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How to Turn Discarded Craft Supplies Into Whimsical Jar Decorations

Updated on January 02, 2017
Have old or unused art supplies taking up space in your home? Transform them into whimsical jar decorations in under an hour with this super easy tutorial!
Have old or unused art supplies taking up space in your home? Transform them into whimsical jar decorations in under an hour with this super easy tutorial! | Source

Step #1: Rummage Through Your Old Art Supplies

Time to bust out those art bins, boxes of discarded holiday decorations, and Tupperware full of supplies that are past their prime.

This project is such a great way to get rid of all that craft stuff taking up space. Plus, art supplies are perfect for creating re-purposed decor for kids bedrooms, classrooms, and even the holidays. I actually used my whimsical jar as a Christmas decoration.

When picking out supplies for my jar, I chose supplies with color palettes that fit the whimsical theme I was going for. I chose more pink, purples, and rainbows for my jar, but green, blue, and creamy shades would also make fantastic whimsical hues for this project.

Dig In!

Roll up your sleeves and dig in to find supplies for your jar.
Roll up your sleeves and dig in to find supplies for your jar.

Step #2: Select Your Supplies or "Layers" For Your Jar

We're going to turn these supplies into layers, so make sure to pick out supplies that can be easily squashed, pressed, and formed into eye-catching layers in your jar.

For this project, I decided to use the following supplies that I had lying around the house:

  • Thick purple tissue paper.
  • Printer paper
  • Pink iridescent Easter basket grass
  • Rainbow duct tape
  • Broken crayons
  • Discarded pasta sauce jar
  • tangled embroidery thread
  • Glitter glue

These supplies make great "layers" for your jar. If you don't have any of these on-hand, but want to use them for your whimsical jar, keep reading for some awesome online deals I found along the way. This way, you can create multiple jars for whimsical themed parties or use fresh supplies to create art supply gifts for kids and pre-teens!

Pick Your Faves!

I chose iridescent shreds, duct tape, tissue paper, discarded crayons, printer paper, embroidery, and glitter glue.
I chose iridescent shreds, duct tape, tissue paper, discarded crayons, printer paper, embroidery, and glitter glue.

Step #3: Find & Prepare Your Glass Jar

Glass jars are so great for arts and crafts.

You can turn them into firefly lanterns, cookie dough recipe gifts, whimsy "memory" jars, and so much more—literally.

For this project, I chose a simple pasta sauce jar. Because it was still covered in sticky residue from the label, I had to soak it in hot soapy water for a few hours to scrub off the extra gunk.

Once your jar is dry and sparkling, you can start to layer up your supplies.

Clean Your Jar

Grab an empty glass jar from your kitchen or recycling bin.
Grab an empty glass jar from your kitchen or recycling bin.

Soak Your Jar in Hot Soapy Water To Get Rid of Any Sticky Residue

If you have very little sticky residue, running your jar through the dishwasher may be enough to loosen it.
If you have very little sticky residue, running your jar through the dishwasher may be enough to loosen it.

Step #4: Create Your First Layer With Tissue Paper

Now that your jar is nice and clean, you can create your first layer.

How you layer your whimsical jar is really up to you, but there are a couple tricks to layering to make it look right.

To start, I created a nice firm layer with thick purple tissue paper. This creates a foundation for your whimsical jar, plus, it's much easier to layer up as opposed to starting with a loose layer of beads, buttons or trinkets for example.

Remember to keep smashing in your layers as you go. You want to make them as firm as possible!

Other materials you can use for that first layer include smashed construction paper, sand, modeling clay, or even packed-in fine glitter.

Grab Some Purple Tissue Paper

Any whimsical color will do! You may want to dry glitter tissue paper or multicolored tissue like those shown below.
Any whimsical color will do! You may want to dry glitter tissue paper or multicolored tissue like those shown below.

Smash Your Tissue Paper Firmly Into Your Jar, Creating Your First Layer

Firmly pressed down in your layer of tissue paper. Continue to smash down your layers of supplies as you go.
Firmly pressed down in your layer of tissue paper. Continue to smash down your layers of supplies as you go.

Step #5: Create Your Second Layer With "Crazy" Duct Tape

Duct tape is one of those "wonder" supplies that come in handy when you need it. Need to temporarily patch up a hole or crack? Duct tape. Want to make a cool wallet? Duct tape!

I've had this roll of rainbow duct tape for a couple years now, and till now, it's just been collecting dust in my art bin.

I didn't want any of my layers to be sticky, so I turned my duct tape into a colorful rainbow "rope" that I could bunch up into a nice and sturdy layer.

To make my rope, I simply twisted around the duct tape as I continued to pull. This is super easy, and once you're done, you can create a cool swirly rainbow layer for your jar.

Duct tape comes in so many cool shades and designs now, and I found some black and white checkerboard duct tape that would also look great in your jar. Other cool designs to consider include glitter, pastel, metallic, geometric, and paisley style duct tape.

Grab A Roll of Decorative Duct Tape

I was lucky to have this awesome roll of rainbow duct tape on hand.
I was lucky to have this awesome roll of rainbow duct tape on hand.

Twist Your Duct Tape Into "Rope"

Twist it up!
Twist it up!
Your finished rainbow rope should look something like this.
Your finished rainbow rope should look something like this.

Smash Your Rainbow Rope Firmly Down Into Your Jar

This will create a stand-out rainbow layer in your jar!
This will create a stand-out rainbow layer in your jar!

So Far, Your Whimsical Jar Decoration Should Look Something Like This

How is your jar looking so far?
How is your jar looking so far?

Step #6: Create Your Third Layer with Easter Basket Grass (The Secret Ingredient!)

And now for my favorite part.

A whimsical jar decoration is not complete without a hint of sparkle—at the very least.

At first, I really wanted to create a layer of 100% glitter, but that was too messy. My goal here is to create a whimsical jar FAST, so instead, I used a bag of pink iridescent Easter basket grass to make my third layer.

This was exactly what I needed!

The iridescent shreds look great inside the jar, plus it was also just what I needed to top off that final layer.

As always, make sure to keep pressing and smashing down your layers. Easter grass is light and fluffy, so you're going to need at least an entire bag on-hand.

If I had my way, I would have probably used multi-colored Easter grass as well. I also think classic light green, yellow, or blue Easter grass would look fabulous as well. Keep reading for some great deals I found on iridescent Easter grass for your jars.

Grab Handfuls of Easter Basket Grass

Iridescent shreds add the perfect amount of shimmer to your whimsical jar decoration.
Iridescent shreds add the perfect amount of shimmer to your whimsical jar decoration.

Don't Forget To SMASH In Your Layer Of Easter Grass

Press your layers down to make room for more!
Press your layers down to make room for more!

Step #7: Create Your Fourth Layer With Crumbled Printer Paper

I really wanted to include a layer of white in my whimsical jar decoration. This is a great way to break up your layers and help them stand out more. Plus, white space helps the eyes rest.

For this simple easy step, create a layer using sheets of white printer paper. This is a good way to get rid of printer paper with typos or other misprints too.

I crumpled up several small balls of printer paper and made a layer out of that. I personally like the look of that more, but you can also create one large ball of crumpled paper and use that as well.

Just remember to keep smashing down your layers!

Grab Some White Printer Paper

Have any printer paper lying around? This is also a good opportunity to use up that extra scrap paper.
Have any printer paper lying around? This is also a good opportunity to use up that extra scrap paper.

Crumple It Up!

I prefer small crumpled balls of paper, but one large crumpled ball works fine.
I prefer small crumpled balls of paper, but one large crumpled ball works fine.

Step #8: Create Your Fifth Layer With Broken Crayons

Now it's time to add another splash of color to your jar!

This time, we're going to create a layer from discarded or broken crayons. This is a great way to relieve your home or classroom of that ever-growing pile of old and unused crayons.

I didn't want any of my broken crayons to slip through my layer of crumpled paper balls, so I stuffed in a rounded piece of pink construction paper to create a base for my layer of crayons. Plus, I dug the look of that super thin layer of pink too!

Create A "Base" For Your Crayon Layer With A Piece of Construction Paper

This will stop your broken crayons from falling through the layers underneath.
This will stop your broken crayons from falling through the layers underneath.

Grab Your Old or Discarded Crayons

This is a good opportunity to repurpose those old, crusty crayons taking up space in your craft bin.
This is a good opportunity to repurpose those old, crusty crayons taking up space in your craft bin.

Break Them Up!

Don't grind them down into a fine powder. Break up your crayons into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.
Don't grind them down into a fine powder. Break up your crayons into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.

Add Them to Your Jar, and Don't Forget to SMASH Them Down

Keep pressing down your layers to make room for more crayons and that final layer.
Keep pressing down your layers to make room for more crayons and that final layer.

Step #9: Top Off Your Jar With Another Layer of Easter Grass

And now for our sixth and final layer in our jar!

I can't stress enough how important it is to keep pressing down your layers as you go. You want these layers to be nice and tight. With that being said, you're really going to smash in this final layer of Easter basket grass (or iridescent shreds).

Keep pressing and smashing in iridescent shreds until you can't fit any more into your jar. I love the look of extra grass popping out, so I made sure to leave some shreds hanging out while I screwed the lid back on.

I used a regular pasta sauce jar, but mason jars are also ideal for this project. Plus, their lids are more fool proof in my opinion.

Press In Your Sixth and FINAL Layer of Iridescent Shreds

Keep smashing in iridescent shreds till you can't fit any more in.
Keep smashing in iridescent shreds till you can't fit any more in.

Twist Your Lid Back On, Leaving Enough Iridescent Shreds Popping Out

Make sure your lid is securely screwed back onto your jar.
Make sure your lid is securely screwed back onto your jar.

Check Out These Awesome Whimsical Layers! Make Sure They're Packed In Tight.

Your whimsical layers should be tight and packed in.
Your whimsical layers should be tight and packed in.

Step #10: Decorate Your Jar Lid - FINAL STEP!

After you've squeezed your lid back onto your jar, your last step is to decorate that lid.

For this step, I used a couple pieces of purple tissue, leftover embroidery thread, and some silver glitter glue to decorate.

At first, I wrapped up my lid in tissue paper before screwing it back onto the jar, but I couldn't get it to stay on quite right. This is why mason jars are great for this kind of project.

If you're using a regular pasta jar like myself, screw your lid back on first, then add your tissue. Make sure to use a little tape to keep your tissue in place as your tie on your embroidery thread.

I wanted to use softer, whimsical colors, so I found some cool sea foam green, blue, and pink embroidery threads to use.

Once my tissue and thread were firmly in place, I finished off my whimsical jar with some fresh glitter glue dots.

FINAL STEP - Decorate Your Whimsical Jar Lid With Whatever You Want

Glitter glue drops are simple and fun. Plus, it's also an excuse to use glitter glue ;-)
Glitter glue drops are simple and fun. Plus, it's also an excuse to use glitter glue ;-)

Always Have Glitter Glue On-Hand For Easy Decorating

Voila! Once Your Glitter Glue Is Done Drying, You Will Have A Finished Whimsical Jar Decoration!

Behold! A finished whimsical jar decoration.
Behold! A finished whimsical jar decoration. | Source
An up close look at the finished product.
An up close look at the finished product. | Source

Final Thoughts & MORE Ideas For Creating Whimsical Jar Decorations

Whimsical jars are fun to make all year round.

Make one for an upcoming birthday, Teacher's day, or that aspiring artist in your life. You can also load up your jars with brand new art supplies, such as erasers, modeling clay packets, and sequins to create arts n' crafts inspired gifts.

I only re-used the craft supplies I had on hand. If I had more options, I would totally layer up my jar with these items too:

  • Pom-pom balls
  • White cotton balls
  • Glittery ribbon
  • Confetti (packed in tight!)
  • Cute mini erasers
  • Dried flowers
  • Multicolored pipe cleaners

The possibilities are endless. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below!

Sound Off

What are Your Favorite Materials to Repurpose Into New Crafts and Decor?

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© 2016 Elissa Capelle Vaughn

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