Jar light, jar bright
    Photo by Priscilla Liu / North by Northwestern

    Designed in 1858 to preserve Granny’s homemade strawberry jam, Mason jars have a new purpose as the foundation for many DIY home decor projects. Because Mason jars often cost less than a dollar, these crafts are ideal for college students looking to spice up their spaces on a tight budget.

    Holiday Luminary 

    Illustration by Rebecca Lai / North by Northwestern

    With the holiday season just around the corner, save your hard-earned cash for gifts and plane tickets. Instead, you can brighten your space on a budget with these festive luminaries.

    1 Mason jar, 1 can enamel spray paint, 1 tealight candle, holiday stickers

    Place holiday stickers and spray thick coat of paint over entire jar. Once dry, peel off stickers and place tealight candle in jar. Light candle and stick luminary on a shelf, on a windowsill or over a fireplace for a warm and cheery holiday look.

    Tip: Use an LED candle for safe illumination and an X-Acto knife to remove stickers—this will prevent the surrounding paint from peeling off.

    Beach Picture Frame 

    Illustration by Rebecca Lai / North by Northwestern

    Trying to frame that unforgettable vacation to the beach last summer, or a trip to one of Lake Michigan’s many beautiful sandy spots along campus? Ditch the old picture frame and use this simple craft to highlight your favorite moments.

    1 Mason jar, 1 photo, sand, various sea shells

    Fill one quarter of Mason jar with sand and tilt until slope forms in jar. Firmly place picture at top of slope. Scatter shells and other decorative items in sand on lower end of slope.

    Tips: Use a larger jar to display more than one picture. Wallet-sized pictures fit easily in most Mason jar sizes.

    Lettered Mason Jar

    Illustration by Rebecca Lai / North by Northwestern

    Perfect for displaying favorite quotes or messages, a lettered Mason jar can also serve as a vase, pencil holder, bookend or simple shelf ornament.

    1 Mason jar, 1 permanent marker, 1 glue gun, 1 can enamel spray paint

    Using permanent marker, write a word, quote, message or design on Mason jar. Trace over marker lines. Let glue dry for 10 minutes. Cover jar in a thin layer of paint with enamel spray can. Once jar is dry, use as a vase or as shelf decor.

    Tips: A larger Mason jar may work best for quotes and messages, and words may be easier to write out in puffy paint than with a glue gun.

    Redneck Wine Glass

    Illustration by Rebecca Lai / North by Northwestern

    Save your money for quality booze by making your own personalized wine glasses, which will also ensure that you never get your drink confused with anyone else’s.

    1 Mason jar, 1 small candlestick holder, 1 sheet of sand paper, E-6000 craft glue

    Sand top of candlestick holder and bottom of Mason jar to create rivets, which will allow craft glue to bond two pieces together. Generously apply craft glue to top of candlestick holder then center on bottom of Mason jar, pressing firmly for 30 seconds.

    Tip: Embellish the glass with enamel paint, ribbon, flowers or other decorative items.


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