Introduction: Decorating Glass Jars

Picture of Decorating Glass Jars

Whether you're a crafting expert or a crafting novice, these different ways to decorate a jar will be useful both as quick gifts, or ways to brighten up your home! Using materials you can either find around the house or in your local craft shop, this project is both environmentally friendly, beautiful and cheap.

Step 1: Materials:

Picture of Materials:

Basic materials:

  • a glass jar - any size or shape works depending on what you plan to use it for
  • scissors
  • PVA glue / any type of tacky, clear drying glue
  • glue dots (you could get away without these, but I find them useful no matter the project!)
  • a washing up bowl with warm soapy water

Method 1:

  • washi tape in different patterns

Method 2:

  • an assortment of small, opaque buttons
  • glittery tape (you can try using glitter, but this saves so much time and is far less messy!)

Method 3:

  • string, embroidery thread, yarn, garden twine - it's up to you what look you're going for)
  • fabric flowers (you can use anything to decorate here, from paper hearts to tiny lego bricks!)

Step 2: Preparing Your Jar:

There are so many different ways to get rid of labels and sticky residue from glass, but I find that sometimes, simple works.

  1. First, check to see if the label can be removed on its own - sometimes there's a serrated edge which you can just pull to get the label off really easily.
  2. Next, fill a washing up bowl with warm water, and add a little washing up liquid.
  3. Leave your jar to soak in this water for about 10 minutes.
  4. Then, try to scratch the label off the jar - it will be easier now that it is softer. You can do this using a glue spreader if you like.
  5. Once you have removed the label, there is likely to be some sticky residue left. For the methods here, it does not matter if you leave this on the jar since you will be covering it up later.
  6. Either leave the jar to dry or dry it with a tea towel.

Step 3: Method 1:

Picture of Method 1:

For this method, you will be covering the jar with washi tape, a type of paper tape with different patterns on it. You can often get packs with matching tapes, but you could also match tapes yourself.

  1. On most jars, there will be a section where the jar is flat enough to put tape on before it starts curving in to create the top and bottom of the jar.
  2. At the bottom of this section, place your first piece of tape and wrap it around the jar - keeping it straight is the most difficult part of this project, but since the washi tape is relatively removable, it doesn't matter if this takes you a few tries!
  3. Layer the different tapes up the jar, not worrying if they overlap slightly.
  4. Fasten down the ends of the tape using either glue dots or glue.

There is also another variation on this method using vellum paper, a type of semi-rigid opaque paper. Using this, you can replace a section of tape by gluing the paper down.

Step 4: Method 2:

Picture of Method 2:

This method works best on smaller jars since it can be very time (and button!) consuming to cover a large section of space with individual buttons. However, you can combine two of the methods by covering half of the jar with tape, and the other with buttons - or you can simply leave half of the jar clear.

  1. Spread a small section of the jar with glue. You can use glue dots for this, but using liquid glue saves a lot of time!
  2. Add buttons to the jar one at a time - don't worry if there are gaps since most PVA glue dries clear.
  3. For my jar, I added a length of glitter tape to the top of the jar, but some other ideas include:
    • spreading glue and sprinkling with glitter (very messy!)
    • covering the whole jar with buttons
    • leaving a gap at the top of the jar
    • add a length of washi tape

Step 5: Method 3:

Picture of Method 3:

This method is maybe the easiest of them all, but it is so versatile that it would work as a present for everyone on your list!

  1. Spread your jar with glue, but don't worry if there are gaps.
  2. Wind your string around the jar, starting from the bottom and continuing up to the top.
  3. Leave to dry.
  4. Take your decorations:
    • For silk flowers: trim off the stem, attach to the brim of the jar using glue dots.
    • For Christmas baubles: attach the string to the jar using a glue dot.
    • For Lego bricks: glue using glue dots to the bottom of the jar.

Step 6: Other Ideas:

Of course, since the jars are so versatile, there are thousands of ways you can vary the design:

  • Glue tall pencils around the jar so that their bases are in line with the base of the jar.
  • Create masking tape shapes and glue to the jar; either paint or spray paint the jars, then remove the shapes.
  • Decopatch tissue paper onto the jar and varnish with a layer of glue.
  • Glue pom-poms onto the jar using a glue gun.
  • Dip the base of the jar in PVA glue, then sprinkle with glitter or fake snow.
  • Use a glue gun to pipe swirling patterns onto the jar, then paint using different colours.
  • Trace a design such as a map or a word onto the jar, then pipe using a glue gun and paint.
  • Spray paint the jar in different colours for a blended look.

Feel free to add your ideas in the comments!

Step 7: Ways to Use Your Jar:

Again, here are some ideas for how to put your beautiful make to good use:

  • Collect some pebbles and put them in the base of the jar. Add a tealight for a pretty look.
  • Create your own candle and pour into the jar.
  • Use as a pencil holder.
  • Make a pincushion and attach to the lid using a glue-gun. Fill the jar with miniature scissors, a packet of needles, and some reels of cotton, then bring as a sewing kit wherever you go.
  • Fill with homemade treats for a tasty gift!
  • Find your favourite recipe for cakes or cookies, then layer the dry ingredients into the jar. Add a small print-out of the recipe to the label for a great gift for cooks and bakers.
  • Buy a small length of battery-powered fairy lights and pop them into the jar for a safe and modern take on candles! (Tip: wind the lights around your hand before you put them in the jar - it's much easier that way!)
  • Decorate the jar in a matching style, then punch holes in the lid using a screwdriver. Pop a few reels of ribbon or twine into the jar and thread the ends through the holes: an easy way to organise all those reels of thread!

I really hope you liked this Instructable: I can't wait to see all your own ideas for decorating and using the jars - please do comment below and let me know how it works out!

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