Have you got ambitious plans for your Christmas decorations - but worry you’re going to running out of time and not get anything done? If that sounds like you, I’ve got a couple of Christmas jam jar decorating ideas to share with you.
What you’ll need
Everything you need for these simple DIYs should be readily available around your home, so hopefully it won’t be too much trouble to create these stylish night light holders.
For your bay leaf night light
- Clean jam jars
- Double-sided sticky tape
- Bay leaves
- Raffia (or string)
It’s best to use straight-sided jam jars. I’m using the term jam jar rather generically. These jam jars actually had coffee in one, and peanut butter in the other. You’ll need to wash out your jars and soak off your labels. I do this is a washing up bowl of water. Ideally leave your jars for a couple of hours (while you wrap your presents) and then peel off the labels.
You’ll probably be left with a sticky bit you can’t get rid of. I scratch away at this with a table knife and wipe off the residue with a cloth dipped in white spirit. As you’re going to cover your jars with leaves anyway, removing all your gluey bits probably isn’t really necessary.
Double sided sticky tape is a must. However, it can be a bit tricky peeling off the backing paper. I apply pressure to the tape by rubbing down firmly on it with my thumb nail and then peck away at it on one corner with my finger nail. You can buy double-sided tape on a dispenser (without the backing paper), which will make this project – and your seamless gift wrapping – much easier.
I’ve used bay leaves for my night light because they’re plentiful in my garden and are robust enough to dry out, rather than flopping and dying. Small laurel leaves would work equally as well. You’re aiming for a middle-sized leaf that will lie flat against your jam jar and not wilt too fast.
Raffia to tie
Once you’ve stuck your leaves in place you’ll need something to secure them in case any peel away. I’ve used raffia, but you could substitute garden twine – or ribbons to match to gifting décor.
For your copper twig night light
- Clean jam jars
- Straight twigs
- Elastic bands
- Garden twine
- Spray paint and protective gloves (optional)
Painting your twigs
If you decide to spray paint your twigs you’ll need to do this ahead of time and leave them to dry. Always use your spray paint in a well-ventilated room – or outdoors. You might want to protect your hands from over-spray with plastic gloves.
My top tips for spray painting are (1) limit your spray field by holding your twigs over a cardboard box – I’m sure you’ll have loads if you’ve been internet shopping - and (2) use short, sharp bursts. To get more intense colour coverage you’ll need to add several layers of paint. This will probably only take a couple of minutes, plus drying time.
Cut your twigs to length
Hold you first stick up against your jam jar and gauge how long you want it to be – level with the top of jam jar, above or below the rim? Once you’re happy, use this twig as a template for the rest of your bundle.
Ideally, you’re aiming for sticks of a similar thickness. If you mix chunky and thinner stems together you’ll find the thin ones work loose – you’ll pick up you jam jar and your sticks will slide out onto the floor …
Attaching your twigs to your jam jar
Wrap a pair of elastic bands around the top and bottom of your jam jar and thread the sticks underneath them. If you don’t have enough twigs to make a complete circle around your jam jar space them out – or add in extras. It might be a faff painting more, so use them in their natural state - you’ll end up with attractive zebra stripes.
Prefer to watch?
Alexandra at the Middle-Sized Garden kindly took the photos illustrating this blog. I’ve used the rest of her images to make a video slide show on YouTube which will take you through the steps in more detail. I haven’t mastered the art of the voice over yet – if you can give me a few pointers I’d love to hear from you.
These jam jars are a really simple project for making use of your garden trimmings and bringing a simple homeliness to your Christmas celebrations. Please note however, that you should never leave a naked flame unattended – particularly when your dried leaves and twigs overhang your lit candle. As an alternative, I would run fairy lights in and around your jam jars. Or use battery operated lights – you even can get them with a remote control.
Need more inspiration?
If you’d like some more ideas on a jam jar theme do check out the Middle-Sized Garden blog for more inspiration watch me and Alexandra on this YouTube video.
Until next time, happy flowers!
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