How to Paint on Glass Jars

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Decorative glass jars are a lot of fun to make, and they add a personal touch to your space. This project is as easy or as difficult as the design you choose. If this is your first time painting, choose a simple design. Then practice painting with acrylic paint on a piece of cardboard before committing to the jar. To make this project successful pick up your brush, put your hesitation on hold, and put a piece of your heart on display.

Choose a paint made for glass such as Pebeo Porcelaine 150, Liquitex Acrylic Glossies or Delta Glass Paint. This is an important step because glass is a very hard substance to stick anything to. Most regular paints will peel off glass as they dry, or will scratch off very easily. The proper paint will hold up to even the dishwasher.

A great place to get design ideas is children's books. Old books from the '60s have beautiful bold colours and are usually easy to paint. Your local library is filled with ideas waiting to be discovered. While anything you can draw or trace is potentially your subject matter, remember that unless you have a really big jar, small detailed painting may not be seen from a distance. Using bright designs with large brush strokes will give your project more flair. Another design is to incorporate some of your favourite quotes, or poems onto the jar. The only thing that makes flowers more romantic is putting them in a jar with your favourite romantic poem on it.

Cut out a tracing paper insert to fit inside the jar you chose. Once you have the paper the height and width of the jar, trace out the designs you would like to use on the tracing paper. You can also use traditional sketches or photographs as a template. Once your design is drawn out, fit the template back inside the jar and lightly use masking tape to secure it in place.

Start out by mixing the darkest colour in your design first. You want to work from dark to light so that your highlights show up nice and bright. Some people may prefer light brush strokes that show a lot of light though them. To accomplish this use little paint on your brush; this is called dry brushing. While dry brushing is pretty and very decorative it doesn't create highly realistic designs. For realistic designs load your brush with enough colour that it can be mixed or blended smoothly into the rest of the painting.

Read and follow the directions on the paints that you chose. Some glass paints will need to be “set” in your oven; others require only ample drying time.

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