Guest author blog: Crafting with Mason Jars by Hester van Overbeek


In the late summer of 2015 my publisher approached me about doing a book about Mason jars. To be honest initially I wasn’t very keen on the idea as how many interesting things can you do with a jar? But then I started my research and the ideas just kept coming, in the end I had a list of more then 50 things I could make!

I’ve always saved my glass jars once I’ve eaten all the food that’s inside them as they make great vases and tea light holders. I’m even known for buying my food depending on how pretty the jar is and that habit got even worse when working on this book. I scoured the supermarket aisles looking for unusually shaped jars, oversized ones and super small vessels not caring much about what was inside them. I must say I had some interesting meals while working on this book 😉

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I’m a firm believer of using materials that you already have cause unless you live an amazing minimalistic lifestyle all of us have objects lying around that we don’t use anymore but they can look great after a little makeover. In my previous book Furniture Hacks I tackled the bigger objects like chairs, tables and wardrobes but for the new book I kept it a bit smaller by concentrating on the humble glass jar. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get my tools out though, there are still some woodworking projects in the book. One of my favourites is the reclaimed wooden solar light post for you garden, and I came up with a new version of the jam jar units your granddad might have had in his tools shed, mine is for storing your jewellery.

Before I started the Crafting with Mason Jars book I had never drilled holes in glass before, thinking it was too tricky to do but I can assure you after some experimenting it is super easy! Especially when you use the right tools. I used a rotary cutter, a great tool everybody should have in their DIY kit as it can do almost anything, with a diamond drill bit the rotary cutter makes drilling in glass super easy. The other thing is you have to work slow, not normally my forte but when working with glass being careful is the key. There are a lot of tips in the book on how to drill glass so you all can give it a try and turn your old milk bottles into lamps, a Mason jar into a bird feeder and I even show you how to make your own drink dispenser.

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When you think of using Mason jars and jam jars in crafts you probably immediately think wedding but I wanted to show that the glass jar can be used in a more contemporary style as well. There are concrete projects in the book, a leather cuff to turn your jar into a coffee cup that wouldn’t look out of place at a campfire and Scandinavian style drawings for an etched jar and a paper vase cover. Every chapter also has a quick make, something you can put together without any tools and there are even some recipes in the book as the jar is a great vessel for food!

The book is photographed by James Gardiner and I had so much fun styling the shots with hand dyed linens, tree slabs and bright coloured flowers. The shoot days are definitely my favourite days in the whole book making process. We used my house as a back drop and shot in the amazing Little Stour Orchard that belongs to friends of mine. Being surrounded by apple trees, old barns and bright sunshine James and I almost thought we were on holiday! Keep a look out on my website for behind the scenes videos and for an exclusive tutorial of one of the books projects.

So pick up the Mason jars that are lining your pantry, the jams jars that are stashed away in your garage and the other glass containers that would normally go into the recycling bin and start crafting!

©Hester van Overbeek

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One thought on “Guest author blog: Crafting with Mason Jars by Hester van Overbeek

  1. What a great idea for a crafting book, personally I love the style of mason jars – I will certainly have to check it out.

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