DIY: Seed Jars

Level: easy
Cost: minimal
Use: storage

• Clean Jar
Acrylic Paints
• Brushes
Seed Packs
Silica Gel packs*
• Paper Plate
Clear Varnish

Optional Materials:
Beads, glue, stencils, scissors, stickers, rubber stamps, glass paint, etching crème, ribbons, etc.

*Silica gel packets are available free in a lot of consumer packaging such as leather goods and medication bottles. Just make a point of saving them from your new purchases and you will soon accumulate dozens. You can also buy silica powder at craft stores and create little silica sachets to go in your jars. Did you know you can recharge silica by re-heating it in the oven?

Seed Jars are practical. They serve a primary purpose in keeping your purchased and collected seeds dry and viable for up to two years. They can also be whimsical with a little paint and embellishment applied. In addition, Seed Jars are economical. You can create them with craft supplies you most likely already have on hand. This project is ideal for a quick hostess gift or as a children’s art project.

Step 1: Clean jars. (Pickle or mayonnaise ones are a good size for this purpose.) This is the most labor-intensive part and it may take a little elbow-grease to get the gum and labels off the jars. Soak them (label-side down) in hot water in a sink or basin for a few hours. Some labels just slip right off, but for others you may want to use a commercial product like un-du® or work in some vegetable oil. If you do go this extra step, be sure to clean the jars thoroughly afterwards of any oily residue.

Step 2: Spread newspapers over your work area. Set out your supplies. Make sure jars and lids are clean, dry, and ready to paint.

Step 3: Put a quarter-sized dollop of acrylic paint in the color of your choice on a paper plate and apple a base coat on the jar lid. Most jar lids are “slick” and need this primer layer to accept your painted design.

Step 4: When the base coat is dry, paint the design of your choosing. We have pictured here several decorated Seed Jars and you can copy one of these or just let your imagination go. Embellish the jars and lids with whatever craft supplies and scraps you have on hand. Don’t worry about mistakes. The jars are actually very forgiving of errors – in most cases you can wipe off any unwanted paint with a wet paper towel. When done, clean paint brushes. Let designs dry overnight.

Step 5: Brush clear craft varnish over your painted design with a soft bristle brush. Do 2-3 coats for good measure and wait about 20 minutes between coats. Clean up work area and supplies.

Step 6: Insert several seed packs and 1-2 silica gel packets per jar. Screw lid on tightly. Keep the Seed Jar in a cool, dark place such as your basement, kitchen pantry, or garden shed.

This is a monthly blog series on DIY projects for the beginning home gardener. Look for the other installments in this DIY blog series by putting "DIY" in the search box here at


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