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Decorating Jars for Your Holiday Gifts
Use paints, labels, stencils, decoupage and embellishments to make your jars look special. Match gifts and glass decorations to the person receiving the gift. Then add a matching gift card to your glass.
Use glass mason jars, glass bottles, old-fashioned mason jars, recycled mason jars, antique mason jars, or plastic mason jars. Jars must have tight-fitting lids.
Sterilize jars for food gifts
The jars you use to wrap food gifts should be glass and sterilized before use.
- Check all glasses for chips and cracks. If it is chipped or cracked, do not use it for food. Use new caps.
- Wash with hot soapy water; then rinse.
- To sterilize jars, place on rack in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from boiling water and let dry. Jars and lids can also be sterilized in the dishwasher.
Ways to decorate jars
Decorate with Color
Always wash the container in hot, soapy water to remove any grease or residue.
Choose a color intended for use on the surface you are decorating. Read the label on the paint container to determine the compatibility of the paint with your surface. This rule applies to painting on glass, metal lids or plastic cans and lids.
Acrylic craft paints are not permanent and can be rubbed off or washed off.
- Colors for acrylic glass they are best for glass containers. They come in a wide range of pre-mixed colors in handy squeezable bottles to decorate your gift boxes. These types of colors can be baked in a home oven to make them more durable and washable. (Read the label) Allow the paint to dry on the glass for 48 hours to bake. Place the glass container in a regular oven (not preheated) and heat to 325 degrees F. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the jar to cool in the oven before removing. After baking, the painted glasses can be washed by hand. Washing in the dishwasher is not recommended.
- Air drying enamel paints on glass are opaque, brush-applied glass paints that air dry to a high-gloss, water-resistant finish. Choose a brand that is water-based and non-toxic.
- Paints for plastics are brush paints specially formulated to adhere to plastic and dry to a durable, waterproof surface. Water-based types allow cleaning brushes and spills with soap and water.
- Paint pens they are available at craft stores and come in a wide variety of colors. They are great for detailing and simple glass decorating.
- Fabric dyes can be used for special effects such as text or facial features. Can also be used to decorate lids. They are squeezed straight from the bottle.
Paint a design on the glass using pre-cut purchased stencils or a design you cut yourself from freezer paper. You can also freehand paint the design on the glass. Draw the outline with a Sharpie Fine Point Permanent marker or paint freehand. Be careful as the Sharpie will smudge on the glass.
Decorate the labels
Create computer generated paper labels and then print them or draw a label on the paper of your choice.
Brown acrylic paint diluted in water will give the labels an old look. Use an old toothbrush to spray.
Lightly sand the edges of the label using a thick foam sponge and spray compound.
Allow the labels to dry; then glue or decoupage on the glass.
Decorate with decoupage
Use Mod Podge Gloss Chandelier decoupage medium for your glasses.
Decoupage is done in three basic steps: cutting, gluing and sealing.
- Remove any excess paper from the picture or image you want to use.
- Using a foam brush, lightly coat the back of the image with decoupage agent. Place the image on the surface and smooth it with your fingers, squeezing out wrinkles and air bubbles. Let dry.
- Apply two or three layers of decoupage medium over the image using a foam brush to seal the paper. Image appears cloudy when wet but dries crystal clear.
Decoupaged glasses can be wiped with a damp cloth, but cannot be washed
dishwasher or immersed in water.
You can use decoupage to create a paper collage container. A collage is a group of pictures or images layered and overlapping to form a display. Use printed photos, interesting paper, stamps and stickers. Arrange images by overlaying them for a decorative display. Attach them and seal with two or three layers of decoupage medium.
Decorate with fabric
If you don’t want to decorate the outside of a glass or plastic container, add an ornament to the lid.
Cover the top of the jar lid with a cloth or a small piece of lace or a paper napkin. Use a holiday or gingham cut with pink sheers. Add three to four inches to the diameter measurement of the jar lid for covering and decoration. A circular piece of batting can be used under the fabric for a padded look. A counted cross stitch can also be used on the top of the container. Place the fabric over the lid on the jar or place over the lid seal and then add the screw tape. Lace or braid can be glued around the tape.
A variety of items can be used to decorate your decorated container. Let your decor compliment the content. If your gift box contains Gingerbread Cookie Mix, attach a gingerbread man cookie cutter. Add the cookie cutter to the cookie mixture. Attach a tea ball or infuser to a glass of tea. Add a wooden spoon, rubber spatula or wire whisk to other mixtures.
Make a label or card to match the decoration or contents of the jar and attach with ribbon or raffia.
Embellishments include ribbon, holiday garlands, gold braid or cord, raffia, lace, buttons, beads, pendants, tassels or scarves.
Selection of adhesives
For gluing objects to glasses, silicone-based adhesive works best for glass. It also bonds wood to glass, metal to glass or plastic to glass well. It can also be used to attach items to metal or wooden lids. Silicone-based glue dries slowly, so you’ll need to carefully support the container until the glue dries.
AND melt gun can be used to attach light objects such as ribbon to a container for immediate holding.
White craft glue is used for gluing unbaked polymer pieces to a jar or lid before baking in the oven.
The contents of the gift container
Use your imagination and consider who the gift is intended for when deciding on the content. Food mixes are very popular. Gift boxes can also include sewing ideas, sake, games, snacks such as trail mix, nuts n’bolts or chex mix, candied nuts, candied popcorn, Christmas cookies or jelly, coffee, tea, flavored vinegars and oils in glass bottles , potpourri or scented gel, bath salts and a baked cake in a container.
If you plan to give a mixture of foods, select the recipe and ingredients first. Food mixes often look better when the ingredients for the mix are layered in the container. The recipient can mix the ingredients before use.
If you plan to give a mix, you will need:
- A small bottle to seal ingredients when layering or pouring into a glass.
- A canning funnel or a piece of cardboard to create a simple funnel for filling jars.
- Paper napkins to wipe the powder ingredients inside the container.
Tips for packaging food ingredients
- Layer the ingredients in the glass in the order given in the recipe.
- After adding powdered ingredients such as sugar, cocoa or flour, wipe the sides of the container with a clean paper towel before adding the next ingredient for a better look.
- Wrap all ingredients tightly as you add them. If you don’t, you won’t have enough space to fit all the ingredients. Generally, a quart holds 6 cups of packaged ingredients; a pint jar holds 3 cups of packed ingredients.
- If the ingredients do not reach the top of the container, fill the space with crumpled plastic wrap or waxed paper to prevent the ingredients from shifting and mixing.
- After putting the ingredients in the jar, close it with a lid. Attach a card with the recipe, instructions, a list of any other ingredients and a holiday greeting.
Baked cake in a jar
When baking a cake in a jar, use a mason jar with a wide mouth and a two-piece lid (flat seal and screw band). The wide neck allows the cake to slide out of the container. Choose a cake in a jar recipe or adapt your favorite cake recipe to be in jars. Place one cup of prepared cake mix in a pint jar. Bake according to the instructions. Jars and lids must be sterilized before use. (Use new lids) Bake the cake and add the lid after removing the cake from the oven. Carefully place the flat gasket on the top of the jar and then the screw tape. The glass is very hot, so you won’t get burned. Allow the jar to cool and then test that the jar is sealed. If the cake does not seal properly, eat the cake, refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. Sealed cake jars can be stored without refrigeration for up to two months. Attach a tag with the name of the cake that says “Best eaten before (two months after cake is baked).”
Give yourself plenty of time to decorate the gift boxes and plan the contents for each person on your Christmas list. Fill your glasses, sit back and relax. Sip a cup of hot spiced cider and enjoy the holidays.
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