I was given a Bell Jar for Christmas last year and fell in love with the unique way it allowed items to be presented. I later rummaged through garage sales and department stores to purchase another but was surprised to find that not only where they pricy but also very hard to find. (Especially in different sizes) So I decided to try and Create my own.
I started this Instructable with the intention of solely using resources found around my house. I then restricted myself to specifically using materials among my current holiday Decorations and anything I could find inside and or around my property.Essentially Re-purposing old materials, and not purchasing new ones.
I knew plastic would be the medium that resembled glass most, but could not figure out how to give the project the needed "Bell" shape. After exploring my house I came across my Blue Bin and found what I was looking for. Pop Bottles.
Step 1: Tools & Supplies
- Utility Knife
- Jute Twine
- 5min Epoxy (Glue)
- Hair Dryer
- Pop Bottles in desired shape and colors
- Large Round Bead (1 for each bottle)
- Assortment of smaller beads
- Crab Apple
- Any Existing Decorations (From any holiday season)
- Coffee Can lids or Coasters
Step 2: Pop Bottle Maintenance
Wash and Dry Pop Bottles, ensuring they are completely cleaned and free of liquid
As you are trying to duplicate the look of glass, it is especially important to keep the outside as meticulously clean as possible
After several attempts I found the most effective way to do so was by using a Hair Dryer.
- Cut the label while on the bottle: You will find the label detaches easily but remains glued along the labels seam.
- Grab a Hair Dryer and set it to "LOW"
- Holding the Dryer appox. one inch from the label begin moving the dyrer up and down along the seam
- Pull the label gently with your other hand, coaxing it lose.
- Continue for roughly 5min. The dryer will melt the glue and release the label
**NOTE:**If glue is still present after removal just simply move the hair dryer over the area again. It will help dissolve any remaining residue.
Cut bottle into two pieces at desired shape and height using either scissors or a utility knife.
Although you will predominantly be using the top half, save the bottom half. You may want to use it somewhere within the bottle to potentially "prop up" any of the contents within it.
Step 3: Top and Bottom of Bottle
TOP (Neck of bottle)
- Cut a piece of Jute/Twine between 1/2m - 1m long.
Tie a knot at the top of the bottle neck and begin wrapping the Jute around the neck several times until completely covered. I used Jute because it retains a very rustic look and texture.
To ensure the Jute stays in place, cover jute in a layer of 5min Epoxy. I used Epoxy instead of school glue because it dries fast and leaves the Jute feeling stiff and aged.
**NOTE** I also tried this with regular string and was not as satisfied with the outcome. Jute was definitely the best way to go.
2. Select a Large Round Bead to place on top as the "cork" or topper
I only had one bead big enough on hand so I re-purposed old Christmas Tree Bobbles by painting them black.
When I ran out of Bobbles I re-purposed a Crab Apple I found outside and again painted it black
BOTTOM (Base of Bottle)
Measure the diameter of the Bell Jar and cut desired shape out of wood to act as a base.
Although not 100% needed, most Bell Jars come with a base to sit the jar upon.
I decided to use old coffee tin lids and painted them black. I left some areas unpainted to create an "antique" appearance (as if I have had them a long time) What I liked about the lids, was that they were already decorative and beveled. Typically the base will stick out half an inch all the way around. If you don't have any coffee tins laying around, you can also use Wood, Coasters, or even Cardboard.
When painted dark, it is difficult to see exactly what you used.
Step 4: Contents of Bell Jar
Get creative by filling the jar with whatever decorations you happen to have. The fuller, the better.
Being a fall holiday its an awesome time to step outside and observe the current color schemes nature has to offer.
I ventured out around my house and collected leaves, sticks and crab apples to assist me in giving my Bell Jars a Macabre, rustic look.
The contents of mine are as follows:
BEWARE OF WITCH BELL JAR
- Beware of Witch Necklace Pendant
- Leaves from outside
- Sticks from outside (wrapped around the neck to add dimension and scale)
**NOTE** As leaves change color they will leave moisture in the bottle. Don't Panic (as I initially did) it will eventually evaporate and appear clear again.
BRAIN BELL JAR
- "Brain" prob I bought from the dollar store a few years back. Orginally pink, I painted to look more realistic.
- Cardboard (for Brain to rest on)
SKULL BELL JAR
- Crab Apple (painted to look like Pumpkin)
- Feather (bead)
- Canvas cut into small square (I wrote TRICK OR TREAT on it)
- White Skull Salt Shaker
Step 5: Completed Bell Jars
**NOTE**When completed, You may decide to attach the Bell Jar to the base although In my Instructable I have decided not to. It allows me to empty the contents and re-arrange the contents whenever I feel the need to without having to find or cut new bottles. If you decided to however, the 5 min epoxy would make a great tool as it dries clear and fast.
Thank You for viewing my Macabre Bell Jar Instructable.
I can tell you after having completed this, I will never look at my recycling Bin the same way. I will definitely be turning to it more often before purchasing new resources.
Subsequently It has also given me a reason to enjoy taking out the trash :)