willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs

The Humble Ball Jar’s Elevation

IMG_0776Along with my vintage china fettish, I have to confess that glassware fits into that category as well…the fettish part. I have a thing for old glass jars and containers and I love to mix them with new. At one of our Summer Theme Thursdays in the barn, I highlighted some of my favorite ways to use glass vessels and containers to add a little zing to your summer entertaining. Ironically, many of these ideas utilized the inexpensive Ball jar in a variety of ways. Hopefully, you might be able to incorporate or adapt some of these ideas to fit them into your summer soirees!

photo 2The humble Ball Jar developed for canning when canning was an absolute necessity, makes for an inexpensive way to decorate for your summer gathering.

You can insert a photo of the guest or guests of honor after filling the bottom of the jar with a layer of sand, moss or another summer inducing textured item. Clear Ball jars work for this or you can use colored.


The mini Ball jars look adorable when a small photo of each of the guests is tucked inside and used as a place card for seating guests.


Solo Ball jars also make great decorative containers for almost anything. Silverware looks especially nice when  setting a buffet table.


Candles always look better when put into glass. You can fill the tiny Ball jars with antique buttons or tiny sea shells, top with a candle and you have instant votive candle. The larger jars hold a layer of sand nicely at which point a candle can be placed on top.

photo 3-125

Aqua Ball jars look oh so pretty in the night with just a simple tea light placed in the bottom. More of them make more of a statement.


Large Ball jars make fabulous containers for flavored waters in the summer heat. To prepare:

Fill your large Ball jar with water and then add the fruit, vegetable or herbs to make delicious combinations.

Some yummy ones are:

Cucumber and Mint

Watermelon and Mint

Lemon and Basil, Lavender, Thyme or Rosemary

Oranges and Lemons

Fresh Berries of all kinds

I like to cover the jar with wax paper and then screw on the metal lid. Put into the refrigerator to chill and then serve over ice. We like to keep jars of these in the fridge all summer long.

The smaller Ball jars also make fabulous drinking glasses.

A new idea that I stumbled upon when looking at ways to elevate the simple Ball jar when using them as a vase for flowers is to paint them!


I have always used Ball jars as vases for flowers in the Spring and Summer months. Have you ever thought of painting them though? I just tried this and it was super simple and easy!

Here are some simple tips to lead you through the process:

Chalk paints work better than regular acrylic for they hold better to the glass.


1. Start with a clean dry glass Ball jar of whatever size you choose. The pictures shown are of the 2 quart size.

2. Lay out paper over your work surface.

3. Insert your hand into the jar and begin brushing on the paint to the outside of the glass. Make sure to get the top of the jar first and then paint towards the bottom.


4. Flip the jar onto its top and stand on the paper so that you can paint the bottom. Let dry and then repeat the process. Two coats is sufficient.


5. Tear off a small square of fine grit sand paper and sand off the raised parts of the glass (such as the letters that spell out Ball, the word mason, the ribs around the top of the jar, and the stripes down the side.) Sand lightly for the paint will come off easily. Be careful not to hit the other areas of the jar that you want the paint to stay on.


6. Spray the entire outside of the jar with a clear sealing spray to help protect the paint. You can skip that step but the paint will eventually wash off.

7. Fill with your favorite flowers and enjoy. The make lovely centerpieces for tables and hostess gifts when paired with a kitchen towel tied around the jar with twine.  Can you imagine a rainbow of these? You just might want to pay attention for future posts for you most likely will see that idea brought to life!

photo 1

~Happy canning…in all aspects of the word!


share to:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.