Baby Food Jar Christmas Tree

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.

MATERIALS:
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)

TOOLS:
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.

 

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. 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?
  2. Punch holes in the lids. See my notes above regarding the tools. There are several ways you can do this. Ultimately you want to end up with a hole about 3/4″ – 1″ round, and I use the term “round” loosely. If you use the screwdriver and hammer method you will likely end up with triangular holes. Totally fine. You just need enough room to shove 2-3 of the lights in through the hole so test it out before you do every single one. Do what you can to keep the edges from being too sharp – bend sharp points in with pliers, etc.
  3. Spray paint the lids. Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area, get all around the edges of the lids and let them dry completely. Again, patience is key here which is why if some of my gift recipients look closely they may see the “Gerber” label under a too-thin area of paint or a fingerprint or two as I checked to see if they were dry. But that will be our little secret, okay?!
  4. Assemble the jars into a tree shape. Remember 5+4+3+2+1 for the tree shape? And 2 for the trunk? Again, do this in MULTIPLE steps – glue one or two rows together at a time – I cannot stress this enough. Then you won’t end up with a lopsided tree. Once you have the entire tree shape glued together you can move on to the final steps.
  5. Fill jars with garland. Not TOO much, but not too little either. You want the light to be able to show through so maybe do a couple and then add the light to see what it will look like.
  6. Screw on the lids.
  7. Add lights. You have a strand of 35 lights. This equates to 2 bulbs per jar for 16 of the jars and 3 bulbs for one jar. I usually start at the top of the tree and put the 3 bulbs in the top jar and work my way down to the bottom so the plug-in part of the lights is closest to the bottom. First and foremost BEFORE you start stuffing bulbs, plug in the strand of lights to make sure they all work. The last thing you want to do is find out some aren’t working after you’ve taken the time to put this all together!
  8. Attach to base. Use copious amounts of glue to secure the bottom two jars (the trunk of the tree) to the base material. Need I remind you PATIENCE my friend! Let this dry overnight just to be safe.
  9. Plug in and enjoy!

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  1. […] love me some upcycled baby food jar crafts! Last year everyone got lighted Christmas Trees from Big Girl’s leftover jars and now that Little Baby is going to be trying baby food soon […]

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