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How To Paint Mason Jars

There are so many ways to use mason jars for home decor. This tutorial shows you how to paint mason jars with acrylic craft paint. Once you're done you'll have adorable colorful mason jars to decorate your home.

Do you have a few mason jars sitting around your house? Maybe they are being used as a vase for some flowers right now or possibly drinking glasses (that’s what we do in our house).

I am going to show you how to paint mason jars and when we’re done you’ll feel confident about how to transform a plain mason jar into a colorful piece of decor with just some simple craft paint!

This guide on how to paint mason jars contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend anyway! Read my full disclosure here.

How To Paint Mason Jars: Step-by-Step Instructions

Clear glass mason jar sitting next to bottle of rubbing alcohol, craft paint, foam paint brush and cotton pad

Step 1. Clean your mason jar with rubbing alcohol.

Women's hand holding a cotton pad on clear glass mason jar with rubbing alcohol to clean it

I just use a cotton pad to spread rubbing alcohol all over the mason jar. This will remove any oils or other grim and help the paint to adhere.

You only need to clean the outside of the mason jar with rubbing alcohol.

Side by side photo with left side of photo showing bottle of Americana acrylic paint in sea glass color and the right side of the photo shows mason jar partially painted

Step 2. Paint mason jar.

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Yep, it’s really that simple.

I usually do three coats of acrylic craft paint using a foam brush.

You may need more or less paint depending on your paint color and preferences. Be sure to let the paint fully dry in between coats.

Another tip: don’t do a lot of back-and-forth brushing or you’ll notice the paint start to peel off of the mason jar. Just get the paint on there with the foam brush and don’t do much else. Just let it dry rather than going back and forth with the brush.

Step 3. Continue adding more coats of paint

Three photos showing what a mason jar looks showing the progression of three coats of acrylic craft paint

I included this picture above so you don’t give up if you get one coat on! Yes, it’s probably going to look horrible for AT LEAST the first two coats (as seen above). Depending on your paint color, you may even need more than 3 coats.

Can you use another type of paint?

I’ve always used acrylic craft paint to paint mason jars. I know others that have used chalk paint too, but craft paint is much more affordable so I’ll stick with it because it works great.

Step 3. Distress the mason jar.

Top photo shows hand holding P220 sandpaper rubbing over painted mason jar. Bottom photo shows raised detail on the mason jar distressed

I use a fine 220 grit sandpaper and focus the raised areas of text and design on the mason jar. I love the look of the distressed painted mason jar!

Photo of mint green painted mason jar with raised numbers worn off from being distressed with sandpaper

Step 4. Enjoy your painted mason jars!

You can use the painted mason jars for so many uses around your house!

Ways to use painted mason jars around your house

Here are some ideas on ways to use painted mason jars in your home:

  • Vase for fresh or faux flowers
  • Kitchen utensil holder
  • Succulent planter
  • Start your own indoor herb garden in mason jars
  • Attach them to a wall or wood sign for the wall
  • Soap dispenser
  • Hold your craft supplies
  • Hold doggie treats
  • Bathroom storage
  • Make a lamp
  • Mason jar tissue holder
  • Make a candle
  • Office organization
  • Start a piggy bank for a rainy day fund

Painting mason jars can be pretty addicting! It is such a simple way to create a unique piece of decor for your home…I actually could have probably just summed this whole guide on how to paint mason jars to three words: clean, paint, distress!

It was fun to choose some colorful spring tones for these ones to brighten things up around our house.

Collage of before and after DIy mason jars using paint with text overlay that says How to Paint Mason Jars

I ended up using these painted mason jars in an adorable little farmhouse crate and used it as a centerpiece. Check out the full tutorial for this farmhouse style crate centerpiece here!

Related – Other DIY Projects using just supplies I already had on hand (you probably do too!):

If you love painting projects like these painted mason jars, be sure to check out these other DIY projects with paint:

How To Chalk Paint Bar Stools
Ombre Painted Sign
Bread Box Makeover

47 thoughts on “How To Paint Mason Jars

  1. I love to use mason jars for everything! I have not painted one with chalky paint yet (only spray paint) so I like how you showed the coverage for the different coats.

  2. Wait, are there people out there who DON’T have mason jars laying around? I definitely do, but I still haven’t painted them. Now I have ideas!

  3. I love the colors you chose! This would look great in my bathroom, the colors are exactly what I need. Thanks for the tutorial, I’ll have to give it a try with my abundant mason jars.

  4. I love this! I was looking to do this for some of my centerpieces for our wedding, and the darker blue looks like it matches my “marine” muted navy color. Do you remember what color blue it was? Their website has a few that it might be, maybe True Blue. I am going to stop into Michaels this week 🙂

    1. Hi there Brittany! This sounds like such a fun centerpiece for a wedding. The color is shade 403 “Navy Blue” by Folk Art. I did buy it a while ago so I sure hope they still sell it! Best of luck to you 🙂

  5. Since I don’t like spraying, I paint a coat of Decoart matte varnish on mine to keep them from chipping. I love using Mason jars. Thanks for reminding me.

  6. I followed the directions and when I used the sandpaper it left the surrounding areas I sanded look really bad. they turned out light in color. I might take a small brush and paint over the light areas because it’s noticeable 🙁 Not sure if I’m using too heavy of a sandpaper grit but I’m sure upset after distressing them. Any tips on how to fix it??

    1. Once they are distressed, the paint is removed in some areas, so yes you would be able to see through the glass as shown in my photos. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by it turned light, but maybe the color turned lighter due to sanding dust? Maybe try taking a very lightly damp paper towel and wiping it clean to get the dusk off. Don’t press too hard to remove the paint too. Let me know or maybe attache a picture so I can see what you mean.

    1. Diane, that’s so frustrating! I find that I have troubles if I use paint other than the cheap acrylic craft paint or if I brush too much back and forth. Also wait for it to completely dry before doing another coat. Usually it takes me 3-4 coats.

  7. I love the way these look. Unfortunately, I have made several attempts with acrylic paint and when I go to put on the next coat, the previous coat wipes off in globs (I’ve waited hours to dry and used a hair dryer). Not sure where my error is!

    1. That’s so frustrating! Be sure you have the glass cleaned well with rubbing alcohol before starting, use a foam brush, and don’t brush back and forth a lot. Just brush once instead of going back and forth. That seems to help me!

  8. I tried to paint two jars and both just peeled right off, I did do the alcohol first,, Now I have seen some that says to bake them. Is that with just chalk paint or can I aith acrylic paint? Was wanting to make Christmas presents, I dont now see that happrning,,

    1. So sorry that happened to you! I haven’t had any troubles with my painted mason jars with this method. I’ve never tried the baking method or painting with chalk paint. I’ve only ever used to acrylic craft paint as mentioned. I have seen other tutorials using spray paint and/or swirling paint on the inside of the mason jar (rather than painting the outside). Maybe one of those other methods may work better for you. Sorry for the frustrations!

  9. Quick question can you put food in the food in the
    Jars? Make them into canisters for flour sugar or other things? And do you recommend a clear coat of varnish spray for chipping?

  10. So glad I found this! I’m 2 coats in and couldn’t figure out why the previous layer was peeling- turns out I was doing back and forth. Will persevere! hi
    Do you think modge podge matte sealer would work painted on? or def a spray?

  11. Hello there
    Not sure if you can help me. I hope so! If I’m using acrylic paint do I need to get acrylic sealer? Also I seen on Pinterest a long time ago of items I needed to paint mason jars and it said I needed an matte acrylic paint and a metallic acrylic paint why do I need both?
    Thank you for your help and time!

      1. Sounds great! Thank you! Do you know the difference between a acrylic matte paint and a acrylic metallic paint?

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