How to Make Primitive Grungy Jars

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BTGrungyJars2 Re-purposing jars (and cans, too!) has become popular as we try to be kinder to our environment and more frugal. Instead of tossing out the glass jars, tin containers, cans, etc. consider turning them into cute primitive home decor accessories. How to make primitive grungy jars is easier than you may have thought. It’s even kind of fun!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Clean jars, cans or tins (remove lids to grunge separately unless you want them glued shut)
  • Modge podge – matte finish
  • Paint brush
  • Instant coffee crystals ( I buy the cheapest store brand)
  • Cinnamon (Like the coffee, I buy one of those big inexpensive jars)
  • Large spoon
  • A flat pan or foil covered cookie sheet (I like using foil oven drip pans, they aren’t pricey and it’s no worry if they get messy)
  • A disposable pie pan
  • A work area and place to set the project as it dries.


1. Pour some of the coffee crystals into the pie pan.. I usually start with 1 cup. 
2. Add about 1/4 cup of ground cinnamon to the pan and mix together. Use the spoon to crush the coffee crystals somewhat as you mix the two.
3. Paint a thin coat of Modge Podge over the jar’s surface. To prevent it from drying out, you may need to work in sections.
4. Roll the wet area over coffee, cinnamon mixture to make it stick to the Modge Podge. Next, sprinkle some of the mixture over the area until all the glue-area is covered. Continue to work over the jar surface until it’s covered. You may need to work quickly because the coffee begins to melt and it gets messy!
5. Sprinkle some cinnamon over the surface and then set it aside to dry. Time to dry varies on humidity. Mine takes 1 day usual.
6. When it’s dry, repeat the steps 3-5. 
7. Apply a final coat of Modge Podge to seal it all and let dry.
Now your jar, can, or tin is ready to decorate.  If you desire to use printable labels on your container: Use Modge Podge to glue on the label first, Let dry, and then coat with a layer of Modge Podge to seal it. After the label is secure then do steps 3-7 avoiding the area where the label is. 

This tutorial also works on re-purposing dollar store candles and making them into grungy primitive candles. Don’t worry if it looks like a gooey mess at first. As it dries you’ll see the results of your work. Kids will love to see how see it changes from when you begin to the finished result.



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