Monday, July 1, 2013

Upcycle // Cool Jars Series - Part II

It's time to do something with all those jars and bottles that you've been saving for the odd project or two. For the last couple of weeks, I've been trying to come up with some new ways to beautify old glass vessels (in this case, former salsa jars). For my first project, I experimented with alcohol inks. This time I decided to try my hand at printing on tissue paper to create these translucent photo vases. 

I used flowers, but I think these would also turn out great with family, pet or cute animal photos. 

Click "Read more" for the tutorial

DIY Tissue Paper Photo Vases

materials needed:
jar or other glass vessel
ink jet printer
photo editing software
printer paper
white tissue paper
mod podge (I used matte)


1. Measure your jar and determine the photo size you will need to cover it completely. Unless you plan on patching, ideally, your photo should be no larger than 9.5 x 7 inches. Crop the photo to size (mine measures 9 x 5).

In Photoshop... [image > crop > enter photo dimensions in width/height boxes at top of screen]

2. Prepare to print your photo.

In Photoshop... [file > print > print size should be same dimensions as your cropped photo > print]

1. Prep your tissue paper. Tape the tissue paper to the center of a piece of printer paper, shiny side up. Tape down the edges and pull the paper taut to eliminate wrinkles and loose edges. Make sure to place the tape on the very edge of the paper so that it's not accidentally printed on.

2. Run the paper through your ink jet printer. My printer does not have a bypass, but it worked fine going through the paper tray. Double check to see what side of the paper is printed on. For my HP, I have to load the paper face-down. Hit Print. Then clasp your hands in anticipation. :)

3. Let the ink dry, then cut out your picture. I didn't bother removing the tape, just cut directly through the printer paper & tissue paper.

4. Using a foam sponge, dab on a straight line of mod podge. I used a seam on the glass to keep my "glue line" as straight as possible. Use glue sparingly, just in case you need to reposition the tissue paper. If you put on too much glue, the tissue paper will disintegrate.

5. When you are happy with the placement of the tissue paper, brush on a little bit more Mod Podge on the glass and pull the paper taut, smoothing down as you go.

6. Keep working your way around the jar, a little at a time... gluing and smoothing. When you're through, let it dry before adding the top coat. The tissue paper is pretty delicate when wet, so you'll want to wait for the glue to dry before adding the sealing layer of mod podge.

7. Lightly brush on the mod podge sealant. Let it dry completely before handling.

The finished photo jars...

Vase by day...

Votive by night...

1) When adhering the tissue paper to the jar, make sure to pull the paper taut and glue down a little at a time. I didn't do that with the dahlia vase (big purple flower) and the wrinkles are more evident.
2) Unless you're going for a soft look, use photos with defining lines or bold colors. The two vases with purple flowers are much more dramatic than the softer white flowers. In some lights, it's hard to see what the print is.
3) Use white tissue paper. I used light pink tissue paper on the vase with the white flowers (ran out of white), and the colors are more muddled. Just my opinion though.

Have fun creating!

photo source//
dahlia photo via petr kratochvil on public domain photos
wild flower photo via george hodan on public domain photos
white blossom photo via larisa koshkina on public domain photos