DIY: Mason Jar Crafts

One of the essential things to have in your craft arsenal – in addition to an X-acto knife, duct tape, packing tape, – is a mason jar. Or, if you enjoy vodka, several mason jars. Heck, you don’t even really need to make a special trip or buy new jars, just upcycle some empty jars of pasta sauce and various glass jars and you’re pretty much set. I myself never throw out any glass jars, I like to use them to hold baking ingredients (chocolate chips, nuts, brown sugar) but they’re ideal for any kind of storage whether it’s nuts and bolts for your tool box, or buttons for your sewing table.

But mason jars are much more versatile than that – even if you just want to use them for simple storage, you’ve got options like mounting mason jars to a shelf for quick access. It’s easy enough to do with some jars, picture frame hangers and pipe clamps (hangers to shelf, pipe clamps to jar). Bonus fun : once your jars are mounted, you don’t have to use them as storage, they can also be quickly configured into lights or vases.

In fact, mason jars make for terrific lights – we’ve already talked sun jars, but you can turn mason jars into lanterns by simply adding an LED candle (or a tea light candle if you’re prepared to deal with the wax, alternatively it’s super easy to create an actual poured candle in the mason jar). You can also make lazy-as-fuck glow lanterns by coating the inside of your jar with broken glow sticks.

There are plenty of tutorials for hanging mason jar chandeliers, but those are going to require dealing with a frame as well as some basic electrical knowledge – but you can always just throw some chain on ’em or throw them in a wire frame and call it good. It’s also worth noting that there’s no reason to leave your jars plain, they can be colored, tinted blue, decoupaged with paper, decorated with fabric and ribbon, painted with lace, painted with matte paint for a sophisticated effect, filled with water and floating candles, coated in colored Epsom salts for a textured snow look, or gloriously hand painted. Most of these upgrades are achieved with simple paint and glue, too.

Likewise, all of these techniques will also work for mason jar vases. I’ve also seen glitter vases (pour in glitter and glue, roll around), decorated with paper and ribbon, vases with “frog lids” – wire lids that help flowers stay in place, jars of various sizes used as a centerpiece, mounted vases as planters, single color vases with animal silhouettes, neon and gold vases, gold, glitter and ribbon vases, and negative space silhouette vases.

Plain mason jars aren’t losing out on any of the fun either – a quick hack to the lid (i.e. punching a hole) and you can add a pump dispenser or a straw to turn your mason jar into a soap dispenser or to-go cup. Heck, you don’t even really need the straw – fill and seal and you’ve got ready-made mason jar drinks. Add a strip of adhesive chalkboard paper and you can even personalize them. Add a pour spout, and you’ve got a new sugar holder!

It’s also possible to convert a mason jar into a memory jar (aka photo jars), or a glitterarium (that would, of course, be a glittery terrarium), or turn it upside down to make a snow globe or regular terrarium, or even a pin cushion – just fit fabric through the lid ring, stuff with batting and then secure with the lid. Bet you’re looking at those empty pasta sauce jars in a whole new light now.


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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".