Do It Yourself: Mason Jars

25 Jun

It’s FRIDAY! My almost favorite day of the week. Obviously I prefer Saturdays because there is no work but Fridays build anticipation for the weekend. Love it.

Please watch this great scene from The Break Up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn before reading further. It will give you great insight into my idea behind today’s post…sort of. (Just sit tight through the commercial).

"What my baby wants, my baby gets. You know that."

So here I am today writing to you about lemon centerpieces.

Inspired by: Franklin Crafts

No, just kidding.

But that is where today’s inspiration came from. Although there is a time and a place for beautiful lemon and fruit centerpieces (my mom makes cranberry and green apple ones every Christmas), today’s Funky Bear post is not that time. This is mostly because when I thought through the idea of using fruit suspended in water to decorate your home, I realized that after about a month of that fruit just sitting in there, this is what you’d end up with:

Believe it or not, these once held incredibly drinkable water.

While repressing the urge to vomit, I noticed these yucky glasses above were actually kind of cute (minus the sludge in them). This brings me to today’s topic: Mason Jars.

Mason jars are some of the easiest ways to add color and spunk around the house. With their antique, Southern charm and pretty, simple look, mason jars are a welcome addition in any room. They remind me of the deep Southern blown glass in Sweet Home Alabama, too. If you don’t like that movie, I’m not sure we can be friends.

Jake: "What do you want to be married to me for, anyhow?" Melanie: "So I can kiss you anytime I want."

Anyhoo, nothing I post today is going to be life-altering or something you’ve never seen before. But it just might give you a great idea for a DIY over the weekend.

In order to do any of the below projects, you will first need to purchase mason jars. The major brand that has manufactured mason jars is Ball. So look for their signature logo to give it an extra authentic feel. I have found both the clear and the turquoise (yay!) jars online.

The only place that I could find offline to stock mason jars is Ace Hardware. They only have the clear ones, but they are inexpensive at about $11 for 10  jars. So if you don’t feel like waiting all weekend to get started on your DIY, head to Ace or another hardware store.

They're stackable, too.

You can find some on Ebay. If you are reading this after the auction has expired, then just type in “Mason Jars” in an Ebay search and more will certainly pop up.

Or you can find a bunch on Etsy. Some are even already hanging jars, which finishes half the work for you!

The way I see it, you’ve got four obvious options for using these jars:

1. Candle holders.

2. Flower vases.

3. Alone in all their Southern glory.

4. As a weird picture display.

We’ll start with candle holders. This by far is the most glorious and exquisite use of the jars. Making these is easy peasy lemon squeezy. Did you like how I brought it back to lemons?!

All you have to do is get your mason jar, fill it with your choice of items (Epsom salt, sand, beads, water, etc.), and plop a candle in it. It seems the candles that work best are the small tea candles, but there are taller ones stuck in there too. If you want to be extra safe, you should invest in the electric tea candles that emit the same glow but with no danger of setting fire to yourself or anyone else. Sounds good to me. You can also make them into hanging decorations by wrapping string or wire around the rim, or just purchasing them pre-made. Extra special tips: Change it up a little by choosing colored candles or colored beads to put in the jar. You can also add ribbons of your choice around the rim or even decorate the jar with rhinestones or paint pens. Here are some great traditional inspirations of mason jar candles:

Very simple.

Inspired by: Wedding Bells

The longer candle sticks work too and add depth to the arrangement.

Inspired by: Weeping Cherries

Sweet and easy. The perfect outdoor decoration too!

Inspired by: Simply Perfect Weddings

The Epsom salt makes it look like glittery snow. Try it out at Christmas time! (Just try to remember this post in 6 months)

Inspired by: The Inspired Room

Love the glow they give off at night. They look like fireflies, another Southern treat.

Inspired by: Wedding Bells

Umm...can this be my backyard and/or wedding please? Thanks.

Inspired by: Etsy

If this were in your house, it would definitely require electric tea lights for safety reasons.


Even Anthropologie got in on the action one year at Christmas when decorating their stores.

Inspired by: Flickr

Another sweet and obvious way to use a mason jar is to turn it into a living space for flowers (a.k.a. a vase). Sidenote: I’m sorry to whoever has the rights to these pictures — I forgot to take note of where I found many of them!

Here are the mason jars in action as a centerpiece.

A country version of the Beauty and the Beast rose.

Love the hanging bulbs underneath the flowers.

Of course, another easy peasy way to use these mason jars in your home is just to…use them. Place them on any shelf or table in need of some personality.

Adds some antique flair to any shelf.

Inspired by: Flickr

These aren't mason jars per se, but you can see that some people are obsessed with glass jars and bottles.

Inspired by: Design Sponge Online

Lastly, a less common but very interesting way to use mason jars is to make it into a one-of-a-kind picture frame.  The clear jars would be best for this, and by pouring olive oil (try to avoid the garlic kind — could get stinky!) in the jar with an upright picture, you can get a sepia effect and a new way to display your pics.

"Honey, do you smell garlic?"

Inspired by: Flickr

So this weekend if you find yourself longing for something new to add to your house (I hear people actually do this strange thing), then try some mason jars on for size. They are sweet in a shabby chic, Southern way and can be used in so many different forms. If you are already using mason jars in your home, send me some of your pictures so I can update everyone!

9 Responses to “Do It Yourself: Mason Jars”

  1. Evangeline December 29, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    Hi! I realize that this might be a VERY stupid question, but do the pictures go on the inside of the jar with the oil, or pasted to the outside of the jar?

    • funkybear December 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

      Hi Evangeline! Yes, you put the pictures inside of the jar. The oil is supposed to preserve them. For the record, I’m not sure how long they last inside the jar or whether they corrode at all over time. And NO that was not a dumb question!

  2. Lindsey June 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    Love this post! Just did something similar with a bunch of different mason jar photos we found on Pinterest!

    http://inspiredbypinterest.blogspot.com/

  3. Darby August 2, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    i have a question, is that picture a color photograph, or b&w?

    • Crystal Liles August 25, 2011 at 10:46 am #

      I would think you could get the same effect with a laminated photo and then the oil would still be usable and the photo is still preserved.

  4. Michelle September 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Can any oil be used or does it have to be olive oil?

  5. sharon cochran November 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    yes i was wondering what kind of oil do u use.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. DIY: Photographs in Oil « The Funky Bear - September 7, 2011

    [...] of my very first posts (over a year ago, wow!) was about the many uses of mason jars. Within my post, I discussed one particular way to use mason jars to showcase photographs suspended [...]

  2. Smart Decor « Wedding Obsessions - September 14, 2011

    [...] So, the candles. Nowadays, they have these LED fake candles that obviously don’t smell nice, but they also don’t drip (read: they won’t stain your tablecloths and you won’t have to buy them later). Ours were teal candles that didn’t drip when we did the practice run at home, but the AC was so strong at our reception that they started dripping. Yes, the teal candles dripped onto the white table cloths. The lady who ran the place took our plastic dessert plates (another lesson learned for another blog) and stuck them under the candles, but for some tablecloths, it was too little too late. My mom had to fight over her deposit… I don’t know if she ever got that back or not. I guess I’ll call her about that later (why can’t they just be bleached?). SO, if your venue doesn’t have a policy against candles, beware of the colored candle drip, or, put it in something like a mason jar so it won’t drip (you can do some REALLY cute things with mason jars). [...]

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