Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Masonry (Part Deux)

Since our upcoming wedding in September will be an outdoor affair and our caterer is Heirloom--the local, organic creators of the famed Lasagna Cupcake and the food truck that does monthly tastings with Silver Lake Wines--I wanted to match our reception decor to that homegrown, farmy aesthetic.
Mmmmmm...Heirloom crostini spread
I thought mason jars would be a nice idea for centerpieces. Something country-ish and casual like this:

But it turns out antique blue mason jars run close to $15 a pop on eBay! What sort of black devil magic is this?! So my crafty genes kicked in (as well as my Chinese save-money instincts) and I scored some Kerr mason jars on Craigslist, then headed out to Blick to find some Vitrea 160 glass paint to test out my DIY plan: transform regular, old clear mason jars into antiquey looking blue ones by painting them.

I didn't know which was better- turquoise or lacquer blue, so I chose both and decided to mix them up with some Vitrea dilutant as well. Each bottle was about $4.

Mom was in town and eager to help out with wedding preparations, which made things go twice as quick. We made several different paint mixes, so some jars were bluer than others.

 We used these acrylic fan brushes to try to get an even brushstroke, but it was difficult to not get streaks.

After letting them dry for 24 hours, you stick them in the oven at 325F for 45 minutes and voila! A dishwasher-safe, blue mason jar that won't explode if you put a candle in it (which apparently is what antique mason jars are prone to do). The brush streaks were supposed to melt away in the oven, but I was disappointed to find that ours did not.

If you look closely, you can see the streaks. My dad insisted that he thought the handpainted effect was actually cooler than without. I'm somewhat convinced. What do you think?

Hand painted effect on left; Magic Eraser effect on right.
I did another batch with a Magic Eraser in lieu of a paintbrush (since it was all I had on me) and found that the streaks were way minimized. I might try another batch with a staining pad that I bought at my favorite place, Anawalt.

I think once the flowers and water are in and they're all set up on the tables, nobody will notice. A few vodka tonics later and ta da--These are the nicest antique blue mason jars in the world!