The spirit of gift-giving is upon us, and one of my favorite types of gifts are those which you can make (with love) yourself! I adore the use of mason jars for small and fun gifts. When I designed our new gift sticker sets, I realized they fit perfectly on top of a wide-mouth mason jar lid! This sparked lots of inspiration for all sorts of mason jar ideas, so one day I surprised my asssistants Maxine and Brenda with a DIY marathon where the three of us spent the morning in the kitchen creating five lovely and easy mason jar gifts to share for the holidays. These gifts are perfect go-to’s for anyone in your life, and also great to make in bulk to give to everyone at a family gathering or as favors for a holiday party. In other words, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!
First thing’s first: The jars. We used 12 oz jars with a wide mouth for each of these projects, except for the jam, where I used super short and wide jars. Meijer had a great selection of jars! Pro tip: do NOT buy these individual at a craft store – you can get a pack of 12 for almost the same price at Meijer or Target!
Second thing’s second: our die cut gift stickers!
We have 5 designs to choose from on our online shop. These are obviously not required, but they do make your mason jar gifts look extra special! They are $6 for 10 stickers and make a perfect add-on to your card, print or notebook order. I’d recommend the ‘made with love’ set for the gifts in this post, but I think they’re all pretty cute – get creative! These sets are up for grabs here on our shop.
Let the making begin!
#1: Make your own soy candle
This was my first time making my own candle – it was so much fun! Candles make great gifts for anyone and you can get creative with scents and even color.
Materials needed: note: I got all of these items on Amazon, and they were pretty inexpensive given the mount of candles you can make with the packs of items and one-time purchase of a $12 pouring pot. Just search for these items on Amazon and you will easily find them and other variations!
+ mason jars
+ hemp wicks
+ stickies for the bottom of the wicks
+ soy wax flakes
+ a candle pot with a pouring lip
+ candle scent or essential oils*
+ a pencil or utensil for each candle you plan on making, to hold up the wick.
Stick the circle stickies on the bottom of the silver disc on the wick, and press it into the bottom of your jar.
+ Boil a large pot of water. When the water is boiling, place the candle-pouring pot with the soy wax in it (measure the soy wax by filling a jar or two first!), and wait for it to melt.
+ When it melts all the way, add your fragrance and stir it up.
+ Pour the wax into the jars with the wicks. It helps if you wrap the wicks around a pencil first so they stay straight. (Note! It is important that you wrap the wicks FIRST and not after you’ve poured it – one of ours accidentally came un-stuck and was floating around in the wax and we had to make a new one!) No need to wrap them too tightly – just enough to keep them straight, as shown below:
In an hour or two, your wax will go back to being a nice natural white color. Wait 24 hours before you light the candle to make sure the wax is totally set.
*PRO TIP (just kidding, more like a newbie tip, but read on) I thought 100 drops of essential oil would totally do it, but it wasn’t the case. I put 50 lemon and 50 lavender but it really didn’t turn out very scented. I was weary to buy some of the synthetic candle fragrances so I reached out and I got a tip on my instagram from Detroit Rose Ritual (they make the best candles!) – she said to search for a phthalate free fragrance oil, which is one of the least toxic kinds.
#2: Lavender Salt Scrub
Ingredients: (enough for two 12 oz jars)
+ 3 cups of coarse sea salt (or a mixture of coarse and fine). We bought a 24oz container of this from Whole Foods and had to obliterate the packaging with a knife to get it to pour (not recommended, maybe try to find a bag of this on Amazon or in bulk somewhere).
+ 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
+ Lavender essential oil – amount depends on your preference.
+ A handful of dried lavender (Whole Foods stocks this at this time of year. Mmm.)
+ Melt the coconut oil to it is easier to mix in.
+ Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and scoop into jars!
I love how simple this recipe is, and salt scrubs are always so wonderful to make your skin soft in the winter.
#3: Make your own hot cocoa mix
Ingredients: (enough for one 12 oz jar)
+ 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
+ 1/2 cup coconut sugar (I love coconut sugar! It’s a heal alternative to regular refined sugar).
+ 3 tbsp powdered milk
+ 1/8 teaspoon salt
*** optional *** a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of cardamom, a pinch of dark chocolate chips, marshmallows, anything you think would jazz up your mix.
+ Combine all of the ingredients well in a big bowl and transfer to the jar.
+ That’s it!
Hot cocoa tips!
* Since this mix contains dry milk powder, all the recipient needs to add is hot water.
* Add equal amounts of hot water and dry mix
* Adding mini chocolate chips will make this extra decadent
The next two recipes are from the book Food Gift Love. I had the pleasure of doing the handmade lettering for this book and when it came out, I purchased one for myself! This book is full of over 100 recipes to make, wrap and share.
#4: Home made jam
Ingredients: (makes two small jars shown above)
+ 1 1/2 cups of quartered strawberries, cleaned and hulled.
+ 3/4 cup of pure cane sugar
+ 2 tbsp lemon juice
+ In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. While the mixture cooks, mash up the fruit bit by bit. Once it begins boiling again, reduce to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Stir frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. Skim off the foam on top, if desired.
+ Let the home made jam cool for 15-20 minutes. We noticed it was a bit watery, but then when it cooled and set it was much more jam-like.
Note * this is for jam that can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. I am not too familiar with proper canning, but this recipe can be used for that if that’s your jam. (pun intended!)
#5: Make your own pistachio & arugula pesto:
Ingredients: (makes enough for one 12oz jar)
+ 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, unsalted
+ 2 cups tightly packed arugula
+ 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
+ 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp shredded parmesan
+ 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
+ 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
+ 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
+ 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
+ Preheat your oven to 350 F and roast the pistachios on a baking sheet for 10 minutes
+ In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients including the roasted pistachios and blend until it looks like a good consistency to you
+Transfer into jar, and add an extra tbsp on top of it to preserve the color. Store in the fridge and use within 3 days.