Repurpose a Pickle Jar For Dog Treats

My family kind of has a thing for pickles so we go through tons of jars of them. The jars are all great sizes so I never want to throw them away when the pickles are gone. I have an extra large one in my laundry room holding all of the socks that are missing a mate, we have jars with coins or hardware in them and I have used others to store sauces or other food products. The only problem is I still have an abundant collection of empty pickle jars sitting on top of my refrigerator just waiting to be repurposed in a project. After a while I get sick of the clutter so I tell myself I need to decide to do something with them, or just break down and throw them away. Since I already took the time to wash the jars and peel the labels off, today I decided to decorate one and use it for a dog treat jar.

To decorate my jar, I first took one of the clean jars and sprayed the outside with a primer. (Some people paint the insides of jars for decorative projects so the outside keeps it’s shiny appearance, but since I am putting food in this jar, this has to be painted on the outside. Primers come in several different colors so I like to choose a color that will look good coming through the paint when the jar wears and scratches. I like the worn look so on some of the jars I intentionally sand and scratch them to bring out the primer color underneath. This effect especially looks good on mason jars that have raised print on them. Since we are using pickle jars today we won’t go into that.

I love the look of chalk paint so I have neutral colors of homemade chalk paint stored in containers just for projects like this. If you are interested in the chalk paint recipe, you can click here.  I paint on two thin coats, letting the first layer dry before painting the second layer. You can put on as many layers as you like. Just make sure the layers are thin and dry in between each coat.

Next I used Mod Podge to glue some fabric around the lid. The easiest way I found to do this was to paint the glue onto the top of the lid, then lay the lid directly onto the piece of fabric. Then I cut around it giving just enough room to fold into the inside of the jar. I painted the sides and just barely over the edges, folded the fabric over and then screwed the lid on while it dried with the fabric pressed up against it. I created the graphic with my Silhouette Cameo 3 and used a stick on vinyl but if you don’t have a cutting machine to create with you could decorate your jar with scrapbooking stickers for fun. When you are finished, be sure to use a clear coat finishing spray to seal your paint in and protect it. Those come in different sheens so if you like the chalky look you can choose a flat or eggshell sheen on it. If you like a glossier look there are semi-gloss and full gloss sheens as well.

If your dogs are anything like mine, they want to be anywhere you are. This certainly includes my craft room and when I spend a significant amount of time in there they just find a spot to nap. Because of this I have a big dog pillow bed on the floor and a bench seat so they can nap while I work on projects. Now I also have an adorable treat jar for them in my craft room as well so you could say they have officially moved in!

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Chalk Full of Paint Ideas

Chalk paint is a fun way to dress up almost anything with a little bit of charm and character by giving it an antique or distressed look. The appealing look about it is the very flat, lack of sheen on it. As odd and bland as that sounds, it makes bold colors look amazing and it means that you can put a fresh coat of paint on something without getting the cheesy look of a shiny new paint job. It’s a very simple and elegant look and allows some room for creativity to add detail where you want to draw attention.

There are name brands of chalk paint sold in craft and home improvement stores, but being the budget-friendly girl that I am, I’m always looking for the cheapest way to do things so this post includes a simple (and cheap) homemade recipe and some instructions. For those of you who would rather just buy the paint and follow the instructions, I’ve also included a few helpful links for some quality chalk paints and supplies.

The homemade chalk paint recipe is simple. I just buy the cheapest brand of paint in the color I want since I’m about to dump ingredients in it anyway. Don’t forget that the home improvement stores will color match any brand for you so you can choose any color from any paint brand and ask them to match it and make it with the cheapest paint brand they have in flat. Keep in mind you will be dumping plaster and water into your paint so I would not recommend spending a lot, but hey, that’s just me. This particular color is called “cottage white”. It’s my favorite white to chalk paint in for furniture. 

Chalk Paint Recipe

•8 oz paint
•2 tbsp. dry plaster paris

tbsp. water

This is a very small portion and is actually the exact amount of paint in one of the $3 sample jars at Home Depot so if it is a small project I buy one of those and if it is larger I buy a whole can of paint and I just multiply out portions for my project. When you mix these ingredients together it should feel thinner than normal paint consistency, and of course, it will also feel grainy.

Before you paint

One of my favorite parts about chalk painting is that you don’t have to do a lot of prep work. You don’t have to sand down the wood or take off any other finish. You do need to check for any sticky labels, or substances to be removed. Goof Off is a great remover for that sort of thing. I remove any hardware and usually paint them in a contrasting metallic or black color. Last, I spray the whole piece with a primer. The primer serves three purposes.

  1. It gives the chalk paint an even, balanced surface to adhere to
  2. It ensures a balanced undertone beneath the paint
  3. It gives you a base color to draw out when you distress the piece. This feature is really fun when you use a contrasting primer color like red underneath a chalk paint color like white and then distress it enough that a lot of the red comes through.

Once your piece has an even coat of dry  primer, you are ready to paint! Paint using a brush, covering the whole piece in thin strokes. By the time you cover it all it will be time to go around the whole thing again. You will have to resist the temptation to paint with thicker coverage and just keep painting on the thin almost dry strokes around the whole thing. They will dry quickly and as you add more layers it will take on a full, rich tone. When it is completely dry you will want to paint on a wax sealer, or if you prefer a shortcut you can use a satin clear coat spray to protect it and seal the paint in when you are finished. This way you can wipe it down and dust it without disturbing the finish.

If you are not so much into the idea of making your own chalk paint there are a variety of chalk paint brands on the market varying in prices. Whether or not you choose to make your paint, you will need a few basic supplies to get you started on your first chalk paint project. Linked below are a few suggestions. Feel free to comment below if you’d like to share a favorite brand, technique, suggestion or brush type. There are so many ways to do this and I love hearing what other people do.

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