DIY Projects: Making jam jars vintage

Lets talks DIY projects  and making the good old jam jars vintage! If like me you are a horder and collect everything that could be useful especially when it comes to weddings, you will have a huge stash of jam jars or mason jars. To me it seems jam jars are like a useful present after you have eaten their contents, so I always wash them out and diligently sterilise them before placing them in a box.

My collection was all different sizes and colours, but they were just not special enough to take pride of place at any celebration.  I love retro and vintage themes and I remembered reading a piece online about colouring jam jars with glue, dye and water.  Now not being able to find the article for the life of me, I set about  my DIY project with some trial and error of how to turn my jam jars vintage.

French Wedding Style – Photography © – French Wedding Style

making jam jars vintage


Material & Equipment

Fabric Glue
Food Colouring
Wipeable surface/board
Jam Jars

recycle jam jars

A word of warning before you start it can get messy, so make sure that you have clothes that can get colouring on and a surface that wipes clean or you don’t mind getting messy.

Before you start make sure that you jam jars are completely clean and you have removed all of the glue residue from the stickers.

I had many attempts at the ratio of glue to water before I was happy, but in the end mix 1 tea spoon of glue to 2 tea spoons of water.  Any school, multi purpose glue should work, however I used fabric glue that I had left over from a previous project.

Mix the water and glue together, this takes a while until the glue has completely dissolved into the water and you are left with a smooth consistency, any lumps with gloop on the jars.  Mix in the food colouring, I used food colour pastes, but you can use the liquid colours available in supermarkets or gels.  If using the liquid colours be careful not to put too much in to dilute your solution.  For the vintage greeny/ blue ones in the picture I put 2 dabs of navy to one of holly green.

decorating jam jars

Place the jam jar upside down on your surface and brush the solution onto the jam jar moving in an upward motion, turning the jar until all sides are covered.  Then put the solution onto the based and brush out any pooling around the neck.

jam jar project

Once covered leave to dry and continue onto the next one.

Next word of warning, mine looked awful after half an hour but persevere and after a couple of hours the marbling and streaks had disappeared in the drying and you are left with a vintage jam jar.

Now if you want a different colour, once the jam jar is completely dry you can cover the jar again.  Make sure that you check your solution as the water does evaporate out of this aswell and you might need to add a little more back in before painting.

Now the biggest warning – these vintage jam jars don’t like water!

If you get the outside part that you have painted wet at all the paint runs and you are left with a big streak.  If you are using them for a vase like I have make sure to carefully poor in the water and obviously it makes them a little redundant for an outside wedding if it is going to be wet.

On the good side, if the jars go streaky or you are not happy with the colour, simply wash all the glue solution off and start again!

Now I have continued with my current love of all things sunflower to display my jars and also the yellow makes striking contrast to the turquoise jars.

sunflower wedding ideas

jam jars vintage

Et Voila your very own budget friendly ordinary mason jars turned into vintage jam jars. My next project to try out a different colour as I want some rose pink ones to accompany these in my new office.

Have fun experimenting.

Monique xx

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