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EC: How to Decorate Mason Jars for DIY Gifts That Are Actually Pretty Impressive
Credit: All Photos by Teresa Sabga

This step-by-step wrapping guide for holiday food gifts in a jar was made for you if you can’t afford to buy everyone you know a fancy storebought present. Homemade food gifts in mason jars take less than an hour to make, they’re inexpensive, and they’ll score you brownie points with loved ones for being super cute and creative. Who can resist homemade granola or just-add-water pancake mix when they’re packaged so prettily? After all, the gift presentation should be just as special as the gift you're giving. You can easily decorate mason jars for gifts by tying colorful ribbon or twine around the rim of a glass and attaching a gift tag—we’ll show you how. Your one-of-a-kind DIY gifts will soon be packaged with love (and craft glue) to show everyone in your life how much you care about them.

The American Research Group estimates that the average adult will spend $929 on gifts this holiday season. So, you might want to consider taking the do-it-yourself gifting route to cut down on costs this year. (Don’t worry, no one’s expecting you to magically become Martha Stewart overnight.)

Now stock up on some art supplies and a few jars, and spoil your friends, family, teachers, and boss with mason jar Christmas gifts. But first you gotta learn how to decorate mason jars for Christmas gifts, so here's all you need to know.

Choose a Jar

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Be sure to choose the right jar for the job. Glass canning jars come in a variety of sizes, from half-pint to gallon, and the mouths are available either “regular” or “wide.” Wide-mouth canning jars are easier to fill when dealing with flour and other messy ingredients. Mason jars should be readily available in the baking aisle of any supermarket or craft store near you.

If you’re a jar junkie, you won’t even have to buy new jars. You can upcycle the pickle and spaghetti sauce jars that you’ve saved throughout the year for gifting. Just thoroughly clean and sanitize them before repurposing. To be completely safe, you should buy new lids any time you reuse jars for canning. (Spend an extra buck to ensure you don’t poison anyone.)

Add Script to the Lid

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The lid serves as a sweet spot for explaining what’s in the jar. Lauren Kolm, our incredibly talented resident designer, suggests typing the name of your recipe into and copying the text of your favorite typeface onto craft paper that matches the color of your gift tag. You can easily handle the task if you were a pro at forging your parent's signatures on report cards with bad grades. Kolm uses fine-line Pigma Micron pens, but feel free to use a Sharpie. Start by tracing the lid of the jar onto craft paper, making sure to leave enough space around the edges for when the metal ring is screwed on, so that the text isn’t covered up. Write something and cut. Stick the hand-lettered circle onto the surface of the lid with spray mount adhesive, which allows for an even coating and dries quickly, and twist on the ring. You can also sandwich a thin piece of holiday fabric between the lid and the ring.

Write on a Tag

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Make your holiday presents stand out by adding hand-lettered gift tags to the mix. You can either make your own tags from scratch, or buy ten plain cardstock tags from Knot & Bow for $4. (They’re available in almost every color imaginable.) Now, write. It really doesn’t matter what your handwriting looks like—everyone’s is unique and beautiful in its own way. Try cursive and print text with bold, italic, or regular fonts in all different sizes—the possibilities are endless.

If you’re not artsy, don’t freak out. Etsy is at your service. A Little Scrap of Happy sells a set of five gorgeous hand-lettered gift tags for just $3.50 (twine included). If you’re running short on time, Sugar Paper’s matte gold foil Sweet for You gift tags are available at Target. And if you’re all stocked up on ink cartridges and card stock, there are also many free printable gift tags online for you to customize and print.

Tie a Bow

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Add accents to your gifts with simple additions like twine, wool, or ribbon. Knot & Bow sells twine at different lengths in a variety of colors—solid, striped, and glittered. The butcher’s twine you use to wrap your turkey will work perfectly, too. These gift wrapping YouTube tutorials will guide you through how to tie the perfect bow. You can tie a ribbon three ways—classic, layered, and rosette. Choose from silk, satin, wired, nylon, grosgrain, or twill. For an extra Christmas-y touch, grab some red flannel ribbon and tuck a fresh sprig of greenery (like fir or holly) into the bow for a wintery finishing touch.

Assemble the Gift

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Now that you’ve chosen the right jar, purchased a gift tag, added hand-lettering to a label for the lid, and practiced the art of tying a bow, put it all together and you’re ready to give a truly thoughtful present.

You're All Set

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Would you look at that? Easy as pie.