DIY Painted Vases

Once upon a time I wanted my house to be one of those impossibly stylish affairs where all the palette and textures are earthy and calming and meticulously thought out. One of those places that makes your inner monologue fire up and say;

‘Wow – this person must have it together. You should get it together. I really should have worn shoes today?’

But then I realised I will never be one of those impossibly stylish people, I am a bit grubby and (most importantly)… I LOVE COLOUR! It makes me really happy. This made me look at 3 very drab thrifted vases that I found in an op-shop and decide to get all up in their grill with some colour. The best thing was at only $2 each this was a really cheap and simple project.


  • Thrifted Vases
  • Acrylic or Ceramic paint – white is essential and then any other colours you want
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • (If you want to paint lyrics on then you will need a thin brush. Otherwise you could use a paint pen – I have heard they are great!)
  • Masking tape – if you like the stripey vase


Plain Vase

  • Paint your vases white. I only needed 2 light coats.
  • Choose what colour you want your vase and paint.
  • Uh yeah… that’s it! :)
  • I then filled my vase with some sustainable DIY flowers that I made from old magazines.

If however you don’t want it to be a block colour I experimented a bit. Read on…

Lyric Vase

  • I chose a song lyric that made me really happy; “Morning Sun” by The Beautiful Girls. So pretty.
  • I then wrote these lyrics on in pencil. I wrote mine in different sizes and in a scriptive style but I think it would also like great with a simple print.
  • I then painted the lyrics in white. Apparently Paint Pens are really great to use and are available at most craft stores.
  • I highlighted particular lyrics I loved in a complimentary colour.

Dr Seuss Vase

  1. Sad to say this one was a bit of a fail. I like colour but I don’t like to be punched in the face with it. But oh well – it reminds me of Dr Seuss whom I adore and every time my partner and I look at it we laugh… so was it really a fail? I also think that in the right colours it could look really cute.
  2. Wrap masking tape around the vase. Be careful to get it straight. I thought the ‘rough look’ could be alright but in a clarity that is reserved specifically for retrospective thoughts a straight line is the only way to go.
  3. Paint your first coat and leave to dry.

  1. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you wish.

And there they are. As you can see you can be as creative as you want. Some may turn out brilliantly… others may make you laugh every time you look at them (Stripey… I’m looking at you mate!) but either way it is great fun, cheap and can give an instant colour lift to a boring old shelf. Enjoy.

Ways To Recycle Greeting Cards and Wrapping

The festivities are over – it is back to the real world. I arrived back at my office the other day to be met with already out-dated Christmas cards littering mine and my colleague’s desks. Are they all to end up in landfill? Of course not! There are so many options when it comes to recycling ‘waste’ associated with Christmas or Easter or whatever new holiday Hallmark comes up with! Once you know them it will boggle your mind that you even considered condemning them (and our planet) as junk! Here are some great ideas for recycling and upcycling the ghosts of Christmas past…


  • Remove the pretty front of the card and use it as a gift tag for next year. You could cut them into shapes (cute templates here) or leave as it is!
  • Save your cards throughout the year and turn them into a Christmas wreath like the gorgeous example below.

From Good Housekeeping (click to link through)

  • If you are crafty or have children, store them in your craft box for use throughout the entire year.
  • Cut the front of your cards into bauble shapes, hole punch the top and hang them off your tree as ornaments next year (bauble templates here).
  • See this DIY tutorial of mine where I show you how to make gift boxes out of old cards!

  • Stack them up and staple them together for a notepad to keep next to the phone
  • Cut the front off and use them as index cards for Christmas recipes
  • Donate your used cards and wrapping paper to a local school or childcare centre for use as craft material

A Blonde Olive Tip

Do a good green deed – Send an email around your office asking people to drop their unwanted cards to your desk. You can then make sure they get recycled, reused, dropped to a school or composted. At the very least you can start a conversation with your colleagues to hear other ideas, boost awareness or even find a little eco friend in your workplace. 


  • Festive mulch! Turn any plain (not glossy) wrapping paper or old cardboard into mulch by composting it or sticking it in your worm farm. If you don’t have a composting system check with your local city farm as they can sometimes use it.
  • Don’t contaminate your recycling bin! The following items are all non-recyclable – foils, glossy wrapping paper, cellophane or paper with remnant sticky-tape on it.


  • Commit to giving sustainably next time. For Christmas this year I gave out some green guidelines which have tips on how to make your wrapping, gift choice and decorating sustainable!
  • If you are giving gifts that have come in gift bags (or wine bottle bags) make sure you don’t write in the attached card so that whoever you are giving it to can reuse it.
  • Let your family know how you feel about waste. I told my family not to worry about cards this year and it avoided the “Dear Em, Happy Christmas, Love Bob” scenario. I got a few – with lovely messages inside – and I will keep them and stick them up next year!
  • Next year, send an e-card instead! Me and my husband sent this JibJab e-card (that cost nothing to us or the planet) to our family and they are all still laughing at it.
oliveonblonde, ecard, emily ehlers, mark ehlers

Click on the image to see our holiday ecard that we sent to our friends!

Useful Links

Planet Ark – A recycling Mecca of information –

Recycling Near You has all the information you need to know about what, where and how to recycle things from wrapping paper to computers –

National Recycling Hotline – 1300 733 712