I love mason jars.
And pallets, and mercury glass.
So this project just made my heart happy!
I’ll bet you know someone who would love this versatile tray of mercury glass jars, too!
I was thinking “centerpiece for the Holidays.”
But you can do almost anything with these half gallon Mercury Mason Jars, and use them all year long! What really take this idea all the way to super-cute is the embellished Pallet Tray I made using a rustic wood ledge and a Creative Hobby Tool from Walnut Hollow.
Making the Embellished Pallet Tray
This tray from Walnut Hollow was the perfect size for this project, since it was wide enough to accommodate the half gallon jars. I also like that there is some space for filler between the jars.
But this wooden tray came to me looking very clean and new, which just would not do. I needed to add some age and weathering. This first thing I did was stain the tray with a medium brown and driftwood gray stain. Once it dried, the tray had a nice greyish-brown tone to it. I further distressed it by sanding it down with an 80 grit paper, and got that great pallet-y patina I was after.
I saw a pin a while back on how to embellish with woodburning and I’ve been itching to try it! So I decided to expand on the idea, and make a hand-drawn embellishment on the tray using pyrography. The Creative Hobby tool that Walnut Hollow sent me had several tips, and after playing around on some scrap lumber, I settled on one that handled a lot like an ink pen. So easy to use! However, this tool gets extremely hot, so be sure to use the included stand to keep it off your work surface. (This tool came with several pyrography tips, and even a tip to cut stencils, how cool it that?!)
To make the flower, I started by drawing a small “C” on the center mark. Next, I drew a reverse “C.” Then, I surrounded the center with “C’s”. I continued to add “C’s” until my flower was as full as I wanted it to be.
To make a leaf, I first drew a tilde mark. Then a half circle, and a line in the center of the leaf.
Then I added smaller flowers, leaves, twigs, and a lot of small dots. To do the border, I simply followed a patter of “squiggly line, two dots, squiggly line, two dots,” all the way around the edge. It’s a whole like like doodling!
Once I was done, I repeated the process on the other side of the tray. Here’s the whole pattern. It took less than an hour to draw all of it, so super-easy!
Making the mercury mason jars
Thanks to chrome metallic paint, making “mercury” glass couldn’t be easier! There is a “looking glass” paint, but it’s twice the price of the chrome, and basically you will get the same results with the chrome. To start, generously spray your jar with white vinegar. I’m not sure why vinegar works better than water for this, but it does, so I use the vinegar even tho it’s kinda stinky. All the droplets will make the paint resist adhering to the glass.
Next, simply spray an even coat of paint onto your jar. ONE coat. In this case, more is not better, because you want to be able to take the paint down after it dries. In the past, I’ve put the paint on the inside or back of whatever I was making. But since these mercury mason jars will have things in them, I decided to spray paint the outside, instead.
After the paint was dry, I used a green kitchen scrubbie pad to rub off the excess paint, then also scrubbed down some areas of the jar, including the logo and designs. It’s difficult to see in the pics, but in some areas the paint is almost translucent. Once I was happy with the finish, I sealed it with a clear gloss sealer to give the finish some durability. And here are my mercury mason jars. I like a lot of the silver; to get expose more glass, simply use more vinegar before you paint. The last thing I did was to paint the jar lids with a black chalkboard paint, so they could be used as “chalkboard” labels; chalk is easier to erase than marker.( I actually use a white pastel pencil when making chalkboard things; it has better staying power than chalk.)
Since these are, in fact, storage jars, I thought I would start out by using them to store small craft items like gluesticks and buttons, and my price tags. They are the perfect size for this! To add some “cute” to this storage, I shredded some old hymal pages to use as filler, and added some raffia bows, along with a little burlap bird I had.
I like the junky-cute, messy look of this! (what can I say, I’m a junker!) You could neat it up, I guess, by cutting the raffia way shorter, but where would the fun be in that?
You could use these to store all sorts of things; they would work great as canisters in the kitchen for coffee, dry goods, or pasta. You could use them to store headbands, barrettes, and pony tails in. They could also be “saving jars” for pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Oh, the possibilities!
Although I like the idea of all the storage, I was still pretty sold on the whole centerpiece idea. This would also work really well on a mantle since it’s so narrow. So I put together a Fall centerpiece, with a tiny bit of Halloween added, in the form of two crows.
The oak tress in my yard are dropping acorns, so right now I have acorns out the wazoo. After gathering some u, I used them for filler. I added the crows because I don’t do creepy for Halloween, and they are perfect to carry this through until the end of October. I love the crow peeking out of the greenery!
This is probably how I’ll be using these jars for a while. However, I still wanted to try out a Christmas theme. I used gold-and-white tissue paper, holly from my yard as filler, and red ribbon around the neck of the jars.
I plan on using electric lights to illuminate the jars. Sadly, I could only scrounge up one today (out of my faux pumpkin), but at least you can see how the light makes the mercury glass show up so much better!
You can get a lot of different looks from these, and by changing out the filler and ribbon, you can use this as a year around centerpiece, or mantel display. I really like this idea; that I don’t have an entire set of pretties that sit in the closet for ten months out of the year. Instead I use what I have in new ways all year long. By making everyday things also special occasion things, I cut way down on the clutter and stuff I have in my home. Simple is a wonderful thing!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and I’d love to hear from you about your ideas for decorating and using this versatile set!