DIY Painted Vases for Mother’s Day

Try making one of these DIY painted vases for Mother’s Day!

Is everyone already ramping up to make Mother’s Day spectacular for the maternal figure in your life? Now that I have my own little charmer of a toddler making life interesting, I appreciate all of the things my own mom did for me—times infinity. I wish I’d had the foresight to tone down my teenage antics, because whoa buddy, am I in for a few long years when Elsa (that’s my peanut) hits the dreaded teenage years. Payback is already kicking in and our little sweetums is proving that a stubborn streak is actually an inherited trait.

Our household budget doesn’t allow me to lavish my mom with the jewels she deserves for putting up with my shenanigans, so we’ve agreed that what she told me in second grade still applies: handmade presents from a child are the best presents a mother can get. Lucky for both of us, the quality of my handmade goods has improved in quality significantly since I was eight years old. I wanted to give her some beautiful flowers, but wanted to throw in a little handmade touch, and came up with a great compromise: a Mother’s Day DIY painted vase with some gorgeous blooms, delivered straight to her doorstep.

When I was getting ready for my lesson in arranging grocery store flowers last week, all I had on hand were a few generic-looking, plain glass vases. As you saw in those photos, I decided to give them a quickie DIY makeover with some white spray paint, glitter tape, and some of the prettiest purple washi tape a girl could desire. For my mom’s vases, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do, sooo I made three. Come Sunday, we’ll be ready with some serious flower power to say thank you to my mom.

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Step 1

 Open GalleryFirst, get rid of all those fingerprints, the dirt, debris and dust on your vase so that your paint can adhere. Wash vase and dry thoroughly. Then, in a well ventilated area and wearing a mask, spray paint your vases. (I’m headache prone when it comes to paint fumes, so I actually wear a respirator mask. It’s … attractive. But very effective.) I did two thin and even coats, allowing about 10 minutes of drying time in between coats, and then let the vases cure outdoors for 24 hours to make sure the paint was good to go for step 2. (And also to let the paint fumes clear out. Toddler in the house = no paint fume zone.)

Step 2

 Open GalleryOnce my vases were dry, I brought them into my studio and got started on my first vase variation: champagne metallic stripes. Initially, I thought I’d just do one stripe at the very top of the vase, so I taped off a line about an inch below the lip of the vase with FrogTape for Delicate Surfaces and then applied a coat of Martha Stewart Crafts Paint.

Step 3

 Open GalleryNever being one to scrimp when it comes to stripes, after looking at my first go with one stripe, I changed my mind and taped off stripes all the way down the vase. Then I painted the rest of the stripes in. MUCH better. I gave the stripes two more coats of champagne paint and allowed them to dry completely.

Step 4

 Open Gallery

Once the paint was dry, I carefully peeled off the FrogTape. Mmm-hmm, more stripes = better.

Step 5

 Open GalleryNext, I moved on to my chalkboard vase. Using the Frog Tape for Delicate Surfaces as a default width marker, I taped off a border around the front and back of the vase. (I’m not so great with rulers and measuring, so things tend to turn out lopsided. Go with the easy way out and get it done right the first time? Yes, please!) I had a can of Rustoleum’s Chalkboard spray paint leftover from another project, so out it came. I’ve had really good luck with this stuff, and once I find a winner, I’m pretty loyal. Although should any of you have advice on newer/better options, send it my way!

Step 6

 Open GalleryBefore I headed outside to paint, I covered all of the surfaces I wasn’t going to paint with wax paper and taped over to make sure it was airtight, preventing any overspray from making its way where it shouldn’t be. On went my respirator mask (ugh) and I was off. With spray paint, the key is even, light coats and constant movement with the nozzle. I’m so focused on this constant movement that it’s like a starting gun going off the minute my finger hits the button – GO, GO, GO! That’s another reason I’m so meticulous about taping and covering the areas outside where I want to paint – I always start painting outside of the area and continue past the other side, so that I don’t have a glop at the start and finish points. (Can I mention that if you’ve just painted your fingernails for the first time in FOREVER, it would perhaps be wise to wear gloves while spray painting. Sigh.)

Step 7

 Open GalleryI let my chalkboard vase cure overnight in the garage and then brought my dark horse inside to untape. The big reveal was flawless – perfect chalkboard finish and no overspray shadows. A quick go with some of my daughter’s chalk and the vase was looking ready for action. If you want a more long-lasting alternative to chalk, look for chalk markers at your local craft store.

Step 8

 Open GalleryLast, but not least, I wanted to try something new for my third vase. And by new, I mean something I’ve been dying to try for months and was just waiting for the perfect excuse. Hello, liquid gilding, where have you been all my life? You sly fox.

Step 9

 Open GalleryI made a little mattress for my vase out of some napkins I had on hand, so that the vase wouldn’t roll around while I tried (desperately) to paint a straight-ish line of dots. (I swear I didn’t coordinate the gold napkins on purpose – they were sitting out on my workbench, leftover from my niece’s first birthday party … but it does look like a well styled photo, so kudos to unintentional matching.) First, I marked the circumference of the vase into eights on the rim in pencil. Then, I dipped my skinny brush in the gilding and then dabbed dots from top to bottom in a line at each pencil mark. I wasn’t going for absolute perfection, so I freehanded my lines and dots, which gives it a more artisan (OK, fine, handmade) look, but you could also create a template for yourself with cardstock or use a ruler. I let each row of dots dry and then gave the vase a little turn to start on the next row.

Step 10

 Open GalleryAfter all those pretty gilded dots were dry, I painted the lip of the vase, too.  Again, I was freehanding it, but a wiser person may have thought to avoid the nerve-wracking pressure of trying to paint a straight, even line by taping off the top of the rim FIRST, gilded the lip, and THEN painted the dots. I’m OK with how my vase came out, but I thought it was only fair to pass on the lessons I learned from doing it with no real plan.

Step 11

 Open GallerySometimes, (as in this case, HOORAY!) kicking off a craft project without a plan turns out fine. But sometimes, not so much. There is a fourth gold gilded vase. And it shall never see the light of day. All the gorgeous gold gilding in the world couldn’t have saved that one. That’s OK, though. Even as ugly as that one came out, it was probably still a heck of a lot prettier than many of the handmade items that passed as gifts to my mom when I was little.

Tools

  • Mask for spray painting
  • Dropcloth, cardboard box or board to protect the area under your vase while spray painting
  • Soft bristled craft paint brush
About Ellen Foord 

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As the founder, designer, and one-woman workforce behind Minnow + Co, a tight budget has never stopped this DIY-girl-at-heart from creating a beautiful, modern, creative home and treating every ...

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