Who’s in a crafting mood today? I hope you are, because Layla is back with a seriously in-depth tutorial on how to make some painted flower vases. Look how pretty!
Hello, all!! It’s me, Layla, again. I am coming to you all with a lovely and easy craft that makes you look like a pro! I LOVE this craft because 1. It’s cheap… 2. It’s easy and 3. It’s oh so fast. I promise, every time I make one of these vases I finish by saying the following to my hubby: “Babe, no, really, I think someone would buy this from me, it looks so good, what do you think??”, and “…so, I don’t have anything else to paint, can I run to Goodwill for more vases? Babe… babe?? Where’d you go?” and “I have no idea where to put this, what to do with this one or who to give to but I just love it so much, don’t you?!”
The supplies are cake. In fact, I know y’all have one of the vases already collecting dust in your cabinets as we speak. It is the basic, generic flower vases that flower shops deliver gorgeous flowers in! (And I certainly hope that you have all had flowers delivered to you at some point either at work or at home, if not, send me your SO’s email and I will personally kick drop them…er… a hint). It can be any size you want. Here’s the other cool thing. It does not HAVE to be one of those vases! It just has to be glass. Here’s the other rule. You HAVE to be able to put your entire hand in it, OR it has to be short enough that you don’t need to fit your entire hand it, but rather fit the length of a paintbrush instead.
Here’s a fair warning for you… once you get started with all of your supplies out, and your hand’s a mess, you’re going to want to keep going and hunt for other glass in your house!
1. Glass paint (Multi-Surface Paint). This is a must!! I purchase Martha Stewart Crafts Glass paints. They come in an array of gorgeous colors! They will match any room you want to rock your vases in. They also come in fun textures, like matte, satin, gloss, etc. (But know, that when you’re painting on glass, they all kind of come out looking the same any way, with a really spectacular, clean shine. So, to me, it doesn’t really matter. I use Satin, if you care to know). Ooh… fun fact. They even come in… wait for it… GliTtEr… and Strike a POSE! These retail on average for $3.00 a bottle but can last a bit if you aren’t too crazy with your paint coats. (We’ll go over that later).
2. GLASS! Like I said, those glass vases in any size work fine, but plan to get a little messy on your hands. I used a couple of other fun glass shapes and was really excited about thinking outside of the glass… ;) get that, it was like a joke? So, I basically pick up glass each time I’m at a thrift store, they are so cheap and ALWAYS available. I like to go on half price day and pick up glass for like $1! Whaa?? I know… So far… pretty.cool.craft. Is what you’re probably thinking. Well, wait until you see how easy it is and how crafty and creative you’ll feel afterwards!! Go crazy with picking out your glass pieces, you can either use them for actual vases, décor or putting other fun things in, I’ve done fish bowls, wine glasses, shallow glass, candle jars, etc.
3. Paint brush. Something with an angle to it, and nothing too crazy or fancy. But don’t use your children’s paint set brush that’s the size of a toothpick, because you’ll never get the job done. I’d say a 1 inch brush does the job just right depending on the opening of the glass and the size of the glass itself. But… prep yourself… you’re going to be using your own fingers and sometimes hands and doing some finger painting soon enough. Helpful hint: Make sure when you are switching colors that you wash your paint brush EXTRA great with EXTRA hot water and dish soap. This will help preserve your brush and keep your colors from blending.
That’s all! Not bad, right?
1. Wash those bad boy vases extra well. I like to give them a good soaking in some hot, hot soapy water. They deserve a good hot bath if they’ve been sitting on a thrift store shelf for months or collecting dust on your top shelf for years, right? They’re about to get the makeover of a lifetime so let’s give ‘em the full spa treatment with a soak!
The reason I like to soak ‘em is because it’s sometimes super hard to get to the deep down bottom of the vases with a brush or sponge and then you’re dealing with dust and muck. Although if you can’t reach them very well while cleaning then It’s probably not a great option for paint, either… just a head’s up. It also helps to get those annoying thrift store stickers off! BONUS! After a soak, let them dry really well. BE EXTRA CAREFUL AND EXTRA PATIENT while drying… if you’re totally impatient like me and you have extra thin glass (you can totally tell the difference between thick and thin, dollar store glass) and you towel dry them they will SHATTER IN YOUR HANDS!! I was SUPER excited about this one in particular and SUPER bummed when it broke. So, best advice, let them air dry with an ounce of patience and then get the water marks later.
2. Paint-wahoo! Start from the bottom and work your way up! Try your best to NOT get any paint near the top at all. You can either: squirt paint directly into the glass, directly onto the brush or into a paint pallet and dip your brush. You will get more comfortable with the process as you go along. Just start painting an even coat and have fun.
You will start to notice pretty severe and obvious brush strokes from the outside and especially the inside. Just begin to make the brush strokes consistent in one direction. If you want you can dump in loads of the paint and that will eliminate the strokes, you can also paint an even, consistent coat of paint, wait an hour and go again. I kind of liked the strokes look and left it in.
Keep this in mind: The thicker the paint, the thicker the coat, the thicker the glass = the cleaner the look. Here’s another gem of advice: the inside of the vase will look… hideous. DON’T LOOK! The outside will look beautiful! It’s really amazing. The thickness of the glass and the painting it from the inside makes the look so clean and shiny!! Throughout the process, keep checking the exterior for any extra ‘thin’ areas and hit them hard with your brush until they’re not translucent anymore. Keep spinning the vase around and around until you’ve hit all of your marks. Again, the inside will look completely different, no matter how great it looks from the outside. In this particular case, judge a book by its cover and ignore the nasty inside.
Here’s where you get messy. You will find with the curve and angle of the regular flower vase that a brush becomes more of a nuisance and less of a help. You find yourself wishing that you had something flexible and that could read your mind, much like a finger that could get in each angle. And so, you do! Get in there! I squirt in the paint and reach in my finger (and sometimes, my hand… yes, the entire hand, up to my wrist for big vases with big openings) and wriggle that little finger around and around. I am in no way a ‘messy’ person. This is very atypical of me, and while it felt very ‘off’, after a bit, this ‘grown-up’ finger painting was somewhat enjoyable! But don’t let that secret spread…
3. 2-Tone Painting. Okay, here’s where I got a little crazy. If you feel complete success and want to pat yourself on the back, clean up and call it a day, I’m so very proud of you!! Great job! These vases completely speak for themselves and I love them! BUT! I always like to kick things up a notch and so wanted to 2-tone mine. If you’re feeling a little crazy then read on:
For the Blended 2-tone technique, I like to stop about 3 inches below the curve and switch my colors while my other paint is still wet for the blended look. It’s a general rule in art to go darker on bottom and lighter on top, but hey, there are no rules in art, right?! You do what you gotta do! This is also when I switch from the brush to my finger and the very first thing I do before I paint ‘up’ and finish the clear glass to colored glass is the blending of the two tones with your finger. THIS is my favorite part. It looks like blending a wave or a cloud. I love it. I makes me feel extra artsy fartsy. So don’t get too excited with your finger and get too bold but blend small amounts of first color with new color by smooshing them together is small circular motions while spinning your glass.
Don’t go too far into clear glass, because you’ll need to keep clear glass clear for your #2 color. I’d keep the blending colors at around an inch at most. Have fun! Finish up by cleaning your finger and then squirting on color #2 on and finishing up the top!
The Solid 2-tone is more of a straight line around rather than the blend. It also looks amazing. I think that I might have preferred this one, but my hubsy really liked the blended look of the other. With this look you have to let the first color completely dry overnight, this way, blending isn’t even an option. (It’s okay if you have scraggly lines, because you will fix that later). Lucky for me, I have long finger nails and simply use my long nail as a kind of razor blade on the inside to ‘cut’ a straight line along the perimeter of the glass. If you bite your nails, (it’s okay, I did it for 15 years… strength be with you to quit) then I would suggest using closed tweezers. Either with your tweezers or your nail, simply pick at your scraggly paint line horizontally and towards the top of the vase and the paint easily flakes off. It’s not perfectly straight or solid but from a distance, it looks like a pretty clean line. Finish up, just like the rest of the glasses and you’ve got a mighty fine vase on your hands (and also a lot of paint)!
4. Drying. I just let these beauts sit and dry for days while on display! Here’s’ the cool thing. These can legitimately be used with water as a flower vase BUT have to cure for 21 days with the Martha Stewart paints before they can hold water without a paint disaster.
I think that these are the BEST gifts to bring to someone (anyone) with a beautiful bouquet of flowers! Right? I mean, bringing a new mama flowers is a treat, but bringing a new mama flowers in a hand painted vase is a triple treat!! It’s fun to sit and make a few at once just to keep on hand when you’re in a crunch and a dear friend needs a special pick me up or you need to bring a special hostess gift to the woman who has everything.
I hope that you now feel like the kind of crafter who not only can use a hot glue gun, but can bust out a craft paint and deliver a handmade gift in 20 minutes as well! This creation is so cheap at under $5, under 20 minutes and is super fun! I challenge you to 2-tone, to not jaw drop while looking at the vibrant Martha Stewart glass paint collection colors, and to comment below with your beautiful glass vase collection pieces! Now go tell your SO’s to stop by your local florist and pick up your favorite flowers! Hey, btw… what is your favorite flower??