As soon as I started feeding my daughter baby food I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the empty jars. Correction. BEFORE I started feeding my daughter baby food I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the empty jars. =) Twenty-plus years ago I watched my mom upcycle baby food jars into this super cute crafty Christmas tree before “upcycle” was even a word. I thought it would be a cute gift idea for Kayden to give to people so I started working on multiple trees months before Christmas 2011.
I didn’t do the best job documenting the process with photos but I think what I have should be enough for you to make these on your own.
17 Baby Food Jars, clean and empty
Really good glass glue – I used E6000 Glue. Don’t even THINK about using a hot glue gun. While it would be much faster and easier your beautiful finished tree will quickly fall apart! (Ask my Mom)
Set of 35 Mini Lights, clear or multi-colored
Green Spray Paint
Garland, any color (I like using Silver)
Piece of wood or acrylic, cut to approximately 4″ x 12″ (any size you’d like to use as a base is fine)
Required tools are up for debate. Years ago when my Mom made these trees she used a good old hammer, screwdriver and pliers to punch holes into the jar lids but it took a lot of time and left some sharp edges. I figured there had to be a faster, easier way so I bought a Hollow Punch Set from Amazon. I had to use the largest size punch in the kit and it worked pretty good but it still took some muscle and time. Then I
conned persuaded my handy husband to use his drill press to do a bunch of lids for me. Of course, this was the fastest, easiest method when someone else was doing the work. =)
Ultimately, there are a few ways to get the holes in the lid. Use whatever method best suits your budget, skill level, or schedule.
- Glue jars together. Again, the “best” method is yet to be determined. I’ve tried leaving the jars upright or laying them on their side; a few at a time or a whole row at a time. I’ve found that no matter what I tried not every single one lines up perfectly in the end and that’s ok. The best tip I can give at this point is to be patient (definiltey not one of my virtues). Don’t expect to glue an entire tree together at one sitting. Do a few at a time or a row at a time. Let the jars sit for several hours or better yet overnight before you start putting very many pieces or rows together. Try to keep everything as even and level as possible but know there is a little wiggle room so don’t stress out if not all jars touch once you start assembling. While your jars are drying you can work on the other parts of the project. Eventually you need the following number of jars for each row:
- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – for the tree shape
- 2 – for the “trunk”
- 5+4+3+2+1+2 = 17 jars, make sense?