Get ready to start raiding your cupboards for spare mason jars, because these painted faux stained glass mason jars are a fun, easy weekend project that the whole family will want in on. Made with DIY paints and other readily-available materials, they are a stunning addition to your home decor at an affordable price.
What Is Stained Glass Art?
The term “stained glass” is associated with a few different art forms. Traditional stained glass art is an intensive process in which colored glass is cut into shapes, lined with metal tape, and soldered together into patterns.
Making traditional stained glass art is fairly intensive and time-consuming to both learn and do. It also requires specialized equipment like a glass grinder, soldering iron, and special glass pliers that can be too cost-prohibitive for beginners and casual crafters.
Thankfully there are many ways to replicate the look of traditional stained glass using less complicated methods. Faux stained glass art can be made using a variety of methods and materials, including paints, dyes, and even paper.
This tutorial uses a handmade puffy paint to create the look of soldered lines and a transparent paint to stain the glass of the mason jar in various colors. This is one of the most common methods of making faux stained glass art and can be used on flat sheets of glass or even your actual windows as well.
How Do You Make Stained Glass Mosaic Art?
Mosaic art is the process of creating designs and patterns using small pieces of a material like ceramic, glass, stones, or even shells. It’s one of the earliest recorded art forms, showing up in cultures as early as the Babylonians.
In stained glass, mosaic art is typically done by fitting together irregularly shaped glass pieces into color patterns instead of pictorial patterns. Since the traditional stained glass process generated a lot of wasted glass pieces, this is an economical way to use up leftover materials.
Why Stained Glass Mason Jars Are A Great DIY Project
Using mason jars is an easy and economical way to make faux stained glass art because they are cheap and readily available.
They also make it easy to turn your finished product into a luminary, candle holder, centerpiece, vase, or even planter depending on what you put inside of your mason jar.
You can also use this project to upcycle other glass jars and bottles, so if you have a lot of jars leftover from your favorite pasta sauce, those will work just as well. You can even make miniature versions using baby food jars.
Supplies Needed To Make A Stained Glass Mosaic Mason Jar
In this project, we are going to make our own dimensional and translucent paints using more readily available materials. You may already have most of these items on hand at home!
- White school glue (Elmers or an equivalent brand - even Mod Podge will work)
- Clear school glue
- Acrylic paints (we used a set of artist paints, but cheaper paint like Apple Barrel should work as well)
- Small fine-tipped squeeze bottle (optional)
How To Make A Stained Glass Mason Jar: A Step-By-Step Guide
Now that you have all your supplies, let’s look at how to make a mosaic mason jar!
Step One: Make The Puffy Paint
The easiest way to make the puffy paint is to mix it directly in your bottle of Elmer’s or other white glue. The squeeze top on the bottle makes it an easy solution for applying the puffy paint borders to the jar.
First, remove the cap from your white school glue and add a pea-sized dollop of black acrylic paint to the bottle (or whatever color you want the borders to be).
Using a toothpick or the end of your paint brush, stir the paint into the glue at the very top of the bottle until the paint is just incorporated.
You can add a little more paint if you accidentally mix in too much glue. However, the puffy paint will be several shades darker when it dries, so don’t worry too much about trying to match a certain shade. This charcoal color ended up being a dark black.
Replace the cap when your puffy paint mixture is the shade and consistency it should be. It’s now ready to use.
As you draw on the borders in the next step, you may find that you need more depending on how thick you make your lines and how large your jar is. Just mix more paint in and replace the cap as many times as needed.
However, if your white glue doesn’t come in a squeeze bottle (or you would prefer not to put paint directly into the bottle), you can mix the puffy paint in a separate squeeze bottle. There are no exact proportions to this, so just keep mixing paint into the glue until it is a dark gray.
Step Two: Adding the Borders To Your Jar
Now you need to add the lines that will section off your glass “panes.” This can look a little messy at first, but don’t stress about getting your lines perfect. Remember that real stained glass pieces are connected with solder (essentially melted metal), and it usually looks uneven and clumpy.
Use the fine nozzle of your glue bottle (or other squeeze bottle) to apply an even line of puffy paint around the top of the jar, just under the rim of the mouth.
Tip: Using the nozzle can be a little difficult at first. Draw a few practice lines on a piece of cardboard, thick paper, etc. first to get accustomed to using the bottle. If you still mess up, don’t worry. Any mistakes are easy to remove. Just wipe off any mistakes with a wet cloth and reapply. You can use Q-Tips for more control to help clean up your edges.
Flip over the jar and make another line around the bottom.
If your jar has an area with a raised logo, make a border around the whole area with puffy paint. While this may be larger than your other “panes,” it is difficult to pipe the puffy paint over the raised glass to break it up into smaller sections.
Starting at the top of the jar, use the puffy paint to start drawing the outlines of your individual glass panes.
Tip: Making them irregularly shaped and different sizes will make them look more like a mosaic stained glass piece. However, it’s totally up to you! If you want to make your sections more uniform, that will work too.
Repeat the previous step until you reach the bottom of the jar.
Allow the puffy paint to dry before continuing on to step 3.
Step Three: Make Your Translucent Paint
Once your outline layers are finished, you can start painting your panes! You can use a semi-translucent paint or glass paint, but for this project, we’ll show you how to make your own.
Gather some sort of disposable containers to mix your paints in, ideally something like an old egg carton that has separate containers, since the base glue is a bit runny.
Pour some clear glue into 2-4 of your containers (depending on how many different colors you want on your jar). Be generous with how much you add, since you will be covering a lot more surface area with these paints.
Add a little paint to your first container.
Stir the paint into the glue until it is well incorporated. Check the color and gradually mix in more paint until it reaches the shade you want. Make it darker than you want the finished product to be, since it will be much lighter when you paint it onto the jar.
Repeat this step with your remaining colors. Your paints are now ready to use.
Step Four: Paint The Stained Glass Panes
If your puffy paint borders are firm and dry to the touch, you can start painting your pane sections with your translucent paint.
You’ll want to roughly plan out what your color pattern will look like. It should ideally variate the colors and keep them from repeating near each other too much. Don’t worry if you mess up occasionally and paint two or more connected panes the same color—mosaic stained glass patterns are often done randomly and sometimes do this.
Using a medium sized paint brush, apply a thin coat of paint to one of the sections of your jar, using the puffy paint borders as your dividers.
Choose your next color and paint the next section.
Keep painting each individual section a different color until your jar is completely filled in. If any of the colors look too light once they are dry, apply another coat of paint to darken them.
Set your stained glass jar somewhere it won’t be disturbed and let it dry for at least a day before touching or moving it. From there, you can put a flameless candle inside to create a luminary, fill it with water and flowers to use as a vase, place it on your desk as a gorgeous pen cup, or whatever else you can think of!
Other Stained Glass Art Projects To Try
If you enjoyed this project, you should consider trying some other stained glass projects! There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to stained glass crafts, and most of them are inexpensive, easy to do, and kid-friendly.
Stained Glass Suncatcher
If you are interested in trying traditional stained glass art, this video for a stained glass suncatcher takes you through the process of making a pretty glass suncatcher from start to finish. It’s a tutorial for total beginners, so it explains all the necessary tools and supplies needed for stained glass as well.
Faux Stained Glass Window
Use the process we taught you here to make other types of faux stained glass. Swap out the mason jar for a flat sheet of glass to make a more detailed piece of art. You can print out patterns designed for traditional stained glass art as a stencil for your piece. Place the paper under the piece of glass you plan to use and trace the lines with your puffy paint. You can make any number of beautiful projects using this method.
For a more kid-friendly version, swap out the glass for a sheet of plastic for a safer alternative.
Stained Glass Stepping Stones
Interested in using actual stained glass pieces without all the cutting and soldering? Try making a stained glass mosaic stepping stone. This video shows how to embed stained glass pieces into a concrete stepping stone for a delightful mosaic effect.
Stained Glass Patterns
As we mentioned above, you can print out patterns to follow when making stained glass art. This allows for more control than trying to draw the shapes freehand, so you can make more complicated scenes and designs. You can find a variety of free patterns at the following websites:
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most frequently asked questions about stained glass and mosaic art!
Is stained glass an expensive hobby?
Traditional stained glass art does require a decent investment to get started. The glass sheets and other consumables aren’t overly expensive, so most of the cost is upfront.
If you’re interested in the idea of making stained glass art, try to find a workshop or class in your area that you can take first to see if you enjoy it before purchasing all the supplies.
Is stained glass art hard?
Yes, traditional stained glass art does have a bit of a learning curve. It will take time and practice to become good enough to make really intricate pieces, but you can make some lovely basic designs relatively quickly.
Now that you know how to make these stunning stained glass mosaic mason jars, you have everything you need for a fun weekend craft project! Still have questions? Let us know in the comments below!