30 Minute DIY: Quick & Easy Vase Refresh

By Kim Vargo /

Since Scott and I purchased our big, bad fixer upper of a house last summer (we can hardly believe it’s been one year!), it’s easy to get caught up in one large project after another. Every now and then, we remind ourselves that it’s okay to slow down and mix in a few smaller projects – projects that give your whole mood a lift, brighten your home, and most importantly, do so with minimal amount of time and investment. Today, I’d like to share one of those projects!

Wanting to inject a little color into our still-bare-bones décor, I picked up a trio of $1 vases from the thrift store and gave them a small facelift. With the exception of the vases and a batch of fresh flowers, I used craft supplies I already had on hand, and I was able to give them a whole new look in under 30 minutes!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Vases, can be thrifted or on hand
  • Liquid Leaf
  • Small foam brush
  • Spray paint
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter’s or Masking tape
  • Saran wrap
  • Fresh flowers from your favorite florist

I wanted the vases to be somewhat cohesive and play well together, so I took the two most simple of the three vases and gave them a touch of gold using the Liquid Leaf (which can be found at your local craft store in the paint department) and a throwaway foam brush. There are many ways to use Liquid Leaf (think: dripping it down the sides, coating the inside or “dipping” your vase), but in this case, I gently ran it along the top rim of each vase. Be careful with this, as it can be very runny; only a small amount is necessary, and it dries rather quickly. Next, I turned them over and on the outside of the vase, I carefully filled in the entire bottom, allowing the glass to reflect a golden glow.

For the larger and more decorative vase, I taped off the top and covered the outer body with a layer of saran wrap. This one would get the inside treatment with a bit of spray paint!

For this part, I set up a little safe station outside (ventilation is key!) on a drop cloth. Most spray paint is pretty water resistant, but the higher the quality, the better off you are. I used Montana brand paint in a fun aqua hue, and I lightly misted the inside rim of my vase, moving my body around the vase in thin, light coats. I didn’t want to entirely coat the inside of the vase, rather, I wanted a slightly ombre feel overall, with minimal paint at the bottom of the vase. By painting the interior of the vase, the color lends an effortless milk glass feel as well! Once everything was dry, I peeled off the tape and removed the wrap.

With the vases effortlessly updated, I waited overnight before filling with flowers. (This will prevent your stems from scratching off your new paint job!) That’s probably the hardest part of the entire remake! I went to my favorite local Chicago florist, Fleur, and worked with the shop owner, Kelly. She helped me to pull the most amazing stems from her collection – everything from soft pink Peonies, vibrant Ranunculus and several branches of bay leaves to keep things feeling full.

Clockwise from top left: Bay Leaf, Ranunculus, Craspedia (aka “billy balls”), Dianthus, Berzelia, Peonies

Not sure whether or not I’d separate out my vases, I wanted to keep them cohesive by using the same mix with subtle variations in each vase. The tiny magenta Dianthus pick up on the pink Peony tips, and the fun, round Craspedia play nicely with the Ranunculus!

In the end, I ultimately spread the floral love around our house. The shortest vase has been living on our television console, the largest vase sits within view on our dining table, and the thin vase sits pretty atop my filing cabinet in the home studio.

Although they’re not living together in a group, by keeping them similar in flower type, they feel cohesive throughout the home as well! I love how the barely-there touch of gold peeks out from underneath the flowers, whereas the aqua vase shows off the stems at the base.

 Once it’s time to switch in new flowers, I’d recommend an easy water rinse, as to not flake off any paint. This is being overly cautious, as both the Liquid Leaf and spray paint will keep on sticking, but you also don’t want to scrub at the paint job. And now with this easy and effective DIY underneath our belt, perhaps it’s time to tackle another large project now? We think so!

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