Faking a Cloisonne Vase

Faking a Cloisonne Vase

Florist vases are a staple at most thrift stores, aren’t they? On one of my thrifting excursions (many, many months ago), I came across a shelf that was exploding with them. And for whatever reason, I started wondering if they could be painted to look like a Cloisonne vase. 

And by “look like”, I mean abstractly…using specific colors that are typical in Cloisonne (gold and jewel tones).

Florist vases or clear glass vase at a thrift store

Of course, real Cloisonne is a true art form: metal objects that have been decorated precisely with wires and filled in with enamel paint. Obviously, I was working with pressed glass so it would never be the same.

So, maybe I might end up with something that looked more like the “I Dream of Jeannie” Bottle or a genie bottle in general. Either way, I was definitely curious about it…

Anyway, I was home…I had the vases…with plenty of paint…and tons of time to kill. It was worth experimenting with, right?

Upcycling the florist vases with paint

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Preparing the Florist Vases for a Makeover

First things first, I gathered the clear glass vases and set up shop outside to spray paint them gold.

A gold background would give me the “metal” look of a Cloisonne vase.

After a couple of light coats, I made sure every nook and cranny of the pressed glass was now an opaque gold. Then, I set them aside to allow the gold spray paint to dry and set thoroughly.

Next, I focused on the “enamel” part of a Cloisonne vase.

I wouldn’t actually use enamel paint, of course. But rather acrylic craft paint in a rich hue and some dainty craft paint brushes.

I squeezed out some craft paint and let it sit in the open air for a few minutes to thicken up. Then, I used a small, square-tipped flat paint brush to transfer the paint onto the shapes of the florist vases.

In other words, I didn’t really brush it on but rather “paddled” it on. Does that make sense?

The goal was to “fill in” the shapes of the pressed glass with rich, opaque paint coverage without showing any brush strokes or unevenness.

Getting the Look of a Cloisonne Vase

For this particular vase, I only painted part of the design. The diamonds got pretty small and I didn’t have super dainty brushes to accommodate that.

But I kind of liked it like that. A much more modern take on a Cloisonne vase.

And since acrylic craft paint typically has a matte finish, I headed back outside to give my Cloisonne vase a glossy topcoat.

Crystal clear enamel over a cloisonne vase for a glossy finish

While that vase dried, I went back to the other florist vases that I had spray painted gold. I played around with different ways to add color to them.

One vase had diamond-shaped dimples across the entire thing, almost like the giant ball at EPCOT. To give it the Cloisonne treatment, I dipped paint brush handles in paint to “fill in” the dimples.

Recreating the look of Cloisonne enamel on a clear glass vase

And this vase had ridges that required the straightest of lines.

And, well, I’m just not that talented with a paint brush!

So, I used some glass paint markers in alternating colors to fill in the ridges.

Glass paint marker by DecoArt on a florist vase

Finally, I used the same glossy topcoat to finish them off!

Faking a Cloisonne Vase for Eclectic Home Decor

And while they don’t sport the intricate patterns of a real Cloisonne vase, they ended up with a very intriguing and exotic look!

They kind of reminded me of a souvenir from an exciting trip overseas.

Genie bottle or I Dream of Jeannie Bottle by upcycling the florist vases

I LOVE them. I love how they look exotic and globally inspired. But they’re simply florist vases from the thrift store.


AND hurrah! Today is Thrift Store Decor Day, so check out what my upcycling friends have been up to.

Thrift store makeovers and decor ideas by upcycling bloggers

1. Bookcase MakeoverMy Repurposed Life

2. Urine Specimen Bottle DisplayPetticoat Junktion

3. Shutter Shelf DIYRefresh Restyle

4. Nightstand MakeoverMy Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

5. Florist Vase Makeover Inspired by CloisonneSadie Seasongoods

6. TV Console MakeoverOur Southern Home

7. Repurposed Kitchen Tools as PlantersHouse of Hawthornes


What do you think of this makeover inspired by a Cloisonne vase? It’s definitely a change of pace for me, that’s for sure!

Global inspired decor with a cloisonne vase

I’m also excited to announce that my first book is now available! If you enjoy upcycling clothing and simple sewing projects, then you will love my book on flannel crafts!

Craft book for flannel shirts

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for exotic or eclectic home decor, then you may also be interested in this boho style basket wall decor, as well!

Basket wall decor with Bohemian design

Craft on!


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cloisonne vases that started out as clear glass vases from the thrift store

upcycled version of a cloisonne vase for global bohemian decor

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Your vases are gorgeous!

  2. These are SO great and I have ONE vase that I JUST put into the re-donate pile! Guess what I’ll be doing with it now!


    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Ha!!! I have pulled out several things from my re-donate pile to keep me busy during this time, so I understand completely. And thank you, friend!

  3. You are just so darn creative! Only you would look at those grimy old vases and have the vision to make them cool again!

  4. wendabee says

    Beautiful job! I LOVE your orange fluffly cat, orange cats are the best (in my opinion)!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you! I’ve had kitties all my life but he’s my first Orange. And I have to say, I completely agree with you! He’s the sweetest, most charming cat I’ve ever known.

  5. Fonda Rush says

    Cool! I love how your vases turned out!

  6. One word….AMAZING!!!

  7. This is brilliant, you have such a creative mind!!!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you so very much! The funny thing is, I was nearly certain that I would hate how they turned out and I put this project off for more than a year. Shows you how much I know, LOL.

  8. Kathleen Wage says

    oh my gosh. I would sooo try to duplicate the genie bottle from the tv show.

  9. These are gorgeous!

  10. thats so beautiful. I love it =)
    tina from wimpernverlängerung salzburg

  11. Sarah,

    You never cease to amaze me with your eye for design! What an amazing makeover you did on these cheap vases. I love painted glass!



    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you, Gail!! Looking forward to hopping around to everyone’s projects- I always love TSDT day!

  12. Beverly Sager says

    Absolutely LOVE this! Will definitely try! TFS

  13. This project is so wonderful, Sarah! You are so creative! They turned out beautifully! Thanks for sharing!

  14. THese turned out beautiful! My mom’s had so many of these, I wish I would have kept now!

  15. Tracy Houchens says

    Hi, I just have to say, I love this idea!!!!! Thanks for sharing your creative goodies!

  16. Penney Helms says

    With these colors, these vases look very Egyptian, which is my “thing”. I really want to get a couple of these vases (which I have always hated) and get started. Thank you!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Yes!! As soon as I finished the one with the stripey lines, I was struck at how Egyptian it felt to me! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought so.

  17. Elic McGrew says

    I wonder if a few coats of nail polish might give you the glossy look you are looking for… Of course, you would have to work outside or you might get “high” on the polish.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      It might- but it would take a lot of work compared to the spray gloss I used. I also don’t know how it would chemically react with the paints that I used.

  18. Gretchen Williams Arrant says

    I have real cloisonne cases my dad got in Japan as well as pigeon blood ones he got right after the war. I also have dresser lamps in both.

  19. Sarah, These are so funky and gorgeous! I could so see them in my daughter’s boho college apartment bedroom. The ways you styled them is perfect!

  20. What a creative way to give these old florist vase an updated look! Love this project!

  21. These are so pretty! I’m almost positive I have some similar thrift store vases hiding somewhere in my basement. I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow! 🙂

  22. Very clever. You certainly have an knack for seeing past what is to what could be. Beautiful!

  23. Sharon Hudson says

    Wonderful idea, turned out so pretty! I can’t wait to give it a try with grandchildren.

  24. mary scott says

    Beautiful art!! thanks

  25. I absolutely LOVE your bottles! I’ll have to start taking a second look at those type of vases when the thrift stores reopen. I’m now following you on instagram. 🙂

  26. Gosh I love the way your creative mind works, Sarah, these a stunning!

  27. Shelly Birkwood says

    Wow, these turned out great! I love them! By the way, I like a LOT (all?) Of your posts! I just don’t normally take time to comment. Probably because I’m usually looking on my phone. 🙂

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      I sincerely appreciate hearing that, Shelly! It’s always extra special when you find a kindred spirit in the crafting/thrifting world!

  28. Cannot. wait. to try this!

  29. Honestly? Upon first glance I thought these were antiques you collected. Mind-blown! They really turned out so jewel-like!

    This cool project is featured on DIY Salvaged Junk Projects 528 this weekend. Thanks for linking it up!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thank you so very much!! I definitely went into this project completely unsure as to what would happen and if they’d even turn out!

  30. Kippi O'Hern says

    WOW! These vases turned out stunning.
    Happy weekend,

  31. I have been a fan of yours for a long time, these really are so creative! My mind is blown, never would have thought of this in a million years, so pretty and clever.

  32. Gorgeous! You obviously have more patience than I do, lol.

  33. Absolutely stunning!

  34. I’m angry with myself now for throwing those old glass vases out!! You’re creations are beautiful.

  35. Hello,

    thank you for sharing. It was really nice to read it.

    Best wishes

  36. Such a cute idea

  37. Did the green glass vases cover well with the gold spray paint?

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