Ideas for glass jar painting

Updated February 21, 2017

Empty, clean glass jars---whether bought new or found and recycled---can be dressed up with a little paint to provide decor for a room, hold odds and ends, and used as storage containers in the cupboard or on a desk or shelf. Painted glass jars also make attractive containers to hold gifts without using wrapping paper.


Make your own stencil design or buy stencils from an art supply or wallpaper store. Attach a stencil on the outer surface of a clean jar with removable tape. Use a stencil brush or foam arts and crafts brush to fill in the cut-out stencil area by tapping the paint-dipped brush on the surface of the glass until the design is filled in. Use more than one stencil to cover more of the jar, or use one long stencil---such as the kind made for trim work---and tape it all the way around the jar. Let it dry a bit, then remove the stencil slowly and carefully so you do not smear the stencilled design. Stencil a name with letter stencils to a jar to hold a personalised gift. Use stencil themes for special events, a baby shower, Christmas or a birthday.


Kids or adults can freestyle paint the outside of any jar using acrylic paints. Detail work will require the use of smaller art paintbrushes. A more modern art style can be achieved using foam-style arts and crafts paintbrushes. Even young kids can work with these easily. Cover the whole jar with a painted design so the inside is concealed to pack a surprise in, or leave open areas and use it for a candle holder or to store favourite candies. People experienced with detailed painting could paint a face on the jar or a full scene that goes all the way around the surface of the jar, such as a group of people at a park or a bunch of babies or teddy bears.

Foam Rubber Stamps and Sponges

Foam rubber stamps and sponges are flexible and can be used on a curved jar surface. You can also cut your own foam rubber stamps using craft foam sheets. Sponges come in different textures and can be used in layers to give the jar surface a layered paint look, the same way you use sponges to create textures when painting a wall.

Foam rubber shapes and stamps are cut designs that are dipped in paint like a rubber stamp then pressed to the jar surface by carefully rocking and wrapping the design around the curved jar. Layer designs using different stamps, such as leaves and flowers or cars and trucks. To make parts of the foam rubber stamp in different colours, use a small paintbrush. Paint each area of the stamp in the colours you want on the glass, then press it on the jar.

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About the Author

Laurie Darroch-Meekis is an award-winning freelance writer. She has written over 1,000 published pieces online and off since 2005 and has many more in progress. She holds a bachelor's degree and was educated in the United States and abroad.