Recycled Jars For Food Storage

Recycled Jars For Food Storage

We had storage jars in our kitchen in England and they came wíth us to France. They’re excellent. Not only do they look amazing, in my opinion, but they’re practical.

My husband took the micky out of me when I first brought them home for his extensive flour collection. He used to bake his own bread and he makes his own pizza too. As a result we’d had lots of bags of flour in our cupboard. The thing is, bags split and the contents spill, making a mess. The jars save you from that and they keep your produce super fresh; as I said, we brought ours with us  over two years ago and they were full.  The contents are still fresh.

In my last post I spoke about labelling my mason jars and, as I’d added to these with jars I’d saved from the recycling bin, I was looking to label them as I’d done with my other jars. I also wanted to give them a uniform look and all the jar lids were different. The easiest solution, I thought, was to spray paint the metal lids. 

At first it went well; I sprayed the lids with a light coat of mint and went off satisfied. However when I returned in fifteen minutes I noticed that all the lids with date stamps on them, you know those best befores, seem to run and come through the paint. A second coat was needed anyway, to give it density, so it would solve that this time surely?

Fifteen minutes later – nope. Another coat – nope. I had some gold colour and that covered it well, but I didn’t really like colour (sorry, no picture). However I had a can of matt, black spray paint that I’d bought for another project that resulted in most of the can being left over. So, I tried that. 

Perfect! I’d also produced some water slide decal labels on white transfer paper to finish them off. So, brand new storage jars for the cost of a can of black spray paint and a waterslide decal sheet; about 3,50€. 

Here are the jars on my painted shelves. Now these bookcases are all painted I’m a step closer to my dream kitchen.

Waterslide Decal Labels Tips With Free Download

waterslide decal labels tips with free download

I said in my last post that waterslide decals are an easy craft project, but there is a nack to them and also you have to be careful of how you use them.   

I shared with you my first water slide project, these storage jars, with this image…

I was super excited to label all my storage jars. However when I was a considerable way through labelling them all, I suddenly realised something. These black labels looked great against flour, but what about dark produce like raisins? 

My husband, didn’t get the whole labelling project. He also doesn’t get why you need to stack pans in order of size so they’re don’t keep falling out on top of you, so in the matters of home organisation he doesn’t have a full vote. Anyway, he said ‘you’re going to see what’s in the jars anyway’. 

Well I don’t know about you, but I can’t tell the difference between raisins and currants just by looking at them. There are different types of seeds, herbs and other things that are difficult to distinguish without a label. 

Of course as I’m spending the time doing this I wanted to, you know, see them. I want them to be a feature as well as a practical measure.

So I’ve tried lots of illustrated frames, with solid blocks of colour behind the writing like this…

thinking that would provide a contrast so the writing would stand out. Unfortunately on the transparent decal paper I was using it was too translucent.

I tried different colour wreaths like this…

but that was too translucent when printed out too. 

So the black stood out the most – would a black background with light, contrasting letters work? This was my next design…

They look pretty on the jars don’t they? 

Sadly when they have produce in them the same problem came up. I didn’t even bother putting up an image of the juniper berries jar, you can’t even see the label.

I tried sealing them I. translucent gold glitter spray, glitter purple nail varnish (still see through) and frosted glass spray inside the jar. None of it worked. Read on to find my solution. In the meantime here are my dos and don’ts.

Do spray acrylic varnish four times

When you print out your images on decal paper the advice is print it shiny side up, no need to mirror image it, leave it for 30 minutes to dry and then spray it with acrylic varnish. I’ve read other how tos that say spray two or three times, but four is the charm. Believe me. I know this because I accidentally sprayed one sheet four times and the others three. The sheet with four coats worked so much better.

The three times sheet had a more malleable feel, like cling film. They were tricky because, just like cling film, they stuck to themselves a good deal of the time. I wasted so much transfer paper. 

However the four times one was remarkably more durable, almost like a laminate sheet pre laminating. It was far easier to remove and lay on the object as a result. I don’t think I wasted a single piece done like this. If you don’t follow any other dos, do this! 

Do put water on the object

When I was trying to use the transfers in a more cling film like state they were tricky to apply. So I started to dip my fingers in the bowl of water that I was submerging the transfers in and coating the surface a little. It acted as a means to slide the decal in place more easily on the surface itself. It continued to work well on those I’d coated four times with varnish, allowing me to have far me capacity to move the decal on the objects surface. I’ve been able to move them around a good couple of centimetres. 

Do grip the decal between your fingers and thumbs

Submerge the decal in water and it will curl up like one of those magic fish you get in crackers that are meant to tell you your fortune. Leave it for about thirty seconds. To remove the decal grip it with your fingers underneath it and your thumbs together on top of it. Grip it firmly then push your thumbs away from you. You’ll feel it give and it will start to do as it’s names says, slide in the water. 

Remove the decal from the water, half on and off the paper. Place it where you want it to go on the moist surface and then finish sliding it off. 

Do get rid of the air bubbles beyween your thumbs too

On the decal place your thumbs or fingers in the middle of it side by side. Then slide one of them out to the edge and off the decal, keeping the other firmly in place. Return it to the middle and do the same the other side. Make sure all the bubbles are gone like this. 

Do choose your colour scheme well

As my description shows when it comes to something like glass storage jars it needs to be fit for purpose. This might mean not having transparent paper at all, as I’ve finally concluded. You see my solution to my dilemma is to go back to the drawing board with this design….

and this for teas….

on white decal paper instead of the transparent type I was using. Notice how I put something together with a border that I can give a clear edge too. 

I‘m already coming up with some idea of how to use the leftover transparent paper. Watch this space for that. In the meantime I’ve added this free download of the labels here….

minus our house name and address which, as you can’t see on the label, I’ll be having on our final jars. I’ll update you when the paper arrives and they’re done and there will be another free download for herb labels (if you’re not a subscriber follow so you can get them when they come online). Can’t wait!

By the way, a shore out to the graphics fairy for the vintage, wreath image I used.