Potter's Field

We are almost doing pottery, but there's no clay involved?

Whoopi Goldberg Won the Oscar For Ghost,

Okay, that’s not my usual sign-on but I was interviewing someone recently for an article who told me how much it meant to them when Whoopi won for Color Purple and simple that did not happen and I didn’t correct them. Also, we are doing pottery today. 

Well, we are kind of doing pottery today. I promised this would be an accessible one and pottery is not too accessible so this is more of a faux-pottery hack. Using only paint and baking powder, you can change glass into faux-pottery. This hack has been all over TikTok so my gen-z readers (if I have any of those) might have already seen this, but hopefully, I do a new spin on it. 

A little background, I love glass decore. I think glass looks great in a house. I can prove it, just look. 

But the trend right now is this kind of minimalist pottery, especially when it comes to vases or decore. 

Now, when I have seen this trend on TikTok, people usually start by going to the thrift store and picking out glass vases or jugs to paint. I decided to use things that were already in my house. This might have been a mistake because mine came out a little less graceful than others I have seen, but it was free and you know I love a recycled craft. 

So I started with a glass Jarritos Lime bottle and the bottle for a fancy whiskey that my friend David had given me for a birthday last year. I made sure to take all the stickers off, rinsed them off inside and out, and was left with two clean glass bottles. 

Then it was time to get the paint ready. I started with a base of white acrylic paint and added a touch of burnt sienna. I would start with a very small amount of colored paint because most potteries have a whitish undertone. You can always add more white or color until you get your desired shade. 

When you like your color, it’s time to add baking powder. I would try for about a 3:1 or a 4:1 ratio of paint to baking powder. Add the baking powder slowly and keep mixing. If it starts to clump, stop.

The first layer of paint I put down had too much baking powder (originally I did about a 2:1) and it was really hard to get it on the glass. Your first coat should be mostly paint, but you can slowly add more baking powder to your paint after each coat which will make the end product look more textured and coarse. I would suggest using a large paintbrush. I used a medium brush and it left more brush strokes on the piece than I would have liked and each layer also took longer. 

This was after my first coat. You can see a lot of glass peeking through. I had to do about three coats to get these fully covered. It is important to let the first coat completely dry before adding the second layer. I let mine dry overnight, but about two hours should be fine. If you try to add the second layer before the first one is completely dry, it will smudge or even take off the paint. You might have noticed the saran wrap over the paint pallet I was using. I had extra paint after the first layer so I wrapped it to keep it wet so I could use it the next day for the second layer (though in the end, I had to mix up a second batch to complete the additional layers.)

This is what mine looked after 3 coats of paint. Technically they were done but, I had an issue with it, I didn’t like them. This was the moment I realized why most people buy vases for this craft. They still looked too much like bottles and I felt really bad about how they looked. I even asked my boyfriend, “are these good enough for Craft Cult? I don’t think they are.” I always knew sooner or later I would get into deep into a craft and not think it was good enough for this newsletter and end up not featuring it here, but there was something about these that I didn’t want to give up on. So while most of the trendy TikTok vases end the process here, I decided to keep going. 

Now if you do this craft and you like where these are now: great stop! I think that’s a big thing they don’t tell you about crafting, a craft can always be done or you can always choose to do more. And it’s part of the reason I like crafts so much. I think a big reason that I didn’t like the bottles at this stage, is that I don’t actually really like minimalism. My house is super loud and we have a ton of weird decore. So maybe was never going to be happy with simple pottery vases. 

So I decided I would share the two ways I decorated these bottles, which honestly, made this craft a lot more fun for me and made me like the finished product so much more. 

The first decoration idea mostly started as a joke. I joked to a friend that I was going to paint the muses from the 1997 Disney musical, Hercules on one of them. 

But the visual in my head became too funny and I did it. Now, I am not saying that you should paint the 1990s cartoon characters on yours, but adding decorative painting on them is super fun and a great way to involve kids in this project. I started by sketching out what I wanted to put on the bottle (if you are better at free handing than I am you can also do that and skip the next couple of steps.) I then taped the sketch to the bottle and traced over my pencil lines with a sharpie and let the ink soak through the paper. 

This left a vague outline of the sketch when I took off the paper. I then started to paint the outlined sections. I used a pretty neutral pallet and didn’t do too many details a nod to the minimalism that I had originally wanted for this project. 

For this step, I used pure acrylic without adding baking powder just because it went on a lot easier and was far more manageable for the small areas. Plus, the texture should still come through from the base layer of paint.

This one turned out pretty silly, so for the second one, I decided to go a little more upscale. (Though the first one makes me laugh harder.) I decided to spray paint the second with Metallic Rustoleum. To prep the piece I taped off the part I wanted the paint to end. Painters tape is probably the best to use, but I didn’t have any so I used some washi tape. Mostly because I knew it was gentle enough not to take off the base paint when I took it off. 

I let the paint dry for just a couple seconds (it was spray paint so it dried fast, you can also do this with acrylic, but it will take a lot longer to dry and it’s harder to get an even coat).  I was pretty cocky and thought my spray skills were good enough not to have to cover the top part of the vase with paper to try to protect it from back spray. Most people usually do this when spray painting, but I didn’t which was a bit of a mistake, so when I took off the tape, I had a little metallic paint splash on top too above the tape line. 

This was an easy fix however,  I just added a little bit more acrylic/baking powder paint on top of the golden mistake. I left a little, just because I liked some imperfections, but you can also fully cover those mistakes. Once that dried I had a good line again. I also ended up spray painting the cap of the whiskey bottle to match. 

In the end, I am glad I didn’t give up on these because I think they turned out pretty fun. If you do this craft, I would love to see how you decorate them!

So I know I usually end on a bummer note and there are so many bummers happening right now. But this one I wanted to end a little differently because I think it’s a cool thing for those interested. The University of Alberta is offering a 100% free college course on the Indigenous history of Canada. It starts today and you can enroll here. Americans do not learn enough about first nations or their people in our country. I was lucky to grow up in California where we at least cover some of it. But the truth is we live on stolen land and a lot of us don’t know much about it. Since we are (or at least should mostly still) be stuck inside, this could be a really cool learning opportunity for those of us who haven’t been able to learn too much about history in the Americas. I know it’s Canadian, but it’s a start. It also wouldn’t be right to end this letter without mentioning Kenosha. If you don’t know what’s happening there, here’s a link that has some info. If you want to help Jacob Blake and his family and are not based in Wisconsin, here’s a link to ways to help. 

As always, stay safe and stay crafting.