball it. The amount of water should be half the quantity of glue. There should be enough glue to coat the inside of the jar.  
Screw back the lid on the jar and swirl it around... or shake it... do anything to coat the inside of the jar with the glue mix. 
Next let it stand upside own . The excess glue will drip down and get collected on the lid. Leave it like this for two to three hours. 
Once all the excess glue has dripped down, open the lid and dispose the excess glue. Put the bottle upright and wait for the glue to dry up. School glue takes a bit longer to dry. Leave it undisturbed for 2 days.  
Lovely translucent frosted jars is ready to hold all your craft supplies. 

The same technique can be done with Mod Podge too. Mod Podge dries clear, so instead of a frosted look, you get a stained glass look which is very pretty too. 

See the difference. The purple and the blue jars (left and right most) are painted with Mod Podge and food color, while the middle one is with Elmers' School Glue. The stained glass effect vs the frosted glass effect. I love both. Each has its own appeal.

There some key points that needs to be remembered when using Mod Podge vs School Glue.
1. Even if the color looks dull and pastel when wet, Mod Podge dries clear and will result on a vibrant color. A little color goes a long way.
School glue on the other hand fades when it dries. It leaves a whitish streak which makes the jar have a translucent frosted effect. So add a little more color when mixing. The resultant color will be a couple of shades lighter.

2. Mod Podge is more viscous than school glue and there is no need to add any water. School glue definitely needs water or else it will not coat properly.

3. Mod Podge dries much faster. A small jar might be ready to use in 6 hours, though I would recommend waiting for 24 hours. The school glue needs at least 30 hours to dry. I leave it for 2 full days to be safe.

In spite of the difference,  they do have something in common. They both look gorgeous. And they both are water soluble.  That means you CANNOT use them as vases for fresh flowers. Craft supplies, pencils, faux flowers are perfect.

Here is a apple juice bottle that got converted into a vibrant vase for Sid's room.

Pretty isn't it? I plan to paint a couple more jars. Hopefully I'll take a step by step tutorial then. Step-by-step tutorial is done. But honestly it is very easy. All you need is a bit of patience. Hope you guys give it a shot.

And this how Sid's work space looks....



  1. Wow super like them! I saw the DIY step and its pretty easy to do. LSG Office Products

  2. What if the jar or vase was painted on the outside instead of the inside?


Post a Comment

Your thoughts and comments is what keep "A Whiff of Spice" going

Popular Posts