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The Frugal Gardener: Money Saving Projects and Tips

By Melody Rose (melodySeptember 3, 2011
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Frugal Gardeners are found world-wide and we constantly search for money-saving ways to stretch our garden budget. This Saturday feature will spotlight items that gardeners can create for inexpensive garden art and gifts. We hope our projects will inspire you to become a Frugal Gardener too!

Gardening pictureImageMany of us have a collection of misfit fruit jars. A chip or nick in the rim prevents us from using them for preserving food, but we still hang on to them. Sometimes we save a pretty glass container after we use its contents, hoping to repurpose it into something useful. Banished to dusty shelves in garages and sheds, the forlorn little jars gather dust and dead spiders, while the collection grows.

These little candle holders are easy to make and they light up the garden in a delightful way. Use them along the walk or on tables for an evening party, or group them on a tray in a hallway for a decorative welcome area. My niece, Cassidy has her first real apartment this year and so these candleholders are a frugal way for her to decorate on a shoestring budget.

We are using old fruit jars and rusty canning rings, but any glass jar works. Canning rings aren't necessary either. A decorative ribbon tied around the top serves the same purpose. The process is safe and easy for youngsters and makes a nice project for tweens and teens.

Cassidy was a little unsure about how the finished candleholders would look as we started the project. We finished at dusk and when we lit the candles for the final photos; she proclaimed them ‘magical' and couldn't wait to put them in her new home!

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Before we started on the candleholders, Cassidy sprayed the rusty canning rings with a coat of paint. We used what we had on hand and didn't purchase new material. Rusty canning rings are unsafe to use when preserving food. You should discard them if they develop rust. These were perfect for our project.

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Materials needed: Clean glass jars, Mod-Podge® sealer, scraps of tissue paper, scissors, paint brush and a safe work surface. I covered my dining room table with an old sheet and plastic to give us a good work space. Mod-Podge® is available in most craft departments. It is cheap and a container goes a long way. We didn't even put a dent in this one.

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Cassidy tore strips of tissue paper and spread a coat of Mod-Podge® on her first jar.

 

 pasting strips to jars

She opted for a funky combination of black and purple, giving the piece a modern art feel.

 smoothing strips out

When she had the first one covered, she started on a green and blue seascape. The purple and black jar is drying on a paper plate in front of her.

 layers of paper

Work around the jar layering the strips in a pleasing pattern. Layer the tissue paper right up to the edge of the jar's mouth. Don't lap it over or it will be a fire hazard. The ring or ribbon will hide any imperfections.

 

 more layers

Smooth the layers around the jar and don't forget to keep the ridges your band will screw to undistorted. If you are using a ribbon to tie around the top, this isn't as important, but once everything dries, you'll need to put your band on.

 tissue paper cut out

Cassidy decided to decorate her 'undersea' jar with fish. We cut a few from the black tissue paper.

 covering the cut out

After sticking the fish on the jar, she put a light coat of Mod-Podge® over them for protection.

 

 christmas jar

The little red jar got a snowflake for a Christmas candle.

 putting the bands on

When everything dried, Cassidy screwed the painted canning bands on her candle holders

 magical lights 
   And finally, the magical moment! Cassidy has a collection of frugal candleholders and some discarded items have a new purpose in life.
 

 


  About Melody Rose  
Melody RoseI come from a long line of Kentuckians who love the Good Earth. I love to learn about every living thing, and love to share what I've learned. Photography is one of my passions, and all of the images in my articles are my own, except where credited.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
Love it! Sundownr 1 10 Jan 8, 2012 5:29 AM
Terrific project!! Cville_Gardener 3 44 Sep 3, 2011 8:34 AM
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