Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to Paint a Vintage Ceramic Vase

The other day I found an old and very ugly mustard coloured vintage vase at Vinnies. I was having a little browse while my son was having his haircut at the barbers next door and I didn't expect to find much but grabbed two bargains, this vase and a tin planter that I'm currently using as the garbage bin next to my desk.

The little orange heart print was an engagement present from my two best friends. It looks good next to the orange roses.

The vase has lovely scrolly details on it. 

Here's what I started with.
(and don't you just love the bright blue carpet at Rozelle Vinnies!)

To paint this I just gave it a good wash and got out all the rubbish that was stuffed down inside it.  I then made sure it was thoroughly dry and put it on an old t-towel that didn't matter it is got a little paint on it.  I started by turning it upside down and painted on the primer.  Once I had painted the base and half way up the sides I turned it over and painted the top half and the inside of the top. You could spray paint this and it might be a bit easier but I always paint with a brush.

Here it is primed.  (I used a Zinsser water based primer). It's not as though this little vase will be getting knocked about. I could have used Zinsser BIN - a white pigmented shellac based primer that is extremely durable but I'm a bit opposed to oil based paints and the whole clean up with turps hassle. You can see the little tin planter box behind the vase.

I then repeated the above painting technique with two coats of white latex/acrylic paint and it's looking beautiful. I will give it a coat of clear wax in the next day or so. The resin in the wax will make the paint more durable.  I could have done the whole antique glaze effect that I blogged about here but I wanted this pure white to coordinate with the other white things on my French Provincial sideboard.

And I have to share this lovely card my little boy chose for me. 
It says it all really, doesn't it!

I hope this makeover will inspire you to paint something that is ugly but that has a good shape to it.  There are so many things that can be saved and given a new life with a few licks of paint.



  1. Thanks for the instructions - I do feel inspired. Your vase looks lovely.

  2. Great vase Fiona, it does look so much better in white (what doesn't, lol!) I love BIN...it actually cleans up in meths not turps but I have recently been put onto using general purpose thinners for cleanup of any spirit based paint and it does an amazing job. I buy the 4 litre tins from Super Cheap Autos for $20 and it lasts ages. It is also great for rescuing dried up paint brushes :)

    ps. did you realise that your replies to comments only show on your blog post, and are not emailed to the commenter? Cassie did an interesting post about it :)

    xx Karen

  3. crisp fresh white looks perfect on it! great find!

  4. Wow, what a quick and easy transformation! It's such a cute piece and it deserved a new life - yay!

  5. I have a shell shaped wall vase that I really want to paint, but am so worried I'll ruin it! I've never painted something like this before and have no idea what to use - as it's glazed/shiny I guess I'll need a primer of some kind? And what sort of paint? Do I need specialist paint/primer, or just stuff from the DIY store?!

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