Mason jars are inherently charming, but painting them with chalk paint gives them even more character if that's possible. What's more, new and vintage mason jars are really easy to find for projects like these, and most of the time they cost less than $3 a piece.
There are several ways you can paint and distress mason jars using chalk paint. This tutorial will go through how to mask off certain sections and leave others bare. The techniques used here will teach you how to recreate this distressed chalk painted mason jar in under an hour, not including dry time.
Tools and Supplies
- Mason jars
- The Spruce Best Home chalky-finish paint
- Painter's tape
- Clean rag
- Cotton swab and/or paper towels
Mask Off Top Section With Painter's Tape
Before you mask off anything, make sure you're working with a clean, dry surface. Some people will wipe down their mason jar with rubbing alcohol and then wash it with soap and water. We opted to wash the jar and dry it thoroughly.
Next, it's time to mask off the section you want to paint. If you want to paint the entire mason jar with chalk paint, skip to the next step. If you want only a portion of the mason jar painted, use painter's tape to create a straight line. Here are some options to consider:
- Mask off the lower third of the jar
- Mask off the upper third of the jar like you see here
- Mask off both the top and the bottom
- Mask off horizontal stripes
Whichever design you choose, try to find a section with the least amount of ridges so the tape can adhere to a smooth surface.
Carefully Paint on the First Coat
Painting on curved glass is not easy, and it can get messy. One painting method is to turn the bottom edge of the mason jar with one hand while using your other hand to paint all the way around. You are trying to get one even coat with no dripping. For this project we used The Spruce Best Home paint in Coral Lava.
Make sure your paint isn't too thin or it will run beneath the tape. Most chalk paint will have some instructions on how to get the best consistency. You may opt to add a tablespoon or two of water to make the paint thinner. Just be sure not to add too much at a time because it's easier to thin the paint out than it is to thicken it back up.
Let the Paint Dry
Allow the top to dry completely. Even after it's dry, this first layer might easily scratch off, so be careful not to rub into it. Full adhesion will usually happen between the chalk paint and the glass once you apply a second coat and let that dry completely.
If you find that the paint is not sticking, it's possible that the surface wasn't entirely clean or dry prior to painting. Strip the glass clean and try again with a primer first.
Paint on Accent Pieces
One option is to paint on a thin layer of chalk paint on the remaining clear sections and then distress it to highlight any of the raised lettering on the mason jar. To do this, use a detail brush to add a very light coat to those points.
We ran the brush in one direction, allowing the paint to build up on one side of the lettering. Allow this section to dry just slightly, giving it maybe ten or fifteen minutes.
Distress the Accent Paint
Ultimately, we wanted only the lettering to look distressed, so we opted to remove any paint that got outside these sections. Use a cotton swab or a small edge of the cloth to lightly remove the paint from any area you don't want it.
Lightly Wipe Away Excess Paint
On any larger raised area, use a paper towel to lightly lift away or blot off some of the excess paint. Be careful not to remove all of it. Most of the paint should remain in the crevices next to the raised letter if you don't wipe too hard. This step takes some trial and error until you get the look you're trying to achieve.
Retouch Any Details Once Dry
Once everything is dry, you can go back in and fine-tune the distressing on the raised lettering. Add another coat and then use the previous steps to remove small bits of paint, leaving only small sections behind. If desired, go back in with a sealant on the opaque section.