How to Tint Mason Jars for a Vintage Look

We love the versatility of decorating with mason jars. These little jars have morphed from strictly utilitarian objects to one of the most popular home decor items ever. I have an easy and fun project to dress up any mason jar. Let me show you how to tint mason jars for a vintage look.

Most mason jars are clear glass. Tinted ones have become one of the most popular flea market items.

If you can’t find the color of mason jar you want or don’t want to buy the higher price, you can create the mason jar of your dreams.

The iconic shape of mason jars with screw top lids has been around since 1858, invented by a man named Mason, of course. Mason patented his invention, gave the jar his name, and the rest is history.

Today, mason jars come in different sizes and shapes and are no longer used just for canning fruits and vegetables.

I have been collecting blue mason jars for over 10 years, but the price has risen considerably in the last few years.

I think I paid $8 for my first one, then $11, then $14 and the last large ones I bought were $18.

Since then, I’ve seen prices as high as $24.

I recently found a new type of mason jar that I shared. I was thrilled to find out that you can get the look of vintage mason jars with a little DIY ingenuity. Tinting mason jars for a vintage look isn’t as hard as you would think.

Give Mason Jars a Vintage Look

Here are a few of my vintage mason jars.

blue tinted mason jars
mason jars on wire shelf

In previous posts, I’ve shared how I use mason jars: to hold flowers, for seasonal decorations, and even make them into outdoor lighting.

Mason jars can be used to organize any item from flowers to dried food items, buttons to paper clips to rubber bands, hold pens and markers, twine or ribbon.

With or without a lid, mason jars are both practical and pretty, especially when you want a vintage or farmhouse look.

mason jars on mantel
fairy lights on backyard umbrella

I was pleasantly surprised when Shutterfly contacted me with this amazing DIY project. They had seen some of my posts about mason jars and wanted me to know about this method to tint mason jars.

To be honest, I was a little skeptical at first but intrigued. I had to try this method myself before I could share or recommend it to you.

Well, the process worked or I wouldn’t be sharing how to tint mason jars with you.

Supplies To Tint the Mason Jars

You only need a few supplies to tint your mason jars.

Be sure that your glue is labeled “gloss” and not “matte”, otherwise the finished product will come out dull and murky. The rest of the materials should be easy to find around your house.

tinting mason jar supplies
  • Mason jars ~ today you can buy mason jars in 2 sizes at your local grocery store
  • Glue sealer ~ I used Modge Podge in the gloss finish
  • Food coloring of choice
  • Ramekin or small bowl
  • Newspaper ~ I used wax paper.
  • Cookie sheet
supplies for tinting mason jars

How To Tint Mason Jars

You won’t believe how easy this project is!

Step 1

Pour a few tablespoons of ModgePodge into a ramekin. Since I planned to tint 3 jars, I poured in about 1/4 cup.

Mod Podge in ramekin

Step 2

Add food coloring.

I use blue gel food coloring since that’s what I had and I love blue.

Stir in the food coloring (I used a plastic spoon.) and approximately 1 tablespoon of water and stir to combine.

Less water will give you a deeper, richer color while more water will give you a more subtle tint. Stir the mixture until you have a consistent color. The mixture will be somewhat watery.

blue tinted Mod Podge
blue tinted Mod Podge

Step 3

Pour the glue mixture into your mason jar.

TIP: Do this step over a piece of wax paper. You do not want to get the glue mixture on your countertop. I placed a piece of wax paper inside a sheet pan.

Step 4

Coat the mason jar with the glue mixture.

blue tinted Mod Podge

I turned the jar around and around, getting closer each time to the mouth of the jar until is evenly coated with the dyed glue mixture.

Do this over the ramekin so that excess glue will fall back into the ramekin, which you can reuse for your next mason jar.

Step 5

Pour the excess glue back into the ramekin for use on the next jar.

pouring tinted Mod Podge

Step 6

Let the jar dry upside down on wax paper for about 30 minutes. Check on it periodically and wipe away any excess paint that may collect on the lip of the jar.

TIP: I kept a damp paper towel ready to do this.

tinting mason jars

Step 7

Set oven to “warm” (about 175° F).

setting oven temperature

Place the mason jar upside down on a wax-covered cookie sheet and heat in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip the jar over and let it dry for another 20 to 30 minutes.

When the jar is done, it should be clear with no streaks. If the jar still has streaks, place it back in the oven for 10-minute increments until they disappear.

TIP: I found 25 minutes worked best.

mason jar tinting

Step 8

Let the tinted mason jars cool for a few minutes and then use to decorate your home decor. You can’t use them to store food items, but we are all about the decorating.

This is one of Shutterfly’s suggestions. I think this tinting was done with green food coloring, which would be my next color of choice. You can control the shade of color, which is great if you need a particular color for your home decor style.

mason jars in home decor

I used my tinted mason jars on our mantle.

Pink hydrangeas from our backyard look lovely with the pale blue tinted mason jars. You can see the center mason jar, which is the last one I tinted, is darker than the others.

I used more food coloring on it and I like it best. It looks almost exactly like the real vintage blue ones that I have collected.

The one on the right was the first one I tinted when I didn’t quite know how much food coloring to add. I added more with each jar.

mason jars on mantel

I plan to also try to tint mason jars with pink food coloring.

mason jars on mantel

Tips for How to Tint Mason Jars

Here are some takeaways from learning how to tint mason jars.

#1 I think it takes a little more food coloring than you think. It’s amazing how the glue mixture lightens up after you turn the mason jar right side up for the final 20-30 minutes in the oven

#2 – Food coloring can stain so be careful. Have some damp paper towels for clean up.

#3 – I tinted my first mason jar late one afternoon. I had leftover glue mixture in my ramekin. Rather than throw it out, I wrapped it carefully in plastic wrap and it was perfect the next morning for my 2nd jar.

I added a little more ModgePodge, a little more water, and more food coloring. After tinting my 2nd jar, I rewrapped the glue mixture. Later that day, I just added a little more food coloring and I had plenty of glue mixture for my 3rd jar.

Ideally, you would tint multiple jars at once, but as this was my first time testing this method and I only had snippets of time, that’s why I did it at three different times. We DIY when we can, right?

#4 – When I finished my last jar, I placed the ramekin in the sink and ran the water until all the glue mixture was gone. Then I washed the ramekin in the dishwasher.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: After my hydrangeas were in the water in the mason jar for about three days, I was ready to change the water. When I noticed that the water was kind of cloudy, I poured out the water and found that the tint was coming off.

Using a bottle brush inside the jar, I “scooped” up the tinted glue.  So my jars are clear again. Because I loved this project so much, I will retint them. This time I would add more food coloring for a deeper color and tint three jars at once.

SO DO NOT PUT WATER INSIDE YOUR TINTED MASON JARS!! 

Here is the original mason jar project from Shutterfly if you would like to check it out.

I hope you loved this project as much as I did. It was easy, very inexpensive and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

I hope that you will PIN IT to your favorite DIY, farmhouse, or vintage boards. Thank you to Shutterfly for sharing how to tint mason jars

pin for later graphic in blue
how to tint mason jars

 

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14 Comments

  1. HI Carol, Welcome home! I am sharing your DIY mason jar idea on The Weekend Edit because I am so mad I didn’t think of this first! It is awesome! In the past I have used paint to “tint” my glasses but your tutorial takes it to a new level.

    Thank you friend!!!! I hope you get some traffic from Everyday Edits on Saturday!

    xo laura

  2. I had no idea blue jars had become that expensive. I guess I need to dig my stash out and sell them. I’m sorta on the fence about the durability of the food/coloring and modge-podge on the inside. I’m wondering if poly-acrylic floor/furniture sealer…might take the tint better and be more permanent. Might want to try on the outside also…you can always give them another spray of a sealer, then water on the inside, wouldn’t matter…any way it’s a great idea to try for some ‘fun’ colors also! Hugs, Sandi

  3. I love your blogs and I love blue so thank you for a lot of ideas. I am not a mason jar lover except for the ones filled with pickles and preserves (lol). But I read this and am going to try it on florist vases and some other clear glass containers. Thanks again.

  4. Great idea! They look really nice! Pinned ♥ I invite you to link up at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty!

  5. Does the oven baking “set” the Mod Podge so that you can use water in the jar as a vase. I should think it would eventually soften up the finish; I’d be tempted to paint the outside instead. I was so pleased to see a “REAL” cooky sheet that looks like it’s been well used instead of a brand new one. After 40 years, mine are some kind of beat up!

    1. Kathy, so far, so good, but that is a good question. I’ve had the flowers in the jars for 3 days and looks O.K. but I will keep watch for sure.

  6. HI Carol,
    I love this! Sharing on the weekend edit.
    Fyi… because this is going to be a popular post I think autocorrect changed tablespoon to tablescape at the beginning of the tutorial ;0) xo laura in CO (formerly not a trophy wife)

    1. Laura, thank you so much for catching that. I edit and proofread, but didn’t catch that one. Made the correction. I hope it is popular.

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