Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reuse a Mason Jar - Easy Fall Decor! Part 1

I have mason jars galore!

I do some canning, but even after the canning is done, I have more empty jars taking up space.  This is mainly because I end up buying just about anything I can in glass containers, rather than plastic.  They can be used for additional storage, after all, but even then I'm left with more jars.

So I need ways to use them.  I mentioned previously that I had created an easy solar lantern by using a mason jar, but there are many other uses, as well.

Mason jars are excellent raw materials for home decor, and fall is approaching, so I decided that it's time for me to get the creative juices flowing and actually create fall decor before the season gets too close, and everything is too brittle to work with!

I grabbed a couple of bottles of fall-ish colored acrylic paint.

Fall colored acrylic paint choice - red and beige

The tops had to be dusted, because they were bought at least three years ago for a craft project that was never completed... oops.

Then, I got to work.  Here's what to do:

1 mason jar
2 containers of colors that remind you of fall
A paper towel or two, depending on how much you're comfortable with using
A few small/medium sized leaves (you can pick those later in the project)


 - Squirt out a couple of nice sized dollops of paint, then bring out a paper towel, then fold it up lengthwise. This allows it to retain its long length while making it thick enough to work with.  Press it into the dollop of your primary color choice (I chose red, because I can always reuse the mason jar for Christmas decor, this way!), then rub the entire paint-soaked paper towel along the inside of the mason jar - we want it to have a smooth look.

red paint swirled on inside of mason jar
Pretty ugly, huh?  Don't worry... it gets a lot better.
- Let that coat dry for a couple of minutes.  Not too long, though!  The paint needs to blend with the next layer, so we want it to stay somewhat soft.

- Now bring out the secondary color.  My choice was a beige.

Use a paper towel again, and press it into the paint.  I used less paper towel to complete this part, because not as much paint is used.

- Softly rub the paint in a band at the center of the jar, over the base coat.  Think of it as though you're tying a ribbon around the jar - only with paint!

You'll notice that the two paints blend together enough to make the coats appear seamless - yet still allowing you to see both of the original colors within the design.  Very fluid.

- Now, go run outside and pick a few leaves.  Whichever leaves make you happy... just don't pick anything too big...

See?  I told you that you could wait until later for the leaves!

Bring the leaves back to your happy painting spot (I'd say craft area, but I don't have one of those, preferring to create in whatever space is available, so I don't expect anyone else to, either!).

- Press the leaves into the paint that you worked so hard to make look gorgeous.  Yep.  I totally destroyed your flawless design, didn't I?  That's ok... you have a second chance at perfection!

- Once the leaves are flat against the wet paint, slowly peel them off again, and look at the transformation your leaves have gone through.

blended paint drying on leaves
Pretty cool, huh?
Set them aside, and let them dry.

Now squeeze out a new dollop of your primary paint color and press your paper towel into it.  No point in getting out a new paper towel, because you want it saturated so that you don't cause new clear spots to show up on your mason jar!

- Repeat the first step again, covering the entire inside of the bottle.  Pay attention to how the secondary color changes and blends, so that you can get the design you want.  When you're content with it, sit back and admire what you've done thus far...

painted mason jar

You're going to be waiting a long while for the entire project to dry so that you can proceed further.

I'll continue this tomorrow, because I want to be sure you have ample time to allow your mason jar to dry... and because this post is getting too long!  The jar is the framework for the design... the rest is all "frosting on the cake".

As we all know, though, without the frosting, cake looks pretty dull.

If you have any paint left over, one thing you may want to do is gather a small branch with leaves, and press your paint soaked paper towel onto the leaves to add a splash of color.  If you do this, hang the branch upside down so that it can dry properly, other wise, when you use it later it'll appear droopy..  Take into consideration what the color of the dried leaves will look like, as well.

Follow me to:

Part 2!

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