Skip to main content

How to Create Your Baby's First Year Memory Jar

Randi is a mom, grandma, and writer. She also likes to dabble in art. These memory jars were created for her first grandson's baby shower.

My first memory jar: hopes, dreams, and wishes are inside!

My first memory jar: hopes, dreams, and wishes are inside!

What Is a Memory Jar?

If you're anything like me, you wish you had more to remember the past by. I live in the moment, often at the cost of videos or pictures to look back on. Worried you're going to forget the special moments from your baby's first year?

Don't fret! There are so many ways to remember your baby's first year, including baby books and first-year calendars, or a memory jar. A memory jar is a jar filled with special belongings by which we can remember our children's past.

Here's how to make your own.

Memories the one thing that can never be taken away from us. Make lots of them!

— Catherine Pulsifer

How to Make a Memory Jar

  1. Start with a clean dry jar.
  2. Decide on theme/color scheme.
  3. Gather your materials, pictures, beads, or feathers. Be creative. Have fun!
  4. Have your pre-cut tissue paper and other treasures ready to glue on.
  5. Do a dry run before gluing to make sure everything fits and you like where they are.
  6. Glue your pictures, baubles, and letters/words on.
  7. Brush on a light layer of Mod Podge.* Let it dry for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Repeat #7 if you want more shine.
  9. Tie the ribbon around the neck. Add a little glue to hold it in place.

*For the ambitious, you can make your own Mod Podge mixture for a quarter of the price by thoroughly mixing white glue and water in equal parts.

Your memories are your jewel!

— Julie Butler

What to Include in "Baby's First Year" Jars

  • Lock of hair.
  • Hospital bracelet.
  • Thoughts and observations about your baby.
  • Hopes, dreams, and wishes for him/her.
  • Song titles that hold special meaning.
  • Pictures.
  • A digital keychain with significant pictures.
  • Cards or messages that he/she has received from friends and family.
  • Milestone updates.
  • Ticket stubs.
  • Fortunes from fortune cookies.
  • Jot down "words" and sounds your baby is making.
  • Talk about the funny things he/she does.
  • Put down anything you want to remember.

More Decorating Ideas

  • Glue gun buttons, beads, and/or jewels to the jars.
  • Glue coins. I use foreign coins that have no value to me and are generally interesting to look at.
  • Wrap different colored ribbons around it and glue them into place.
  • Use fabric paint to write messages and draw pictures.
  • Use decal letters and pictures.
  • Shop in the scrapbook section for the perfect size designs.
  • Buy bags of confetti instead of sequins. They are more substantial and come in fun shapes.

Memory Jars Are Not Just for Babies

You could easily make a yearly one for your baby. Many adults like to save special things like a ticket stub or a matchbook. Memory jars not only don't have to be about baby's first year, they don't even have to be about memories. They can easily be made to collect hopes, wishes and dreams. They can also be made and filled by the giver.

For example:

  1. Make one for a friend or family member. Fill the jar up with special memories you share with that person as well as wishes you have for them.
  2. You can make one for your son or daughter when they go away to school and fill it with words of wisdom, emergency numbers, little goodies, and cash!
  3. Fill one up with 365 jokes or anecdotes as a fun gift or inspirational quotes as an uplifting one.
  4. You can also create a memory jar as a memoriam for someone who has passed away.

The sky is the limit. You can use it to challenge someone or encourage them. You can use it to say "I love you" or you can make a memory jar to share those special moments with a grandparent far away.

More Ideas for Memory Jars

Make these for different occasions. You can use the jar as a "gift box".You can make a memory jar as a Christmas present and add home-baked goods inside. For a child's birthday, you can put hair ribbons, costume jewelry, matchbox cars, or action heroes. You can even use it for high-ticket items like iPods, new phones, car keys, etc. You may want to include some notepaper and a pretty pen.

Memories are the treasures that we keep locked deep within the storehouse of our souls, to keep our hearts warm when we are lonely

— Becky Aligada

© 2013 Randi Benlulu


Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on May 27, 2013:

Thank you, Abby! They were fun to make! I used them at the baby shower. His as part of the table decoration and the other one as a game prize. Right now, she has the decorations from the cake in it and his hospital bracelet.

Dr Abby Campbell from Charlotte, North Carolina on May 27, 2013:

What a great idea, Randi! I kept a scrapbook for my girls, but a lot of those things (lock of hair, baby bracelet, etc.) don't stay well-put in the scrapbooks. The jar is perfect and so much fun!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on May 23, 2013:

Thank you so much, grand old lady! Congratulations to your niece!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on May 22, 2013:

This is a wonderful idea. I'm sharing this article with my niece through FB because she has a new baby:)

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on April 08, 2013:

Thank you, drbj! They were fun to make and the keychain reminds me of those little bragbooks. Wven though we all have computers, cameras and phones, this is one that will be only of baby!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on April 08, 2013:

Jackie, I have long since stopped looking, hence the jar. I fear my daughter will be too much like me! Thanks for stopping by.

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on April 08, 2013:

Aww, hank you so much, Faith Reaper! I will take that as an awesome compliment coming from you! Thank you for the votes and sharing, too, We used the baby jar as part of the decorations yesterday at the shower and the dream jar as a prize.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on April 08, 2013:

What a clever idea this memory jar is, Randi. I particularly like adding the digital key chain with its precious photos. Thanks for this newsflash.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on April 07, 2013:

What excellent ideas here, Randi! You are a fabulous grandmother already.

Voted up +++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 06, 2013:

I still have my babies' bracelets, just wish I knew where. lol

That jar could still come in handy, great idea, thanks!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on April 06, 2013:

Thank you, blondlogic! It was new to me, too and, like you, I have lost so many things that I would love to have now! This one is for my first grandchild!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on April 06, 2013:

Thank you, Carol! They are so easy and fast, too!

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on April 06, 2013:

Thanks, Bill. It was new to me, too! And if you are ever a grandfather, you may need to attend a baby shower, too! You have a great weekend, as well. I am off on the rare Saturday!

Mary Wickison from USA on April 06, 2013:

I too have never heard of memory jars. What a great idea. I know someone who is grieving at the moment and this may be a special way to remember him.

I would have liked to have started one when my kids were young, otherwise things get forgotten or mislaid. When Grand kids arrive, I will be ready!

Wonderful hub.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 06, 2013:

I've never even heard of memory jars. Sheez, I'm in the dark on this one, but it is a cool idea. Maybe if I'm ever a grandfather I can use this idea. Well done, Randi! Have a great weekend.

Randi Benlulu (author) from Mesa, AZ on April 06, 2013:

Thank you, Mhatter! I wish I had known about these when my kids were little. I loved saving all those little things like hospital bracelets! I love memory boxes as well!

carol stanley from Arizona on April 06, 2013:

Very clever and cute. A fun idea...and one to start and not put off. T hose memories are priceless. Great job and voting up as well as pinning.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on April 06, 2013:

Jars? Arlene mad memory boxes for our 2 kids. But jars or boxes there is no price tag on memories.