How to Paint and Distress a Mason Jar With Chalk Paint

diy chalk paint mason jar

The Spruce / Lauren Thormann

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 hr
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $30

Mason jars are inherently charming, but painting them with chalk paint gives them even more character. New and vintage mason jars are easy to find, and most of the time, they cost less than $3.

There are several ways to paint and distress mason jars. In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a distressed chalk-painted mason jar by masking off some sections and leaving the rest of the jar bare.


The One Mason Jar DIY You Haven't Seen Before

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1-inch or 2-inch paintbrush
  • Smaller, detail paintbrush
  • Clean rag


  • Mason jar
  • The Spruce Best Home chalky-finish paint or any chalk paint
  • Painter's tape
  • Cotton swab or paper towel
  • Paint sealant (optional)


  1. Mask Off Top Section With Painter's Tape

    Before you start laying down masking tape, make sure you're working with a clean, dry surface. Wipe down your mason jar with rubbing alcohol or wash it with soap and water.

    Next, mask off the section you want to paint. If you're going to paint the entire mason jar with chalk paint, skip to the next step. If you wish to paint only a portion of the mason jar, use painter's tape to create a straight line.

    Consider masking off the lower third of the jar, the upper third, both the top and bottom, or horizontal stripes. Use your imagination!

    Whichever design you choose, find a section with the least amount of ridges so the tape can adhere to a smooth surface.

    mason jar with masking tape on it
    The Spruce / Lauren Thormann
  2. Paint 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 want to have one even coat with no drips. To fully replicate this project, use The Spruce Best Home chalky finish 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. Do not add too much at a time! It's easier to thin the paint out than it is to thicken it.

    chalk paint being applied to Mason jar
    The Spruce / Lauren Thormann
  3. Let the Paint Dry

    Allow the paint to dry completely. The first coat should take an hour to dry. Even after it's dry, this first layer might easily scratch off, so be careful not to rub it. Full adhesion usually happens between the chalk paint and the glass once you apply a second coat and let that dry completely for another hour.

    If you find that the paint is not sticking, the surface might not have been entirely clean or dry before painting. Strip the glass clean and try again with a primer first.

    chalk paint on Mason jar
    The Spruce / Lauren Thormann
  4. Paint Accent Pieces

    While you are waiting for your first coat to dry, paint on a thin layer of chalk paint on the remaining clear sections and then distress it to highlight any of the raised letterings on the mason jar. To do this, use a detail brush to add a very light coat to those points. Run the paintbrush in one direction, allowing the paint to pool on one side of the lettering. Allow this section to dry just slightly for 15 minutes.

    chalk paint being painted on to Mason jar by hand
    The Spruce / Lauren Thormann
  5. Distress the Accent Paint

    If you only want the lettering to look distressed, remove any paint that is not on the lettering. Use a cotton swab or a small edge of clean rag to lightly remove the paint from any area you don't want it.

    cotton swab rubbing chalk paint off glass jar
    The Spruce / Lauren Thormann
  6. 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 color should remain in the crevices of the raised sections if you don't wipe too hard.

    Use trial and error until you get the look you want. If you don't like something, you can always rub off the paint before it fully dries.

    Hand distressing a Mason jar
    The Spruce / Lauren Thormann
  7. Retouch Any Details Once Dry

    Once you have added a second coat and everything is dry, remove the painter's tape. Now is the time to fine-tune the distressing on the raised lettering or artwork. Once complete, use an arts and crafts paint sealant on the painted areas to protect it from smudges and fingerprints, if desired.

    chalk paint mason jar
    The Spruce / Lauren Thormann
  • How long does it take for chalk paint to dry on a Mason jar?

    Each coat of chalk paint should take about an hour to dry. Working in a space with good air flow and low to moderate humidity can speed dry time.

  • Does chalk paint adhere to glass?

    Yes, as long as the glass is clean and dry, the paint should adhere to it. However, any dirt or residue on the glass might result in poor adherence. 

  • What do you use to seal chalk paint on glass?

    Sealing isn’t essential, especially for glassware that won’t get a lot of handling. But you can use a clear acrylic craft sealer to protect your chalk paint job.