Rustic Grungy Jars

Rustic Grungy Jars main article image
Posted on May 19, 2021 by Corbie Kortz

Do you love the trend of rustic primitive country décor? A design style that includes both a vintage and natural appeal using faded and weathered wood, metal and glass, earthy and warm colors, and other materials that look like a natural environment. The warming effect lends to a calm and comfortable home setting, both indoors and out. Primitive only in that these jars look like they’ve been passed down generation after generation. These grungy jars have become extremely popular when it comes to rustic country décor. Messy but also fun and easy to make.


Materials & Tools

  • Clean glass jars
  • Disposable tin pan
  • Mod Podge or Elmer’s Glue (the Elmer’s is less expensive and works just fine)
  • Paint brush
  • Old coffee grounds
  • Cinnamon or other spice, et al nutmeg or cardamom
  • Wax paper or parchment paper
  • Optional – label
  • Optional – scrapbook paper to make a label


Get all your supplies together first because once you get started, it’ll move quickly. The longest thing is waiting for the glue to dry in between coats.

If you want to add a label, there are some awesome label kits on Creative Fabrica, just search for vintage labels or you can make labels in any design program that you are familiar with, I used Corel Draw.


For this vintage look, you can find some scrapbook paper, cut it to fit into your printer and print your label onto the scrapbook paper.



The paper used here has a textured vintage look to it.


Using your paint brush paint a layer of glue where you want your label to go. I’m covering the label that is on the jar, so I didn’t bother removing it first.


Then attach the label to the jar and paint another layer of glue over the label and allow to dry. This only took an hour or so to dry but I’m in a very dry climate.



Mix about a cup of coffee and ¼ cup of cinnamon.


NOTE: I emptied my K-cups of used coffee grounds and dried them out on a cookie sheet. You’ll want to thoroughly dry them before putting them in a jar, so they don’t mold.

Once your label is dry, you can move on to the grungy part. Paint a thin layer of glue over the outside of your jar.

NOTE: Depending on how large your jars are, you may want to work on small sections at a time so that your glue doesn’t dry before you have the jar coated with the coffee mixture. If you are using small food jars, such as pickle jars or salsa jars, they are small enough that you don’t need to work in sections.

Roll your jar in the coffee mixture covering all the glue.


You may want to spoon the coffee mixture onto the parts, like just under the rim, where it’s hard to roll.

Once you have the jar covered, set it on the parchment paper to dry. Depending on where you live, it could take anywhere from 12 – 24 hours. Dryer climates don’t take so long.


Once the first layer has dried, apply another coat, applying the glue first, then covering with the coffee mixture. Let this layer dry completely.


Finally, apply a topcoat of glue to seal.


NOTE: Before applying that last coat of sealing glue, use your hand and rub off the loose coffee grounds.

Now that your jars are finished, you’ll have endless ways to use them. You can fill them with water and add some wildflowers to decorate your home. Fill them with silk flowers.


You could use them as canisters for coffee or tea. You can store dry goods such as rice or beans in them. How about using them for storing pens for your office or paint brushes in your craft room?



You can pick up some votive candles from Walmart for about $6 and grunge them but put a paper towel down in the votive to cover the candle so you don’t have to try and wipe off the coffee grounds that’ll get on the candle. You can also grunge pillar candles the same way or even old tin cans. The possibilities are endless!

Now that you know how to make grungy grubby jars, how would you use them with your decorating style?

There are so many decorating styles to choose from so why just settle for one. With a few basic rules, you can mix and match your favorites and come up with your own unique blend and still get great results.

I personally love the contrast of mixing this rustic primitive style with my farmhouse décor. Farmhouse style has a light and airy feel as well as warm, homey accents that create a simple atmosphere. The primitive style is like the farmhouse style only with more earthy colors and a darker tone overall, such as rustic elements, antiques, cast iron, and dark wooden finishes.

Both styles have the same underlying rustic appeal, and they make wonderful candidates for mixing and matching the styles. Farmhouse style has a cleaner, more family friendly look and the primitive style is more of an antique feel throughout.

Now these two styles are so related that it makes mixing them really easy, but you can mix just about any style you want, just keep a few guidelines in mind so that you strike the perfect balance, no matter what décor styles you’re working with.

  • First, create balance within your styles. Don’t cluster all your pieces from one style in one part of your home. Try to keep everything evenly distributed throughout.
  • Choose which style you want to be the dominant style and decorate predominantly throughout, then accent with pieces from the other styles that you want to mix in.
  • To make it simple, start with one key item like a painting or piece of furniture, make it the focal piece and coordinate around it.
  • Stick with one color palette, such as warm, neutral, or cool or you could throw your theme off balance.
  • Get outside your comfort zone and experiment. You don’t have to always play it safe; you can go bold. Why not? You can always change anything you don’t like, so why not experiment?

In the end, it’s all about finding your own personal style and what you like best so make you some rustic pieces and see where they fit into your décor.


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