Christmas is a great opportunity for DIYers to get crafty. A treasured gift can be made with just a little time and a few inexpensive items. Mason jars are one of those items that stand the test of time and can easily be upcycled. Cruise garage sales and thrift stores to find used and forgotten jars that can be utilized as the main ingredient in these personalized crafts.
Recipes in a Jar
Jar recipes are a fun way to include the family in a crafty gift. Place all the dry ingredients pre-measured for a particular recipe in the jar and seal it up tight. Be sure to layer the ingredients for an extra pretty touch. Decorate it with ribbons and a custom label with the printed recipe. For a little extra fun, tie on a hand-painted measuring scoop or spoon.
Traditionally, cookie recipes are used for this gift. Their ingredients and instructions are easy to put together, but think outside the box for a little twist. Try using a dried bean, onion, and tomato mix with the family's favorite chili seasonings. This is a great way to share a warm meal that only requires the recipient cook to provide the meat (or decide to go meatless).
Another family-fun option is cinnamon popcorn. Mix one jar of popcorn kernels with two tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Shake well and give away. The kernels are ready for the popper and will be a fantastically festive kettle corn for all to enjoy.
Bread in a Jar
Mason jars are made of tempered glass, meaning they are oven safe. Mix up a classic muffin, cupcake, or bread batter. Then pour the batter into greased jars until they are two thirds full. Bake the bread according to the recipe instructions, with the lid off. The centers of the it should bounce back to the touch and toothpicks inserted in the center should come out clean.
Once the jars are out of the oven and beginning to cool, tightly screw on thelids and rings. Allow the jars to completely cool before handling. As the air in the jar cools the lid will seal itself, keeping the bread fresh. This is a fun way to share a recipe and kids will love seeing that bread finally come out of the jar.
Don't forget that home baked bread needs the perfect topping. Try whipping together a cinnamon honey butter or slow cooker apple butter. Both recipes require minimal effort, but have a gourmet taste and feel everyone will love.
Mason jars make perfect containers for homemade snow globes, which are super easy to make. A trip to the local craft store will provide all the necessary supplies. Ornaments work perfectly for this, or try pieces from Christmas diorama scenes such as mini ice skaters, holiday trains, or tiny Christmas trees.
If there will be any exposed metal pieces, be sure to coat them in anti-rust sealant. Next, use a waterproof epoxy to glue the ornament onto a solid lid. Allow the piece to dry completely while prepping the jar.
Fill the jar with distilled water and a few drops of glycerin. The glycerin will keep the "snow" from clumping together and sticking to the ornament. Add a few shakes of glitter, Styrofoam, or plastic snow pieces. Insert the ornament into the jar and screw the lid as tight as possible. Before flipping it over, seal the lid to the jar with hot glue or bathroom caulking to prevent leaks.
There are a variety of beauty products that make great jar gifts. Taking the time to make something that enhances a friend or family member's beauty is a perfect way to show you care. A mason jar will make the ingredients last longer and are easy to decorate and dress up.
Sugar or salt scrubs only require a handful of ingredients and less than an hour to mix up. Using them in the morning shower is a fantastic way to wake up and will exfoliate the skin for a fresh feeling. To keep with a festive theme, try blends like rosemary mint, cinnamon vanilla sugar, or sweet and spicy brown sugar scrub.
Other great options for the bath are homemade fizzies and salts. Both are made with basic household ingredients and the chemistry will make people think they are complicated to make. For the salts, try a lavender mint blend to get a relaxing soak or orange sandalwood if looking for a more masculine aroma.
Again, make them festive with colors and scents to match the season. The fizzies are made in any plastic or silicone mold, so feel free to try fun shapes like snowflakes or Christmas trees.
Finally, while festive gifts are fun, the holidays can be pretty stressful. Recipients will appreciate a tea soak bath formula that reminds them of summer fun. Try a tropical bath tea soak that includes a green, orange, and peach tea mix. A fancy teabag or decorative spoon is also a nice touch.
When playing with glass jars, don't forget about their illumination power. An easy gift that will become a must-have family decoration for years to come is an etched votive holder. Find peel and stick stencils and glass etching cream at a local craft store. Choose a meaningful design and place it on the outside of a clean glass jar. Then, brush the entire jar with the etching cream. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and rinse procedures for the cream.
Once the jar is rinsed, peel off the sticker/stencil to reveal the clear glass behind. These old jars are made beautiful again. Simply decorate the outside with springs of holly and evergreens, then place a lit votive inside. These are perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.
There are plenty of ways to upcycle old mason jars. Get creative and turn them into fun and well-loved gifts with a touch of thoughtfulness.