How to Make a Jingle Bell Jar (and other Mason Jar crafts)

You all know I feel I’m a bit lacking in the craft gene department. Yet in a cruel twist of irony, I’ve always been drawn to crafts and enjoy the idea of them immensely.

The honest truth is that most of my crafting attempts over the years have resulted in burns, near amputations, lacerations to my eye, frustrations, and at the very least, a few choice words muttered inside my head (I’m polite and self-controlled like that). And almost all of my attempts end up in the landfills (or out in my garage). Sad, but true.

In spite of the pain and emotional suffering I’ve experienced in crafting, my failures have taught me a valuable lesson about myself, I am not patient enough to do anything very complicated by myself. And knowing that fact about myself keeps me from wasting my time with projects that I know will not have a happy ending or at worst, will result in my untimely demise.

That pretty much rules out any project that involves hammers, knives, nail guns, sewing machines, or power tools of any kind. With my track record, I avoid most weapons tools like the plague. You cannot be too careful. As I like to say, “safety first.” Better to avoid the dangers entirely and leave those projects to the professionals (notmentioninganynames TDC).

Once we figure out what we are not good at, we experience a new sense of confidence and freedom to just say no to complicated crafts.

So if you are like me and have a few issues surrounding crafting, you’ll appreciate the kinds of crafts I DO try to make. It is STILL possible to craft as long as you focus on the simple, doable, less life-threatening kinds of projects. And once you find a craft project that really works for you, you can just keep doing it. Over and over. And over. Why tamper with a good thing? Perfect your craft. Heh heh.

I’ve been making Mason Jar candles as far back as I can remember. I use them for every.single.holiday, party and season on earth. Why change? That is the beauty of this craft. The jars always have a filler in them and always have a small votive. Always the same, yet always versatile. Most of the time I just use Epsom salt as filler in mine. It looks like a candle sitting in snow in the winter, and a candle in the sand in the summer. Use your imagination.

You cannot fail with this project. The only way to mess this up is if you try to get all fancy (like my friend Emily from Remodeling This Life reportedly did) and use a red candle to spice things up. If you light that red candle, you’ll end up with what can only be delicately described as a horrific accident inside your mason jar. White candles always work. Red, no. See how easy this is? Stick with me, kids.

Yes, you can branch out and use small rocks or candy or cranberries instead of Epsom Salt as a filler. Those are approved and fail proof variations.

The original jingle bell mason jar with an easy to find and affordable filler!

Because I have been a blogger for three years now, it has occurred to me that perhaps I should exert a little more effort and give my old standard craft a little update.

Every good blogger knows you have to have something new to talk about every day fairly often to keep people admiring , impressed with,  reading your blog. I don’t cave in to the pressure to out-do Martha or all the bloggers in the universe (because that is totally hopeless), but this year I decided I really should get my craft on, a little bit, for the holidays and all. I didn’t want to go all crazy and try something completely new, so I opted to stick with the classic Mason Jar, with a somewhat rustic country feel but still festive touch.

So, without further ado…

Behold my new Christmas 2010 Mason Jar:

aka The Jingle Bell Jar. Yes, I know that title is amazingly clever. Think about it.

How to make a Jingle Bell Jar

Follow all of the instructions for a regular Mason Jar Candle, except wrap the mouth of the jar with jute twine strung with a few jingle bells. If you are a perfectionist, glue the twine down in perfect rows. Otherwise, go for my more unintentionally lazy haphazard look. If you want to really knock yourself out, you can stick some snowflake brads (show in the top photo, found at the craft or scrapbooking store) in the twine and spray with glitter. The end.

If I had all my Christmas decor out, I could have hung small Christmas balls or ornaments from the jar as an option as well! I might try that later.

Here is my Fall into Winter version:

The Cinnamon Stick Mason Jar.

For lovebirds:

Key to Your Heart Mason Jar

perfect for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries or housewarmings or anytime, really….

Mason Jar Ideas

And, a sneak peek one in my upcoming summer collection (I’ve always wanted to say that):

The Starfish Mason Jar.

You’ll be seeing this one again in all its glory this summer.

wedding mason jars

Now I’m just showing off.

I’ll stop.

Coming soon, glitter is my new BFF and I’ve got plans for her.

Related post:

DIY: Glittery Snow for your Mason Jar and Candles 

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Comments

  1. Those are beautiful! I tend to be decent with the more complicated DIY “crafts”, but I love the simple ones … mostly because they tend to be quick and I actually finish them on time.
    Ryn recently posted..Thoughts on BloggingMy Profile

  2. These are so great, Melissa! My kind of craft! :)

    I seriously laughed out loud that you told the world about my poor red candles from last year.

    Love you!

    xoxo

  3. K I love this and think I may even try my hand at it…I just hope I don’t burn myself with the glue gun…if I can even find the glue gun…
    hip chick recently posted..Friday Fave FivesMy Profile

  4. Christine Aldinger says:

    funny and cute oh how i love mason jars and yours are darling

  5. This is great! I think I will use this idea for our Chirstmas candlelight at our church.

  6. This is exactly how I feel about crafts! I really want to be good, but man, my patience runs out fast!

    Living A Bona Fide Life
    Courtney recently posted..Thursdays Eats Pumpkin MuffinsMy Profile

  7. I love this idea! Just the perfect little touch to add some holiday charm to a room (such as a bathroom). And, I love that you can change them out for each season.
    SimplyLKJ recently posted..23 Days Until the Invasion!My Profile

  8. This is a fabulous idea and I love how you can create so many different looks just by changing out the embellishment. Thanks for the tip on the red candle ;) I might have tried that one lol
    tammy recently posted..the DIY LifeMy Profile

  9. Ellen Moore says:

    I am a new reader of your blog and laughed myself silly this morning. You are so funny! I AM a crafter and have always felt those who don’t craft were in some (small) way, inferior. I love to take something that is nondescript and turn it into something so cute and lovely and useful and cannot understand those who do not embrace crafts. But you, you have changed my entire mode of thinking. Non-crafters have other qualities, such as humor and the ability to write. I will definitely read this blog diligently. Excuse me now while I have some tea and perhaps stop laughing and rereading your post.

  10. Loved this!!! I too long to craft but never seem to be ‘good’ at it. but this is simple! I surely can do this!!! I especially like the starfish.
    I really enjoy your blog.
    Sharon recently posted..The Most Valuable GiftMy Profile

  11. Love this idea! I’m a relatively new reader of your blog. Found you through a friend’s page on Open Sky a couple of months ago. . .and have enjoyed your posts ever since. You have no idea how much I look forward to reading your blogs. I consider them a treat. I plow through the 50 + work emails first, and then save your blog email for last. It’s kind of like dessert for me. Thanks so much for being a creative, fun inspriation!

  12. I do the mason jar thing all year long too! I like the twine at the top with the bells or other items….may have to copy this!
    Deanna recently posted..This and ThatMy Profile

  13. love it all…..

    thanks for some great ideas.
    Bevy recently posted..Fridays Finds- no 37-10My Profile

  14. It took me a bit to figure out that you were using Epsom salts as a filler. These are beautiful and I guess you wouldn’t actually have to use a canning jar, you could use any kind of jar. Thanks for this simple and easy decorating idea!

  15. LOVE these! Just too cute!! Thanks for sharing!
    Jess recently posted..Do you PolyvoreMy Profile

  16. I LOVE this simple but awesome idea. These are so going on my family room Christmas mantel. I love the cranberry idea. Thanks!

  17. I like simple things like this myself, Melissa! While I am a great fan of crafty things, I find that sometimes I just don’t have the time to do them. Also, I’m trying to use up those supplies I’ve purchased over the past year {I think there’s a New Years resolution in there somewhere}. I can handle this and you’ve reminded me about using epsom salts as faux snow.

  18. What a fun post, Miss Crafty! I have some pint jars from my attempt at canning salsa last summer and will give this idea a whirl!! Thanks for bringing a smile this morning!!
    Carla recently posted..Turkey LurkeyMy Profile

  19. Simple, fun, inexpensive and pretty – what could be better? I like it!
    pk recently posted..Giveaway! you wont want to miss this one!My Profile

  20. These are so pretty – I thought I would add them to my list of gifts in jars ideas (http://www.se7en.org.za/2009/12/24/se7en-bazillion-gifts-in-a-jar)… but no I think I might make them just for us to enjoy… we always have Christmas dinner out doors (sunny Cape Town) and these candles would look so pretty and not be blown out by the breeze!!! Love them!!!
    se7en recently posted..Se7en Million Teeny Tiny Bird Houses…My Profile

  21. You are so silly…love it….and the nice thing about mason jars….I have tons out in the garage from my canning days.
    Thanks for the idea….I know the girls and I will be making these Thanksgiving….we like to do crafts when we are together…. Happy Day…the star fish one is my favorite.
    Thanks
    teresa recently posted..leaf dayMy Profile

  22. EEEK, I LOVE these, and I actually have the large jar, jute twine AND the starfish all on hand! Thanks for the inspiration. I don’t think you’re crafty challenged in the least. :)

  23. loooooooove! how pretty and brilliantly simple.
    Katie recently posted..Cranberry Cider MargaritaMy Profile

  24. OOOO i love the beach one and the key one and the Snow one!!! I have a ton of these at the house!! I can going to have to make some!! I can already see the snow ones on my mantel!

  25. Very cute… and versatile! I’m making these! Sand would be nice in the starfish one.
    Debra recently posted..Are we forgetting ThanksgivingMy Profile

  26. I love these!! What a simple, classic look with so many possibilities! Thanks for sharing. :-)
    Jenny recently posted..Digging Out from the DramaMy Profile

  27. Melissa,

    LOL, I am totally the same way—I’ve given up the notion that I can make slip covers from drop cloth and refinish a table that looks better than the broken down table I found for $2 at Goodwill. It is freeing and it’s so good to know your limitations! That said, your jars look doable even for a craft-challenged person like myself…thanks for sharing this great idea.
    karen

  28. This is awesome, and perfect, and just what I needed! You are the new Martha, (plus you made me laugh out loud, she never does)
    Have a great weekend!

  29. Look at your crafty self! These are all beautiful and simple…that makes them an A+ to me. :)
    Angie recently posted..How To Make Thanksgiving Boat Treat HolderMy Profile

  30. I love the simplicity and beauty of these candles. I’m going to try them. By the way, I have to ask, is that your Westie in the photo? If I knew how I’d send you a picture of my Westie. They’re great dogs!! Thanks, Kim

  31. Love these ideas! And so easy for quick gifts-or just around my house :)
    Gina recently posted..Lovely DefinedMy Profile

  32. LOVE it!!!! At first glance I thought you used the fake snow stuff you find at the craft store. Epsom salt, great idea! I have some blue canning jars and I think I will try it in those for a frosty appearance. By the way I loved the canning jars you did a couple of years ago that you did with candy corn and had it in an old canning jar holder. I had to go on ebay to get an old holder. I borrowed that idea for an outdoor autumn party I had. My table looked fabulous! Thank you!

  33. These are so lovely!
    May I ask: do you put a “bare” candle in the epsom salts/pebbles, etc., or are they contained in something else, like tea lights are? I’ve tried this before, but the candle melted all.over. inside the jar, and was next to impossible to remove because it all stuck together. (I stuck in a bare candle into sand.)
    Thanks!
    Beth

    • Yes, I just stick a bare white candle down in the Epsom salts, it eventually will melt into the salt BUT it is easy to pluck it out and star fresh. I only use the smaller, like maybe 1 or two inch candles so they can’t melt to the side of the jar.

      I also use tea lights sometimes but they don’t stay lit as long.

  34. Perfect! since i am also a slightly impatient crafter and although i can do a few things quite well, the rest is often slapdash… these are charming, as always an enjoyable post!
    anne recently posted..THE COOLEST PILLOWS EVER!My Profile

  35. Love how the salt looks like snow in the jar!! Thank you for sharing your cute ideas!
    Rene recently posted..No sew monogramMy Profile

  36. Oh my goodness, I LOVE these. The simplicity, the options. Thanks for the inspiration. I may use this idea for our Thanksgiving table…

    Best wishes,
    Tammy

  37. Lila Ferraro says:

    I love this idea. I have saved all of my sons baby jars and could totally use them for this. It might be a little smaller in scale, but I think it could work!
    xoxo
    Lila Ferraro

  38. Love them. Love simple and elegant – because I’m not a good crafter either. :)
    Dionna recently posted..Being Called MomMy Profile

  39. Very cute Melissa…simple is always best. You should have these in your windows on your banner ;)
    Roberta recently posted..The 21 Purge- Day 10Sticking With ItMy Profile

  40. You are too funny! I love to read your posts and laugh (with you, not at you)! Your writing is so refreshing and light. Thanks for the jar-of-all-seasons idea!
    Jimi Ann recently posted..Husbands- Cats and FriendsMy Profile

  41. Lauri Thomas says:

    Oh my GOODness. You are KILLING me! You are hilarious :) Love the epsom salts idea – totally stealing that one ;)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  42. I’m definitely trying this. I love yours. So pretty! :)
    Carmen recently posted..Thanksgiving or any party Appetizers-Hors doeuvresMy Profile

  43. So sweet these mason jars are!!!! Wonderful ideas Melissa! Good girl! And you didn’t lose a digit! lolol

    I have some pretty aqua ones sitting in the basement. Me thinks I have plans for them!
    Fiona’s Mosaic recently posted..Cold &amp Flu Prep “Thorn In the Flesh” Part TwoMy Profile

  44. Haha! And I thought every American woman was tested in glue gun and ribbon-tying skills?

    You give the rest of us useless (disinterested?) sorts hope — and some breathing room from Ikea’s standard-issue tea light holders, wahoo!
    Lauren recently posted..A very Vancouver Christmas- download yoursMy Profile

  45. Very fun! Thanks for the inspiration. Made 3 already, each featuring a small picture frame that includes a stanza of The Winter Day poem by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I plan on making more for Christmas gifts featuring different winter poems or quotes.

  46. I think Mason jars have a natural, simple beauty. If I had to choose a fave it would be between the cinnamon stick and starfish. Those are wonderful! You are so not craft-challenged! I am craft-challenged! But so many of my friends are talented and creative. I’m going to start a segment on my blog called vicarious crafting to highlight their amazing creations and projects because I don’t have any to share myself. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!
    Michele recently posted..Give Me A BreakMy Profile

  47. I am so ready for the little ones today. They are coming to stay over and we are gonna make candles for mom and other Gramma and Aunties. Yaaaa Thanks for helping me make a memory with my grandsons. Hope it is as easy as it looks!!

  48. What a lovely idea-one that I think I will try! You are so funny…you made me laugh out loud…yes, I too love crafts and often find that I am better off ‘admiring’ others than actually making my own…yet, I buy supplies, tons of them, arrange them by theme, season, holiday, etc…..then just look at how pretty they are and imagine someday actually doing something with them….. perhaps I need to wear some hazmat gear the next time I try my hand at crafting..better safe than sorry. : )

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    Mary Beth recently posted..Thanksgiving Cupcakes Little TurkeysMy Profile

  49. Thanks for the chuckle! And you ideas are great, btw.. :0)
    Kim Fahrni recently posted..Wow… 2 1-2 months…My Profile

  50. I love this idea! I love mason jars for everything too! I’m going to make some of these!

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Amanda recently posted..Happy Birthday to my Mom!My Profile

  51. These ideas are wonderful! Filing them away in my “to do” folder.
    :)

  52. You always have the best ideas! Thanks so much for this one. Now I’m a twitter-er I am going to re-tweet it!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha.
    Natasha recently posted..Tweet Tweet!My Profile

  53. Oh my LOVE IT! Please make sure you keep ‘showing off’ such great ideas!

  54. Thanks for posting this, I’m totally with you on the liking craftiness but not having the gene. I used your idea today for the epsom salt, which I’ve been wanting to try…I linked to you from my post too…thanks for the great ideas!!
    Kristin recently posted..I Was a Dollar Store SnobMy Profile

  55. You are so very clever. I love them all but will be borrowing the starfish idea for my winter at the beach decor I’ve got going on :)
    Leen recently posted..Flower Tree NurseryMy Profile

  56. oh my goodness, I’m SO going to make these! I’m hosting a small Christmas party in a few weeks and kept thinking it would be nice to line my walkway with some sort of luminaries and this is just the project!! Thank you for the idea, I’m so excited to make these :)

    -heather
    heather ritchie recently posted..Wordless Wednesday- Busting My HumpMy Profile

  57. I just love Mason jars (aka “jelly jars”)! They are so versatile and so many neat things can be created with them.

    Thanks for sharing these ideas!
    Amy recently posted..Just beautifulMy Profile

  58. Made some of these to give family on thanksgiving so they can put out with christmas decorations. So thank you for this simple and inexpensive gift idea. The only thing I did differently was to use red raffia ribbon instead of twine.

  59. oh melissa, you are so fantastic! great work!

  60. Your blog was so funny! I love the idea of the decorative mason jar for all seasons. Thanks! I’ll keep you bookmarked!

  61. Melissa, when I read your blog I feel like you’re sitting in my kitchen or like you might be at my dining room table and we’re about to do the mason jar thing— together. I kinda feel like you’re my friend I’ve never met. And when I read this post it tickled me way down deep inside. You’re so dang honest. I love it. Hoping your Thanksgiving was blessed!!
    carol recently posted..Gods doing good things in the darknessMy Profile

  62. I too am craft challenged but I do love these jars. They ring true as pure and simple. I think I can do that!
    Bonnie Jackson recently posted..Black Friday Shopping SpreeMy Profile

  63. I live in Barcelona. Can I use any other type of salt instead of Epsom salt to get the snow effect? It’s not easy to find here, and where I have found it, it costs at least 6 euros per 100 grams.

  64. I found your blog through both (in)courage and The Nester (and maybe Simple Mom too?) and I’m hooked. Thank you for these ideas – I’m horribly craft-challenged but I absolutely think I can do this.

  65. Cute! It makes me feel better that you consider yourself craft challenged, too. We recovered our dining room chairs (technically not a craft, I suppose) the night before Thanksgiving, but my husband really did all the work. I cut cloth and sprayed Scotch Guard. :)
    Dawn Camp recently posted..The Winners of the 2010 Christmas Gift Guide GiveawaysMy Profile

  66. Over the years and with the passing of family members, I’ve collected far too many Mason jars…and most without lids! (My kids can’t even put bugs in them, b/c there’s no lid!) This is a great way for me to pull those out and set them along on our patio during gatherings! GREAT IDEA!

  67. Oh, I am in love! I can handle this craft. What great gifts {I’ve been looking for something inexpensive and homemade like this.} The starfish one from your “summer collection” may be my fave.

  68. My coworker made these for us in our little office after I showed him your blog post. He put sand in the jars and mixed spices in with the sand – cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The smell, once the candle is heated, is faint and lovely!

  69. ok how come i haven’t seen your blog before! i mean seriously! you had me laughing the entire time! i may have peed myself! oh goodness this is great! i think i love you!

    wow thats a lot of {!} in this sentence!!
    Holly recently posted..I am a little obsessed with anything FrenchMy Profile

  70. This was the funniest post ever. Going to be linking back to it tomorrow because well, I somewhat copied you, I think? :)
    Emily recently posted..This Was On Our Doorstep The Other Day…My Profile

  71. Shirley B. says:

    Love mason jars and truly enjoyed reading your blog detailing your ‘intricate’ decorations. Made me LOL!

  72. i feel your pain. i too am craft challenged.
    you’re an inspiration :)

  73. How cool!

    Yesterday I attended a craft show. First one I’ve attended, by myself, in a long time. It gave me the crafting bug–AGAIN! This craft just nudged me in the crafting direction, too!

    You rock!

  74. JennyLeigh says:

    Cute jar candles! I had to chuckle when I saw the pic with your little Westie’s nose poking in. We have a Westie. He has to be in the center of EVERYTHING. They are wonderful, sweet, completely annoying little dogs. We are crazy about our Max.

  75. Lori Lesley says:

    I am wanting to do mason jar candles for a high school graduation party this weekend! Nothing like waiting til the last moment lol Any suggestions on filler or an idea thats festive yet classy.
    Thanks! I am doing bright colors of fresh flowers in jars for tables, I thought somehow adding a picture of the graduate would be cute…..but how :)
    Lori

  76. Where did you find the antique key?! I love love love the whole look…it’s almost exactly what I envision for centerpieces for my wedding. Just need the keys! Thanks. :)

  77. EDITH BRONSON says:

    I am thrilled with the Epsom salt idea..I thought I needed to find an old beanbag and tear it apart for the styrifoam but I have not found any…Plus it will be easier working with the Epsom salt..thanks a bunch..I am so hooked on Ball Jar decor..

  78. And to think i almost thru out the epsom salt this past weekend! Kept wondering what I was gonna do with Epsom salt…NOW I know! :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  79. I love these! Simple and easy. I have lots of jute and jingle bells. Mainly because I forget I bought them and bought more. I do that alot! I also collect keys. I wanted to incorporate some into my Christmas decor. I sprayed some with glitter to catch the light. Thanks for all these ideas!

  80. These are great! Versatile and simple – my kind of project!
    Betsy recently posted..Family Gingerbread House IdeasMy Profile

  81. Seed Sprout Haven
    Twitter:
    says:

    I found exactly what I was looking for when I found your blog.
    I too try my patience when trying to make my craft “look like the picture”
    That seldom never works for me. So I have to walk away and think about it:) with the twine wrapped around the mason jar….it doesn’t work for me:( So, I took the twine and crocheted a band to fit around the mouth of my mason jar. I came to your blog via Pinterest looking for ideas on what to attach to my twine band.
    Thank you for your ideas.
    Seed Sprout Haven aka Tammy Sisler

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