Spring Home Decor DIY: Upcycle Old Vases with Paint

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upcycle vases

Hello hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a fun home decor DIY, so when I saw this new painted vase trend floating around the internet I knew I had to try it myself! And of course, share my experience with you!

This painted vase trend is a super fun and easy way to upcycle old, cheap, or just plain ugly vases that you don’t love. Instead of tossing them or buying new ones, you can use this easy paint hack to give them new life!

upcycle vases

This painting hack will give your upcycled vases a really cool texture, so they almost look like a terracotta or a clay vase! I did a variety of colors as you can see, so you can choose whatever colors you like.

For this project, I commandeered some older vases from my parents house while we were visiting, and used those for painting. I love how they came out!

I first saw this vase painting technique wandering around social media, and I think it originated on Tik Tok. It’s such a good idea and I knew I immediately had to try it!

I did a bunch of different colors, so I could use different ones for each season and leave a few at my parents house. I’ll detail the paints I used specifically below, but I primarily wanted to do earth tones and a few pops of blue.

I like how they all turned out, but the earth tones are especially my favorite! I’ve been really into these colors lately!

Okay okay, enough about how much I love these upcycled painted vases! You’re probably wondering, okay get on with the tutorial already!

I’ll detail exactly how I painted these vases, and what my experience was with this upcycle technique. Read on below!

how to upcycle vases with paint

First things first, your materials. Of course you need some vases you would like to paint…I did mostly glass vases because that is what we had, but I had a couple ceramic ones in there too.

You will also need some paint in the colors you like, paint brushes, and some baking powder!

Huh? What? Baking powder? Yes, you read that right. Baking powder is mixed with the paint to give it that cool texture!

upcycle vases

This is what you’ll need:

  • Old vases…a mix of glass, ceramic, and old jars. You can also use empty bottles.
  • A drop cloth to protect your painting surface
  • Baking powder
  • Paint brushes…Use the size appropriate for your vases. I used one inch for mine, but could have used a smaller one also to get more inside the vases. I painted half the vases at a time, so I used my brushes and then washed them for the second round of colors. Otherwise, you can use one brush for each color. Also, I prefer the bristle brushes, versus foam…I think it gives the vases a better texture.
  • Paper plates or mixing bowls/containers for the paint
  • And your paint! See below for the colors and brands I used.

For my paints, I chose to use water based acrylic paints. I used four ounces for most colors, to paint two vases in each. But I could have used more if I wanted to fully paint the insides.

These are the colors I chose:

The process

First, set up all your materials on your drop cloth. Then pour the paint you will be using first into your mixing container. This paint dries fairly quickly so if you are doing many vases or colors like I did, plan to only be painting half or so at a time so the paint in your container doesn’t dry out before you get a chance to do multiple coats.

Mix your baking powder completely into your paint using a mixing stick or your brush. I used 1/2 tbsp baking powder to 4 oz of paint for most of my paints. The more baking powder you add to a paint, the more textured it becomes, but also keep in mind it dries more quickly. To experiment I did add more baking powder to one of my paints. You can see the difference below.

With 1/2 tbsp of baking powder to 4 oz of paint, I got this texture:

Succulent color
Terracotta color

You can see how it looks a little bumpy and a thicker texture than regular paint.

But when I added more baking powder, about 1 1/2 tbsp of baking powder to 4 oz of paint, I got this texture:

Camel Color

You can see how the texture is more bumpy and sticks out more, and it was much thicker to apply. So you can play around a little bit if you like with whatever texture you want! But again, keep in mind that the more baking powder used, the more texture you get and also the drier it will get, so you will have to work as quickly as possible.

I personally liked using the smaller amount of baking powder, so I stuck with the 1/2 tbsp of baking powder to 4 oz of paint for most of my vases.

Okay, once you have your paint and baking powder mixed together, it should look expanded, puffy, textured, almost like a fluffy mud! Now you can start painting!

I found it easiest to start at the bottom edge of the vase and work my way up to the top. Paint your vase in as long strokes as possible to give it that pottery-like look. Give it one coat all the way to the top, and paint the inside edges that you can see.

Do a first coat on the vases you are painting and let them dry to the touch. Mine took about 30 minutes or so.

upcycle vases
First coat!

Don’t worry if your first coat looks thin or streaky- especially on glass vases! As they dry, and you put more coats on, it will even out. My glass containers took 3-4 coats, and my ceramics took 2.

After the first coat is dry to the touch, you can add a second one! If the paint looks like it has deflated or isn’t as textured anymore, you can add a bit more baking powder to fluff it back up. I had to do this with a few of my paints.

Follow the same process- start from the bottom edge and paint the vases in long strokes, painting the inside edges that you can see. Let dry to the touch again. For some vases these two coats are all you may need, in which case let them dry completely over night. For others that need more coats, continue with the same process of painting and drying until you have 3 or 4 coats and the vase looks sufficiently covered.

upcycle vases

If you have more vases to paint, follow the same process outlined above until they are all done. Let them dry completely overnight. If you want to, once they are dry, you can paint the insides totally, but that’s up to you. I didn’t, partly because I didn’t have enough paint, but also because it was hard to reach the insides of my vases. So I stuck to painting just the inside edges that I would be seeing.

I also did not paint the very bottoms of my vases, but you could if you wanted to by turning the vases upside down once completely dry and giving the bottom a few coats.

And that’s it! Time to enjoy your upcycleD Vases!

I made it easy on myself by only painting the parts of the vases I would see, but it’s really up to you how much you want to do. I also did a lot of colors, but again, customize to what you like!

This project was a lot of fun and easy to do. The hardest part was waiting for them to dry!

upcycle vases
left to right: winter blue, terracotta, camel, light pink, snowflake

Now you can arrange these upcycled vases your hearts content! Just for fun, I put together a few groupings:

left to right: terracotta, camel, yellow ochre
upcycle vases
left to right: fire coral, light pink, snowflake
left to right: succulent, light blue, snowflake
left to right: terracotta, camel, snowflake

Which one is your favorite? I like them all so much!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Do you think you’ll try out this fun DIY upcycle vase project? Which colors will you use? Let me know in the comments!


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upcycle vases

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