I know, I know I'm late getting on the vase makeover train but I was looking for a specific spackling that I could never find here locally. Rather than give up completely on the idea I came up with a two step, kid friendly and cheaper way to get a pottery look.
Super Easy Way to Turn a Glass Vase Into Vintage Pottery
I looked on various sites for inspiration and that led me down a rabbit hole because I loved so many of them but I had to pick one as reference. This one was a small vase sold here in Canada by a company I adore Oliver and Rust. I, however dont have the budget to buy these gorgeous collectibles and the product would have to be shipped to me here on the island!
One thing I noticed in my research is that they all had similarities, the finish on most of them including this one had texture, color variation and weathering. I can do that...sure I can but where to start? To be honest I was intimidated but I saw others create stunning pottery replicas so that gave me the confidence to start somewhere.
I checked over my glass stash and chose a thicker glass vase with a ribbed neck. I thought that the thickness of that neck would make it easier to create the bulky lip that the pottery would have.
This all started with me creating a thickener out of flour and water as I made gravy for our dinner. When I was clearing the dishes I had a lot of the flour mixture leftover and cha-ching just like that bells went off in my head (it happens often). I can create a textured finish on my vase using the paper mache method!!
I had to alter my gravy thickening mixture a little for the craft usage but its still items that are easily available in most homes. Easy right? I had lots of recycled tissue papers and now the flour paste to glue it on with.
I simply brushed the flour mixture onto the vase, laid the tissue paper over top and smooshed it in place with the brush. I'm not going to lie here...it was fun!
This will be the only time in your life that you'll want to "add" lots of wrinkles!! To add even more interest to the former smooth vase I clumped the paper to create a few humps and bumps!
Where the tissue paper was so thin it was almost as if it fused together to create a clay like look. I then proudly thought to myself, "I'm on the right track, I've got this!"
As I previously mentioned I began this project after dinner so it dried well overnight because afterall the single layer I applied was thin. With paper mache you might often apply many layers to give your base article strength and stability. In this case the glass vase already had that so I anxiously planned that one layer was sufficient.
I used my white chalk paint to give it an even color and create a type of primed surface for the next layer of paint
Note: If you choose to try this project yourself use a light hand and try to glide the paint over the surface without creating too much friction. I found that I had to work fast in using less strokes on the tissue paper because the moisture in the paint was softening the tissue paper. I let this dry well before beginning the next step, it didn't take long.
For the next step I recalled a paint recipe that would give you thick texture, it was salt paint! Yes, there's salt in the paint! For it you will need Plaster of Paris, kosher salt ( specifically that type) acrylic paint and water. Your mixture ratio will be: 3 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris, 2 tablespoons of water, 2 tablespoons of acrylic paint and lastly 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Mix together small batches at any given time since it doesn't have a long shelf life once it's mixed. I guess over time the salt dissolves?
Since pottery is made spinning on a wheel while using hands to shape the vessel it creates these horizontal lines as you'll see illustrated above. I kept those lines in mind as I applied the salt wash paint over my vase, making sure my final strokes were horizontal spins all around the vase.
Doesn't it look like chocolate pudding? I wasn't sure how the final look would end up but I loved the texture that the salt grains created.
Now this is starting to look like the real deal, I can see it taking on a new pottery life now, can't you? It has texture, it has color variation and all it needs now is a little weathering! Using just some high grit sandpaper I managed to create wear and tear in a lickety split!
I very cautiously and lightly sanded with a 220 grit sandpaper and it revealed some of the white salt grains. I went easy on it so as not to take off more than was needed, its easy to remove the finish but not so easy to put it back on!
I was in love...it was turning out so great and it was my first ever, ever attempt at this...wow ! Doesn't it look like the real deal??
It couldn't be any more adorable if I had fluffy, white kittens perched beside it!! I never had any so I stuck in tweety bird as a fill in! Hahaha, I was on cloud nine and you couldn't remove the smile off my face even with coarse sandpaper!!
It could be left empty but I added in a bunch of greenery as another suggested option in using it. The choice is up to you, I've seen these displayed in trios of different shaped pottery as well and I love that look too.
I lived and I learned...I applied a sealer to protect my masterpiece but in reflection now I shouldn't have. I used a matte finish, water based polyurethane and it gave a slight glossy finish to the pottery. I don't think I'd do that next time but it's still fine, it's just my personal taste and my determination to make it as authentic as I possibly can.
I'm still very pleased with how this simple process completely changed the look of a plain, boring vase into something with way more interest. It's now become a conversation piece....I can honestly say, "I made that!" Gratified and giggly is how I'd describe the feelings I had after completing this project. You can bet that the other plain Jane glass vase you see there will be appearing as vintage pottery in a new post really soon!