Craft Time: DIY Chalkboard Jars

I’m incredibly excited to share this DIY tutorial.

It all started last week when I saw some pantry organization pictures over at Just Pleased as Punch.

Our pantry is an unorganized slopfest. I loved the way she used dollar store canisters and thrift store finds to hold food items and created custom labels using her Cri-cut. I looked up Cri-cuts immediately– but they aren’t cheap, and I was sad.

Then I remembered all of the Pinterest pins I’d seen where people took dollar store canisters, mason jars, etc. and slapped on some chalkboard paint. So, I excitedly e mailed Yuseff and told him that we needed to make a dollar store run to buy glass containers.

His response: We already have jars laying all over the house. Use those first.

I wasn’t initially thrilled with this idea. All of the jars had company logos on the lids, and that just wasn’t going to be pretty.

But I decided to paint the lids black to try and create uniformity.

And apparently… when you use regular acrylic paint to paint the lid, you still get the chalkboard effect. And since every ounce of my chalkboard paint cost four-times as much as the plain ol’ acrylic, this little tip can definitely save you money, especially since almost everybody has a bottle of it just laying around somewhere.

The project is pretty self explanatory, but here are the tips and tricks that I picked up along the way:

What You Need:

Empty Food Jars

Black Acrylic Paint. Black Chalkboard Paint. Foam Brushes


My friend Gabrielle did a guest post here at By the (cook)Book on stenciling, but I still struggled with this. I tried three methods:

Method 1: Masking Tape. Once my patience started to run out, I abandoned the fancy labels and just taped off rectangles. It still looks great and was definitely the best choice for the enormous pickle jar and the weirdly shaped maraschino cherry jars.

Method 2: Paper Stencils. For this method, I printed label templates that I found somewhere in the deep recesses of the internet. then I folded each label down the middle and cut out the shape. I reenforced the edges with scotch tape. This worked pretty well, but some paint did bleed under the edges. It was easily cleaned up using a q-tip dipped in nail polish remover.

Method 3: Masking Tape Stencils. This was the most labor intensive method, but it worked better than the paper stencil. I only did it on one jar, because even though it looked the nicest, I couldn’t bring myself to make any more stencils.

For this method, make a square on the counter out of tape. Lay the pattern on top and trace. Then cut the pattern on the tape and arrange it on the jar.

Painting the Jars:

I thought this part would be as easy as swiping the brush along the glass. I was totally wrong. Glass is non-porous, so the paint doesn’t cover easily.

The best method is to first use the plain black acrylic paint and apply it using a stippling motion. Once dry apply a second coat– again stipple. Once the second coat dries, you can apply your first coat of chalkboard paint using the stippling motion. Finally, once that dries, apply a smooth coat of chalkboard paint. After the last coat dries, carefully remove the stencil.

Stippling adds texture for the subsequent coats to grip

Yes. I filled some jars before finishing the project. I was THAT enthusiastic

Painting the Lids:

Like I said above, no chalkboard paint needed. Just apply three coats of acrylic paint to the lid (NOTE: All of these are metal lids. I don’t know if this would work on a plastic lid).

You will do the first two coats with the stippling method, and then the top coat will be the smooth strokes.

Chalk it Up:

Before writing on the labels, rub the painted area with the side of the chalk. Wipe it off using a chalkboard eraser, a paper towel, or your finger (I just used my finger). Then go ahead and write!

To label the lids, I didn’t bother rubbing the chalk over it. Just write away!

What do you think of this project? Will you be trying it out?

12 thoughts on “Craft Time: DIY Chalkboard Jars


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  4. just curious, did you have trouble with the paint not wanting to stick to the glass? I tried this, but the edges of the paint peeled up when I removed the tape and then it was very easy to rub/roll the paint right off of the jar. Did you prep the glass in any way first? Thanks for the idea, I look forward to making it work!

    • Hmm… The only thing I can think of is to not paint over the tape, just use it as a guide and paint to the edge, but not over it. Think of it as coloring inside the lines.
      When we painted our kitchen, I painted over the tape in some areas and the same thing happened. And now our walls have some bald spots around the edges.

      Other than that, I didn’t do anything to the glass other than clean it really well with soap and water and a brillo pad (to remove the labels). Although now that I think about it, the steel wool may have roughed up the surface to allow the paint to stick!

      Good luck! I hope your second attempt does the trick! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  5. This is such a great idea! I’m always saving and reusing jars (I give cookie mix and spiced nuts in them at Christmas) but I never thought of using them as canisters! I can’t wait to give this a try. 🙂

  6. This is a great idea. I’m an educator on a budget. Every year I theme up my classroom based on what I’m teaching. This year. ..café. The jars I create will be pencil and marker holders. “Serving up Success” is my motto…Thank you for this inexpensive idea.😉

  7. I did the jars and they came out perfectly. What I did differently after reading this. I went to Walmart and purchased the stickers for $1 that resembles the label. Created a template on an index card and used the gold and silver Elmer’s Painters Opaque Markers to outline on the jars. Then paint in the lines. No worries about the edges peeling.

  8. I loved your idea so I decided to try it. I painted the lids with black spray paint I had left over from another project and it worked great. A few seconds and one coat later and they were done. I also saw some adhesive chalkboard paper in the dollar section of Target and used that for the labels. Super easy! I wanted to share these short cuts with you in case you make more jars as my way of saying Thanks for this great idea. My pantry looks awesome now.

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