If you just must have the real deal, then this post is probably not for you.
But…if you love a chic look – without the chic price – read on!
Vases just never go out of style, and if you have any affection for sand and waves, neither do the calming hues of the ocean.
So when I saw these West Elm ceramic vases, striped with gorgeous hues of blue, I was immediately hooked.
Then I saw the price!
On sale, I could be the very proud (and poor) owner of the entire set for $144.96.
Um…no thank you!
What to do?
Not to give up on my affection for sandy beaches and crystal waves, I decided to make my own and headed right to my favorite DIY destination – the thrift store.
There they sat. An entire shelf of vases destined for coastal beauty – with just a little help.
I picked out four smooth vases, then headed to Wal-Mart for a charger cable (which, by the way, was totally unrelated to this project, but so necessary for the Little Maker so she could stop “borrowing” mine…).
While we were there I decided to swing by the paint aisle instead of making another stop at Michael’s.
What a beautiful sight! Don’t you just love gorgeous rows of colorful paint?
And since we were really trimming the price of these DIY vases, I decided on Apple Barrel paints which were only $0.50 per bottle! How have I missed this?
After a little browsing, I settled on 5 colors:
- Antique White
- Blue Bonnet
- Award Blue
- Too Blue
(I grabbed two bottles of Antique White since it would be the base coat for all four vases, but ended up not needing it after all.)
Meet the Vases
So these are the vases that came home with me. I loved the tall, slender vase – mostly for the ribbed details. It was marked a whopping $2.
The medium-sized vase was also marked $2. The larger vase was a bit more at $3, and the small one was only $0.50. I have no idea what the pricing method is because I found vases even smaller than this that cost more, and larger ones that cost less. Go figure.
But that isn’t the end of the story. The miscellaneous department was 25% off the day I bought these vases and vases are miscellaneous.
My total cost: $5.63
Let’s Make some Knock Off Vases!
I decided to give the vases a light coating of primer before painting them with the craft paints. It took away the smooth, glossy finish and provided a more grippable surface. With the technique I planned to use, sticking power is what we need.
The original West Elm vases are described as ceramic, but they look a lot like heavy pottery, and that is exactly the vibe I wanted. So, to create the look of pottery, I needed texture. And to get it, I used sand.
I started by squirting a bit of Antique White paint onto a paper plate, then sprinkling sand over it.
I just kept adding paint and sand, then stirring, until I get a consistency I liked.
The primer really did its job and the sand/paint mixture worked beautifully. A little sand did fall off here and there as I painted, but once it dried, it was on there for good.
I also painted inside the neck of the tall vase and all of the insides of the other three so there would be texture consistency.
It was hard now to imagine plain glass vases were under there.
I thought it would be smart to tape off sections to paint since I have this “straight line” challenge thing going.
First the neck,
then the sides.
Then I decided that was just enough of the tape thing. Using a small stiff brush, I went free-hand with the top ridges using a little Award Blue mixed with White. It was just enough of a color change to gently fade away from the bold, True Blue painted around the neck.
Finally, I added a couple of white stripes on the bottom ridges, and the first vase was finished.
The Other Three Vases
I’m just dying to get to the beach now…
You can really see how the sand adds so much great texture. It also tricks the eye into believing that these are heavy, pottery pieces, instead of simple glass vases.
This one cost less than a single dollar.
No $34.99 here, thank you very much!
And here they are!
Total cost: $8.13 + tax.
A far cry from $144.96.