Empty Jars: Christmas Edition

As you may remember from this post, we’re saving up empty jars chez Jessen & Hiser for our wedding reception decor.  So far, I think the count is up to 30 – 35 (plus a hefty 50+ baby food jars donated by my good friend Jen – suhweet!).  In addition to saving us beaucoup dollars on decoration costs, I’m finding that having a bunch of empty jars hanging around the house is awesome.  Need somewhere to collect stray pencils and pens?  I’ve got a jar for that!  Need a new toothbrush/paste holder?  There’s a jar for that.  How about a fun candy dish for my desk at work?  You guessed it – jar.

A couple of weeks ago, I put up our Christmas tree and while unpacking everything from last year, I was pleased to find a box full of ornaments we bought in a post-Christmas sale.  Score!  It was like finding a dollar bill in a jacket you haven’t worn in a while.  I had completely forgot about these ornaments.  So, with the tree loaded with these “new” ornaments, I had some extras lying around.  I also found myself with some extra space on the mantel, having removed this DIYed Thanksgiving project.

Of course, I went straight to my reserve of extra jars.  I placed the extra ornaments (which happen to be a smaller size) in the jars and even hung a couple ornaments off the edge of the jars and lined them up on the mantel.  Then, I grabbed an extra string of lights and draped it over the mantel, letting it curl around the jars.  What do you think?

Santa hangs off a trusty jar.

A wider shot of the whole scene. It really warms up the space.

Another close-up of the goods.

The best part about this project is that is was F-R-E-E!  I already owned everything, from the lights, to the ornaments, to the jars.  Also, it only took about 10 – 15 minutes to whip-up and arrange to my liking.  Quite the perfect Christmas decoration, if you ask me.  Especially for a couple who have very little decorations to start.

So, what about you? Have you ever recycled old decorations to make something new? Are you looking to try a new holiday decor project? Share!

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Gettin’ Crafty

As stated in this post, I’m planning on incorporating jars and candles into our wedding reception decor.  So, I’ve been saving jars from sauces, pickles, peppers – you name it.  I can’t believe how many jars we are amassing in such a short amount of time!  I’ve no doubt that by next October, we’ll have plenty of jars saved and I won’t have spend a single cent from our wedding budget to buy any.  Suh-weet.

In the mean time, I noticed more than a couple of great ideas on (you guessed it) Pinterest of things to do with these jars and I recently decided to give one a try.  First, let’s take a look at the inspiration photo.

Inspiration!

The crafty gal who created these adorable votives added a few drops of  food coloring to Mod Podge, painted the concoction on the glass, et voila, pretty colored glass candle holders.  I thought I would test this project out using the colors we want to use for our wedding – green and blue.

Work Station Set-Up

Here’s a glimpse of my work-station set-up and supplies.  I started with two clean jars, some paper trays (left-overs from our engagement party), a paint brush, green and blue gel food coloring, and hard coat Mod Podge.  This was my first time working with Mod Podge and I have to admit I was a little intimidated when I was at the craft store and there were so many types to choose from.  I decided to go with the “hard coat” because the bottle said it works on glass.  But, maybe there’s another crafter out there who would have recommended another type.

Oh wine...what can't you do?

As recommended from the original source, I added a few drops of food coloring and mixed until I reached my desired color.  At first, I held the jar upside down with one hand partially inside the top opening.  However, overtime I found that things would get a little dicey as I had to paint nearer to the top of the jar.  Enter my friend the wine bottle – the perfect stand.

Finished product

After a couple of coats, I noticed that the brush strokes looked streaky.  So, I switched using an X or basket weave pattern.  I think this would have been a good idea from the beginning.  I think the jars look kinda cool, but I don’t think it’s something I would do for all the jars at the wedding.  And here’s why – look at the photo below with the candles lit.  The color really seems to disappear.

Where'd the color go?

The next time I get some fresh flowers, I will put them in these jars and see how that turns out.  There might be a nice affect with water.  Right now, I have the jars placed against a white wall so the colors really pop, and it’s nice.

Poppin' off the wall.

So, what about you?  Do you have any craft projects you’ve undertaken that didn’t turn out exactly as you hoped?  What do you think about the jars?  Would you give these a try?