Don't throw away those gallon pickle jars! These glass or plastic jars can be used to make gifts, kids' crafts or unique items for the home. Turning a plain jar into a work of art takes only a little imagination and a few craft materials. It's so easy, even kids can do it.
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Lighted Holiday Characters
Create a lighted decoration for any holiday with a gallon glass jar, craft foam, hot glue gun, glass or acrylic paints and a string of colorful lights. Match the lights to the holiday, using orange for Halloween; red, white and blue for patriotic holidays, pastel colors for Easter and red and green for Christmas. Place the string of lights inside the jar, leaving the cord and plug hanging out of the lid opening. Use paints to create body features on the jar, leaving most of the sides and back of the jar unpainted. Cut a piece of craft foam to fit around the circumference of the jar opening and about 6 inches high. Hot glue the foam around the edge of the lid opening. Use craft foam scraps or paint to create a face on the foam. Glue a stocking cap, straw hat, Uncle Sam top hat or bunny ears over the open end of the craft foam to finish the craft. Plug in the cord to light up the holiday character.
Crock Cookie Jar
Make a glass pickle jar look like an old-fashioned spotted crock to use as a cookie jar. Paint the outside of the entire jar with acrylic paints. Popular colors for this type of container or baking pan in the past were dark or bright blue, maroon or black. Dip a toothbrush in white paint. Scrape a wooden craft stick over the bristles of the brush to create a spotted look on the painted jar. After the paint dries, use any desired color to paint wide letters to spell out the word "cookies." Paint a few small cookies around the outside of the jar, if desired. Paint the jar lid in any color.
Purchase a lamp kit to fit the height of your glass jar. Kits are available at hardware or craft stores. Purchase a lamp shade to match your room decor or desired look of the finished lamp. Drill a hole in the jar lid to fit the lamp base, making sure the electrical cord fits through the hole or is attached to the top portion of the base. Fit the lamp base into the jar per instructions on the kit. If you wish, place desired items inside the jar around the lamp base. Some ideas are seashells, layers of colored rocks or marbles. You may choose to paint the outside of the jar instead of filling it, or glue on some fabric patchwork designs. Screw the lid into the jar with the lamp base inside. Put the shade on the lamp.
Let the kids make a bank or a holder for toys and other treasures. Kids can glue pictures, photos or fabric onto the outside of the jar. If desired, supervised kids can use hot glue to attach small toys and favorite items onto the outside of the jar.