How to Make Cool Stuff with Mason Jars

Mason jars are more than food storage containers; these affordable and durable clear glass jars can be the raw materials for a variety of cool indoor and outdoor decorative accessories. With the right materials, you can turn plain Mason jars into colorful art pieces that are both functional and attractive, providing mood lighting, holding floral bouquets, and serving as storage. Look for wide-mouth Mason jars in pint or quart sizes in local craft and grocery stores.

Stained-Glass Lanterns

Clean the outside of a Mason jar with glass cleaner. Dry the jar. Draw lines with a black marker to section the outside surface of the jar into segments. The segments can be random sizes and shapes.

Cover the marker lines with black or gray caulking. The caulking creates a raised surface on the jar and pockets for the stained-glass paint. Let the caulking dry completely.

Fill in each segment with stained-glass paint. Squirt the paint directly from the tube onto the Mason jar. Stained-glass paint applies equally well vertically and horizontally, so you can fill all the segments around the jar while it is upright. Let the paint dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Insert a tea light inside the Mason jar to create a lantern for the garden or patio.

Wiry Vase

Paint the outside of a Mason jar with glass paint. Let the paint dry.

Cut a 10-inch-long strip of soldering wire. Grip one end of the wire with round nose pliers. Twist the pliers to form a loop.

Grip the outside of the loop with flat-nose pliers. Twist the pliers to shape the wire into a tight spiral, using up 3 inches of the 10-inch strip. Follow the same process to make a spiral on the opposite end of the 10-inch strip. The second spiral can face the same or the opposite direction as the first spiral. Make four to six sets of double wire spirals.

Press each set of double wire spirals onto an area of the Mason jar to mold it to fit. Place the spirals randomly on the jar. Glue the spirals onto the jar with one-part epoxy adhesive. Let the glue dry for 24 hours.

Glue a flat-back glass bead on top of each spiral with one-part epoxy glue. Glue the same type of beads directly onto the Mason jar between the spirals to complete the decorative vase. Secure the beads in place with painter's tape for at least 24 hours, or until the glue dries.

Decoupage Jar

Tear different colors of tissue paper into small pieces.

Spread a thin layer of decoupage medium onto a small section of the outside of the Mason jar. Cover the glue with paper. Overlap the paper along the edges. Follow the process to decorate the entire jar with colorful bits of paper, similar to a mosaic. Let the glue dry.

Apply a second thin coat of decoupage medium on top of the paper. Let it dry. Apply a third coat; let it dry. Insert a tea light into the jar to make a lantern, or use the mosaic jar as a vase or container.

About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.