Mason jars are as old as the hills but they never seem to lose their popularity as a household item. They are not only great for canning and drinking from, but they are great for decor in every season and for almost any event. At our house, they are used for all of the above! Honestly, I’m a fan of jars of all types, but mason jars just have that appealing country home look.
This week I chalk painted these jars and gave them a little festive Christmas look. If you would like an easy diy chalk paint recipe, you can find it here. Before applying the chalk paint I spray painted the outsides of the jars with a nice Christmas red color so that I could distress them later and bring out the red on the lettering. The spray paint I used also doubles as a primer, which not only helps the chalk paint stay on, but it gives it a warmer undertone. Since I already had the red paint out, I decided to go paint happy and paint the little bells deep red to match. A few more little wood pieces and some twine embellished these jars just right with one single wreath accent piece sitting on top. It was a cheap and easy little project for making in bulk. I made nine of them for our church coffee shop tables.
With Independence Day coming up I decided to make a wall art project to display some patriotic song lyrics that are not commonly known but are very powerful. The lyrics I chose came from the third verse of America the Beautiful. The picture I posted makes the art piece look a little smaller than it actually is so the words may be difficult to read. Here are the words:
“O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife. Who more than self, their country loved and mercy more than life. America, America may God thy gold refine. ‘Till all success be nobleness and every gain divine.”
What I really love about this stanza is that the value of character is placed ahead of the value of acquiring wealth or success. Personal sacrifice is honored above personal gain or comfort. This is how our country began and the sacrifice made for the greater good of others is honored so well in this verse.
The project itself was so simple that I made most of it within an afternoon using very inexpensive items simply because I was feeling lazy and I didn’t want to have to go drive anywhere to buy anything. I used my Silhouette Cameo 3 to type out the words and cut it out onto sticky vinyl. If you don’t have a cutting tool but you have a steady hand you could do this with paint, a permanent pen, or paint markers.
The wood I used to make this project was just a package of shims I had in my craft room. If you aren’t familiar with shims, they are slats of wood used for all kinds of home projects. They are about 1/4 ” thick on one side and they taper down to probably a millimeter. I took two pieces going opposite directions and used Elmer’s glue to turn the two pieces of wood into one even piece. I would have used the Elmer’s Wood glue, but it was dried out at the top, and well, laziness continues. Since I knew I had nine lines to the stanza I would be featuring, I did this process nine times. Then I stacked all of the glued slats into two piles and tied the ends with zip ties to keep the glued slats pressed together while drying. I had to move quickly and even reapply glue on a few of them because as the glue was drying, the pieces wanted to start warping in the opposite direction. *This probably wouldn’t have been a problem had I used the wood glue 🙂 The zip ties did a great job of keeping the pieces pressed together and all of my slats dried evenly overnight.
The next day I took the zip ties off and divided the slats unevenly (since I had 9 pieces) to be painted red or white. I had some old bottles of acrylic paint in my craft room with the perfect dull, rustic shade of barn red I was after. Unfortunately, my white acrylic paint was dried out so I found some off-white spray paint in a satin finish that I had from a previous project. I high-fived myself for still not having to go to the store for supplies. Yes! Laziness prevails. I wondered if the white pieces would have more sheen than the red pieces and decided it would actually be kind of a cool effect if it did. It didn’t end up having more sheen. Not noticeably anyway. While the paint dried I went swimming, played with my dog and watered my garden. About an hour or more later I came back to my Arizona sun-dried slat pieces and they were ready to assemble. I had a wood art wall hanging that I had previously picked up from the thrift store. It was the size and shape of a painting canvas and the previous art was just glued on paper so I peeled it off and glued my painted slats on in a striped pattern with gorilla glue. As the pieces were drying I also began transferring the vinyl cut words. Yes, I’m impatient AND lazy but I was so close to finished and I just wanted to see it all completed. I’m pretty happy with my project so I plan to make some other cool wood signs the same way.