Mason Jar Crafts: Hanging Glass Jar Shelves and Transparent Labels. PLUS Free Printable Jar Labels

What can you do with glass jars? What can’t you do with glass jars? That washed-out olive jar might look super plain and dull, but then you fill it with new things, and it can brighten the whole kitchen up! These are two of my recent projects with new ways of using and decorating glass jars, as part of Crunchy Betty’s Tuesdays Outside The Box.

Mason Jar Hanging shelf


Dictionary style transparent labels

1. Hanging glass jar shelves

This idea actually came from my grandfather. Who then passed in on to my father, who then… you know. Both my dad and my granddad have made these kinds of nifty hanging mason jar shelves for their workshops to keep nails, nuts, bolts and whatever kinds of small objects they use for whatever they’re doing down there.

And that’s the great thing about this shelf. It can be used anywhere! I decided to keep some spices in it, but you can just as well use it in your bathroom for keeping hairbands and cotton balls, or in your work space to keep drawing pins and paperclips. Or why not a place to store your homemade beauty raw materials?

The idea is so easy – simply screw on some glass jars under your shelf. It looks very pretty and it uses space that you normally wouldn’t use! When you need to use something, you simply twist the jar, and the lid will stay where it is under the shelf!

Unfortunately, I didn’t think of taking pictures of the process, but it’s really simple.

Things you’ll need

  1. A wooden shelf (or supplies for making one)
  2. (Paint)
  3. Some mason jars or glass jars with a metal lid
  4. Screws (2 for each jar)

If you want to make the shelf from scratch, you can google around a bit on how to do that. We made this really simple one using a piece of wood and a couple of brackets.

If you already have a wooden shelf, this is even easier. Simply screw the lid on to a wooden shelf! The jars we used were two different kinds, old olive jars and old pesto jars. We placed the olive jars, which are a bit longer, on the second row so that the spices in that row were visible as well. We also painted the lids red, but that’s completely optional.

It’s a good thing to use at least two screws in each lid, other wise the lid might just go round and round when you’re trying to take the jar down.

And that’s it, basically! Now you can start filling your jars with anything you like looking at! And if you want to decorate the jars further, see here:


2. Transparent glass jar decoration labels

The other day, I came across these fantastic dictionary themed jar decorations that I, typography lover as I am, immediately fell for. She uses something called magic decal paper that gives you the possibility to move a picture straight to any surface and even leave it dishwasher proof. I wanted to try this out, however,  I’m cheap I didn’t have any of those supplies at hand. So I started to google around a bit to see if there are any cheaper alternative ways of doing this. I found out that a similar thing can be done simply using the plain transparent contact paper that you used to cover books in elementary school. However, the ink would take a good while to dry (up to three days!) and of course this would leave a transparent label on the jar, which you wouldn’t have with the magic decal paper.

So I went and bought some contact paper, cut out a couple of paper sized pieces and put them under a whole bunch of thick books (good thing I got some use for those) to straighten the paper out so it wouldn’t get stuck in the printer. I made some labels for the things I have in my jars, quite similar to the ones over at the magic hive (scroll down for free printables!). Then I tried printing my labels out on the contact paper.

The result was… not so good. The ink was uneven and, even after a couple of days, it hadn’t seemed to dry even a little bit. I realized I had to try some different printer settings to get as much ink as possible. I found some good instructions here. I noticed that my printer (canon pixma) had, for some reason, used color printing even though the labels were in black. This was the thing that made the biggest difference. I also used matte photo paper as the paper setting, and increased the black intensity. You’ll probably have to try this out for yourself with a few different settings until you find the best settings for your printer. After this, the result was a little bit better, however it was still a bit uneven, so I printed two copies – that way I could choose the label from each page that had the most black in it.

I let the ink dry for a few days again, and then glued them on to the jars.

The result was still far from perfect. I’m pretty sure these won’t last for any kind of washing, and like I said, the ink was quite uneven. But I decided to stick with these, considering that the price is only a fraction of what it would have cost to buy magic decal paper and waterslide decal paper. The contact paper I bought cost around 1,50€, so next to nothing, really.

The other problem was that I used food that in itself was quite dark and colorful, which made the text kind of hard to read, such as sunflower seeds and black lentils. In the tutorial I linked to above, she used mostly white or light colored things, which makes the text stand out in a whole different way.

Things you’ll need

  1. Glass jars, and lots of ’em
  2. Contact paper
  3. An inkjet printer (I can’t vouch for how this’ll work in a laser printer. Might be better, but it might also melt the contact paper and ruin the whole thing…… again, ask mr. Google!)
  4. Scissors
  5. Some PDF labels

Play around with your printer’s settings until you find the settings that print with the most/blackest ink.
Print out jar labels (no need to mirror image). Let lie until they are completely dry
Cut out the labels and glue on to your mason jars.

I enclose the labels that I made, and you can choose for yourself if you want to use them with contact paper or if you want to follow the instructions at the magic hive. These labels work well for both cases, and you can combine them with the printables she’s made to get more options. You can even choose to print them on plain white printable labels.

Printable labels

Printable #1 Spaghetti,  sunflower seed, whole wheat, whole oats, sesame seeds, hazelnut, black/red/puy lentils, hemp flour, pumpkin seeds, rice. Size A4

Printable #2 – Tea and spices black/green/herbal/nettle/chamomile/oolong/rooibos/white tea, coffee, spices: allspice, basil, cloves, cumin, curry, mint, oregano, pepper, paprika, salt, thyme. Size A5

13 thoughts on “Mason Jar Crafts: Hanging Glass Jar Shelves and Transparent Labels. PLUS Free Printable Jar Labels

  1. Love the idea of printing labels for old mason jars. Great, great way to organize many different things.

  2. To make the labels last over many washings simply affix a second clear label over the first printed label.

  3. 5/5/2019 @ 11:35:05 In my view, does a great job of covering issues of this kind. While frequently deliberately controversial, the information is in the main well-written and thought-provoking.

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