Mason Blue Glass Canning Jar DIY

These jars take their name from John Landis Mason. 

Mason was a young inventor who came up with the concept of a metal screw-on lid in 1858.  The threaded neck on glass jars that we take for granted today was once a major innovation.  Mason’s developments made preserving food at home much easier and made the jars reusable.  Despite the fact that Mason sold five of his glass canning jar patents in 1859, his name had staying power.  The mason jar is the common name for glass home canning jars to this day (source).
As promised, here is the jar tutorial some of you had requested.  I do however have to share some good news and bad news about this particular DIY.  Would you like the good news or the bad news first?

In the spirit of optimism let’s start with the good news…

The jars, in my humble yet clearly biased opinion, turned out pretty fantastic.  Take a look…

I like the contrast of the yellow flowers…
…and the rustic feel of the cement wall behind them.
I decided to make some light shades and some darker ones.
I had painted and aged this little stool last summer.

Take a look at the darker bottle on the right.  It’s a hint to the bad news of this post, but before I break the bad news, let’s get to the tutorial…

You will need: 
Clean jar
Mode Podge or White Elmers’ glue
Paint Brush
Food colouring

Start with a clean jar…

I experimented with several ratios of glue, food colouring and water and believe the magic ratio to be: 1 tsp of glue : 3 drops of food colouring : 1.5 tsp of water.  But you might want to try different ratios and see what you results you prefer. Obviously the more food colouring the darker the jar will be. In order to make a turquoise shade you will need two drops of blue and 1 drop of green.
In a small bowl, place the glue, food colouring and water
Mix together with a brush.
This amount is sufficient to cover three jars if you are
using the brushing method (yes, there is another method)

Using even strokes, brush onto jar from top to bottom and being careful not to go over it too much or the glue will start to clump together (this part is a little frustrating until you get the hang of it).  The streaks you see when the mixture is wet will be almost invisible if done correctly. This is where patience comes in.

The bottle dries in minutes but during my experiment, I placed it in the microwave for 30 seconds on low to expedite the drying time.  I added an extra coat to the neck of the jar and at the bottom of the jar.  If you look at a real vintage jar, the accumulation of colour seems to be at these two spots.

I also tried a different method by pouring the
mixture into the jar and shaking the contents
until the jar was completely covered.

Turn the jar upside down and allow the residual mixture to drip onto the lid or paper towel.  Once it stops dripping, remove the lid and allow to dry.  The results with this method is a little cleaner but it will take several hours to dry and some of the jars had drip marks :o(

It might take a little practice to get it just right, but here is some more good news: you can wash it off and start over. 

Which brings me to the bad news: you can wash it off and start over!  These jars – although pretty to look at – are not practical for every day use as the paint will peel off.

Good news: IF you decide to follow the brush method and paint the jars from the outside, there is nothing stopping you from using these jars as vases so long as the water is poured carefully inside or you can always use these or these and avoid the risk.
Bad news: If you like the darker shaded jars, well, I found that the darker the shade I used, the more visible the streaks were.

I encourage you to experiment and have fun with these…

Overall I think they look pretty close to the original and by adding other elements or incorporating them into your decor you will achieve the ‘look’ for A LOT less. 

Some more good news: I found that the longer the jars have been around the more resistant to peeling they get.  I can’t have enough of them. I am a little obsessed with jars right now…
I hope you found the information useful and just in case you want to research this further, I found some other links to help you along the way; Here is a tutorial I found (just when you thought you were the only one who had ever thought of this, someone else has already done it before; the life of a DIY blog).  I also found this tutorial, which uses a more permanent method with actual glass paint.  But if everything else fails, go here and purchase the real thing!
As always, thank you for stopping by.  If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know and I will respond to you as soon as I get a chance.
Please have a peaceful week!
much love,
I displayed some of the jars in my french vintage basket (for a DIY of the basket go here)


  1. says

    Wow! Those are amazing! Did you come up with this totally on your own? Or was their an inspiration! I would never have thought to use food coloring and glue for that effect!
    Shouldn’t there be some kind of award for this project?!

  2. says

    Lucy~ PHENOMENAL!!!! WOW! You just have a wonderful talent for “figuring things out”…These jars are beautiful. I wonder if the ones that are painted on the outside could be coated with a poly spray to “set” the color…and keep them from washing off? Hugs- Diana

  3. says

    I’m SO GLAD you posted this!! What a WONDERFUL tutorial…I do love my “vintage” mason jars, but I probably will make some more for around the house!!! I have several baby food jars..wouldn’t that be kinda cute? little ones? ha!
    I need your help with a wreath…I started it last night, and it is a horrible mess….

  4. says

    When I first saw the pic, I just assumed these were authentic, and I STILL can’t tell the difference even now that I know! This is a fantastic tutorial. I am obsessed with jars too and just cleaned and washed out a few that had sauce in them. I need to try out this method, especially since that blue color is EVERYWHERE in my house! :) Thanks again!


  5. says

    Oh my gosh, I LOVE these! Blue glass has got to be one of my most favourite things in the world. I have a lovely vintage blue pedestal bowl my Grandma gave me ages ago that is always on my counter – it makes me smile every time I look at it. I love how simple this project is – thank you for the tutorial. Now to find some old jars!

  6. says

    These are very pretty. I’ve seen similar DIYs where people baked the jars for 20-30 min on very low heat. I wonder if that keeps the paint from coming off when you wash them?

  7. says

    Wow! I love love love blue mason jars (a bit of an addiction to all glass bottles/jars). This is a fabulous project! I’m including a link in this week’s highlights. Thank you so much for sharing your creativity in the DIY Project Parade. ;)

    Please feel free to grab an “I’m featured” button to show off. Have a wonderful week!

  8. says

    Hi! LOVE these. Was wondering if you could tell me what color you used for your stool. I want to do my kitchen cabinets like that and LOVE the color. I know you’re probably IMMENSELY busy, but if you could leave a comment here, I will be back to check. Thanks HUGELY!! I LOVE your blog; am a new follower.

  9. says

    Hey! Hope you’re doing well, thank you so much for stopping by . In regards to the paint color for the stool, I’m sorry to tell you that I used a mixture of acrylic colors that would not be suitable for your cabinets. I can only suggest that if you really like the color find a picture of it(even one of mine) print it and many paint stores can match the color. (?) sorry I couldnt be of much help!
    Thanks again and hope to see you again soon!

  10. says

    oh wow!! love those jars!! i just got to be your follower coz I really want to try the tutorial, thank youuuu sooo much for sharing the tutorial and those gorgeous photos! you’re soo crafty and talented!! Happy feathered nest friday! :)

  11. Anonymous says

    Couldn’t you spray them with some sort of clear coat so that they have a permanet finish? Just thinking.

  12. says

    I was sent this by a friend and JUST finished making 5 (as that’s all the mason jars I had w/o breaking into my good canning jars, lol) pink ones. I ended up doing two coats to get a more prominent pink color (as just one was noticeable, but faint) SO pretty. they’re now on my mantel as candle holders

    Also I used tacky glue, lol.

  13. says

    I did this project for a bridal shower. I used the pour method the first time and failed. Then I decided to make a thicker mod podge to water ratio and while it took more time, I was nearly drip free. I just baked them in the oven for 1 hour at 200 degrees. After the bridal shower I just peeled the paint off and ran the jars through my dishwasher and they looked brand new.

  14. says

    Great project! I’ve posted a link to it on my blog over at where I’m the Glass Arts Editor.

    Have a great day!


  15. Anonymous says

    Hi All,
    Hope a few suggestions help.
    !. Wouldn’t it be nice to put a few strings of lights over and in the jars so that you can enjoy them in the evening.
    2. If you want to take off all the coloring/glue try to peel it off first this will keep yor job from being so gooy.
    3.If you put silk flowers in the jars try taking a butter tub, or at least a container you can clean out, dump a cup or so of stone or glass marbles in the tub. Add about a teaspoon of ModgePodge, if that, in to the stones and mix, covering all the stone. Now gently dump this mixture into the jar with the stems. Set it a side to dry.this may take a few days depending how good the air circulation is and the MP will turn clear. This will work best in a jar that you paint the out side cause remember any Elmers or MP that gets wet will get gooy and then dry again but will look yucky.
    I like using Gloss MP it looks more like glass when dry.

  16. says

    These are incredibly cute. I have no space for such beauties in my apartment, but I am definitely bookmarking them for a “someday”…

    Also, if you did want them to be permanent, I would suggest a spray varnish or shellac. =)

  17. says

    Fabulous tute! Your pictures are amazing, and I love the bottles. Thanks so much for the warning – I think it’s a minor problem, I can totally handle not washing the outsides. I never wash my vases, this is a great excuse!

  18. Anonymous says

    I absolutely LOVE these!! I saw on another blog that after 24 hours of drying, you can put them in the oven at 325 degrees for 40 minutes on a cookie sheet and the jar will keep it’s stain permanently. Her process was a litte different, but it’s worth a shot! Thanks!!

  19. says

    LOVE this! Found your site by clicking over from Jenny Doh’s site! And I was wondering…would a clear spray sealer keep the color from peeling off? Can’t wait to try this project! :)

  20. Anonymous says

    I used glass paint on some mason jars and got a nice result too. This paint is made so that you can bake it in the oven (as someone mentioned earlier) and it’s very durable after you do that.
    It took me a little practice to get a good result, and I used a lot more thinner and also gloss medium made by the same company to get my results than the author did. I made several of them for wedding centerpieces.

  21. says

    Hey I’m assuming you would be able to use just about any color food coloring you want, but I just wanted to check first!
    Have you tried any other colors? Red, yellow, etc.? I was thinking it would be great for wedding reception decor in the wedding colors…

  22. says

    Did you know that Mod Podge makes an outdoor version? It’s more water resistant and has a tougher finish that will hold up better than the regular version. Just thought you might want to know!

  23. says

    Hi Lucy, I loved your creative idea and style of writing the good and bad points of it and giving all the alternates…
    off to read more on your site.. first time here.Cheers

  24. Anonymous says

    Another great craft idea from you. Why didn’t I think of that? I like the little streak. Good one. My name is Loo.

  25. Anonymous says

    My color was good, but did not get the transparency that you did. Mine are transluscent. How do i get the clear shiny finish?

  26. Anonymous says

    Agree with post #75, I just tried this out and mine are lovely but have a frosted glass effect instead of shiny, normal-looking glass. Any idea what went wrong and how to correct?

  27. says

    Did you use glossy mod podge or elmers glue? I’ve tried both and mine aren’t turning out. I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

    Yours look fantastic!!
    angellsworth at gmail com

  28. Anonymous says

    Totally just did this today but I chose the put it inside and shake method. However, I baked the stuff in the oven. I let it dry upside down 30 minutes then put it upside down on wax paper covered baking sheets for 20 minutes then turned it over and let it bake another 20 minutes. Did 2 batches and it worked best with the oven set at 200 degrees. Happy tinting!

  29. says

    This looks like a fantastic idea and so very pretty.

    Have you thought of using USARTQUEST Perfect Paper Adhesive Gloss or Matte which can be used on Glass. The directions say it dries to a transparent gloss or matte finish, and is water soluble and water resistant when dry. From using this product in the past it does not peel either. Susan Pickering Rothamel would be great at answering questions on the glue part.. shes wonderful and so artistic! I can’t wait to try this! Thank you for a lovely share!

  30. says

    These are OMG beautiful! So creative. I think Betsy is right. USArtQuest’s PPA – Gloss would be perfect. I’m sad to say, both alcohol inks and food coloring will fade if you put these gorgeous jars are put in the sunlight, so I would suggest Perfect Pigments…just a drop or two to the adhesive. I’d also mix in some water so that both the brushing or pouring technique will work. I’m bookmarking your blog. You’re so inspiring!

  31. says

    Adorei esta ideia de pintar com cola e corante alimentício,
    super criativo e da um efeito lindo!
    Obrigada por compartilhar.

  32. says


    These are absolutely gorgeous! I had to try this. Like some of the others mine are coming more frosted than clear. Also, any that I try to paint on the outside are blotchy. Any suggestions?

    • says

      Hey Katie, thanks for stopping by…if you are using glue the result will be more frosted than if you use gloss modpodge. In terms of the blotchiness, the solution might need more water….this is where patience comes in..just keep trying various ratios… You’ll get and you’ll love it ! Thanks again…let me know if there’s anything else…xo

  33. Anonymous says

    Saw these jars on another site but they were the jars that were already blue glass. I thought, there must be a way to duplicate that. Thank god for this site!! I have tried 4 jars so far and have come up with the frosted glass also…frustrating!! I washed them all and am going to buy the gloss modpodge today. I am displaying black and white photos in the glass jars for my father in laws 65th birthday so I have to be able to have the transparency. Glue was not working for me at all. Keep you finger crossed for me, I only have two days left before the Thanks for this great idea

  34. Anonymous says

    Does anyone know if using tacky glue will help with the peeling and water issues? Just wondering. We live in a humid climate, so I was hoping that the tacky glue would help.

  35. April says

    Pretty! Have you tried spraying the insides of the jars with anything (like a clear spray paint/sealer) to see if that would help them to be more permanent?

  36. says

    Hello. It’s a long time ago you posted this idea.
    I love it!
    You have a beautilful blog with so many idea’s and tutorials.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a nice Mothersday.
    Love Annette

  37. Anonymous says

    they have an outdoor mod podge now that is a little more water resistant. I would still recommend using it on the outside.

  38. says

    Ok forgive me if someone has already asked this…but I was thinking that this would be great for making stained glass windows. (Faux. On the INSIDE of the house. And when you’re sick of it just wash it off. Has anyone tried this?

  39. Anonymous says

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  40. says

    Hi there! I referenced your post in my own post about up-scaling and reusing old jars rather than throwing them out. Thanks for sharing the great idea and for the inspiration!

  41. Anonymous says

    I just did a few jars following your directions and they all turned out foggy. Judging by your pics I expected them to turn out clear and just tinted with color. Do you know what I can do to get them to not be cloudy and instead clear?

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  43. Anonymous says

    I would like to try this on a few wine glasses for my daughter’s wedding. Is this toxic? I am sure that I can tape off 1/4″ down from the rim…
    Is this a one time application of your mixture or is several applications needed?

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  45. says

    When at thrift stores, yard sales or antique stores, keep your eyes out for safe containers of any kind. You can usually find a nice and cheap selection of containers such as candy jars, a classy favorite for many and they usually comes with a rubber seal, a variety of old and fancy glass or crystal containers and sometimes great pottery or other creative containers.

  46. says

    I love this! And your tutorial is very easy to follow (I say this not yet trying it, but with a hopeful mind about trying it! Lol.)
    I want to use this method for “painting” old mixed glassware I picked up at a Salvation Army to make it uniform and vintage feeling for the dessert table at my wedding. Can’t wait to try, I just need to pick up some glue.

  47. Anonymous says

    I love this ! I just have a few questions and I don’t know who to ask lol but um I have this idea of making a mosaic like frame for a picture made out of glass shards. Would this method of stained glass bottles work for the shards? Please let me know.

    Thank you !

  48. says

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