Monday, August 15, 2011

Painted Bottle Vases

 
Crafting is near and dear to my heart and I realize that it is shamefully under represented here at The Apple Crate. So today I bring you a project that has long been in the making, recycled jars and bottles as vases! I have Martha Stewart to thank for the idea. She has a great tutorial on her website that I followed to make these.

Lots of people are out there doing something similar, with either spray paint or acrylic paint. But what I appreciated about the Martha Stewart version is that the paint is actually on the inside of the bottle, so it won't chip as easily, and it uses enamel paint so I can actually fill the vases with water.


I started out by collecting old bottles and jars; things I went through in the kitchen and saved rather than recycled. I even enlisted the help of some friends to speed the process up. These bottles once held everything under the sun: jam, olive oil, soy sauce, wine, spaghetti sauce, salsa, spices, etc.

The hardest part of this was actually cleaning all of the labels and sticky residue off! I know there are products out there to remove sticky residue, but I don't own any and I didn't want to go buy one. Surely, I thought, there must be something in the house that can be used. After a brief internet search I discovered there was. Vegetable oil. After peeling and washing as much of the label off with hot soapy water as possible, go back over the sticky remains with a vegetable oil soaked cloth and it will dissolve the rest. It's true! It's amazing! Try it. :)


The tutorial was a little vague on what kind of paint to use. It did specify enamel, and offered that it would be readily available at craft stores. Hmph. After searching the usual craft store suspects I found spray on enamel, model paint enamel (available in .25 oz. bottles, not so helpful), and a kind of enamel that seemed more for decorative painting on the outside of glass and had to be baked on. I tried hardware stores, too, but nothing seemed quite right. Then I found this paint at a local art supply store. It is actually for sign painting but it was enamel, didn't require a baking process, and was specifically for outdoor use so I knew it could hold water. It worked perfectly!


And here are my lovely jars and bottles! I used about half of the 8 oz. can of paint to cover all of these. The painting method I found to work for me was to spoon the paint into the jar with a plastic spoon, then swirl it around inside. For the first few I drained the excess paint back into the can, then laid them on paper towels to drain the rest of the way like the tutorial recommended. But that was super messy. Many of my bottles have narrow mouths and were too unstable to be left upside down to drain the rest of the way. So I just drained as much as I could back into the can and then set them upright to dry. The paint may be a little thicker on the bottom of mine, but it sure was a lot easier. One thing I would recommend is having some paint thinner on hand. Inevitably you are going to get smudges on the outside of the bottle or need to clean up around the mouth of the jar. And paint thinner makes cleaning those spots a breeze.


I was so excited to finally put some fresh flowers in and see how they looked. Aren't they gorgeous?!


My smallest bottle makes a sweet bud vase in the windowsill.




One of the great things about this project is how economical it is. The glass was free so all I bought was the paint. And just one bunch of mums filled all of my new vases! It really gives a lot of bang to your flower buying buck. I think these would look fantastic in a line down a dining room table as a centerpiece. Or just dispersed around the house to add fresh flowers in many little places. They would also be a great way to continue a color theme for a party or event.

I have more bottles that haven't been painted yet, and I am tempted to get another paint color and go to town on those as well. White, perhaps? Something that could be used for any holiday or color scheme. The only problem is where to put them all! I hope you give this a try. It really is easy and a bit addicting, too. It was so fun to see the bottles transformed after they were painted that it was hard to stop! :)

18 comments:

Debbie said...

Your bottles are so cute! I really need to try this out!

Emily said...

I love these, Vickie!

meredithdamama said...

these are really beautiful and pretty easy to put together (from the tutorial anyways!) Can't wait to try it.

creativejewishmom/sara said...

gorgeous! just wondering what happens over time with the water and the paint. I read that the paint will peel and one shouldn't use water in the bottles. Did that happen in your case? thanks so much and would love to see you at my weekly linky party, Craft Schooling Sunday!

Lexiethefathipster said...

I love this idea! I need purple vases for a party soon and this would be a perfect way to do it on the cheap. Thanks for the tutorial.

allenaim photography and design said...

They are absolutely beautiful! I love love love the color that you chose and thanks for the vegetable oil tip...I'll be trying this soon!

Liz said...

Wow, I love these! They are so vibrant and look wonderful with the contrast of the white mums. Beautiful work!

kimberly said...

Amazing! I wanna do that SO badly now! Time to find some glass jars.

The Apple Crate said...

Update: I've used these vases with water several times now, each time leaving them out for about a week (the life of my flowers), and so far so good! The paint hasn't discolored or peeled yet. Still looking good as new! :)

Jennifer Wizinsky said...

Just wondering, did you have any problems with the paint melting in the sun?

The Apple Crate said...

Jennifer, I haven't really kept the vases in direct sunlight so no, I haven't had any problems with the paint melting in the sun. A flower stem did scratch the paint off of one vase, but that is the only mishap they have suffered so far. If you try this I'd love to hear how it goes! :)

Anonymous said...

I love this look and I am currently trying to accomplish this by painting bottles. I have tried 2 other paints and every time I leave them to dry they get all cracked and the paint does not cover all the sides. Does this happen with this particular paint?

The Apple Crate said...

Hi! This paint was very thick and covered well. I had no problems with cracking as the paint dried on any of them. Good luck if you try this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Martha Stewart for such a cute idea! And thank you Apple Crate for sharing :) Just tried this for the first time to give as a housewarming gift.

I used the enamel paint from Michael's... the ones that live right with the glass vases, etc. Will be letting them sit for two days and then baking them. The instructions for this technique are right on the bottle.

Just thought I'd share some lessons I discovered...

1. Rinse the glass with rubbing alcohol before putting the paint on as it adheres much better.

2. Buy extra paint, just in case (had a close call with getting one area to cover!)

3. Keep the lids to your jars, as it's so much easier to shake the paint around and get it to cover the space with the lids on... especially with wide mouth jars. I didn't do this one one wide mouth jar, and it looks horribly painted on the inside.

Hope that helps... my sense is that you have to just keep practicing to see what works and what doesn't.

Cheers, and thanks again for the great idea!

Maryann
Victoria, BC, Canada

contentable said...

Really cool idea! Want to do this as well. Already started to collect some inspiring pic's, and yours definettly are!

Eve said...

Love it .. :)

Sybil said...

We moved to a little country house last April, I found a little pile of old bottles under the back deck. I knew I wanted to create something with them. Each bottle is very different from the other. I will do exactly this with them and post before and afters. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I found some vintage bottles in our new country home under the deck last, will do this project exactly! Thanks for the inspiration! Sybil