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Project

Bottle Beauty

Transform everyday vessels into elegant vases by coating their interiors with glass enamel. 

Introduction

Any container will do -- buy up old bottles at a flea market or try kitchen cast-offs, such as jam jars. We used white enamel, which yielded different shades of green depending on the tint of the glass.

Materials

  • Glass bottles or jars
  • Dishwasher-safe enamel paint

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Wash the bottle inside and out with soapy water; let dry.

  2. Step 2

    Pour in a small amount of the paint's surface conditioner, which primes the glass for the enamel.

  3. Step 3

    Swirl to coat fully, then pour out excess. Stand bottle upright, and dry for an hour.

  4. Step 4

    Pour in enough enamel to easily coat the inside. Swirl, and return excess to container for reuse.

  5. Step 5

    Dry bottle upside down on a paper towel for 48 hours, periodically wiping excess enamel from the rim with a damp cloth during the first hour.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, May 2006

Reviews (69)

  • EditMyWorld 28 Jan, 2014

    I am a big fan of painting glass jars. My personal favorites are washed and cleaned spaghetti sauce jars because they are free and it's less to go in the recycling. My versions are a bit more modern and I am kind of digging my "HERS" vase that I just made. You can take a look at it here:

    http://editglobal.com/glamorous-glass-jar-upcycle/

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  • dailaolaa 10 May, 2013

    I knit with 7 other gals at each others homes every Wed. a.m. We have dubbed ourselves the Knitwhitts, meaning we knit and we are whitty. I also knit in the winter with 5oakley sunglasses sale
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  • schywalker 21 Feb, 2012

    @crazycrafter90. I am having the same problem with the folk art enamel paint. It wont flow. I added water, but it was too dilute for the paint. I ended up washing off the bottle. Was thinking of buying spray paint for the project.

  • missbojanglesthethird 12 Feb, 2012

    I'm having a little trouble I'm hoping someone can help me out with. I did not find any sort of primer for glass with the Martha Stewart paints, but did prime the glass bottle with alcohol. The paint turned out beautiful, smooth, and permanent. Let it cure for several months. Then, when I put it near a candle, it completely flaked off the inside of the glass. I'm hoping to rescue these because i spent a long time collecting the bottles i wanted - any thoughts?

  • CrazyCrafter90 11 Jan, 2012

    Ok so I just had to make this craft! After trying a lot of different brands and additives for paint, I think I've found the best combination. First of all, I wasn't able to find a condition but it ended up working well without it. The best combination was Folk Art enamel paint mixed with Folk Art "Flow Medium". Like the directions say, I used 1 part Flow Medium and 2 parts enamel paint. Hope that helps anyone looking to make this.

  • Susanne527 15 Jul, 2010

    Okay, to heck with this fancy bottles..my new thing is to reuse Miracle Whip Plastic (smallish) size containers...The label washes off completely...I am thinking I can utilize these in some way...I just need to have my family eat more Miracle Whip...cute style small plastic containers...Maybe give Quilled flowers in them in a swap?...Could happen! :)

  • bkcgraham 16 Jun, 2010

    I tried this several ways and it did not work. To thin down the paint you can purchase an enamel paint thinner, it should be in the same section as the rest of the enamel paint. Without the thinner the paint was to think and would not swirl at all. Even with the paint thinner it toke a large amount of paint to complete coat a small bottle. This busted the project for me because I needed at least 15 vases. If you have a larger bottle that you can use a paintbrush this might turn out better.

  • Michelle_Toglia 22 Apr, 2010

    Hi LaurenBK,
    These bottles are not safe for water or food, in case the coating started chipping.

  • LaurenBK 20 Apr, 2010

    Would these be safe to use to serve water, etc. from?

  • Emmz 16 Apr, 2010

    Thank you so much (from Australia) :D

  • lizsayas 16 Apr, 2010

    The flowers are peonys and anemones. The peony is the big rose-looking one and the anemone is the white one with the dark center. Hope this helps.

  • Emmz 15 Apr, 2010

    Could someone please let me know what kind of flower is used in the picture? Thanks :)

  • spotslady 17 Oct, 2008

    Can someone tell me a good paint to get? I tried this with enamel paint, but it was too thick and wouldn't swirl. Any way to thin it out? I need to know ASAP for a group project!

  • MermaidMagoo 5 Oct, 2008

    When I went to the craft store to buy the enamel paint there were about 50 colors to choose from. So with a clear bottle the sky is the limit - don't have to stick with white. Also, you can pick 2 colors of enamel and swirl them together to get some pretty funky combinations.

  • zaftiq 30 May, 2008

    Ok, I need to add this note: When the web directions say dry for 48 hours, DO NOT TURN THE BOTTLE ON IT'S BOTTOM! Leave it upside down or else the enamel WILL slide and create holes and cracks. I found this out the hard way and have to start over. Also, if you're having trouble getting an even coat, get a good grip on the bottle and twirl it really fast (so the bottom is pointing down at all times). The centrifugal force should help you.

  • zaftiq 29 May, 2008

    I think that you could use glass paint as well, you'd just get a transparent colour rather than the opaque you'd get with the enamel. I'm actually doing this right now to an IZZE soda bottle and it looks so neat. I'm going to punch a [filtered word] in the metal cap and stick a flower through it for added effect :-D

  • Sarah78679 15 May, 2008

    I love this idea!!! Has anyone tried substituting enamel paint with glass paint? If you are working with a small bottle, how about using nail enamel? Or using clear bottles and metallic paint to give is glitter touch? Ah! the possibilities are endless!

  • sherristewart 10 May, 2008

    Oh yeah! I definitely know you can paint on the outside with no problem.

  • lindakidder 7 May, 2008

    sense we can't use the enamel on the inside, can it be painted on the outside ? We can then use them as vases.

  • sherristewart 6 May, 2008

    I AM SO SORRY, I called Plaid Enterprises, to ask if the paint could be watered down and she said no. also I was wrong when I said you could put water into the bottles for flowers. The lady said even though it can withstand the dishwasher, it will not withstand "sitting in water". SO SORRY!!!!

  • amanda1536 2 May, 2008

    I've tried this project and it is lovely. However, I used a container that was wide mouthed enough to get a brush into. The enamal paint was very thick and wouldn't really swirl. Would it hurt to water it down slightly?

  • sherristewart 29 Apr, 2008

    and made cute coasters. Bigger tiles make great trivets. Be sure to cover the back with cork or felt to prevent scratching your tables or counter. Use stencils if
    your not a "painter". The tiles bake in the oven the same as the glass. Do your
    backsplash!!! Be Creative!

  • sherristewart 29 Apr, 2008

    If it will stand up to a dishwasher then a little water for your flowers should be
    just fine. For those that have not heard of the folk art enamels, you can get them at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart (they dont stock as many colors). I've paint-
    ed on white 4x4 tiles (30cents at lowes or Home Depot)

  • sherristewart 29 Apr, 2008

    Hi, I had to add my 2cents in on this one- I'm not sure what brand Martha used, but Plaid makes Folk Art Enamels. They are water based acrylic (eco friendly?)
    and non-toxic. You 1st clean glass (or ceramics) with alcohol , air dry, paint,
    and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 min. cool in oven, oven, remove. It makes
    your piece top rack dishwasher safe. NOT FOR FOOD CONTACT.

  • alteredchaos 28 Apr, 2008

    ALSO, what is wrong with a COKE bottle for decor - if one has an artistic eye, coke bottles have a plethora of artistic applications. instead of using your comments to condemn, why not put your time to better use by learning how to recycle properly and utilize your imagination.

  • alteredchaos 28 Apr, 2008

    i am a huge recycling junkie, as well as a mixed media artist. i use everything possible to create - and feel adding paint enhance something is by no means negative. adding paint in order to KEEP an object, limits discarding an object. techincally, there are ways to recycle all paints in a safe manner, stop condeming those who do have an imagination for recycling, don't be lazy, and put your time into proper research for disposal of all paints and chemicals. it's called 'google'...

  • LindenBlossom 26 Apr, 2008

    Sorry 500 characters wasn't quite enough, so just to add to my previous comment ...
    Mum also used two colours, red at the bottom and white at the top, which gave a lovely graduated effect as they swirled together. It was fairly durable, although she did use oasis (florists' foam) so the stems weren't really scratching against it. Thank you for rekindling an old memory.

  • LindenBlossom 26 Apr, 2008

    I remember my mum using this technique on on oversized brandy glass to create an unusual container for her floral arrangements. I'm going back at least 35 years now when the range of craft/paint products available was pretty limited (especially in a small town in Scotland). I'm sure she just used standard gloss paint which might be more environmentally sound for those of you worried about the impact of enamel.

  • jacsmama 24 Apr, 2008

    Sad to see negative comments on a great RECYCLING project. You have to wonder why they bother. There is a lot of enviro-friendly enamel paint on the market. Google it and read up. Craft surface conditioner, is mostly rubbing alcohol, which will evaporate. I'd worry more about the amounts of surface conditioners used in making cars, appliances, pretty much anything bought painted on the market. On the Delta paint web site you can see a "Material Data Safety Sheet" on every product they make.

  • goodiemaker 22 Apr, 2008

    I think this is a great idea, especially with Mother's Day coming up. You can add flowers when done and it will make a great "green" gift with a personal touch. As to the negative comment, I agree with "donnafrei": if you don't like it don't use it. You can always clean out the paint or look for eco friendly paint.

  • 8stella 22 Apr, 2008

    Did you ever think that AFTER it's use, soaking the bottle to remove the paint and then put in the recycle bin,,,,Yes, the 'little' bit of paint wouldn't be eco friendly but the majority of the remains would - get a grip~

  • susiesisu 22 Apr, 2008

    Recycled or re-purposed. When you repurpose something instead of BUYING again, you are, in fact, recycling.

  • donnafrei 22 Apr, 2008

    In response to some of the negative comments: it IS environmentally-friendly when you consider that this is a creative idea to reuse and keep otherwise nonreuseable glass bottles that would end up in landfills in areas that don't recycle glass. The little bit of paint that is used needs to be weighed against the bigger picture. If you don't like the idea, don't use it.

  • rickrackred 22 Apr, 2008

    I agree with the former comment- where does Martha Stewart get off calling this an environmentally friendly project?
    Whatever happened to just plain old jars?

  • saucyjess 22 Apr, 2008

    They sell surface conditioner right next to the glass paint.

  • tracerace 21 Apr, 2008

    No, t answer the question - enamel paint is not environmentally friendly whatsoever. I think calling this project "recycling" is stretching it a bit. Tyically one would use bottles that they wouldn't throw away anyway (like the ones pictured). It's not as if you'd use a Coke bottle.

  • dsuemor 21 Apr, 2008

    To lakeLady04 thanks for the white vinegar info. Great project for the grandkids to dec their room in color. Wide mouth jars became pencil/pen holders.

    dsuemor

  • KimberlyGray 21 Apr, 2008

    We still need an answer to the primer question... What primer would be clear? I've never heard of clear primer or glass primer or surface conditioner for that matter

  • goldensun 21 Apr, 2008

    This is a neat idea. Making a bottle into a beautiful vase will make it recyclable. Hopefully you will keep or give as a keepsake. This should keep the glass or glassed out of the landfill.

  • Lakelady_04 21 Apr, 2008

    If you cannot find the primer you can use white vinegar.

  • QueenVictoria 21 Apr, 2008

    What is "the paint's surface conditioner"? Is that a product separate from the paint?

  • trishbaucom 21 Apr, 2008

    I have found enamel paint at Walmart... not sure where to get the primer. This looks like a fun craft idea! And the bottles are beautiful.

  • desertbrat4u 21 Apr, 2008

    what a neato of an idea! I just love the "milk glass" look! and the different hues it brings out! Gotta find this primer and paint to do this , I have lots of bottles and stuff to do it with! I agree with vondamae about not seeing the stems, who wants that? hehe, great idea, Martha, keep up the good ideas, hugs, Sherry

  • Czarina 21 Apr, 2008

    vondamae -- You'd swirl white enamel paint INSIDE the bottle; it would make the cobalt glass opaque instead of being able to see all the stems

  • amazgrac 20 Apr, 2008

    Oh, what a fabulous idea. These bottles and jars are absolutely lovely. I am going to have to google "enamel paint" and learn more about this product. I love the different hues of turquoise this display has. Love, love, love, this one. Thanks Martha !

  • tricialee5 20 Apr, 2008

    Very useful craft idea. Many possibilities. How well does the enamel paint tolerate standing water inside the bottle? Will paint eventually crack and peel off? Or is 'vase' intended only for artificial 'flowers'?

  • jrbwojcik 20 Apr, 2008

    To Grandmabeast..the reason to paint the inside is so that you get the glossy shine of the bottle from the glass. Besides, this way you can easily clean the outside. My only concern with painting the inside...how "tough" is the paint if you fill it with water to put flowers inside?
    I have done this with clear ornaments, using multiple colors and twisting to mix the colors..it looks great.

  • LuvMaerz 20 Apr, 2008

    What a good idea... I have two drink bottles left from today, and I was hoping to do something great with them!

  • sissy76 20 Apr, 2008

    Great idea! In response to previous comment: I think the inside is painted so 1) the paint doesn't chip as easily and 2) the paint behind the glass gives the bottle some depth. I can't wait to try it!

  • TypeGod 20 Apr, 2008

    Grandmabeast, if you paint the outside, you'll loose the depth and gloss of the glass and its color. It might be easier to paint the exterior, but ultimately less satisfying I'll bet.

  • ulihelisdi 20 Apr, 2008

    I wouldn't paint the inside, but I would the outside, using the same conditioner for the glass to take the paint. Painting the inside would be to difficult to get a consistent coat of paint evenly without clumps. Just a thought.

  • peaceandlight 20 Apr, 2008

    RE painting outside instead of inside: The effect wouldn't be the same. With this method you are seeing the enamel color through several millimeters of glass with its unique refractive qualities. Even a high gloss enamel applied externally would not have the visual depth.

  • oldmixon 20 Apr, 2008

    Lovely idea. But is enamel paint really environmentally friendly?!?

  • oldmixon 20 Apr, 2008

    Lovely idea. But is enamel paint really environmentally friendly?!?

  • vondamae 20 Apr, 2008

    why would you paint COBALT??? It's beautiful as is!!

  • megb 20 Apr, 2008

    To respond to the question about painting the inside rather than the outside. In my experience, painting the inside lends the the visual effect of the glass being colored throughout rather than painted on the surface. Painting on the outside of the glass would give it a different look because it would interact with the light differently.

  • salescindy 20 Apr, 2008

    I have about 15 cobult blue bottles in my garden and I am moving soon - now I know what I can do wtith them. Thanks for a great idea.

  • grandmabeast 20 Apr, 2008

    Is there a reason that you must paint the inside of the bottle and not just paint the outside? Seems like that would be a lot easier---and easier to change the color if you wanted.

  • JoannaCrilly 20 Apr, 2008

    cute idea, and so simple! can't wait to try it! Love that color, too!

  • LaLaAndrew 20 Apr, 2008

    Now I know why I saved all of those bottles

  • momdig 20 Apr, 2008

    This will be a great Mother's Day gift for the kids in my children's ministry to make. Thanks!

  • ilikewinter 20 Apr, 2008

    It may be unrecyclable, but in a way this project is a recycling project in itself. Also, when made so pretty, there may be no need to recycle them. Even if no one in your family wants them after you change your decor or just decide to do away with them, I'm sure they would find a great home through a yard sale or thrift shop! They're very pretty.

  • ztreeters 20 Apr, 2008

    Photos inserted inside the jar, can change with the season. Mason jars are collectables.

  • ztreeters 20 Apr, 2008

    The Mason Jar is a fantastic vase without the enamei paint. I snapped photos of my garden tulips, printed them on 4X6 photo paper

  • NutWood 20 Apr, 2008

    While I appreciate the thought behind this project (and it's ease) I have to agree that this renders the bottle unrecyclable. Lately, I've been buying those large cans of green tea beverages, several brands have lovely, appealing designs and after drinking the tea, I remove the top and use the tin as a flower vase, holding chops sticks, and even my make up brushes. When I get tired of the tin, I simpy recycle it. My favourite tin right now is the Arizona brand of green tea.

  • mcdonade 20 Apr, 2008

    I am wondering about the environmental impact of using a surface conditioner and enamel paint on a completely recyclable glass jar or bottle. Can you tell me if the manufacturing of these products is in the best interest of the environment, and if the bottles remain recyclable once they've outlived their use? Thanks