DIY Blue Mason Jars

A few weeks ago I turned mason jars into lanterns. If you’re going to paint these and frost them like I am, save the lantern part for very last. You’ll need to cook these on low heat. Heat plus metal = hot. If you’ve already made the lanterns be careful and keep them out of reach of little paws/hands/curiousness while they cool. Or, just turn the oven of and let them cool in there once you’re done.

That being said this all started at the flea market a few weekends ago. There’s something about vintage blue mason jars that are charming and sweet and….expensive?  Holy smokes.  Mr. A and I went to the flea market a few weekends ago. We found all sorts of cool things – none of which we bought. Mr. A found some really rusty old lathe tools. At the same vendor I found some vintage blue mason jars. They were beautiful. They were original. They were $11 dollars, PER JAR?

I came home and scoured the internet. That had to be highway flea market robbery. No luck.  I came across blog after blog on different ways of making them but nothing appealed to me more than Creative Little Daisy.  A perfect excuse to use that 40% off coupon at AC Moore to try Mod Podge.

Directions:

UPDATE: After writing this yesterday I kept thinking about it, and decided I needed to do a few more jars, and update you with a completed project, correctly. This really does work beautifully. So, I’ve changed things below to show you what does work, and what doesn’t.

1.) Put something protective down like a piece of cardboard or layers of newspaper. You’ll be dumping these over to drain – use something thick or else you will stain your surface. Get your mason jars (preferably without the lantern part already attached like super smart me) and pour about an 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup of Luster Mod Podge into one of them. This did about 4 pint jars for me.

2.) In a container you don’t care about staining, put in about two teaspoons of water. Add food coloring and mix well until dissolved. Pour into Mod Podge and mix well. While my first batch was blue, my second batch dried much more green than I imagined and I adored it.

3.) Swirl until completely coated and then pour into your next jar. Repeat on all jars. Once completed and drained well, turn over so you don’t end up with a puddle in the bottom. This is why you want a thick piece of protection beneath them.

4.) Once fully drained, place jars in the cold oven and heat to the lowest setting. This will reduce chance of breakage. Bake for about 20 minutes to set the MP mixture. As long as your MP mixture was thick enough, you should turn out with a nice evenly coated jar that is gorgeous.  If you’re cautious, let them dry about 50% and then place in the oven. As Mod Podge is also used for glue, make sure to turn them right side up to dry or they will stick to your draining surface.

My “green” batch turned out great. I decided to let this batch dry without putting in the oven first. Now that they are 90% dry I will bake them to set the mixture. It’s unnecessary to wait this long though. I wish you could really see how emerald green these are in person.

If you don’t get it the first time, try try again.

Happy Crafting,

Heather

P.S.) Don’t use these for preserving, drinking, or any sort of any kind of any food. Decoration only.

63 thoughts on “DIY Blue Mason Jars

  1. I see your green one looks like it turned out great! what all was you technique and measurements for that batch? Also, is the first picture where the jars are upside down part of your green batch… they look very solid in that picture whereas your final product at the bottom looks very opaque.

    Thanks! Looks great!!!

    1. Hi Bailey. Thanks! I didn’t have an exact measurement for that batch. It really depends on how many jars you will be doing. I’d say a few tablespoons should do a jar, maybe more. I found that thinning the mod podge out just slightly did the trick, you don’t want it watery. It should coat a spoon but still drip off (like honey, maybe a little thicker). I purely eyeballed the color and got different results each time, which is what I was going for. However if you have a mixture you like I would keep track of how many drops you use, etc. Make sure to mix it all up before you pour into a jar (gently, don’t whip).

      As far as technique goes, I just pour it in the jar and gently roll the mod-podge mixture around until it’s fully coated (don’t shake! No air bubbles). and then pour any excess back into your original container to use on another jar (or pour directly into another jar). I drained mine as well as I could, and then placed them upside down on cardboard – frequently moving them so they wouldn’t stick (modpodge is like glue). It’s your choice whether to bake immediately or let air dry for 24 hours or so before you cure them in the oven. The mod-podge is opaque, but dries clear which is the difference you’re seeing.

  2. I combined this tutorial with a diy mason jar solar light tutorial. Aaamazing results, but I’m scared to spray the colored glass with frosted glass spray paint….think I willl leave them clear.

    1. Don’t be scared! It’s super duper easy, just remember to keep your hand moving and hold it back about 6″ or so (and do it outside). I loved how they came out frosted. It looks awesome. I actually have a few solar lights too as I intended to do the same thing but never got around to it!

      xo
      Heather

  3. So I’ve tried this a couple times now and I ways get the same results of the MP bubbling and crackling. I turned the heat on the oven down and it started to work but then alas it still happened.
    Do you only put it in the oven for 20 minutes, then take it out to finish drying? Or should it dry completely in the oven?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Melissa. I am so sorry – I thought I had responded to this! Don’t be discouraged, there are a few steps which can super easily introduce bubbles. I figured it out the hard way myself. Here’s what I figured out to reduce/eliminate bubbles:
      1.) Stir the ModPodge & color super super super gently and slowly. No shaking of any kind.
      2.) When you pour the mixture into the glass, pour it slowly down the side of the glass (like you would pour a beer) not straight into the glass (like you would pour water). This will create bubbles.
      3.) To coat the jar gently turn it.
      4.) It should go in the oven at the absolute lowest temperature your oven can go. Too high of a heat can cause bubbling even if you do everything else perfect.

      Finally, I put mine in the oven for the 20 minutes but then turned it off and let them sit in there overnight without disturbing them. Just don’t forget to take them out before you turn the oven on again, to say, make chocolate chip cookies. You will end up with a black smoking jar. Not that I would know anything about that. 😉

      xo,
      Heather

    1. I used food coloring since it dries clear. Paint might work, but it might get streaky or be too opaque, I’m not sure. I hope that helps!

      xo,
      Heather

  4. I have never used Mod Podge before (but see it used often on DIY blogs), so I do not know what it’s out-of-the-can color is, but is it possible to make cobalt blue instead of pale blue with food coloring?

    1. Hi, Ashley. ModPodge is white like Elmers glue right out of the container. If you used enough blue food coloring I would think you could get to a bright blue color, but I’m not certain as it will dry translucent. You might have to do a few test jars and keep track of your modpodge:food coloring:water ratio for each separate jar. I hope that helps.

      xo,
      Heather

  5. Hi Heather,

    Loved your tutorial on staining the mason jars. I tried it and it didn’t come out too bad, a little lighter on the color, but I think I can adjust the amount of food coloring. My question is though when I put them in the oven, should i put them in with the opening faced down or faced up? Does it make a difference? I put mine faced down but it seems like it might have overheated?

    Keith

    1. Hi Keith! More food coloring will help the color. I used gel food coloring, so I’m thinking different kinds can give different depths.

      As far as the oven, I drained mine very well over newspaper first until it barely dripped and then placed in the oven on the lowest setting possible face up (so they couldn’t drip.) My oven goes to 175, but if yours doesn’t I’d say it might help to heat it up on your lowest all the way, put in the jars for a couple minutes and then without opening, shut the oven off and let them sit until cool. It might work better.

      Hope that helps!
      -heather

    2. Heather, I wanted to thank you so much for your reply and advice! I tried it and it came out perfect! No streaks or dried globs on the jar. The color came out the tint that I wanted and was evenly distributed! Keep up the good work! I’m a big fan of your site! 🙂

      Keith

  6. Hi girls, just had to comment, I have done this project several different ways as well, but I always paint mine on the outside with a feather brush. I have completed this project with mod podge and foodcoloring and there is a difference in the colors of fc you use. for me, while doing the mason jars to look like the old style ones i use the florescent colors and to achive the cobolt blue I use the regular food coloring. You can have fun as well with glass paint folk art paint makes some that works well, I just painted and baked after dry. they have both translucent and solids, I’ve used both and love them! some great jars to use are the ones you buy with alfrado sauce in them for a smaller and different look! I am using my old style mason jars as a light fixture in my kitchen. love me some old glass!!! have a blessed day! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the insight into other ways of doing it Shay! Also, the mason jar light fixture sounds pretty neat. 🙂

      xo,
      Heather

  7. Great tutorial! Does the baking lock in the color permanently? If I bake it on the inside of the jar, can I use it for flowers/water? Thanks in advance!

    1. First off, can I tell you I love your name?! I know you can’t drink out of the jars when they are done (because it’s still modpodge inside), and I haven’t tried using the water in them. We put candles in ours so there was no issue. My instinct is that the color would still leach and it would soften the modpodge but I could be totally wrong. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!

      xo,
      Heather

    2. Aww thanks! I’ll definitely test it out. I own a vintage prop rental business in Atlanta and am going to need to provide LOTS of these painted glassware for tablescape floral containers for a wedding.

    3. That’s awesome, Mao! Check out yard sales for the jars. I know up here it seems like people are always selling them by the box, and you can often find some pretty cool older looking ones too. Flea markets & craigs list are also other awesome places to find the jars bulk—and for cheap! BTW – Your website is amazing!

      xo,
      Heather

  8. Hi,
    My sister and I are going to DIY this tonight and i was wondering what kind of ModPodge did you use?
    We bought the glossy is that okay ?

    1. Hi Angela,

      I tried it with both matte and glossy and actually preferred how the glossy looked! 🙂 Good luck.

      -Heath

  9. I was also wondering how long should we let them dry before putting them in the oven?
    if we only dry them for about a half hour and then bake for 20 min is that okay ?

    1. Hi Angela, my best run was letting them air-dry at least a few hours before finishing in the oven, but not all of the ones I put directly in (after letting them drip properly first) got streaky. I think looking back a thicker formula helped it hold better, as my first one was a little thinner. It’s kind of playing around a little to see what works best for you. I used gel food coloring, but I imagine liquid or powder might have slightly different times.

      I hope that helps a little at least.

      -Heath

  10. We were also wondering how long to dry the jar?
    I’f we dry for a half hour and than bake for 20 will that be okay ?

    1. Hi Kat, see my response to Angela. As far as baking, I baked until it was almost clear and then shut the oven off without opening it, to let it finish. Just remember to take the jars out before you use the oven again. Not that I would know anything about this…*whistles innocently*. I have not put the oven on 400 to preheat and perhaps turned jars black. Never.

      Okay, maybe once.

      -Heath

  11. i have a couple of quick questions how do you do the lantern part? and do you mix the water, Md, and food coloring together first then pour in the jars? thanks april

    1. The lantern part was just wire wrapped around, into a handle and then hooked onto itself on the other side. Pretty simple! As far as the mixture, I found it easier to mix everything first and slowly pour it down the side of the jar to help eliminate bubbles. I think of it like pouring a beer-down the side!

      Xo,
      Heather

  12. Heather,
    Would it be safe to put candles inside the mason jars after baking them?
    (Just wondering about the open flame with the dried modpodge…)

    1. You sure can! We did it for our wedding and we had no issues. I just made sure to let them have plenty of time to dry. We did find if it rains the color can run though.

      Xo,
      Heather

    1. Hey! I air dried a few and noticed no difference. It just takes a lot longer to fully dry and cure.

      Xo,
      Heather

  13. I fear that my consistency isn’t thick enough. I’m using matte mod podge. Does that have to do with the consistency? If not how can I fix it?

    1. Hi Max! Not sure what the issue is? If you’re having dripping issues then use more Mod Podge and less water. It shouldn’t matter on the type of Mod Podge you use.

      xo,
      Heather

  14. This idea looks great! I’m actually looking to color some small jars to use as soap dispensers. I read that you did not think the MP would stay intact when using it for flowers and full of water. Do you think it could be sprayed with something to create a protective layer? Do you think a clear enamel spray paint would eat away at the MP? I’ve never used it before and wasn’t sure if this would work for my project.

    1. Hmmm… I would think it might still bleed. It might be worth a try though! I would think you could do a similar technique on the outside and use a clear enamel on that though. If I were you, I’d try the same technique on two jars, one inside and one out and see what you love best! Let me know how it goes.

      Xo,
      Heather

  15. Hi Heather,
    Thanks for all the help with this DIY….Found a better way of draining them instead of place upside down on a surface…We just put them upside down in Solo cups. The worked for all size Mason jars we used.

    1. I’m so glad you found a solution that works for you. I think I did that with a couple of ours too! It keeps the rim from sticking on anything 🙂

      xo,
      Heather

  16. heather, i want to use these jars to make candles with rather than using them to put candles in. once i have glues a wick to the bottom of the jar and added scented wax, do you think they would burn safely? i have made many mason jar candles that turned out awesome but i have never used MP before and am questioning whether or not burning these candles would melt the MP.

    1. Ohh that’s a good one. I’m not sure, as I’ve never tried that before. They held up well in the oven (how you cure them) and they held up well with the candle inside burning but I’m not sure what hot wax would do to the MP directly touching the walls. My best advice is to just give it a try with one jar and see what happens. If it doesn’t work there are some good tutorials on the web for painting the exterior of the mason jars vs. the interior. Let me know how it turns out!

      xo,
      Heather

  17. We are trying to make a small chandlier out of mason jars. We have everything we need but we are not sure how to get the mason jars stained. We want a very light “tea” color. Can you suggest anything that would still give us the clear glass but with just a light tea stain? Thank you for your time.

    1. My suggestion would be try a variety paint, instead of food coloring, using the same method. I’d go with browns maybe mixed with whites/grays. I wonder if you might also be able to mix a little bit of stain with the MP to get a nice color too. I’ve never tried it, but maybe it’s worth using a pack of jars to test different paints/stains on while writing down what you’ve done to each jar ( I’d write a number on the bottom of each jar in sharpie and then use the same in a notebook with your measurements, products & cooking time).

      Xo
      Heather

  18. Thank you for this idea! I love these. I actually used Rit clothing dye instead of food coloring and it turned out fantastic. Just make sure to add a pinch of salt to the dye!

  19. Hey this looks awesome I was wondering if this would have the same results if it was done on the outside of the jar? I want to use them for candles and didn’t know if it would matter.

    1. I’m not sure how that would work or hold up since I’ve never done it on the outside. My guess is you could paint it on, but you might get brush strokes. As far as candles inside, we never had an issue with a tea candle but if it was hot enough, or you were planning on making the candle inside the jar itself, I suppose it would melt the modpodge. I say give it a try painting it on the outside. Can’t hurt!

      Xo,
      Heather

  20. Hi Heather!
    I was sharing my ‘solar jar’ project with my daughter and mentioned trying cellophane to create color, so was so stoked she hooked me up with your blog first!
    My question is.. did you find that the jars stuck to the newspaper/cardboard while drying?
    I was thinking about going to the dollar store for a wire rack dedicated to projects.. and using the newspaper under that.
    By the way, dollar stores a re a treasure trove for creative peeps. I got the solar spikes (to disassemble), the latched glass jars and glass rock for the bottom there.
    🙂

    1. I actually ended up using a tupperwear from the dollar store, like a tall quart one that was tapered and put my jars in it upside down while the paint dripped out. Once I noticed no paint coming out I was then able to turn them the right way to continue drying. If you don’t want to go that route try a wax paper or parchment paper, they might release easier.

      xo,
      Heather

  21. I love this project and just tried it last night using glue, food coloring, and water. I painted it on with a sponge brush and after drying the finished product was a frosted jar. Although I like the frosted look, I am hoping to get a solid color look, your first picture of your jars drying is the finished look I am wanting. I will try using mod podge next time, but do you have any tips or know how to get the solid color as the end result or would I just have to use paint for that?

    1. Hi Kelly. I would use white paint and tint it to a color you like (if you can’t find a color already made up). A glue (modpodge) and dye mix won’t produce an opaque look.

      xo,
      Heather

  22. Heather,

    I love this idea! Thank you so much for the tutorial. I plan on using the mason jars as lights in my new restaurant. Do you think over time the coloring will melt? It doesn’t seem like it will considering its staining, but I wanted to double check.

    1. Hi Cara, that sounds awesome! Holding up depends how hot it gets. I only say this because Modpodge is a glue more or less, so it’s a very thin coat that looks like a stain but its still a glue.

      Xo
      Heather

    1. Hi Connie! We used tea light candles in ours for one night and they were fine (we had no fires), and most jars looked the same after. From what I understand it isn’t flammable, but please always do your own research too. I definitely wouldn’t use anything bigger than a tea light and I’d keep an eye on it (as one should do with all candles). You could always paint the mix onto the outside of the jar instead too. I still would only use a tea light either way.

      Xo,
      Heather

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