How To make glass look ceramic

It’s natural to want to get rid of things that no longer serve us - worn shoes, a pilling sweatshirt, an unhealthy relationship, perhaps? Trends change and so do we; shapes, sizes, styles, preferences, but when it comes to design and aesthetics, you may want to consider ways of working with what you already have instead of running to the dump or donation center. A lot of easy transformations can take place with a quick, affordable upcycling project like this one.

Several years ago, I purchased a glass vase from Marshalls. I loved the size, shape, style, and quite frankly, I loved the fact it was something from Magnolia that had somehow ended up at a surplus store despite the fact it was still being sold, full price, at Target. I never could find the right spot or use for it though. So, it ultimately sat in a box in storage until the day Kevin and I merged our two households into one.

We took a hard look at all we had and began the arduous process of downsizing. We “let go” of a lot of duplicates, donated lightly used home goods that hadn’t any place to go outside of the boxes they’d been kept in, and brainstormed ways to reinvent things we couldn't help spot potential in. Which, is how we came to revisit this vase.

“If only it were terra cotta, or clay, or ceramic,” I told him, “it would be perfect as a decorative piece in the center of our coffee table.” Then, as if Google were listening (it always is), a tutorial popped up into my Pinterest feed as if Medusa had written it herself.

"How to turn glass into stone."

After doing my due diligence and scrolling through a few other similar posts, I decided to try my hand at it using an empty jar of pesto sauce. A few hours later, I was hooked.

Though there are many different methods and techniques for this makeover, this is the process I found to be the most effective and fun.

Materials you’ll need:

Acrylic paint *

Paint brushes *

Paint spackle *

Palette *

Baking Soda

Dirt *

Glass object you’ll be transforming

Clear coat spray paint


Paint smock or apron

A testing/sample piece *

*Things to note about your materials:

Any acrylic paint will do. If you’re using professional artists paint, I suggest diluting its thickness with some water first.

Any paint brush will work, but do keep in mind different brushes create different strokes therefore, different looks. Experiment with them on another piece before working on the one you want to transform, so you get a sense of what kind of look you prefer.

If you do not have a paint spackle, you can use a regular butter knife to mix your mediums.

Your palette can be as simple as a paper plate, a piece of sanded and cleaned wood, a glass or glazed plate, parchment paper, or, my favorite, a sealed ceramic tile.

You can use regular dirt or potting soil or a combination of the two.

Your first attempt with a new technique should always be tested on a sample surface first. This way you’ll get familiar with the process without potentially ruining what you’re trying to reimagine.

Step 1:

- Decide what color you want your base to be.

- Mix in some baking soda, a little bit at a time, until you achieve the consistency you desire.

- Bare in mind that a little bit of baking soda will give you a light, sand-like grain, while more will give you a thicker, mud-like texture.

Step 2:

- Paint the entire surface of your glass object with a base coat using your paint/baking soda mixture.

- For a pottery wheel look, paint along the surface of your object in clean, even, horizontal lines.

- For an aged, terra cotta look, paint in multiple directions to create a nice, thick base that will layer beautifully.

- Keep in mind some of the glass will not cover completely in this first step - that is okay. Any remaining transparency will get covered in step 3.

- Allow your first coat to dry for approx. 15-20 minutes.

- It’s very important you allow the coats to fully dry in order to avoid scratching, knicking, or pulling off the paint in the remaining steps.

- Be sure to wash your instruments immediately, so as not to let the paint dry on your tools and ruin them. Acrylic paint dries very quickly so, I recommend washing up during your dry times.

Step 3:

- Apply a second coat in the same way you did the first, making sure to focus on any spots of transparency that remain.

- Continue to work with the same brush strokes as before for consistency.

- Allow another 15-20 minutes to dry.

- Remember to clean those tools during this time!

Step 4:

- Cover your work station with a large rag.

- Working in small sections, apply your second color of paint, paying attention to your brush stroke pattern(s) as you do.

- Immediately sprinkle dirt over the paint while still wet then GENTLY massage it in. It is very important you do this gingerly so as not to accidentally “sand” off any of the paint with small rocks or debris that may be hidden in your dirt.

- Keep in mind, this project is all about layering and playing. You can continue to add regular paint without baking soda or with, on top of areas you’ve already painted or massaged dirt into, so long as you allow adequate time to dry in between.

- Repeat this process until you’re happy with the look you’ve created.

Step 5:

- Secure with a clear coat, spray paint sealer, preferably in matte.

Step 6:

- Leave alone until dry to the touch.

- If you’d like to keep tweaking with your creation, you will still be able to do so even after the clear coat has been applied. It will simply act as another layer to build on top of. Always make sure to hit it with more seal if ever you do this however, as it acts like a glue that holds it all together.

And that's it! You're all done. Add your favorite flower arrangement or display as a decorative accent and marvel at the fruit of your labor!

Afraid to try it on your own? Make it with me in my step by step tutorial below.

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