November 12, 2012

Make a Holiday Bulb-Forcing Jar with Martha Stewart Paints

With Christmas quickly approaching, I've been thinking of some easy and pretty gifts to make for teachers, friends and family.  When you have a limited budget like I do, I'm often searching for crafts that not only look elegant, but are cheap to make.

I love giving the gift of living things, specifically plants.  Poinsettias, Christmas cactus, Amaryllis, and Paperwhites make festive and uplifting presents.  I decided to pick up some paperwhite bulbs at a local garden store to turn into gifts.  Their smell is so intoxicating when in bloom, and they can be used over and over, if you take care of them properly once they finish blooming.

Rather than just put the bulb in a nondescript container, I recycled some glass jars into containers and embellished them with Martha Stewart Paints.
Given my love of Scandinavian design, and especially the Christmas traditions and decorations from that region, I was inspired to create items that incorporated the traditional red and white colors of a Scandinavian Christmas.
To create this project, I chose my supplies from a plethora of paints, etching cream, glitter, brushes, daubers and stencils from Martha Stewart Paints that I was sent.  I was eager to turn these supplies into something pretty.
I'm sure I'll be creating lots of "something pretties" for weeks--yay for a reason to craft, Christmas.

With such an assortment of products, I wasn't sure where to begin.  I knew I'd definitely want to use the glass paints, but probably not the glitter.  I stuck with the paint brushes, a few adhesive stencils (they work great on rounded objects) and the daubers.
Here's my supply list:
Martha Stewart glass paint in red and white * Martha Stewart frosted glass paint in white *Martha Stewart stencils * Martha Stewart glass painting brushes, patterning brush set and daubers * Martha Stewart adhesive holiday stencils * clean glass jars (Mason jars work well) * Narcissus bulbs * red rick rack trim * glass stones for inside the jars

STEP ONE
If choosing to use an adhesive stencil, apply it to your glass item, making sure to adhere it well to the glass so paint can't get underneath.
Prepare your paint by squeezing some onto a plate, then pouncing a stencil brush on it.  You don't want goopy paint in your brush, just enough to tap onto the stencil.
Once the paint is dry (it doesn't take long), you can peel of the stencil and use it somewhere else if you'd like.  I put 4 snowflakes on my glass jar.

STEP TWO
I wanted to do more free-form painting on my glass, so I chose to use the glass painting brushes and daubers.
I love love love the pattern brushes, the one that looks like a toothbrush above.  It allows you to make equally-spaced lines, as well as checkerboards, plaids and other designs.
Now if only they'd make a "shaky hand eliminator" tool.

I spent some time embellishing the jars with the brushes as well as adding plenty of dots using red and white paint.
They came out really festive looking and simple in their designs.  Simple is better most of the time, in my book.

STEP THREE
When the paint was dry, I tied some red rick rack to the tops of the jars, just to add a different texture to the craft.   Alternately, you could use ribbon or just skip this all together.
Then I put some glass pebbles in the bottom of the jars, which I bought at the dollar store (read: cheap).
I plopped a bulb in each one, and added enough water to just cover the stones.  You don't want your bulb submerged in water or it will rot.  But do make sure to check that the water hasn't dried up in a day or so.  Refill if necessary.
The bulbs themselves should take a few weeks to grow in a sunny window, so now's the time to start forcing them indoors in these jars.

Now you're all ready to display them in your house for the holidays or give them as gifts.
They will perk up any windowsill!
You can use the paints for so many other things too.  I made a coordinating vase out of a salsa jar that was headed for the recycling bin.
Imagine the possibilities, especially on trash day.  This is a project that would be fun to do with children too, especially for grandparent or teacher gifts.

Many other craft bloggers have created their own projects using Martha Stewart Paints.  You can visit their tutorials via the links below or by following the hashtag #MarthaHolidayPaint on Twitter.
You can find more inspiration and information about Martha Stewart Paints via the Plaid Facebook page,  @PlaidCrafts, and on Pinterest.
Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid/Martha Stewart Paints and The Blueprint Social.  All opinions are my own.

4 comments:

  1. WOW! I love this! Such an original idea, and you made them look beautiful!

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  2. Love these. We used the stencils last year when we did homemade ornaments and just loved how they turned out!

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  3. These are so cute - I love anything Scandinavian inspired!

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