A Little Fall Leaf and Mason Jar Re-use Project

Ok!  This may look a bit familiar.

While I sat brushing Mod Podge on dozens of leaves to use on my Fall wreath, I decided to light a little jar candle covered with fall leaves that I made last year to keep me company.

 I enjoyed the warm glow of the candlelight dancing through the leaves so much that I just had to make a bigger one!

But this time I made it with the intention that it could be used the rest of the year for crafty storage!  Or for storing dried peppers or dried mushrooms! 

I used a large, one quart  jar with a two piece canning lid.  During it's life as a candle, I am using only the ring portion of the lid.  Then later, when I am using it for storage, I will be able to seal the contents inside using both parts of the lid.

This has worked so well, I am planning to make a full set of four - one for each season to use to store tea bags, Splenda packets etc. on my kitchen shelf -  keeping them in rotation as candles as the seasons go by.

And since it is so easy to do, I am making some with my two little gingerbread house buddies for their Thanksgiving table!

How to make a Fall Leaf Candle!

All you need to make one:  dried, pressed fall leaves, regular Mod Podge, a jar and a brush.

1. Dry beautiful, colorful fall leaves using this method. Drying should take only about two weeks.

The tutorial linked above includes information for how to dry and press leaves and for coating leaves with Mod Podge after drying. But Mod Podge should NOT be applied to your dried leaves if you are intending to use them for this jar candle project.

Use ONLY dried, pressed leaves that have NOT been coated with Mod Podge when you make this candle jar.

2. Smear Mod Podge all over the sides of the jar.  Do not apply Mod Podge to the bottom or the grooved lid area. (For large areas like this, I prefer using a regular brush, but a foam brush will work also).

3. Place your dry leaf right onto the Mod Podge and press into place.  Brush over the leaf with more Mod Podge.

4.  Continue adding leaves and Mod Podge until your jar is covered with leaves.  I like to overlap a few, but keep in mind that overlap areas do reduce the light that can pass through.  I find that lighter colored leaves work best.  Use the darker leaves as accents.

5. Once you have finished placing your leaves around the jar surface,  use the flat end of your brush to create a stippled pattern in the Mod Podge areas NOT covered by leaves. This step will create a more pleasing pattern than will brush strokes when light shines through these "open" areas on the jar.

6.  Let the candle dry thoroughly and then apply a second coat of Mod Podge, again "stippling" the open areas.

7. Let the jar dry several hours or overnight.  Overspray with acrylic spray. When dry, pop a tea light in the bottom and you are done!

I am thinking that several of these, in different sizes, would be gorgeous on a Fall Party table.  And you can continue using them right through Halloween and  Thanksgiving.

And then... fill them up with buttons, pompoms, fall theme stamps, pumpkin seeds for next year's harvest necklace, orphaned beads....

I hope you enjoy the warm glow of your fall candles as much as I am!

ADDED SEPTEMBER5 2012!

If you are enjoying the ideas in this post, pop over here to see more magic with Mod Podge, fall leaves and food coloring!  

Here is a sneak preview!

Fall Leaves:Mods Podge: Food Coloring Those "leaves" are not leaves at all! 100% Mod Podge tinted with food coloring.

Or try mounting them to artist's canvas - beautiful way to display leaves on  a wall!  Tutorial here.

Or add frosty sparkle using Crystal Snow and Mod Podge - see how here.

 

More great ways to use Mod Podge:  Woven Journal covers and these very useful Wall Storage Folders for homework and clippings.

And check out these ideas for fall craft:  Adorable and simple ghosts made using fresh corn husks and pinatas made using gourds.

Added October 17th, 2012!  Good news!  Plaid Brand Mod Podge is available world wide!  Here is a link to a list of international retailers who carry the product.

Plaid International Locator!

Hi, I love this leaf jar so

Hi, I love this leaf jar so much. However because I am making these last minute for a gift, I was wondering if I have to dry the leaves for that long? Is it possible to just go outside and pick up some leaves and use them? Anyway thank you so much :)

Dear Margaret,  As much as I

Dear Margaret,  As much as I would like to say yes - I can not.  Anyone I have heard from who got in a hurry with the project and just used fresh or nearly fresh leaves were disappointed in the results.  Collect your leaves and dry them this year and then save the jar project for next year!!

Also, what does "stippling"

Also, what does "stippling" mean?

Stippling - hold a stiff

Stippling - hold a stiff bristle brush vertically and quickly tap the ends of the bristles into the Mod Podge over the entire surface you wish to stipple.  It disrupts the flow of the product and creates a more frosted appearance.  To increase the effect - let the product dry a few minutes before stippling.

I love this idea. I was

I love this idea. I was wondering if I can use a full candle jar,
Like from Yankee candle? Thank you.

Oh brilliant idea Mary!!!!  I

Oh brilliant idea Mary!!!!  I have no idea how well the Mod Podge and the leaves will hold up to the heat generated in the glass after the candle burns for awhile - I quit using them because they get so hot.  But if you have an old one, why not Mod Podge a leaf or two on the surface and see how they hold up to a few hours of candle heat.  I do love the idea.

How do I know that my leaves

How do I know that my leaves are dry enough to use?

Hillary, I think the best way

Hillary, I think the best way to tell if your leaves are "dry enough" is simply to press them in newspaper for a couple weeks.  I have had mixed results when i have let them dry for less time.  This is not a instant project!!  The leaves must be collected and pressed/dried before adding Mod Podge as per the linstructions in the link  shared in the post.  And if you will stick to two weeks dry/press time, you will be successful.  

I have looked at this picture

I have looked at this picture tons of times and I am so looking forward to using this at my wedding in October. I do have a few questions though. 1.) All I have gloss Mod Podge, will that work? 2.) Will silk leaves work, rather than actual ones? 3.) If silk leaves are being used, do they need to be coated in Mod Podge before going on the jar too? I am hoping to try a couple of these before the actual wedding, to see if they turn out...

I put two coats of mod podge

I put two coats of mod podge on the jar with leaves on it, and it doesn't look as frosted and the jar in your pic. Am i doing something wrong? Mine looks more see through and not as yellow frosty as your candle looks. I used antique matte mod podge. I'm trying to make these for centerpieces for my wedding, but it's not turning out right. Any ideas?

Jackie, Most likely you are

Jackie,

Most likely you are not doing anything 'wrong'  at all!  If you stippled the open areas using the end of a brush as suggested in step 5 you should get a frosty appearance.  The wet stippled Mod Podge will dry translucent / frosted - but still the color of Mod Podge.  I am pretty sure you could try adding an additional coat to those areas the leaves don't cover and stipple.  That should give you a frosty appearance.

Another trick to try is to let the mod Podge dry just a bit before stippling so the product will hold the shape of the brush ends better.

As for the 'yellow frost'  - the color is simply due to the reflection of the leaves on the jar in the candlelight.  And it is possible that the camera was able to pick up a bit of color there that eyes correct for.  Not sure as i took this shot 4 years ago!!!  But in my opinion these jars are at their prettiest when lit with a candle inside!!

If the yellow shade is important to you - try adding a bit to yellow food coloring to your Mod Podge - just a drop or two to about two tablespoons.  Smear and stipple with that.  (If you want an orange-y yellow - use a couple drops of yellow and a drop of red.)

Kelly, I do think these would

Kelly, I do think these would be gorgeous on reception tables!  And, yes, I am pretty sure silk leaves should work just fine as long as the "veins" are not too stiff.

You will not need to coat your leaves before applying.  simply coat the jar with Mod Podge, apply leaves, let sit long enoungh for them to stick and apply an over-coat or two or three of mod podge.  

As for gloss Mod Podge, there is no reason it won't work to hold the leaves on the jars.  If you are a fan of the glossy look, by all means use it.  If you don,t like the gloss look once they are dry - overspray with matt acrylic.

By all means - practice on a couple NOW!!!  Right NOW!  And then if you are happy with the results and want to make more for the wedding, take it from someone who has been in the wedding business for 25 years - get busy and make ALL of your leaf covered jars this summer!  Do NOT save this project till the fall.  You my dear will be busy being a bride about to be married!

Congratulations!!

Great decoration idea! Going

Great decoration idea! Going to mix this up with lanterns :) Lana 

I love this idea! I am having

I love this idea! I am having an October wedding and think these would be great decor, and useable after the wedding! Have you ever tried using silk leaves; do you think that would work?

This is so perfect! I'm a low

This is so perfect! I'm a low budget bride and my wedding is next September, so I'm looking for all kinds of inexpensive ways to decorate. This is a really cute idea.

This is an awesome and

This is an awesome and beautiful idea that I am going to use. Simple yet elegant.

I am so excited to start this

I am so excited to start this project!

What type of Mod Podge did you use?

I know!  It is always the

I know!  It is always the hardest part!!!  Well - that and waiting for the Mod Podge to dry!!

Katie, I use Original formula

Katie, I use Original formula matte.  I hear your excitement, but be sure to dry and press you leaves thoroughly as described in the link to the Mod Podge leaves post.  Getting in a hurry and not drying your leaves properly will most likely result in disappointment.

My leaves are drying and

My leaves are drying and being pressed right now. It's been a week and a half.....trying to be patient lol

just a question what is mog

just a question what is mog pog im live in England and have never heard of this

Julie, its just another

Julie, its just another branded name for wood glue, or pva glue. you can get a 500ml bottle from poundland, or anywhere else (the range, hobbycraft). x

Julie,  Thank you for your

Julie,  Thank you for your question!  Mod Podge is a glue like substance that can be used as both a glue and as a sealer.  Having had some of my original formula Mod Podge covered gourds left out in the rain, I can tell you that it is not a water tight sealer.  If you are looking for watertight - I suggest for any outside use,  Outdoor Mod Podge is great!

Mod Podge is made by an American company Plaid Enterprises and as far as I can tell is not available in Europe. But perhaps you can have it shipped from this company Blick. Apparently there are European products that are similar that are used as a wood glue and also school glue.  What you are looking for is a thick white glue/sealer that dries clear and transparent.  We have a similar product here in the USA called Elmer's Glue.  When watered down a bit, it behaves much the same way as Mod Podge.

My friend Jet used a similar product to create her window coverings from recycled bits recently - she referes to it as wood glue.

There seem to be homemade versions online, however, not having personally tried them, I am reluctant to offer them as substitutes.

These are amazing little fall

These are amazing little fall projects, Pam! I would be scared of putting actual candles inside of them with all my clumsy little cousins. I'd put in a flameless tea light  or something similar.

Jamie The little battery

Jamie

The little battery operated flameless tea lights would work great.  i have not recommended them maimly because I have found that in any box i have purchased, there have been several that were duds.  Until I find some that are 100% reliable, I am sticking with tea lights.

Hi Pam - just came across

Hi Pam - just came across your blog and will be linking back here to your craft projects for our readers so they can find you. Hope you have a minute to check out our website and monthly online Christian women magazine, Ruby for Women. I know our readers will LOVE your blog so I'll be sure to promote you in our October issue. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful craft projects! Sincerely, Nina Newton, Sr. Editor Ruby for Women

What a cute project! I love

What a cute project! I love it so much that I decided to feature it in our roundup of autumn leaf crafts! Check it out here: http://www.favecraftsblog.com/link-love-fall-leaf-crafts/

I did some similar jars for a

I did some similar jars for a 4th of July birthday party. I applied star stickers in a variety of sizes, then spray painted the jars -- some in white, some in red, the others blue. I peeled off the stickers, tied raffia around the top and inserted a flameless tealight candle inside for the light. I had problems keeping candles lit in the taller jars and the flameless ones seemed safer too. I bought them pretty cheaply from Oriental Trading.

Was wondering instead of

Was wondering instead of candle if the you could use a clip light in it? The kind used in the small ceramic items. Thanks

Good question Brenda.  Most

Good question Brenda.  Most of the clip lights I am familiar with however require a hole in the ceramic - this allows the clip light to be anchored.  I suppose you could try turning the jar upside down and trying that - the only problem i can see is that the lip of the jar will not sit flat because part of it will be sitting on the cord.

I think some kind of special base would have to be devised for this application.

Can you use fake leaves from

Can you use fake leaves from garden ridge or hobby lobby? I live in Texas we don't get the pretty leaves here. Thanks

I found when using the

I found when using the artificial leaves, I rinsed them out and ironed them as they had a stiffner in them, and made them harder to work with, this fixed the problem

Heather, as I mentioned in my

Heather, as I mentioned in my personal e-mail to you - yes absolutely fake leaves - especially paper ones could be used.  I would stay away from very thick stiff plastic leaves and also leaves that are not somewhat transparent.

Dear Pam, I love the idea

Dear Pam,

I love the idea and I have already collected and have dried all my leaves. However, had a quick question on the Acrylic Spray you had mentioned to use as the last step. Is this to give the jar a shiny look? What's the purpose of using this spray paint? and what kind of Acrylic Spray did you use?

Many thanks,
Vida

Thank you for your question

Thank you for your question and I am sorry it has taken so long for an answer.  Acrylic Spray that I use is Americana Clear Acrylic Sealer/Finisher spray by Decoart.  There are many, many others in the market place - Plaid has made clear acrylic sprays as well. 

It's function is to seal out air and moisture in the environment and prevent them from affecting your project.  (I can also seal moisture in so be sure anything you over spray is dry
!) 

I wouldn't say it is totally necessary, but I use it because without it Mod Podge (unless you are using Outdoor Mod Podge) is NOT water proof when it dries.  Since I have had the opportunity to learn that the hard way, I always like to suggest the acrylic spray!

I did this project, and it is

I did this project, and it is absolutely beautiful. I get lots of compliments. I have three questions. 1. I used regular Modge Podge and the end result was amazing! When I sprayed it with the gloss acrylic, it turned dull and I didn't like it as much as I did before I sprayed it. Can you be more specific about what kind of sealer you used? 2. I used small spaghetti sauce jars. They get REALLY hot. Do your jars get super hot as well or did I use too small jars? 3. My leaves only became somewhat pliable and maybe 2 per jar stick up off of the jar ever so slightly, did you get the same result?
Thanks again for such a wonderful idea! I really love the result. Sooo beautiful!

Delia, I just found this

Delia, I just found this while cleaning out my e-mails.  I am so sorry I missed it.

Question 1, I use Americana Acrylic Sealer/Finisher by Decoart and so far the product has worked very well for me.  I use both glossy and mat.  I do not like the satin paticularly because it does what you have described.  But Plaid also makes a good product and you might try their's as well.

I am surprised that your glossy spray actually dulled the surface.  For me, I find it way too glossy for the leaf projects and use mat exclusively for these projects, reserving the glossy product for my gourd ornaments. I prefer the mat look for my leaf projects.

Having said that, I have discovered that sometimes the oversprays don't come out as we visualize them so testing is a good idea.

Question 2. Yes, the small jars can get hot - just like most silicon materials will when they are subjected to a candle flame over time!!  I have made these with one cup jars and like you I love them but they do tend to get hotter than the quart jars because the heat is so concentrated.  BUT so far (three seasons) the jars have retained their original beauty!

Question 3.  Some leaves tend to lay against the surface more evenly than others.  And for me this is not a problem - an edge here or there. Especially when working with small diameter jars it is almost unavoidable.  Maple leaves seem to dry beautifully for this project and remain quite pliable.  But again, on the small jars, there is a tip here or there that will stick up a little.  I just seal it well with a couple extra coats of Mod Podge.  My borrowed child just holds his in place til the Mod Podge bond becomes strong enough to overcome the leaf!

I used Virginia Creeper

I used Virginia Creeper leaves which dry very thin and bend over the bottle well, they also turn many different shades and colors. I loved it so much I did several bottles. Thanks!

Pam, I liked your candles so

Pam,

I liked your candles so much that I am going to try making them for my wedding table centerpieces next October. I have collected leaves from all over so I have a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Instead of the mason jars I actually am using cylinder candle holders that have metal branches that wrap around the cylinder, the branches are brown with out leaves. I will try and post a picture when I finish one. If you have any other ideas for a fall wedding that would be great too. : ) I'm making napkin holders using a silk mum with a fall leaf behind it, using a shower curtain ring. That way I will have some flowers on the table. I am on a very tight budget but I think it will look beautiful. I'm a very crafty person and everyone is waiting to see what I do.

This is a wonderful idea! We

This is a wonderful idea! We just picked up some fallen leaves yesterday and I can't wait to try this for our Thanksgiving table this year! Thanks for the idea!

Hello, I just gave the leaf

Hello,
I just gave the leaf jar project a try today and I ran into a problem that I felt was worth mentioning. I gathered leaves and allowed them to dry and press for about 1.5 weeks. After a allowed the mod podge to dry on them and put them on my jar smeared with mod podge, I found that my leaves were way too dry. They were very hard, even after I tried to bend them a bit to loosen them up. They refused to lay flat and I had to glue them down a few times after my jar was completely dry. I found that the leaves that weren't so dry worked the best.

Thanks for the tutorial!

Hello Adrianne,  And thank

Hello Adrianne,  And thank you for your note.  There are two possible reasons you are having trouble.

First, you must use dried leaves that have NOT been coated with Mod Podge.  Just in case that point might have not been clear to others as well, I have gone in and clarified that point.

I appreciate you bringing this to my attention so that hopefully others will not have a similar experience.  I can see that the Mod Podge coated leaves would not lay flat.

Another problem I have occasionally found is that some species of leaves or very old tough leaves can be somewhat stubborn about staying flat against the jar surface - especially curved surfaces.

I have found that younger more supple leaves or leaves similar to maple work very well. Something like a holly leaf would be impossible!

Again, I appreciate your comment and letting me know that a little clarification would be helpful.

I love your jars with the

I love your jars with the leaves...beautiful.
I tried to follow your blog but don't see a follower button. Is there another way I can do this?

This is a wonderful, easy to

This is a wonderful, easy to make craft with things most of us have lying around! I gathered leaves last week to press with the intention of crafting with them but not exactly sure what I was going to make. This is now a craft I will be trying! I have only recently discovered your blog but it is great! I try to make everything I can and recently started my own blog about my craft adventures. Your blog is a wonderful inspiration, thank you for sharing with us all!

Congratulations! Your project

Congratulations! Your project made it to the top 5 most clicked on crafts for the month of September at Fun Family Crafts! http://funfamilycrafts.com/september-2011-top-posts/

Great idea! Our leaves

Great idea! Our leaves aren't quite to peak yet but will definitely try this. (We have a microwave flower press to dry flowers so I'm going to try it with the leaves, too.) We have some pretty flowers still in bloom so I'm going to try those first for a spring/summer look.

How about using cutout paper snowflakes for a winter theme?

I've also used Elmer's glue with 1/2 water as a mod-podge type finish on other projects.

Absolutely beautiful!!!! LOVE

Absolutely beautiful!!!! LOVE it! What is Mod Podge though?

Can't wait to try spring one

Can't wait to try spring one as my daughters getting married next may

Hi, this is great! I am

Hi, this is great! I am ready to start pressing leaves. I think I found the gifts the children will be giving this year! I was wondering if you used real candles in them. I get nervous about things like that. Thanks.

It is good to always be

It is good to always be cautious when using candles.

If you follow my instructions and only apply mod podge to the outside or your jars, there is no reason you can't burn real candles in them.  I have mine burning right this minute!

I usually use tea lights just to be on the extra safe side.

If you are using a small jar like a one cup jar, then definitely use a tea lite.  If using a quart mason jar, you could use a votiveif you like.  I would NOT use a tall pillar as it is probably best to keep the flame away from the lip of the jar in case a little mod podge sort of peaked over the lip to see what was on the inside!

My friend Lisa lines up sever  (one cup jar size) on her mantle and burns tea lites in them.  Very pretty with the fire burning on a chilly October night.

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