How to Make Primitive Grungy Jars

How to Make Primitive Grungy Jars

Primitive grungy jars have become a popular part of country primitive decorating. Instead of tossing out the glass jars, tin containers, cans, etc. consider turning them into cute primitive home decor accessories. Making primitive grungy jars is easier than you may have thought. It’s a little messy but fun to make these jars.

How to Make Primitive Grungy Jars

Before you start making your primitive grungy jars, be sure to have all your supplies close by. Choose a workspace where your jars can sit to dry without being disturbed. I often work on the large cookie sheet so I’m able to move them if necessary. After you get your supplies together, the process of covering the jars goes fairly quickly. You just have to be patient for it to dry between layers.

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 usually.

6. When it’s dry, repeat 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. Etsy has several labels you can purchase and print for this project. Or search on Pinterest for free printable labels.

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. 

Here is another popular tutorial for making primitive grungy jars:

Gettysburg Homestead Grungy Jar Tutorial – This uses labels on the jars and a little different finished look.


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