How to Make Glass Jars Look Like Antiques

Colored Glass Jar

I love old antique looking jars, but I don’t love the price tag. Genuine antique blue glass jars are usually at least $10 or more per jar at antique shops, so when I saw this technique for making my own, I knew I had just had to try it.

Glass Jars Painting

I first got inspired by this post on Camelot Art Creations. The technique she uses there is to take the paint and swirl it around inside the bottle, but I found that this didn’t work out for me.

I ended up with too many dripping spots inside, and too much paint settling in the bottom. Plus, I can’t use these as vases for real flowers with all that paint in there. You can see my dilemma with these photos:

Paint Settled on the Bottom

Mess while Painting Glass

So here’s what I did instead…

Materials Needed:

  • Glass Jars
  • Vitrea Glass Paint ($4.99 at Michael’s, and you can use the 50% off one item coupon that comes in the Sunday paper)
  • Small Paint Brush
  • Newspaper


1. Set up your work spaces over some newspaper so that you don’t make a mess on your furniture. Clean and dry your glass jars.

Vitrea Glass Paint

2. Take a bottle of Vitrea glass paint and add about a 1/4 tsp of water to it. Put the top back on and shake the bottle well. This is a water-based paint that is very thick, so this just waters it down a little. The colors I used were Turquoise and Rose.

Brush Strokes

3. Take a small paint brush and use long even strokes to paint the outside of your bottles. The kids can even help out with this!

Kids Can Help with Jar Painting

3. Let dry.

If you mess up, just wash the paint off with water and start over. That’s the nice thing about this being a water-based paint!

Painting the Glass

As you can see in the above photo, there’s a striking difference between using a paint brush and using the swirl method. I had used the swirl method on the blue jars, and the paint brush on the rose colored jars.

And here are the end results:

Colored Glass Jars

Colored Glass

Next time I may water down the paint a little more, as these came out a little too pink for me. These bottles should only be used for decoration once you paint them, and be sure to read all directions and cautions on your materials before starting on your glass.

What do you think of this project? Do you have another method or paint product that you feel works better than what I used? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

crystal collins signature
  1. I like using canning jars for storage, in any room of the house. Not just the kitchen.

  2. I use them in the bathroom to artfully (I hope!) hold q- tips, toothbrushes, and floss picks as well as whatever else they are needed for.

  3. I like to put Potpourri in the canning jars and leave them in the bathroom and around the house.

  4. Mixing paint colors will give you the exact color you want. I would use a empty small jar to mix the paints. This does sound like a project I might like to try. Thank you for the great idea !!

  5. I’m betting the swirling may work with lots more water and possibly several applications with drying in between upsidedown on a napkin, you could do the outside by dipping it the reverse of swirling inside?

    • It’s definitely a method that needs perfecting, and I may be attempting the swirling method again with some tweaks.

  6. Just found you linked back to me:) It looks to me that the paint wasn’t diluted enough. I did “swirl” mine for quite some time to get the darker blue, but I did do the mason jar in one of the picture just a few swirls & it’s much lighter. When I painted the out side I kept getting paintbrush lines, didn’t like that.
    If you bake the jar it should be fine for putting flowers in. I filled mine with water & flowers and all is well with them.

  7. Great Idea! I have never thought to paint jars instead of buying them like that. I suppose its money saving and more fun. I would definitely recommend using a fan brush tho for this, it will help with those brush strokes and also, apply a very thin coat at first and if you think you need more add another coat. Starting out too thick to begin with could be the cause of the brush strokes.

    Some strokes may come through after baking, but once you fill the jar with flowers and water they shouldnt be as noticeable.
    Horsham Glaziers

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