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Every mad scientist needs jars and those jars need labels, and since I like to reuse my jars the jar labels would need to be re-writable. Luckily, making re-writable labels for glass jars is easy with chalkboard paint.

All you need to make your own chalkboard paint jars is chalkboard paint, painter's tape, and chalk. Not only will your jars be quickly relabeled, you'll easily be able to distinguish between your coffee beans,marshmallows, dried monkey brains, and whatever else you have stored in your jars. You'll have the cutest jars for your lab this side of the Bride of Frankenstein.

 
Enough talk, let's make some chalkboard paint jars!
 
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Step 1: Tools + materials

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tools:
  • foam paint brush
  • painters' / masking tape
  • straight-edged blade
materials:
  • clean glass jars
  • chalkboard paint
.

Step 2: Mask area

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Using painters tape or masking tape, masking off the area you want to make writable. Be creative with your area shape, it does not have to be a rectangle. You can just as easily make a circular or abstract pattern.

I made a few different rectangular shapes and one with two writable areas.

Step 3: Apply chalkboard paint

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Dip your foam brush into the paint and apply a thin coat to the masked area of your jars. I found that brushing around the curve of the jar achieves a more uniform coating than brushing top to bottom. 

It's easy to apply too much paint when doing this, so start with just a light coat and work your way up. Stand jars upright and leave until dry to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Step 4: Remove mask and clean edge

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After your paint has dried for at least 30 minutes it should be safe to remove the masking tape. Removing the tape while the paint is slightly tacky allows for a cleaner edge at the masked edges.

Using a straight-edged blade, gently scrape away any places where the paint bled under the mask or any other places on your jars. Go slow and work the blade away from yourself when possible.

Step 5: Mark with chalk

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Your chalk paint may not be totally dry yet after removing the masking tape. Dry time will vary depending on how thick your coats were applied. Your paint should be completely dry to the touch and no dark or wet looking patches anywhere. Mine took about an hour to completely dry, if in doubt let dry for another hour.

Now, fill your jars with whatever you like and mark the jar's contents with chalk! The application and marking for your jars are endless.


Did you make your own chalkboard paint jars? I want to see it!

Post your version of this project in the comments below and earn a free 3-month Pro Membership and a digital patch!

AmberP13 months ago
Recycled gallon glass olive jars from the local co-op cafe and old bulk spice jars. The chalkboard paint is amazing! Just waiting for the suggested 7 day cure time before labeling.
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mikeasaurus (author)  AmberP13 months ago

Looks so good! I hope you can share a picture when it's cured! Enjoy the Pro Membership.

ALALAK2 years ago
Hi! Great idea! In my opinion instead chalkboard paint can be used finely granular sandpaper.
rouble3 years ago
My biggest issue is getting the original labels off.

It seems that the people who sell stuff in jars make removing the labels deliberately difficult - so we are not encouraged to reuse their jars for storage.
elic rouble3 years ago
I use boiling water to melt the glue. I fill the jar with boiling water and wait for couple minutes to melt the glue.
You know what works amazingly? WD40. Yes, that stuff removes all sticky labels and I have been using it to remove old glue spots on mason jars too. Just apply and let it soak for at least an hour. If doesn't work perfectly the first time, do it again, it really does the job!
Great idea! But, I would use Pebeo Porcelaine 150 Chalkboard Black paint. You cure it in the oven, and voila, microwave and dishwasher safe!
I wonder if Mason Jars would hold up to the curing process (30 minutes in a 300F degree oven)
If you're pressure canning your jars they get pretty close to that hot, so I would expect so. It would be safest, however, to turn the oven off and let it cool before opening the door to remove them since a cold draft of air might cool them unevenly enough to shatter them.
creaky3 years ago
What an excellent idea! I never would have thought of this. I keep putting labels on my jars, then trying to peel them off and never getting the labels off.
sbaker123 years ago
I just tried this with the spray paint version and substituted masking tape with electrical tape (all I had) and it came out pretty well. Actual paint probably works a lot better, but it was easy and came out nicely! I never would have thought of this!
foobear3 years ago
interesting use for this stuff. does it survive washing?
bstorer3 years ago
Genius! Love it! This simple idea can be used in many different applications using glass.
Great Instructable! Thanks for sharing.
purplemoss3 years ago
Great idea and they look good ...but how well does the chalk hold up to repeated use?...I would assume it would wear off or smear when handled.
Great idea. Have you had any problems with the paint adhering to the glass? I wouldn't have thought it would but your pictures demonstrate otherwise! How's it stood up to the test of time?

In the past, I've made chalkboard paint from normal emulsion and tile grout, as suggested here: http://www.marthastewart.com/271574/custom-color-chalkboard-paint - Works great on wood, don't if it would work for this.
mikeasaurus (author)  leftfootleashed3 years ago
No problems with it adhering to glass. I thought the same thing before I started, but it worked really well. I've even hand washed the jars a few time and it's still stuck on there!

A single stoke with a wide brush works really well with making a uniform coat.
Good stuff, I'll give it a try.
depotdevoid3 years ago
Those look great! I was at the home depot the other day, every time I visit the paint section I think about this stuff, the dry erase paint, and the magnetic primer. This is a great use of the chalkboard paint.
mikeasaurus (author)  depotdevoid3 years ago
..they make dry erase paint? That's awesome!
Yeah, it's cool stuff! We've got to do some work on our kitchen, and I want to do a section of the wall in magnetic dry erase paint. Of course, I've got to replace the floor, cabinets, oven, counter tops, sink, and dishwasher first, so that's fairly low on the list of priorities.
bfk3 years ago
This is great! I've seen that paint in the store and wondered how I could use it... You've just given me the incentive to try it out. Thanks.
mikeasaurus (author)  bfk3 years ago
Great, post your results!
TheHawkeye3 years ago
Materialistic and Practical! What if you made chalk-board stickers so you could adhere them to whatever you want really quickly?
Cool I just won two jars for plaid chalkboard paint in an auction and had no idea of what to do with them. The cool thing is one is pink and one is green so I could do multi color!
U make very interesting things, I enjoy your work

I think you are really creative and inventive, very inspiring
mrmerino3 years ago
Oh man! Chalkboard paint! I loved that stuff. My aunt and uncle painted half of my baby cousin's wall with that stuff a few years ago. Then they moved like three months later.
ChrysN3 years ago
Smart! That would be really handy.
copperpot3 years ago
Love this idea!