How to Give Ordinary Glass Vases a Distressed Clay Look

Brandi Milloy, host of our video series Simply, shares an easy DIY project for turning boring glass vases and vessels into something display-worthy.

You can't look at any home decor show, Instagram, or Pinterest without seeing gorgeous clay vases. Whether they are used for dried flowers, fresh flowers, or a decor element on open shelving, they are everywhere! And I want every single one of them!

The most recognizable versions—made popular by Studio McGee—are the jug-shaped pots that have this weathered antique quality, and just the right amount of a handmade and distressed vibe. But at $300 for the medium size, they're a bit out of my budget—so I set out to conquer a DIY version. What I came up with costs just dollars to create and is so impressive, I dare to say you can't tell the difference.

Step 1: Find a glass vase with an interesting shape

To start this DIY project, I thrifted a few vases and jars from Goodwill. The biggest tip here is to focus on shape, not aesthetic. Those glass vases your 1-800-flowers come in are perfect for this, but you might find a really cool cookie jar or lamp base that works. Wash them thoroughly and dry.

Step 2: Prepare your paint mixture

I decided to make black my main color (or lack of color?) and remembered I had leftover black paint in my garage from a recent home project. Choose one latex or acrylic paint color as your hero—just make sure it's not oil-based. The hack for creating a paint that has texture and a chalk-like look is to mix 1 cup of paint with ¼ cup baking soda. It will give you a beautiful matte finish with a ton of texture.

Step 3: Paint two coats of your base color

Start by painting one coat of the paint mixture onto your vase, and let it dry. Add at least one more coat to achieve the desired look.

Step 4: Add texture

Once you've painted two coats onto your vases and you've allowed them to dry, use chalk or mud to give your vases dimension and an antique finish. I used white and tan chalk to draw swirls on my vases, and then used my hand to rub and wipe half of it off. Using mud and sand, I spread a little on my vases and rubbed in whatever stuck. Add more to get your desired look. Allow your vase to dry completely and you're done!

Step 5: Style your vases

This project is so easy, but completely impressive! I styled my vases with a mixture of dried flowers, eucalyptus, and pampas grass, and they look just like authentic antique clay vases you would get from any boutique or specialty shop. I love how they look solo or grouped together as a centerpiece. These add such a beautiful decor element to my home and I can't wait to try the project again using a different paint color. Terracotta anyone? Milky seafoam green? A faux cement gray? The possibilities are endless! Check out the video for the full tutorial and major inspo.

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