How to paint glass bottles and turn them into vases - a step-by-step guide

Transform unused glass containers into colourful vases for displaying a beautiful array of end of summer blooms

colourfully painted glass milk bottles filled with flowers
(Image credit: Future/Kasia Fizser)

September brings with it the last wave of summer flowers – think dahlias, chrysanthemums and asters – so make the most of the late blooms with these quaint recycled bottle vases. 

This easy DIY project can be applied to glass vessels of any shape and size, from milk bottles to jam jars. It is ideal for using up leftover paint from those paint ideas.

You will need

colourfully painted glass milk bottles filled with flowers

(Image credit: Future/Kasia Fiszer)

How to paint recycled glass bottles

Really straightforward and effective, you can easily create a multi-coloured display that you can use to display all your favourite blooms.

This is a great project to do f you're wondering what to do with leftover paint, especially if you don't have lots left.


Open cans of paint

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Create a stand for the bottle

Start by creating a stand for your bottle – this makes painting easier and means you can access all sides of the bottle. Secure the stick or piece of dowling into a large lump of sticky tack or modelling clay so that it stands by itself. 

The stick should be long enough that the lip of the bottle won’t touch the sticky tack/modelling clay when placed upside down.

2. Clean the bottle to ensure the paint sticks

Place the bottle on the stand and wipe the outside with kitchen roll and acetone. This will remove any grease residue that will stop the paint from sticking. Let it air dry – this will only take a few minutes. 

Do not touch the bottle with your fingers once dry as this can stop the paint from adhering. 

3. Apply primer

The next step is to apply a shellac-based primer; this will help the paint to stick and prevent it from peeling. Follow the specific instructions for the product in terms of coats and drying time. It can take between 24 and 72 hours.

4. Apply two coats of paint

Person painting glass bottle a pastel colour

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Once the primer is set, it is time to paint. Apply a coat of the paint, covering the sides and base of the bottle, and then leave to dry while it is still on the stand. Let the first coat of paint dry to the touch before applying a second coat. Leave it to dry for 72 hours.

5. Seal the paint with a sealer

Seal the paint with a sealer, such as the spray-on Rust-Oleum Crystal Clear Matt, which provides a protective finish. Allow this to thoroughly dry before use.

6. Let dry then create you display

Fill the bottles with water and display your favourite late summer blooms – ideal if you have a cut flower patch or just want to enjoy some blooms from your cottage garden.

Holly Reaney
Content Editor

Holly is one of Ideal Home’s content editors. Starting her career in 2018 as a feature writer and sub-editor for Period Living magazine, she has continued this role also adding regular features for Country Homes & Interiors and the Ideal Home website to her roster.  Holly has a passion for traditional and country-inspired interiors – especially kitchen design – and is happiest when exploring the countryside and hills of the Lake District. A keen gardener, she is a strong believer that you can never have too many houseplants.