Mason jars give blank canvas for a variety of craft projects
By Linda Albert | (email@example.com)
Canning season is in full swing. Mason jars, whether they have the familiar Ball or Kerr logo, may be found in a number of places, from grandmother’s root cellar to the local grocery or discount store.
The traditional use for Mason jars in food preservation is just as important as ever, but author Lauren Elise Donaldson sees the iconic glass jar in a different way: as a blank canvas for creative pursuits resulting in unique decorative touches for homes, for special occasions or to present as gifts or party favors. Her book, “Mason Jar Crafts,” is the result and, as the cover suggests, includes “DIY Projects for Adorable Gifts, Rustic Decor, Clever Storage, Inventive Lighting and Much More.”
I was intrigued when her publicist emailed asking if I’d like to have a review copy. Of course! I’ve crafted with the jars and the bands and lids, but nothing to the extent Donaldson has. Her creative mind has gone places I would never have considered.
For example, she takes pint-sized Mason jars and turns them into clocks. She drilled a hole into the jars — and she gives clear directions on how to do so without risk of breaking the jar or hurting yourself in the process — spray painted one jar a sky blue, another cherry red, added the clock mechanism, the hour, minute and second hands and the battery, and came up with a functional and “timeless” conversation piece. Donaldson said you could use decoupage glue to attach fabric instead of painting the jar if that look was more to your liking.
I really don’t have any desire to drill holes in a glass jar but several other crafts were quite appealing. Mini frames caught my eye, whether they were wrapped with colorful thread or spray painted. Donaldson suggests attaching printouts from Instagram or camera phone pictures to the lids and then adding super glue to the edges of the lids and attach to the prepared bands. She also uses the lids and bands as frames for Nordic cross-stitch Christmas ornaments — and even provides the cross-stitch pattern.
My mind is already seeing a combination of these two projects. Wouldn’t it be fun to have family photos made into Christmas ornaments and hung on a “family tree” Christmas tree? These would be such adorable keepsakes of babies’ first photos, too.
As Donaldson says, you can do so much more with a Mason jar than can your garden bounty, sip a beverage or use as a vase for wildflowers. Some of her projects are for terrariums, herb gardens, lamps, macrame hangings, night lights, twine caddies, cake stands, children’s crafts — the piggy bank is as cute as can be — Christmas displays and more. Each project is rated for difficulty, with those requiring drilling obviously being the most difficult.
According to the author’s online biographical information, she is a photographer, stylist and design blogger in Los Angeles, sharing her stories of crafts and simple, creative living through http://LaurenEliseCrafted.com . She says that as a child, her creativity and craftiness were always fostered which eventually led her to design school and to a degree in architecture from the University of Southern California. After residing in Italy, impassioned by the beauty and culture found there, she refocused her energies on supporting handmade and the independent craft movement. Fostering that lifestyle, she uses her lens to capture her own stories of craft and simple, creative living. No matter the project, her goal is to inspire others through the act of making. Her designs have definitely inspired me.
The book, published by Ulysses Press, retails for $14.95. Within its 128 pages are 30 Mason jar craft projects and more than 150 full-color step-by-step illustrations, tips and templates. Check for it at your favorite online or local bookstores.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (firstname.lastname@example.org)