Posted by Sheela Cooper
Mason (or canning) jars are so wonderfully diverse. Their original purpose was for preserving food from your garden, but today, you can use them for a variety of crafty purposes. Here’s just a small sampling of different styles of jars:
Right now, Ball brand canning jars are available in the vintage blue color from several retailers. Many bloggers have posted DIY versions of the blue jar, but now’s your chance to purchase them in their already-blue state. Aren’t they pretty?
At a basic level, canning jars can be used for holding things, whether it’s tomatoes from the garden, pens, paperclips, spools of thread, flowers, etc. The beauty of the jar makes whatever is inside even more appealing. (Perhaps even pickled herring?)
(Not pickled herring, but delicious strawberry-rhubarb jam!)
Really though, a simple gift becomes that much more special when it’s in a canning jar. At the holidays, when you are baking treats for the kids’ teachers or your neighbors, don’t put them in a zip-top bag or those disposable plastic containers – put them in quart-size canning jars, tie a ribbon around it, and you have a lovely package that looks very impressive. When it comes to people, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. When it comes to gifts, the packaging on the outside is often just as important as what’s on the inside!
Here’s a great example of how a simple jar can elevate a basic gift. Last Christmas, I was putting gifts together for the office staff at the elementary school. My budget was very slim and time was short, so I was excited that I already had small bottles of hand lotion (that were somewhat fancy) to use as gifts. (I’m sure that I bought them at a cosmetics store with a coupon, so they were nice yet very economical.)
But a small bottle of lotion doesn’t make for a very interesting/exciting/thoughtful gift, so I did a bit more digging and found some really cute laser-cut, felt, Christmas tree-shaped ornaments that I had purchased for a very reasonable price. Seriously, they were probably about 25 cents each, but they looked nice and festive. Yet still, the small lotion and random ornament didn’t seem very cohesive.
Then I remembered my stash of pint-sized canning jars. I grabbed four jars, added some artificial snow to the bottom of each, placed the lotion and ornament inside the jar, added a customized tag with a message of good cheer and thanks, and I had four lovely little gifts for about $2.50 each (including the cost of the canning jar). Here’s the result:
As a bonus, the gift packaging is reusable and very eco-friendly – no wrapping paper to recycle or throw out! I have also used canning jars to house sugar scrub, which also makes a great, economical gift. Just add a cute gift tag (which can even be made from paint sample cards that you have lying around the house), and you’ll have a really lovely present.
For added interest, you can add a coat of paint to a canning jar to make a custom-colored jar. Here’s one of the most creative colorful canning jar transformations that I have seen – you need to click on this link and see these fantastic American flag-themed jars:
So next time you’re at the store and pass an endcap display with canning jars on sale, pick up a package and get creative. At the very least, you can store food in them, and if you’re in a crafting mood, the sky’s the limit for how you can transform these versatile jars.