If you are anything like me, you likely have several plain vases sitting in a cabinet somewhere, just waiting to see the light of day. Well, it’s time to bring new life back into those vases. From the basic florist vases to the thrift store pottery, they can all use a bit of sprucing up. In fact, I bet you they are yearning to be repurposed. So, what if I told you how easy it is to paint an old vase to make it look like an expensive terracotta masterpiece? You can, and it’s quick and easy to do inexpensively. So follow along for a step-by-step DIY guide on how to Paint a Vase with Acrylic Paint.

Supplies Needed

Let’s start by gathering all the supplies and materials needed.

  • Acrylic Paint (any paint color including neutral or vibrant colors – your choice) – paint can be mixed to create the desired color.
  • Baking Powder (to give it a clay matte finish)
  • Vase (Any glass or ceramic kind will work)
  • Small paint brush
  • Cloth Rags or Paper Towel
  • Craft Stick
  • Glass Container (for stirring paint mix)

supplies needed to paint terracotta

Time to DIY

Step 1. Select your Vase

First things first, find the style of vase that you want. If you don’t have any vases handy, head to your local thrift store or dollar store and try spending a couple dollars. There’s usually an abundance of vases available in all different patterns, shapes, and sizes for as little as $1. And don’t be shy about the price because I promise you that once you are done, no one will know you bought a Dollar Tree vase. Besides, dollar store vases are great for this type of DIY project – not to mention, vases make some of the best Home Decor Items to purchase used.

glass vase

Step 2. Clean the Vase

The next step is to clean the vase thoroughly by wiping it down or washing it, then patting it completely dry.  Remove any and all tags or stickers. You want a clean surface to work with to ensure the paint sticks.

Step 2 – Mix the Ingredients

Start by adding the acrylic paint to the container. I eyeballed it and squeezed the desired amount, but one cup of paint is fine. Then add two tablespoons of baking powder to your desired acrylic paint for every cup of paint in a container. Mix the contents together (using a craft stick) until it has been evenly distributed. You can add more baking powder to the container if you prefer thicker paint results. I played around with several acrylic paint colors mixing a darker color with a lighter color. I used the white paint in some instances to tone down the color I created. Because terracotta is a complex color with brown undertones, it may take some mixing before you get the shade you want.

Step 3. Apply the Mix

Apply the first coat of paint mix to the outside of the entire vase using a small paintbrush. Pay attention to your brush strokes and paint in one direction as the brush may leave behind some brush marks and streaks. Don’t forget to cover and paint the bottom of the vase, as this part can sometimes get easily missed. Try adding a little bit of paint on the inside of the vase to create cohesiveness. Excess drips may happen, so if the paint drips, just clean it up with the rag.

ingredient mix for terracotta vases

Step 4. Let it Dry

The drying time should take anywhere from 1-2 hours to complete for the first coat. Give it the time it needs to dry completely.

Step 5. Paint a Second Coat

Two coats of paint should suffice, but a third paint coat is appropriate if you want more texture. The number of coats will depend on the look and finish you are going for. Then let it dry overnight for best results.

Acrylic painted vases that look like terracotta

And there you have it – modern-looking terracotta painted vase. What a work of art!? And no baking method is required. It is important to note that this process can also be done on any bottle (including wine bottles), glass jars, or plant pots. However, I used a combination of plain glass vases to DIY and an old dated ceramic vase. These new DIYed ceramic-looking glass items are also great for Styling your Bookshelves.

Don’t have Baking Powder?

If you don’t have baking powder, you can substitute it with baking soda. Baking soda will provide very similar results as baking powder. While you won’t notice a huge difference between the two, I used the baking powder because it is thicker and provides a more realistic ceramic appearance. However, the choice is yours to make.

So, what are you waiting for? Try out this project with the girls or guys on paint night at your house – they will love the art lesson. Glass painting and upcycling can be lots of fun.

Other ways to upcycle your vase using different techniques

There are a couple of other ways that you can DIY your vase.

Spray Paint

Another quick, easy, and budget-friendly way is to spray paint the outside of the vase. You can find spray paint at any local home improvement store or craft store such as Hobby Lobby. A matte or chalky finish color would be ideal as it is an easy way to get a more modern trendy look. You could even go for a two-tone vibe by using painter’s tape to cover part of the vase and simply spray paint the uncovered half to create the two-tone.

Wrap it with Twine

I love twine, and twine is a very crafty material. You can get twine for $1 from the Dollar Store. You can wrap any jar or vase with twine and attach the twine using glue. Super easy and quick. This is a great way to create a shabby chic farmhouse decor.

Metallic Craft Paper

Do you have any metallic craft paper or craft paper with a floral pattern? Of course, you do. You can use a piece of craft paper (different colors are fine as well) and wrap it around the vase and glue it down. That’s it. Simple

I hope you have been inspired. Please don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts by commenting below. Feel free also to follow me on my social media pages – Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to my mailing list for other design inspiration and home decor ideas.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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