Now that Fall is here (while according to the calendar it is still Summer, since I work in a school it most definitely feels like Fall) I thought it might be time to look forward to gift giving season. I have to say, I love gift giving. Whether it is during the holidays or for someone’s birthday, I love the hunt of figuring out exactly what is the perfect gift for each person in my life and searching for it, or even assembling a group of different items to make one larger gift. And that is exactly what this post is about.
Last year one of my cousins suggested giving Mason Jar Gifts which had been so popular on Pinterest. And if you couldn’t already have guessed, this was right up my alley! For anyone who hasn’t seen these around the internet, the idea is to assemble a gift into a mason jar, usually bringing together small items that can all fit some theme, as well as physically fit inside the jar! That is the tricky part, because let me tell you finding items small enough to fit through the mouth of a standard jar is hard. I added the additional detail of attaching small plastic animals to the lids and spray painting them gold, for some added flair. This post isn’t going to be a traditional tutorial, because let’s face it I’ve posted a lot about painting small plastic animals recently, this is going to be more about giving you ideas of how you could create your own mason jar gifts.
First, the items inside don’t necessarily have to be extravagant, it’s about the concept. I avoided the whole “cookie recipe in a jar” idea, though I did receive one of those in my gift exchange! But I have twin cousins who are in college so I thought some sort of comfort food gift would work, so I made them a “Winter College Survival Kit in a Jar”. First I found those adorable mason jars with handles, and I knitted them mason jar cozies. I’ve just realized I didn’t take any photos sadly, oops! But I did find that this small scale project was the perfect chance to practice new cable knit and braid stitches which turned out to be easier than I might have expected. Remember my whole “it’s hard to find items small enough” from the last paragraph, yea that was especially true with this gift, so much so that I ended up giving them two mason jars! They got the mugs with the cozies, stuffed with tea and hot chocolate packets, and I bought chalkboard mason jar lids which I decorated with a chalk pen that I then tied to the outside. I also included a bunch of glow bracelets that I found at Michaels in the dollar section. Then in the jar with the animal lids I included a cute pair of socks, various forms of lip balm and lip gloss, and I tied a larger beauty product I got at Sephora to the outside. Some things just wouldn’t fit in either jar.
But the jar I was really the most pleased about was the one for my other cousin Scout. She had just graduated from college and had expressed interest in journalism, so I decided I wanted to make the jar a sort of “New Journalist/Recent College Grad in NYC Kit in a Jar.” Who says you have to name the theme anyway, right? For Scout I got the idea to decorate a few small moleskins to make them more personal. I used a pencil eraser and gold stamp ink to create polkadots on one cover, and then I used a gold paint pen to paint her name in script on the other. I found the fun font online and then printed it out and transferred it with pencil to the cover to copy. I would not have been able to freehand that. The hardest part was finding a jar that would fit the moleskins, even though they were super small. Finally I found one, I think it was possibly one of the largest mason jars you can find!
For the other items I tried to find a few things that were special and popped, like the gorgeous turquoise Kate Spade business card holder with the letter S on it. Other things are just fun and fill the jar, like the assortment of pens. Not everything has to be expensive, I found some really cute little sticky note tabs at staples that were totally on theme and also cheap. It’s about the items all together, not each one individually.
The one thing I struggled with was the animal for the top of her jar. Scout used to say she wanted to be a marine biologist, so when I saw the dolphin I thought it would be perfect. And visually, it totally is. However, I didn’t think about how it was larger than the lid, so you couldn’t get the ring part of the lid off over the top flat piece, once the dolphin was attached. Ideally, I would simply have glued the lid together, glued the dolphin on and then spray painted. But this is when I learned that super glue is not like hot glue, in pretty much all ways, and I totally botched my first attempt at gluing the lid together because I added way too much glue and it wouldn’t dry. So I had to do it again, and then at that point I’d already spray painted it once so I didn’t want to spray the dolphin again so I figured, no big deal I’ll just glue it on after, right? Wrong! The dolphin would not stick. So, do whatever you need to do to make your jar work, but make sure you glue your animals on BEFORE you paint, not after. It still looked awesome though! Even if the dolphin fell off 30 seconds after I gave her the gift.
So, the next time you need to give a gift think about using a mason jar because not only are they cute, they are also then functional, and if my gifts haven’t given you any ideas I know you can find a million different sites for more inspiration on Pinterest! Most importantly this holiday season try not to get stressed about finding gifts, try to think of it more like a treasure hunt with the treasure being a gift that the recipient enjoys unwrapping as much as you enjoyed assembling it.