Do you ever find yourself hoarding “cool” things because they “might be useful?” Yeah, me too. It’s really difficult for me to toss out perfectly good glass jars from pickles, olives, jelly, etc. because they seem so darn reusable! Sure, I frequently have no idea what I’m going to do with them, only the strong feeling that something will come along one day.
Last week, that “one day” happened while I was looking around home decor shops in California. Hawaii lacks lots of chains like West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Anthropologie that I’m tempted to browse around in when they’re available (even if I hardly ever buy because everything seems far too expensive!). After looking at countless beachy jars and topiaries, I suddenly knew exactly what to do with my hoarded glass jars – turn them into frosted beach glass decorations! A few coats of paint and a couple knots later, I created these nifty and close to free upcycled beachy jars.
They’re actually really easy to make, and only require a few materials:
- Empty, clean glass jars
- Frosted glass paint – I used Martha Stewart translucent frost glass paint
- Foam pounces
- Rope or twine – I used 1/8″ and 1/4″ cotton, but jute, sisal, or manila would work, too
- A couple feet of ribbon, embroidery floss, twine, etc. for decorative accents
- Hot glue or craft glue (optional)
Edit/Update: Unfortunately, it seems like the exact beach glass frost paints I used are no longer available, but I’ve found several alternatives. A frosted glass spray paint is currently pretty popular (I’ve seen it at craft and home improvement stores), and there seems to be a Martha Stewart line of satin multi-surface paints in similar colors. Also, DecoArt has a line of frost glass paints. Of course, you can always just use “regular,” non frosted paint, too, as long as it’s a multi-surface paint that can adhere to glass. =)
How to make upcycled frosted sea glass beachy jars
1. Make sure your jars are both clean and dry. Any oily residue, bits of dry food, etc. can cause the paint to either not stick or come off later.
2. Pounce the frosted glass-effect paint all over the exterior of your jar. I found it easiest to hold the jar carefully by the lip, or to simply put my hand inside the larger jar so I could paint around the whole jar at once. I only painted the sides, not the bottom, but you can do whatever you’d like.
3. Allow the paint to dry and then apply an additional coat (or two or three) until you’re happy with the coverage and depth of color. I’ve worked with frosted glass paint before, and I’ve realized it’s better to apply two or three light coats than to try to apply one thick one. I’ve also noticed that the color gets more vibrant the more coats you apply, so you can make pale, barely-frosted jars with one coat and more colorful jars with two or three coats. Just do whatever you prefer! The jar shown below has one coat of (wet) paint, and you can see how much lighter the color is than on the finished jar with two coats.
4. After you’re happy with the jar’s color and the paint is dry, you’re ready to get decorating! I used 1/4″ cotton rope on the big jar and 1/8″ rope on the smaller jar. Cut a piece of rope that’s long enough to wrap around the jar once and then hang down to the ground on both ends. Then wrap it around the jar and tie it in a tight overhand knot (the type of knot you use as the base when trying your shoes). I liked the way the knot looked higher up on my larger jar, but more towards the middle on my smaller jar, so play around with it to see what you prefer.
5. Next, tie a second overhand knot in order to form a square knot. A square knot should be nice and symmetrical with ropes that come out parallel to one another, as shown here:
If you knot looks like this, it’s a granny knot and the second overhand was tied backwards. Undo it and then retie the knot the other way. =)
6. Cinch your square knot down nice and tight.
7. Now it’s time to use your ribbons! Embroidery floss, baker’s twine, rattail, hemp – just about whatever you’d like could work. In this example, I used four pieces of ribbon that were each about 8″ long, but how much you’ll need depends on how long you want your ribbon tails to be. Using a square knot, tie the ribbons very tightly around the dangling pieces of rope. In the next steps you’re going to create tassels below the ribbons, so think about how long you’d like your tassels to be when tying your ribbons in place.
8. Trim up the ropes and ribbons, if you want/need to, then untwist the rope’s strands below the ribbons.
9. Next, fray the threads out to create tassels.
10. Do any final trimming and adjusting you’d like. After all the positioning and trimming is complete, you can use a dab of hot glue or craft glue (like E6000) behind the knot to hold everything in place.
12. Enjoy your awesome new upcycled beachy jars!
I think these jars are cute as a shelf or mantel decoration, but they’d also work wonderfully for holding potpourri or even a beachy floral arrangement.
I’m sure this tutorial isn’t surprising at all to anyone who knows me – I definitely like beachy decor! It’s kind of hard to go for anything else when you live in Hawaii and it feels like summer year round (or when the curtains that have to stay with your apartment all boast various Hawaiian prints). Plus, I feel like it’s a style that lends itself very well to DIY projects, and I love making things!
Have you added any new decorative accents to your home recently?