Chalkboard Jars

A quick visit to Pinterest and it is easy to see that mason jars are a household essential. Of all the crafty applications out there I was most excited to try chalkboard paint labels on a few jars. As I mentioned in a previous post, you can get great deals when you buy bulk food but the lack of packaging can lead to a tangled heap of plastic bags in the pantry. Storing dry goods in jars keeps everything neat and tidy and the clear container helps you remember what you have so you don’t double buy or let things go to waste.

Today I have two quick and easy tutorials for you: chalkboard jars and chalkboard lids. The jars are great for labeling even when you don’t need a lid. I use one for small craft supplies that I don’t want to misplace like my x-acto knife, glue stick and scissors. The chalkboard lids are a great way to re-use lids that have already sealed a jar. They won’t seal again but they remain airtight and with a coat (or three) of chalkboard paint you turn a single-use item into a multi-use item.

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Here’s what you will need:
Mason jars, quart size
Flat jar lids & rings, preferably used
Chalkboard paint (I used Transform Mason chalkboard paint by Ball)
Paint brush
Paint palette (I prefer a clean yogurt cup rescued from the recycle bin)
Scotch Blue painter’s tape, 1 7/8” wide

Chalkboard Jars

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Every jar has a smooth side, a logo side and a side seam where the two halves were fused together. Naturally you will paint the smooth side of the jar but getting a perfectly even, consistently sized place to paint isn’t as easy as it looks. The best way to get even paint lines every time is to line up your tape with the side seam. From there, move on to the top of the jar. This is the trickiest part because there is a big difference between the jar and the neck, however creating a piece of painter’s tape one and a half times the width of your side seam tape and measuring up from the countertop will put your paint line in the perfect spot. Finally measuring from the counter top and applying 1 width of tape to the bottom gives you a perfect square to work with.

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Apply chalkboard paint in thin, even coats allowing to dry for a few minutes between applications. After the third coat allow at least one hour drying time before you write on it with chalk. The first coat goes on very thin and the glass shows through — I thought perhaps there was a problem but after I applied the second coat it evened out nicely. When the paint is completely dry you may hand wash or use the dishwasher top rack. Avoid direct contact with the food in painted areas. Although the manufacturer doesn’t specifically call it out, I do not recommend using these for water bath canning. Once you chalkboard paint a jar it is best to reserve it for dry goods only.

Chalkboard Lids

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Making chalkboard lids is even easier than making jars. For this all you need to do is paint a used flat jar lid with three even coats of chalkboard paint and as with the jars allow at least one hour drying time after you apply the third coat. The advantage to painting used lids instead of jars is that you would still be able to use the jars in water bath canning with new lids. If you have a limited number of jars or need to keep them in the canning rotation, chalkboard lids might be the right choice for you.

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If you try this project please let us know. What other mason jar or chalkboard paint projects have you done? Share your tips, tricks and ideas here.

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6 Responses to “Chalkboard Jars”

  1. Scott says:

    Lol I have never thought of this. It is a genius idea. You ladies sure are crafty

  2. Love it! The idea of putting the paint on the lids for labeling is awesome :) It’d be a super creative way to label jars if you had products in them to sell, as an alternative to using a sticker-type label :)

    • Amanda, that’s a great idea. I recently hot water bath canned some fresh peaches for myself and the other Wilderness Girls. I ended up using a cupcake paper under the ring to make a cute label that said, “You’re a peach!” but a little chalkboard paint on the finished jar would have been a perfect idea. They would have been able to reuse the jar for something else plus I would have saved the paper cupcake liner. You’ve given me my next tip to make homemade gifts just a little more sustainable.

      Thanks for the tip and thanks for reading!

  3. Cristin Vosburgh says:

    Hi there! I did a search for the specific paint (that you also used!). When I clean off the chalk the pain comes off! We waited 24 hours before writing on it….upon wiping it off the paint comes off as well. We cured it in the oven for 30 minutes and let it cool, again trying to write on it and upon wiping off the chalk the paint comes off again! Did you do anything specific that I am obviously leaving out?

    • thewildernessgirls says:

      Dear Cristin –

      I’m so sorry to hear you are having trouble with the paint. I washed my jars in hot, soapy water first and dried them thoroughly with paper towel to make sure there was no residue of any kind on the surface. Next I taped them off and applied three thin layers of chalkboard paint with a foam brush, allowing it to dry really well between coats. I never considered curing them in the oven, but that’s a good idea.

      I haven’t had any problems with the paint coming off the jars, even with handwashing in hot water. The paint says they’re dishwasher safe, but I haven’t tried that yet. If I am not washing them, I generally use a dry paper towel to wipe off the chalk because I like the look of that little bit of chalk dust that gets left behind. I haven’t lost any paint with either method, though I do try to be gentle. The lids, however are another story – I have lost paint from those. A few times I used a sharp, new piece of chalk and pressed too hard so the edge of the chalk gouged my paint finish. I’ve since learned to snap new pieces of chalk in half so the writing edge isn’t so rigid and that seems to have resolved the problem.

      My suggestion is to try once more with a super-clean, absolutely dry jar. Use a foam brush to minimize brush strokes and apply the paint in thin, thin layers. When I did my first jar I thought for sure that it wasn’t going to work because I could see through the paint completely on the first couple of layers. If you have to go 4 layers, that’s OK. The key, I think, is to be sure the paint is all the way dry before you go over it again. If I remember correctly, the manufacturer recommended an hour between coats. If that doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll get out my paint and a few jars and we can experiment till we get it figured out.

      Thanks for reading The Wilderness Girls and for trying this DIY. I hope this helps and the project works better next time.


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