Crafty by Nature

Crafty by Nature

Recycle Baby Food Jars into Terrariums and Tea Kits!

comments (4) April 19th, 2009     

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susanstars Susan Beal, contributor
Love it! 10 users recommend
This tiny terrarium is so cheerful in my kitchen.
This little set of a tiny terrarium and a chai-tea kit was really fun to make!
The chai-tea kit is a nice surprise for a friend!
This tiny terrarium is so cheerful in my kitchen.

This tiny terrarium is so cheerful in my kitchen.

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I love making terrariums, and last month I used Jenny Ryan's fantastic tutorial to create a whole herd of them in Mason jars. Then this week I started thinking about making a tiny version inside a baby food jar, and it was so much fun to do in miniature! While I had baby-food-jar crafting on my mind, I also put together a little kit for making fresh chai tea with spices and loose-leaf tea using two jars—an easy surprise gift for a friend.

These materials will make one terrarium and one chai-tea kit.

What you'll need:

  • Three empty baby food jars with lids (I used two larger and one smaller)
  • Paintbrush and acrylic paint in the colors of your choice
  • Sealer
  • Three large, flat-backed buttons (or any other embellishment) and glue
  • Loose-leaf tea, spices (I used cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger), and a tag and ribbon for the tea kit
  • Charcoal, moss and soil, and small decorations for the terrarium

1. Clean and dry each jar. If adhesive from the labels is hard to remove, try using alcohol and a scrubby sponge in addition to washing them with hot water and soap.

Paint each lid in the color of your choice.

2. Add one layer of acrylic paint to each jar lid. Let it dry thoroughly before adding a second coat. When you are pleased with the appearance, add a layer of sealant to protect the paint and let that dry, too. (You can also spray-paint the lids or use another paint type—I used acrylic since it's nontoxic and I have a baby at home.)

I added loose-leaf tea and chai spices to the two jars.

3. Meanwhile, get your contents ready! For the tea kit, fill a larger jar with loose-leaf tea and the smaller jar with a mix of chai spices. I used cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger—you can adjust the proportions to your taste or use other spices if you like! (Look for spices in bulk at ethnic or natural-foods markets, or at Penzeys, which does mail order.)

Add a layer of charcoal to the bottom of your terrarium jar.

4. For the terrarium, add a single layer of charcoal to the bottom of your jar. Next, add a layer of dirt, then moss from your yard or a park. If you prefer, you can buy sheet moss at a garden store and add a thin layer of potting soil over the charcoal, then the sheet moss. Now add your decorations—I used two tiny deer, but anything small that's waterproof (an action figure, a cupcake topper, or a trinket of any type) would do nicely here, or you can keep it totally natural with plants and small stones. To maintain your terrarium, open the jar lid and spray the whole interior with droplets of water every week or two to keep the moss happy—Jenny has some very helpful tips in her tutorial for the Mason-jar terrarium version.

Add moss and soil over the layer of charcoal.


I added two little deer to my jar for a woodland feel.

5. If desired, you can add a fun, little embellishment to the top of each painted jar. I chose to glue down big, flat buttons to each one—they're inexpensive and add an interesting element (at least to a button lover like me!). I used cement glue to attach my buttons, but if you are adding rhinestones or something more delicate, I suggest using craft glue to protect the finish.

After the coat of sealer dried, I glued a big, flat-backed button to each lid.

6. Write a quick gift tag and tie it to one of the chai tea jars with ribbon. I kept it simple with a Sharpie, but you could do any kind of design or image that you like.

Add a gift tag to your tea kit!

7. Give your gifts—and don't forget to make an extra one for yourself!

I made an extra teeny-tiny terrarium for my kitchen!

You could also crochet a tiny terrarium cozy using Cal's awesome tutorial from earlier this week!

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posted in: , recycling, Tea, jars, baby food jars, terrariums, chai

Comments (4)

Jessicalyn_Bliss writes: These are wonderful! Great job Susan. I can't wait to make them :)
Posted: 12:55 pm on October 27th
chinamommy writes: these are great! i had 100's of jars a few years ago but threw the jars out & just saved the lids... what was I thinking?
Posted: 8:28 am on April 27th
doms218 writes: Super cute! I'm already putting some tea kits together for gifts. Anymore baby food jar ideas? I have so many jars.....
Posted: 3:13 pm on April 22nd
croqzine writes: Cute & simple! And the small scale makes it seem really do-able!
Posted: 4:23 pm on April 20th
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