How to Distress a Mason Jar

Inside: It’s another Ann and Amy’s DIY adventures as we tackle how to distress a mason jar. Stick with us–it’s pretty simple and you’ll love that farmhouse vibe.

How to Distress Mason Jars

DIY summer projects month here at the blog continues as we take on the ever-popular mason jar. Our family has a long history with reusing glass jars. I remember from my high school days when a boy who had been coming around to see me said with disdain in his voice, “Your family drinks out of peanut butter jars?” (Our favorite brand came in pint-sized glass jars back then.) Needless to say, he didn’t hang around long, which was fine with me. Hubs was never offended by drinking out of glass jars–p.b., mason, or otherwise. We were doing the cool thing before it was cool.

Back to the project. . .

The Attempt Chalk paint for distressing mason jars.

We assembled the following:

  • Ball mason jars: 3 regular-mouth quarts, 1 pint, and 1 decorative half-pint
  • Waverly acrylic chalk paint: Colors celery, maize, and lavender
  • Acrylic matte sealer spray
  • Small paint brushes (We used sizes 4 and 8.)
  • Sandpaper 80 grit
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towels or rags to apply rubbing alcohol
  • Scissors to cut sandpaper into smaller pieces
  • Newspaper to keep things tidy

The first thing we did was wipe down the jars with a paper towel and a little rubbing alcohol. We were going to skip this step, as I had read it on a tutorial and thought what’s the point? But the directions on the paint bottle had also listed this step when working with glass. So we did. And we laid down some newspaper, anticipating things could get a little messy.

We were ready.


The Execution

Then we each took a quart jar and chose our colors–Mom (Ann) picked maize and I grabbed celery–the paint, not the food. And we painted and talked, and painted and talked. Then we started in on the other jars, and I switched to lavender for the remaining quart and she stayed with the maize but applied it to the half-pint. Then we had to wait two hours between coats, so we walked up to the farm and fed the chickens–and talked some more. We finished the final coats and called it a night. (I painted the pint a few days later.)

Several days passed, and we got together again to sand (distress) the jars. My research showed varying styles of distressing. Some crafters sanded the paint off every raised edge–the words, numbers, fruit, and screw top, along with making a few random distressed spots. Other crafters took a lighter hand and did most of the raised edges and added a few spots. This is what we did. Mom noticed that it helped to wipe the sanded paint from the jars every so often. The work went pretty quickly, and before long we were happy with the sanding.

A couple of days later I continued with the project. Hauling the jars outside, I applied the first coat and gave it time to dry. A little later Mom dropped by with some hot peppers, and we sprayed several light coats, Mom adding the final.

“It smells like Christmas,” she said.

“I know,” I said. “That’s the same thing I thought.”

Who knew acrylic spray could stir up warm fuzzy feelings of Christmas?

The Results

We both were pleased with how the jars turned out. Painting and distressing the mason jars was fun and simple to do. We soon found ourselves discussing different colors and additions to the jars as well as uses for our handiwork. I plan on making more for gifts. Relatives, beware!

Are you a mason jar aficionado? Confess in the comments!

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2 Responses


      Thanks, Calen. Um, actually, I am trying to leave my sedentary ways behind me. 🙂 Seriously, I’m not a doer, but I do love to make crafts and the blogging gives me a reason to indulge my creative side. 🙂