Monday, September 12, 2011

Mason Jar Herb Planters

Mile High Momday is back!  Given that I'm my own boss of this here blog, I decided to give myself the day off for Labor Day last week.  But I'm back with quite possibly the coolest project I've ever done!

Have I ever told you how much I love mason jars?  I really do.  There is something so simple and old fashioned about them.  Funny thing is, I've never actually used the for their intended purpose, canning.  I've used them for storage (remember when I talked about my love affair with my label maker?) and drinking and, now, decorating.  

When we moved into our house, we decorated with a kind of French bistro-esk feel.  It's worked out so far, but I'm getting a little bored with it, and let's be honest, French bistros are so 5 years ago.  The kitchen is the one room that I'm really trying to lose that bistro feel in, and go with a more natural feel.  I won't go as far as re-painting it though, so whatever I do needs to go with the brick red paint color we already have going on.  In our kitchen is what the builders of our house called a "tech center", which is just a fancy name for a built-in desk.  By the tech center hung two pictures of bistros.  It doesn't get any more bistro-y than actual pictures of bistros, so I knew they had to go.  (The curtains will eventually go too, I promise!)

While browsing around on Pinterest the other day, I can across a mason jar herb garden and quickly became obsessed.  I knew that was going to be my weekend project!   So, while the original idea of this project wasn't exactly mine, I can take full credit for making my version.  And I'm going to show you how you can make yours too!

You'll need:
* 2 pieces of wood
* clamps (mine are 3-4 inch ones and I found them in the aisle with the washer/dryer parts)
* Mason jars
* Stain and brush
* Wood Screws
* Herbs, or whatever you want to put in your jars
* A drill
* A saw, or you can have the lumber yard cut it for you.

Thanks to my wood hoarding husband, we already had a nice piece of cabinet grade lumber to use.  I figured out how long I wanted it (30 inches) and told him to cut it for me.  He then told me that he thought I should use the chop saw, instead of him.  As to not jeopardize the truly DIY nature of this project.  Fine.

Notice me standing as far away from the whirling blade of death as possible?
I did it!

If you have a husband that will actually do it for you, that's even better.  If not, you can always have the guys at Home Depot cut it for you. 

Then I got out the not-nearly-as-finger-threatening-as-the-chop-saw hand sander to round out the corners and edges to give it a more "worn" look. 
The bottom one has been sanded, and the top one hasn't

Then I stained them.  I chose a black stain color, to try to give it a more aged wood feel, and less of a "this wood totally matches my cabinets" feel.  The 5 years ago, bistro decorating Michele would have absolutely stained it to match the cabinets.  I feel like such a rebel!

It's a pretty simple process.  Paint it on in the direction of the wood, wait a minute or two, then wipe it off with rag.  Just be sure to wear gloves, it gets messy.  

While the stain is drying drill holes in your clamps.  
Not only did I actually drill holes in these myself, but I took a picture while doing so!
Then screw the clamps onto your wood pieces.  (Don't forget to drill pilot holes in the wood too.)

Now you attach them to the wall.  You'll want to find the studs and put a huge screw (or two) right into the stud.  You don't want these falling down!  
After they are attached, that's when you should put the jars in.  As you can see, I still need to putty and stain the screw holes going into the wall, but I was just so darn excited to get this blog posted, it will have to wait!

Ahhhh!  Much better!
Now, as I've previously confessed, I've never been able to keep a plant alive, so these puppies have very little hope of sticking around for the long haul.  I'm going to try my hardest to keep them alive, but if they don't make it, I would love this project just as much with desk supplies stashed in the mason jars (since it's right by the desk) or kitchen-y things in them, like utensils or dried spaghetti and beans.

P.S. Does anybody have any suggestions for keeping these herbs alive?


  1. I'm awful at keeping plants alive too, but I think this is the coolest project. Awesome!

  2. Coolest. Project. EVER. (Hi! I'm new here.) I stink at keeping indoor plants alive, too, so I can't help you there but I know what I'll be using to store my paintbrushes and supplies in my studio very, very soon!

  3. Hmmm, just a thought.... have you considered growing wheat grass for smoothies? It's really easy. Or keeping a jar of bean sprouts going? Or even growing weeds like plaintain weed, dandelions, and lambs quarter- all easy to keep alive (need lots of sun) and full of vitamins for a morning drink.

  4. Thanks for the good ideas Zonoma! And, welcome!