Saturday 14 April 2012

How To: Decoupage Jar Lids

Weddings are a perfect opportunity for going on a major a DIY spree, don't you think? No, I'm not getting married. I did that five and a half years ago. My sister has already been married for over a year now too, but it was for her bridal shower, my other sisters and I planned a vintage high tea. It was SO MUCH FUN! Anyway, I have a bazillion varieties of tea, because I LOVE it, and I bought a few more for the high tea (well, that was my excuse, anyway). But I wanted a cheap, simple and beautiful way to display the tea that would be somewhat uniform. I had the idea to use old jars, but wanted them to have a vintage feel. So I used an old book that was falling apart and not worth putting back together (I could not bring myself to destroy a good book for this project!). I decoupaged the lids with ripped up bits of the yellowing book pages. The result looked smashing, just right for the vintage high tea, and I continue to store my tea in it eighteen months later.

So here is how you can do it for yourself...

  • old jars of varying sizes - jam jars, pasta sauce, etc.
  • old falling apart book (ours was 20c from a op-shop)
  • Mod Podge, or other decoupage glue - I used one with a matte finish
  • glue stick
  • paintbrush and/or sponge for applying the glue
  • glue stick
  • damp cloth for cleaning as you go
1. Make sure the jars and their lids are clean and dry.
2. Rip pages of the old book into small pieces, roughly 2cm square - but try to keep them from looking too square. (I found that about 1.5 - 2 pages of a small pocket-sized book was enough for each lid).

3. Start gluing pieces onto the top of the lid. Start with pieces you are not-so-fond on first, ones with blank space or straight edges. I used a glue stick for this step, because I am cheap (and Mod Podge is not, at least here in Australia). And because I could. I know this, because I did a bunch of lids up with only the glue stick and never got around to Mod Podging, and they are still great eighteen months on. Anyway, it would probably work even better with Mod Podge for the whole lot, so if you have it, go for it.

4. Keep gluing, using smaller, longer pieces to go over the lip of the lid. Cover that lid so there is no spare space, and look out for pieces with cute words to show on top. [If you are doing multiple lids, get them all to this stage before moving on.]

5. Once you are happy with the overall look, crack out that Mod Podge and get a-paintin'. I used a paintbrush to apply the Mod Podge, but a sponge would work just as well (or maybe better). The paintbrush left a streaky finish, so I used a finger to smooth it over. You only need a thin layer.

6. Clean any mess as you go, with your damp cloth. Then leave the lid to dry. The Mod Podge bottle says to re-apply more coats after 15-20 mins. I applied 2 layers only.

7. That's it! Put the dry lid on the bottle, and store whatever you like in it - bits of ribbon, spools of thread, other little crafty bits and pieces. I attached a tag saying what kind of tea it is with some brown string.


What are you going to store in your jar?

Oh, and if you are looking for something to do with the cover (provided it's not falling apart too much), check out this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess Blog on how to make a sewing kit from an old book

Also, if you are looking for other jar related ideas and tutorials, check out House of Humble's  Reclaim: Glass Jars post, and also the recent DIY Lace Jars post.

Did you find this tutorial helpful? Would love your feedback below in the comments section!


  1. These look great! Do the jar lids still close properly and air-tightly though? What kind of varnish/estapol would you use if you wanted to make the lids shiny, without making the newsprint run?

    1. Hi Marty.B :) Yes, the jar lids still close air-tight - well, with all the ones I have tried so far, there have been no problems. If you wanted to make the lids shiny, you could use gloss finish Mod Podge. Thanks for the feedback. :)

  2. What a great idea, Candy! I love anything decoupage and this is so unique :)


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