Upcycling vases and vessels

Vases and vessels are some of the decor items I love so much. That’s probably because I love adding florals and plants to my home in every season. And it’s also so fun to style, they go just about anywhere, from shelves, dining table, coffee table, bathroom vanity, sideboard, floor and so on. One way to various styles and sizes is to upcycle vases and vessels.

vintage vase on marble column-round brass mirror-art-greenery

One reason why is that buying vases could be quite pricey, especially some that are organic, antique and oversized. So, I thrift many of them and upcycle them. It’s super budget-friendly, better for the environment and allows for many changes if you like to switch things often.

There are so many ways to upcycle vases and vessels, the key is just to get creative and try. I am sharing a few ways I have tried some and loved. Some I have seen others do and have tried, others I have explored myself.

Spray Paint

The easiest! There’s nothing like spray paint and the possibilities are huge as well! It is also a very inexpensive way to upcycle something thrifted or something you don’t like anymore. Most of the time, you just need to properly clean your item before spray painting. Work in small areas and let dry before using. Rustoleum is my favorite brand for spray paint, and they have so many finishes like matte paint, stone effect, concrete effect and much more! They are easily found in any hardware store.

Baking Soda, Paint and mud

Probably one of the simplest and most effective way to upcycle anything by giving it texture.

Simply mix baking soda with paint (usually acrylic works best) and paint over anything you like. Layer some wet mud, let it dry and wipe excess for an uneven look. You can also skip the baking soda or do baking soda and paint alone.

The ratio totally depends on the effect you want to have, the more baking soda, the more grainy the result will be.


Sand and Paint

Super simple, this method will give you a sandstone effect with a lot of texture. I love using it mostly on planters.

Simply mix some fine sand and your preferred acrylic color paint, and use a brush to dab the mixture onto your surface.

You’ll be getting a very organic, uneven texture similar to a stone planter that has been left outdoors.

Papier Mache, Spray Paint and Cinnamon

I used this technique to achieve texture as well as an aged and worn out look. The papier mache is great for texture.

I mixed it with some Plaster of Paris and dabbed it unevenly all over the vase. I then let it dry and spray painted it black with Rustoleum matte black.

Then I rubbed dirt, let dry, removed excess with a dry lint free cloth. I took some cinnamon and rubbed in various small spots to simulate a rust effect.

Patina Effect with Paint

You want a worn out, patina’ed effect similar to vessels that have been left outdoors and have aged with weather conditions? Use a combination of paint colors to layer and create this effect. The colors that’ll help you achieve this look are black, grey, greige, brown. When you finish working your piece and the paint is dry, you’ll use a green paint to dab in various small spots and wipe right after. This is what will give the patina effect.

Plaster of Paris

This is another easy method that give a lot of texture and a mat, organic effect.

There are two things to keep in mind with Plaster of Paris.

First, your surface should be a rough one, so it won’t work on plastic and glass unless you sand the surface. The other thing is that it dries very fast, so it is best to work in small batches if you have a large surface to cover or if you can’t work with it fast enough.

I always like to paint over it even if it’s a white color, but you can also keep it as is.

Joint Compound

Joint compound is so easy to use, you just need to rub it over your surface and texturize it the way you want. You can sand it to your liking when it dries and paint over it as well.

Air Dry Clay – Stone effect or regular

Air dry clay is another material I love, but it can also be a bit tricky to work with. When too thin, it may crack while drying. You often need to smooth the surface with some water and your fingers at different times during the drying phase to remove the cracks. It also give an organic feel and can be used to create shapes but also to cover vases and other.

Just like regular air dry clay, the stone effect is a grey colour clay. Give your vase a light sand with a 220 grit paper and white it clean.

Apply the clay over the surface ensuring it is thick enough so it does not crack, use water to smooth the surface and any cracks along the way. Let it dry.

You can either leave it as is in a light greyish look or paint it. I mixed water and white acrylic paint and applied in circular motions on this one.

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