How to Paint Mason Jars without Chalk Paint - Pretty Real

How to Paint Mason Jars without Chalk Paint

9:00 AM

painted mason jars

I recently helped plan a pretty girl shower for a friend and used the event as an excuse to try painting mason jars. Am I the only one who gets random DIY projects stuck in my head? Apparently the only way to move on is to try my hand at it.  I've seen painted mason jars in many etsy shops so I figured there had to be some tutorials out there. I perused a few and decided it shouldn't be that difficult.  And it wasn't.  Sort of.  Here's what I learned:
Mason Jars
Craft Paint
Foam Brush
Spray Paint Primer
Sandpaper (or a fingernail file)
Poly (optional)
Twine (optional)

I skimmed a handful of 'how to paint mason jars' tutorials and found that many said to use chalk paint.  But I wanted to try to do it without to save cash.  The little acrylic paints I used are 50 cents at Wal-Mart and would be an inexpensive way to paint the jars a few colors, vs. buying 3 containers of chalk paint at $6 to $10 a pop.  So it IS possible to do it without chalk paint but if you do, here's what you must do:
painted mason jars
1. prime using spray paint primer.  Sorry. I know. That's not fun and prolongs the project.  I did find a tutorial (or two) where the maker didn't prime and used only acrylic.  But after completing this project, I have no idea how she pulled it off. When I painted with acrylic paint straight onto the glass, it slid off when I tried to add a second coat. After I realized I needed to prime I tried both regular spray paint primer and chalk paint to prime. I decided there was no need to use chalk paint. It's more expensive than regular primer and the final product doesn't look much different.
painted mason jars

2. Next, paint 2 to 3 coats of your acrylic paint with a craft foam brush.  Make sure to let the paint dry completely in-between coats. I waited anywhere from 4 hours to overnight. How many coats depends on the color- you'll be able to tell if you need to do another coat.

3. Use sandpaper to distress. Start with a light hand.  You can always add some distressing but there's no undoing it after the fact.
painted mason jars

4. (optional): Spray a poly-coat over the top.  I haven't tried to wash my jars but have wiped them off with a damp paper towel. The paint transfers to the paper towel so they probably wouldn't withstand being washed thoroughly. 

painted mason jars

And that's it. Basically the only way to go wrong with this project is to skip priming and use acrylic paint only.  If you prime then use acrylic OR if you simply use chalk paint, you're bound to have good results!  
painted mason jars

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  1. I love it! I am going to do white for my all white bathroom. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Did you use clear primer? And what brand did you use?

  3. Thanks for the tips! That whole thing about using the primer first, exactly what I needed to know. Love that light indigo color too!