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Family Craft Ideas

with Leah

I'm Leah--wife, mother, editor, writer, photographer, and rickrack apologist. There's craftiness in my DNA, but between the kids and my work and the house and the television and my blogs (http://www.agirlandaboy and, among others), I have to keep my projects quick and easy if I hope to finish them before my boys (born December 2008 and July 2012) graduate from college. You're a working mom and you're busy too, but if you still want to get your craft on, join me here for some fun projects!

Upcycle a Jar with Puffy Paint

Categories: paint

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Fellow children of the eighties, get ready for a blast from the past: we’re going to use puffy paint to upcycle glass jars and bottles into chic vases for spring blooms.


What you’ll need:

  • glass jar or bottle
  • puffy paint (also called “3D paint”)
  • spray paint
  • I love this craft for Earth Day because although I’m a devoted recycler, it always feels good to be able to skip the bin altogether by doing some creative reusing instead.


    Now, if you’ve been on Pinterest any time during the last FOREVER, you know that Mason jar crafts are all the rage–so much so that you can handpick shiny new jars in various shapes and sizes at the craft store, or even buy them online by the case. But don’t do that. Instead, find cans in your pantry and fridge and let emptying them kill two birds with one stone: (1) you now know what to make for dinner and (2) you’re only two steps away from having an awesome vase (or pencil holder or container for makeup brushes or swirly straws or breadsticks or marshmallow roasting forks), and if you do it right, no one will even know you made it yourself from something in the canned foods aisle.

    For my group of coordinating vases, I used three sizes of baby food jars, a bottle for balsamic vinegar, and a pasta sauce jar with a pretty flower design along the top. Anything will do. Let this be your excuse to eat all the pickles.


    As for the designs, you could go crazy with intricate patterns that need to be researched and printed out and transferred to the glass with special carbon paper from the 5th dimension, blah-di-blah-di-blah, but no. Sorry. I don’t have time for that. I kept my designs simple and just went for it freehand. On clean, dry jars and bottles, I squeezed out small dots and lines of puff paint, focusing mainly on disguising the part where the lids thread on, since that’s the dead giveaway that ceci n’est pas un vase.


    If you’re going for the monochromatic look, apply your puffy paint first and let it dry overnight. Then it’s time for the spray paint. I sprayed mine upside down on sticks in the patch of our backyard that still needs to be weeded. I used long sticks so I could get up under the jars well enough to spray the rims well.



    If you want your puffy design to be in a contrasting color, spray paint first and then puffy paint second. This way is less forgiving of mistakes, but it’s sure purty.


    A few tips:

    1. Make sure you shake both kinds of paint before applying. You don’t want either to be clumpy or runny.
    2. If you’re doing puffy designs all the way around a jar, do it in phases so you don’t accidentally smudge anything with your holding hand.
    3. If you really screw up your puffy paint design, it washes away easily with water while it’s still wet.
    4. Apply the spray paint in several light coats. Overdoing spray paint on glass can lead to permanent drips and drops. Ask me how I know!

    As always, I’d love to see photos of what you come up with using this technique. Leave your links in the comments!


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