Personal Projects

Easy Tutorial: Stained Glass Jars Using Glue and Food Dye

Remember that jar I removed the sticker goo from? I decorated it! The jar that once held salsa is now a pretty stained-glass green!

While browsing Pinterest, I discovered an idea to stain glass for a sea-glass look and was inspired to try it.

With other jars on hand, I also tried a pink hue while my sister tried purple. We had so much fun making these pretty stained glass jars that she is staining another jar blue.

And the best part? You probably have all the supplies you need! (And it’s a cheap project too, which is always a plus. 🙂 )

You will need:

  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Food dye
  • Disposable cups (for mixing glue and dye)
  • Paint brushes (we used paint sponges)
  • Toothpicks
  • Glass jars (why not try salsa jars? snack+craft= 🙂 )

I suggest working in a well-ventilated area, as the glue is a little smelly. Also, remember food dyes can stain clothes, hands, and almost any surface it encounters! Fortunately, the project is not particularly messy, since the dye gets mixed with the glue, which is washable.

So, lets get started!

First, decide how many colors you will use. For each color, squeeze a little glue into the bottom of a disposable cup, one disposable cup for each color. Although it depends on the size of the jar you will paint, I recommend starting with less glue than you think you may need. Once you add the dye, there’s no going back for that bit of glue, and a little bit can go a long way. With the styrofoam cups I used, a thin layer across the bottom, about a quarter inch thick, was perfect for painting my salsa jar.

Next, add the food coloring! I only used one drop for my pink and green colors, but the purple jar used two drops each of red and blue. While I could have used more than one drop, I was aiming for a nice, pastel, sea-glass look. More drops will produce a deeper, more vivid color, although the end look will be somewhat translucent no matter how many drops you add. (Maybe I shouldn’t make such broad statements… if you add enough drops that it is no longer see-through, comment below how many drops it took. I’d be curious to know.)

Then, swirl with a toothpick. And admire the pretty designs while you mix.

And really, that’s all there is to it! Just glue and food dye. Now for the fun part: painting!

I found it works best to paint multiple thin coats, allowing the glue to dry fully or mostly between coats. This allows for consistent results.

There’s no right or wrong way in how you paint your jar. I decided to include the rim of the jar but did not paint the bottom. Meanwhile, my sister decided to paint the bottom of the green one. Or you could try taping around the middle of the jar and doing each half a different color. Be creative!

Here’s a look at the pink jar after one coat. You may notice the glue looks gloppy and wet; this will change as it dries.

The second coat may look strange at first too, because the wet glue appears much differently than the partially-dry first coat underneath.

Don’t worry, though. It all evens out once it dries. And that’s all there is to it! Mix, paint, and wait. Waiting is the tedious part. But the results are well worth it!

I love these pretty stained glass jars! I plan to use at least one as a planter for some fresh rosemary clippings. How will you use your stained glass jar?

Happy Crafting!


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