Wendy Turner Webster, of the Crafty Beggars, is renowned for her ability to reuse and upcycle old items found in the home. With the motto ‘Don’t bin it!’, she transforms old pieces of furniture, packaging, and accessories into something beautiful. That’s why we gave Wendy a challenge. We asked her to jazz up 10 old glass jars for practical and decorative use.
The Jazzing Up of the Humble Jar by Wendy Turner Webster
Coffee, cooking sauces, preserves, fruit jams, and a thousand other spreads have one thing in common: they come with a glass jar! I can’t actually remember the last time I chucked an empty jar into the recycling bin. They make such a great base for a range of crafting mediums that I have cupboards full of them. They’re awaiting their turn for a new lease of life!
Here are my top 10 favourites…
Fabric, String, Embossing Powder, Wands, Blackboard Paint…
1. Leading the way is the mighty coffee jar! I found a huge piece of rich purple and gold fabric in a charity shop and used a scrap of it to wrap around the widest point. I actually made this to match a cat that I stitched in the same fabric. It was a project for the first Create and Craft UK show that Crafty Beggars appeared on. Sadly, I don’t own a cat and had to search the kitchen cupboards for something that resembled cat biscuits. The keen-eyed readers of this blog will already have spotted that the ‘cat biscuits’ in the jar are in fact Coco Pops!
2. The next jar is my absolute favourite and one of the very first things I made using embossing powders. The enamel adheres so well to the glass. Plus, the mix of purples and greens was, to me, a winning combination. Note again the use of garden string – an essential bit of kit to have on hand for any jar upcycling project. You can see I make great use of it!
3. Another coffee jar – this time holding bits of lace instead of fake cat biscuits. The ‘thorny branches’ were made using Pinflair Wands, which come in several different colours. The Wands produce perfect dots to embellish many different types of projects. If you create a straight line of paste with a pencil tip flicked through it, this will make the thorny effect.
Putty, Raffia, Glitter Rub-On Transfers, Paint, Buttons…
5. Another coffee jar heads up this trio (I drink loads!). The peacock feathers that decorate this jar were made out of a unique crafting product called ‘Nutty Putty’. I made the design on the glass then put the jar in a hot oven for 10 minutes. This lets the putty ‘bake’ into a silicone rubber which sticks firmly to the glass. I finished off this one with raffia ribbon instead of garden string and, as you can see, I store old scrabble letters in it.
7. Once again, the seventh jar is a candle holder. I gave it a very summery feel by using a splash of yellow paint inside the jar. The rabbit buttons are my own but you can stick any to a band of ribbon for an attractive result. Try random plain buttons or other embellishments!
Coordinating Candle Holders with a Vintage Feel…
8 – 10. These three jars sit together on some shelves in my kitchen and I use them all as candle holders (I do love a glowing candle – if you couldn’t tell by now!). By using similar colour and material combinations, jars can be grouped together to give out a warm glow in unison. These particular fabric scraps have a vintage feel about them and, again, you can see where all my garden string goes! The jar in the middle features the Hand of Fatima from a broken piece of jewellery and the jar on the right is brightened up using some sequin thread.
Well, that’s my top 10. I hope I’ve inspired you to jazz up your jam jars (or coffee jars, or any other empty jars you may have lying around). I hope your partner is as understanding as mine when they open the kitchen cupboards and see how many you’ve got stashed away!