Handmade Gifts: Swirled Glass Vases

These swirled glass vases appeared in our post about discovering Venice. I received lots of comments and questions about them, so thought I’d feature the vases and instructions in a special post of their own.

While we were learning about Venice, my daughter was intrigued by the Murano Glass fountain pen I placed into her discovery box (although it did end up breaking).

We looked online at some other glass pieces and learnt a little about working artistically with glass. In the New Year I plan on taking her to the Abbotsford Convent where they have glass art on display. I think it would be great for her to see this process live.

In the meantime, I used Google to try and find a child-friendly activity that would help us to create something similar or experiment with swirls of colour. Although it didn’t involve blowing, colouring and turning glass, I came across some swirled glass vases at Centsational Girl.

Of all the activities we have ever undertaken, Cam seemed to get most enjoyment from this one. She enjoyed swirling the vase and watching the patterns unfold before her. But, what I think she loved most was that she could just ‘go for it’; there wasn’t any particular technique that would create a better outcome.

You can visit Centsational Girl for original instructions. Otherwise this is the process we followed (we altered the instructions a little bit).

You will need:

  • An assortment of glass vases (you can use old jars from home or purchase them at a variety store)
  • Acrylic paints in a range of colours
  • Paper towel for draining


a) Squirt paint into the bottom of the vase

b) Swirl the vase continuously so that paint sticks to the sides of the vase

c) Add extra colours of paint as you go.

d) Continue swirling the paint towards the opening of the vase

e) Once the vase has been coated in paint and the paint has reached the opening of the vase, place the vase upside down over paper towel, draining any excess paint

f) Let the vase dry for approximately 3 days before it is ready to use

g) We wanted to use the vases to display flowers. Despite the fact that the paint was dry; it started to break down when we added water to the vase. So it is important that you seal the paint with a clear sealer before using it as a vase

Cam gave her vases to her Nannas for Grandparents’ Day. I think they would also make lovely handmade Christmas presents.

Handmade Gifts: Swirled Glass Vases


  1. What a great idea. They are beautiful. Now I know what to do with all my leftover starting-to-dry acrylic paints. I have so many jars too. Thanks!

  2. Oh my, don’t they look so classy. Very creative post Jackie. No more boring glass vases!

  3. These look fantastic! Love them. Will be giving them a try for sure :)

  4. These are beautiful, I think they make a fabulous Christmas gift.

  5. Not to sound dumb, but what sort of clear sealant should I get? Would you mind giving an example of what you’ve used, please?

    • Hi Amy,
      I’d probably be asking the same question (I might go back and update the post actually ).
      We just painted a coat of Modge Podge over the paint because that was all we had in our art cupboard, but you probably want to go to the arts and craft store and ask for polyurethane glue- that is used for waterproofing.

      Hope that helps, :)

  6. Those are absolutely gorgeous!!

  7. Love, love these vases, your daughter is completely absorbed in the creativity x

  8. They do look lovely. You’ve got me thinking now…I wonder if you could paint them somehow with transparent paint…they would look beautiful with a candle inside. Yep…definitely got me thinking now :D

  9. These are just beautiful and i think they would make perfect gifts for Christmas to relatives! Love the concentration on her face ! Am featuring you tomorrow on my Kid’s Co-Op post…thanks for linking up lovely x

  10. Ooo, I love these vases! We have a few glass jars and bottles in our recycled box – you have inspired me to try some. Thanks! :)

  11. Ohh, I am so glad you shared how you made these! They are so pretty, and I know Dino Boy will love making them too ~ especially since he will also be able to just ‘go for it’. Pinning and sharing :-)

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