It Looked So Easy …

While browsing Pinterest, I found a really cool idea for tinting mason jars! I was drawn to the article because of it’s fabulous photos – they’re what got my attention – how pretty! AND how much fun it would it be to say I did it myself! And simple! After all, you only need Mod-podge (hello), food coloring and water. I’ve been looking for something to store all my paint brushes, art pencils, craft sticks (my “stuff”) and this looked perfect – and C.R.A.F.T.Y!! The market even had “neon” food coloring!

Seriously?? Someone would want to color their food with neon colors???? Yuck.

Once I was actually trying to follow the instructions, I realized they weren’t terribly precise. “Add a couple of drops of food coloring to a tablespoon of water in a ramekin.” No way I was going to ruin my ramkeins –  I mixed in a paper cup.

The photo accompanying the instruction that said “then add couple of tablespoons of Mod-podge to your mason jar” was definitely misleading. Mama didn’t raise no fool. There’s no way in heck to get that pastel, creamy light blue color the picture showed with just food coloring and water. The photo showed a ramekin with white Mod-Podge mixed in with the food coloring and they didn’t expect a nit-picker (i.e. fool) like me to be seduced by a couple of doctored (but sexy) photos. But never you mind. I followed the instructions and put “a couple” of tablespoons of Mod-podge in the jar, added the food coloring/water, swirled and twirled to coat the jar, laid it upside down on newspaper paper and went on to the next jar.

Except that wasn’t quite enough leftover glop to cover the jar. So, thinking quickly, I mixed more right in the jar … except that I now had way too much glop and it was too loose. AND I had blue food-colored Mod-poge all over my hands. Both hands. Sigh.

Dumped the excess glop in the next jar, added a little more Mod-podge, coated the jar, and then on to the next.  I did four jars of a very aqua-y (my fave) blue and four jars of sorta a sage-y green (yet another fave). Feeling very pleased with myself and planning to do the remaining four jars in red, I continued reading the instructions “let the jars dry face down; then place on a tray in 225 oven for …. ”  Easy enough BUT that instruction was followed by the author’s note: “When I did my first round, they were a little too light. So, I did another round, with MORE drops of food coloring this time!  I’d recommend you just squeeze the heck outta that food coloring {like 10-15 drops} to make the tint that much darker!”  

What???  Now you tell me a “few” drops wasn’t enough?” Damn, You couldn’t have put that instruction at the top with the original recipe????  Seriously???  Sigh.

So, in jar number nine, which was originally going to be red, I mixed more green to add to the previously coated four green jars. Except. I mixed way (way) too much more green and had to add it to the previously blue jars. Sigh. 

One dark blue jar, one sorta blue jar and 10 various degrees of green jars.  Now not even close to my fave colors. Whatever.

While the jars are doing their “pre-oven” dry, I decide it was a good time to get the food coloring off my hands before it becomes a permanent tat. Turns out baking soda does the trick!  Amazing stuff that baking soda!

Time to load the jars onto a paper lined sheet to go in the oven … with my now clean hands.  Dang. Mama didn’t raise no fool – I remembered I have those no-latex latex gloves to use in my art when it’s going to get really dirty. I don the gloves, line the sheet pan with paper …

… and  find that all the excess Mod-podge from inside the jars has dripped onto the paper – and now the paper is stuck to the mouth of every single jar. Sigh.

Luckily, I’ve got those gloves on, I peel away the paper (and thereby some of the colored Mod-Podge, but whatever) and get the jars in the oven.  Following the instructions, after 10 minutes, I attempt to “flip” the jars right side up so they can continue to dry in the oven for another 30 minutes.  I ask you, with all sincerity, how in blazes do you pick up hot, wet-painted jars and turn them over???  I’ll tell you how. You sacrifice your only potholders for your C.R.A.F.T. Sigh.

Taking the jars out of the oven I note that the instructions say that the colors will dry to a transparent color. Check. They go on to say “if your finished jars still have streaks, let them dry in the oven longer, the streaks will go away”. Bull puckie. Sigh.

 I ended up with one very blue jar, one that if it tried a little harder could be a blue jar, and 10 jars in various shades of green (if your’e old enough, think Coke bottles) – with lots of drips.

Things I learned:

  • No matter how neat those “in progress” DIY project pictures are, when you do it, it won’t be neat.
  • It doesn’t matter how simple the instructions seem,  there’ll be at least one (or two, or three) gotcha’s.
  • No matter how pretty those finished product pictures are on those DIY projects, your’s (well, at least mine) will never be that pretty!
  • Read in the instructions all the way through before you begin a project.
  • Food colored, Mod-podged soaked newspaper that leaks through to your granite counter top does not stain. Whew!
  • It would have SO MUCH been easier to just buy the blue-tinted “vintage” jars next to the plain ones in the hardware store. 

See, you can learn something from every experience.  Mama didn’t raise no fool!

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  1. nightshadow

    Vicky, I think they look very pretty, but it really sounds like a lot of work. Btw, you asked:
    “I ask you, with all sincerity, how in blazes do you pick up hot, wet-painted jars and turn them over???”
    The answer is, you buy canning tongs…they would work like a charm and no messed up potholder.

    • Vicki Robinson

      Gosh! You’re SO right! I never thought of that AND I have some with my large canning pot! Duh! Lol!

    • Vicki Robinson

      You’re SO right! And I have some with my large canning pot! Lol!

  2. Sandy

    Just seeing this! What a riot! I would have loved to be there watching you do this! But I got to tell you that the jars look great with all your supplies in them! Cool!

  3. Lesley

    Love it!

    • Vicki Robinson

      Thanks, Lesley! So great to see you and Jeff this weekend!

  4. Nicky H

    They turned out cute! I love reading people’s experiences (before I try them!) 🙂

  5. Catherine

    Just loving your crafty adventures. 😀 The end results look pretty good, but I think next time I’d just go out and buy some! Keep up the good work!

  6. bunnyfreak

    Thanks for making me laugh. Sorry it was such an experience. I will remember to buy the blue jars straight from the store.

  7. KimR.

    I love READing about your artsy experiences! (Notice I said reading, not attempting…) The jars really are very pretty. 🙂

    • Vicki Robinson

      Thanks girlfriend! You can have a good time just observing my escapades!

  8. Marilyn

    I agree, I think they look lovely. Your post did give me a good laugh though, and that I needed and will be forever grateful for.

    • Vicki Robinson

      Thanks Marilyn! Glad you enjoyed the post!

  9. Vicky

    Well, I think they turned out pretty! But, I think I’ll buy the pre-tinted ones, LOL!

    • Vicki Robinson

      Good thinking, Vicky!! LOL!


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