DIY Gifts – Pretty, Pretty Vases

My love of spray paint is well-documented here (as well as my garage floor, which is covered in tons of outlines of items sprayed, and the garage walls, since my girlfriends and I may have tagged the crap out of them at one point), but sometimes even I can be surprised by it’s use on something I had never really considered.

While I will spray the crap out of pretty much anything, I don’t craft much with glass because I am incredibly clumsy and typically end up breaking it before I can create something pretty. However, this project is so easy that even I was able to complete it without ending up with a giant mess of shards to clean up at the end. It is a really simple way to create an inexpensive, one-of-a-kind gift.

One of my favorite items of home decor is a Jonathan Adler container that I had lusted after for years. At it’s regular price, there was no way I could justify it, but it showed up one day on Hautelook, and armed with one of their lovely customer appreciation credits, I ended up bringing this baby home for around $20.

I love it. Who doesn’t need a ceramic jar that says ANGER on it? It is fabulous. Recently there have been a number of posts circling around showing sets of mismatched items spray painted one color to create a cohesive collection, so the other day I figured I would try my hand at making a friend for my Anger jar in the hopes she would become less lonely and therefore less angry.


Armed with a $ .99 clearance vase from Ross, a glue gun and a trusty can of Rustoleum flat black spray paint, I set to work. If you choose an item from Ross, you may also need a sandblaster to remove the price sticker. I kid, I kid. Kind of. What industrial adhesive do they use there? Getting their price stickers off is one of the most difficult tasks.

I have a large number of awesome stencil books – Ed Roth has some absolutely amazing ones – so I figured I would try using one of those instead of relying on my artistic skills, which are lacking. This is a project that allows you to be as creative as possible, though. If you like to doodle with Sharpies, this is a great project for you. Doodle away to your heart’s content. Mistakes don’t matter because you will be spray painting over them.

Make sure to tape your stencil down, if using one, so it doesn’t slide all over the place. Trace away!

Please excuse the awfulness of this photo

Once you have completed either tracing or free-handing your design, you will want to go over it with a glue gun, or, as I quickly came to realize, puff paint. A glue gun will work great if you are using a large design, such as a word or loopy, swirly stuff, but I realized very quickly that it didn’t allow enough detail work for a design as small as the one I decided on. Puff paint, on the other hand, allows for much smaller allocations, making it way easier to work with.


Allow the puff paint to dry for at least 30 minutes, testing to make sure it isn’t runny before paint application begins.

Once you are ready to paint, grab a regular size piece of paper, roll it up and pop it inside your vase to prevent paint from getting inside, then spray away.

Please forgive this photo, as well. I promise I will learn how to work a camera before posting another tutorial.

Once the paint is dry, you’re done!

The thicker the application of puff paint, the more defined your design will be. A glue gun will definitely provide a more pronounced pattern, which I think I would prefer on my next pass at this. I really want to make a set of various vases with dirty words on them, but didn’t want to offend any delicate sensibilities with my foul mouth for this tutorial. Anybody have any plans to try this one? What kind of designs are you thinking about?

Happy crafting!

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