Upcycling all those glass jars!


We are in lockdown due to Covid-19, so there is no better time than the present to get out all those jars you've been saving and upcycle them!

Or, is that just me then.....? I am pretty sure I am not the only 'jar keeper' out there. How many glass jars do you have taking up space in your cupboards? All those jam jars, coffee jars, pickle jars, which have the cutest shapes or details on them or will simply be the perfect size to store something in, in the future. Well the future is the now!


Let me talk you through some of my favourite ways to upcycle glass jars. It is a really simple process, using your favourite chalk paint. (I like to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint or Tjhoko Paint from South Africa)

Simply wash and dry your jars well. Ensure that you remove all labels and the sticky residue that sometimes gets left behind. I use a "Sticky Stuff Remover" to do this, which works really well. Just ensure you was your jar & lid again after doing this to remove all the oily risidue, before starting to paint.


Once your jars are clean and dry, choose your favourite chalk paint colour and start painting. I have a few favourite colours in mostly a natural tone, which allows me to base coat a few and decide later which design to add to them. Some of my 'go to' colours are Annie Sloan French Linen, Old White and Graphite. In the photo below I base coated a few jars, Ice cream tubs and a detergent tub, ready to decorate!




Paint your first coat of paint using either brush or craft sponge and allow to dry before applying a second coat. Allow this to dry thoroughly.

If you wish to create an aged look, simply use a fine grit sand paper (around 100 grit) to lightly sand the areas where the jar would naturally take a bit of wear, like sharp edges. To seal chalk paint, you need to apply a thin layer of clear wax over the painted item. For furniture I use a wax brush, but for smaller items simply use a clean soft rag and rub it in. The colour of the chalk paint will deepen slightly and this is really useful to see where you may not yet have applied wax. The wax dries quickly to the touch, but takes about 21 days to cure fully. You can decorate your jars as soon as init is dry to the touch.


Now you are ready to decorate your painted jars and my favourite bit, as I can play around with colour, texture and design.

I love folk art and find this the perfect way to upcycle jars, as it lends itself to that vintage feel, we all currently love. It can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Folkit Starter Kit is the best place to start if you are new on this Folk art journey


One of the most basic folk art designs is simply using the dotting technique to create flowers or patterns and this is a go to for those who think they are not artistic - a really simple but incredibly effective design. Here is a little clip on how to create the dot roses. The dotting tool has a small and large end. Use the large end to dot the red and white for the roses and the small end to swirl them together. Also use the small end of the dotting tool to create the heart shaped leaves.

Top tip: Wipe the dotting tool with kitchen towel between each colour change.




Below are a few jars upcycled in various colours and with different folk art designs. There are so many different uses for up cycled jars from pure display to storing bits and bobs, like thread, safety pins, batteries, washi tapes and even flower pots. These make a particularly good gift to those who appreciate hand made items.




I hope that these ideas will inspire you to get out the paint and upcycle a few jars, either for storage for your home or gifting something to a friend during this summer #stayhome #staysafe #covid19 time we find ourselves in.


Happy upcycling

René