06/25/2014 12:00AM ● Published by anonymous
One of the things I love most about summer in Northern California is entertaining outdoors. The heat of the day can be stifling, but when the cool evening approaches, it brings with it the desire to sit outside reading, visiting with friends or working on projects.
Whichever of these activities suits you, they all have one requirement: Lighting! Outdoor illumination can be costly, so read on and see how to brighten your nights for a fraction of the cost by repurposing.
The Multi-tasking Mason Jar: These can easily be found at a thrift shop, a garage sale or around your own home.
The Luminescent Tea Light Jar
You know those beautiful colored jars that are all the rage? You don’t have to spend a fortune to own some. For this craft you will need Mod Podge, food coloring, a glass jar and tea lights. You can also use solar candles or LED candles, but I am sucker for seeing the flame flicker and sparkle inside the glass:
1. Mix a tablespoon of Mod Podge with a dollop of food coloring.
2. Quickly and smoothly coat the outside of your jar. Carefully overlap your brush strokes.
3. Once dry, place your candle inside and enjoy.
This is not waterproof, so you will either need to spray on a sealer, or be careful to keep it dry. The nice thing about this is if you mess up, you can wash it off and try again.
The Mason Jar Hanging Lantern
For this project you will need a Mason jar, a candle of your choice, twine and either fishing line or wire:
1. Cut a piece of twine a little larger than the neck of your jar.
2. Determine how low you would like your lantern to hang and cut a length of fishing line accordingly.
3. Tie each end of the line onto your twine.
4. Wrap the twine below the lip of the jar and knot.
5. If you would like to hide the knots, wrap a cute ribbon around the neck of your jar. If you use fishing line, the knots are non-existent in the twilight and make it look as if your lantern is floating.
6. Place your candle inside and enjoy the beauty this sparkling lantern will bring.
If you happen to have a wire ring Mason jar, simply add twine and hang.
I have a bench that belonged to my grandfather that must be about 50 years old. It’s seen finer days and being stored on the patio for the last 10 years hasn’t helped the finish. The wood was rough, cracked and the paint in poor shape. However, this piece holds sentimental value and it would make a perfect side table next to a retro metal chair.
Obviously, most of us don’t have a shabby bench to fix, but the key to this repurpose is to force you to think outside the box. Keep your eyes peeled for an item that might have a terrible finish, but could look simply gorgeous after some TLC.
The steps below can be used to increase the appeal on any wood object.
You will need a hand sander, 60-100 grit sandpaper, your favorite spray paint and polyurethane to seal the wood.
1. Make sure your piece is stable and tighten any screws or nails that might be loose.
2. Sand the ends and corners until smooth; you don’t want any splinters.
3. Continue to sand rough spots. Don’t remove all the imperfections because that takes away the uniqueness of the item.
4. Wipe clean.
5. Paint away! One thing I loved about my piece is that the old paint was cracked so deeply it made for an attractive surface once I applied the new paint.
6. Apply your sealer according to the instructions. Most of them will require you to sand in between coats, which I chose not to do. If you would like to do so, this is a good time to shabby up your edges and have some of the bare wood show.
7. Move your piece to its new home and add some finishing touches with décor: Maybe your Mason jars?
If you have some left over spray paint and jars, or even ugly vases, why not paint them and decorate with summer flowers?
Want to know a secret? You can make your own brightly colored flowers by placing white mums into water tinted with food coloring. Wait 24 hours, or until you achieve the color you desire.