DIY Vase Makeover Idea-Cheap and Easy

September 3, 2020

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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I decided to do a quick and easy project-changing an old vase I found in my storage room into a modern vase I could add to my decor. Four days later, I finally finished the vase! What a nightmare! So, why would I bring you a tutorial on a project that should only take a couple hours and for me took 4 days? Because I know all the things not to do and exactly what to do to get this right. And actually when I share it with you, you’re going to be shocked at how easy this is. And your question will be…Why was that so hard for you? I honestly don’t know. :(


(The best part about this project is, you probably have everything you need on-hand. :)  )

Here’s a quick look at the vases tucked away in my storage room…

2 glass vases

After setting up my workspace in the dining room and placing a piece of cardboard under my vase (this makes it easier to turn the vase while you’re painting), I mixed black paint (Sherwin Williams Historic Charleston Green, to be exact) with baking soda. A LOT of baking soda. No real measurement for how much I used. I just kept pouring until it was a thick syrup-like consistency….

lady pouring baking soda into a bowl

Ready to start painting. The key is to not be a perfectionist. Thicker coats of paint here and there with the brushstrokes going in a horizontal pattern produces the best results….

lady painting a vase black

Feel free to go back and add more texture, by just adding more paint to your vase. When you like what you see, let it sit to dry….

Painted vase black with texture

It was such a hot day, so I set my vases outside to dry. They were dry in no time!!

two vases outside with paint drying

And here’s where everything went wrong! I was already loving the texture of the vases, but really wanted the mud technique effect. So, after ruining the first vase and having to start all over, I decided not to touch the other one. So happy I did! I love the texture of this vase and knew I would like it with the other vase once I figured out the technique….(Never mind my ridiculous look here :(  )

lady standing behind black pot

After spraying this vase with matte poly and letting it dry, it was good to go! Perfect! I especially love the texture the baking soda gave it!


ATTEMPT 1 (Fail): I added water to potting soil and painted the wet soil onto my painted vase. I then set it outside to dry completely….

black vase with mud on it

Once it was dry, I attempted to sand it down, hoping to achieve the mud technique look….it didn’t happen. I was back to square one :(

girl outside with black glass pot

ATTEMPT 2 (Fail): Potting soil didn’t work, so let’s try topsoil. I thought this would work because it didn’t have the fertilizer granules in it and it was more of a sandy texture. But I was wrong. :( After painting on the very wet topsoil and letting it sit for only a couple minutes this time, I used a wet cloth to wipe the excess mud off the vase. And then I wanted to cry…the paint started coming off!

black paint coming off vase

It literally came off in one big blanket. So irritating!!  :(

Black paint coming off vase in one big blanket


ATTEMPT 3 (Fail): I tried painting kilz on the vase first…

girl painting primer on glass vase

And it was still a fail! It peeled AGAIN!

ATTEMPT 4 (Success!!!): Ditch the Kilz and the paint! Time to go with something thicker…spackling. I rubbed spackling all over the vase and could see the vision coming together. I loved the texture! (You could also use plaster…just anything that will give it texture when it dries)

spackling on glass pot

Once the spackling dried, I sprayed Matte Black Spray Paint all over the vase….

spray painting a black pot

While the spray paint was still wet, I threw sand that I gathered in a bucket from outside, onto the vase. I literally threw the sand on the vase, randomly….

sand on black vase

After letting that sit for a few minutes, I wiped off any excess sand and then sprayed it with poly. AND I LOVED IT!!!

So, what was supposed to be a mud technique, turned into a sand technique. I would still like to figure out the mud technique and have learned that Garden Lime is the best product to use for that method. But, I feel like I got very similar results using the sand.

black vase with sand technique completed

Both of these vases look awesome on my newly refinished dresser in my new master bathroom makeover….

black dresser with 2 vases on top of it

I hope you’ll try this fun DIY on one of your old vases laying around or maybe one you pick up at Goodwill. Thankfully, it won’t take you 4 days to get this look! But rather, just a matter of hours and that includes the dry time :) ….

Two vases with a planter in front of them


Until next week,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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