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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cool Ideas: Sand Jars

 If you've seen my other posts, you'd know how much I love glass jars. It seems I can always think up cool ways to utilize them. Here's my latest idea.

Being from Hawaii, I miss the land and especially the beaches. I've always wanted to bring a little bit of home with me so I have that connection. I decided to bring the beach home with me. . . .I decided to bring home sand. Well, I did not only bring home the sand from 1 beach, I brought the sand from 6 different beaches home (go big or go home right? lol!).

Molokai, being an island, is filled with sand! There are hundreds of beaches so it was easy for me to get my hands on some. Sand is sand right? WRONG! The sand is unique to the beach it came from. Take a look at the picture above. These 3 different sands are from beaches next to each other and yet, they have very different characteristics. Sand may differ in grain size (course/fine), content and color of content (what the sand is made up of specific to the region), and shade overall (the darkness or lightness of the sand). Knowing all of this, I got to work on my project.

On my last trip home in March 2011, I brought home sand in water bottles.

I made sure to put their names on them with a permanent marker so I didn't mix any of them up.

I also labeled their caps with the 1st initial of the name of the beach they were from.

Great Tip! Here's a great tip if you are bringing more than 1 bottle of sand home on the plane. If you are on a trip and are bringing back a buttload of other souvenirs, it may be hard for you to bring back more than 1 bottle of sand especially if you have to pay the airlines those expensive baggage fees. Pack your sand (in water bottles, ziplocs or whatever else you can find) and label them. Go to the Post Office and get a small or medium flat rate boxes and ship your sand home. It will not matter how heavy the sand is, as long as it fits in the box (my baggage got very heavy bringing just 10 water bottles of sand home). This will save you time, $ and it will save your back!

Here are the steps I took once I was home.

1. I cleaned up the jar I was going to use by washing it and scraping the label off the outside. You may also spraypaint the cap if there is labeling on it.

2. Some of the sand I brought home was very damp. I got a tray that I had laying around, and I dumped the wet sand into it. (you can also use those cardboard soda boxes to do this part)

3. Then I smoothed the sand out evenly with a ruler (you can use anything to smooth the sand out).

4. I took my sand outside and let it lay out in the sun so it could dry thoroughly.

Here's a view from the back. I just put a piece of wood I had laying around underneath the trays so they could be propped up facing the sun. This helps them dry faster. Warning: if you have lots of cats in the area, make sure to keep an eye on your sand or you'll find a present they left just for you *;)

5. I labeled a sandwich size ziploc bag to store the sand once it dried.

6. Using the lid of the glass jar, I traced a circle on a clear plastic bag and cut it out. These circles are to put between the layers of sand so they won't mix into each other. Because you are tracing the lid of the jar you are going to be using, the circles should be the perfect size for your jar.

The circles should look like this

7. Pour the first layer of sand in the jar and then place a circle on the top of that layer. Make sure it is in the middle of the layer.

8. Pour each layer one after another. Using a tool (a little ruler or something that has a wide end) smooth the sand in each layer out and move it towards the glass (I wish I had a pic of this but I dont. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it). Make sure the layers are pretty equal in thickness.  
9. Warning! Make sure you keep track of the order of the sand! First off, I put all my bottles and bags in the order I was going to pour the sand.

10. Warning! Make sure that when you put the sand in order, you pay attention to the look of the sand. If you have the sand from 3 different beaches that look almost the same, you will want to space them out evenly. What you want is contrast. A black or darker sand against a whiter sand will look better than 2 white sands together.

11. Warning! This may be the most important thing. When putting the last layer of sand in the jar, make sure the sand goes all the way to the top of the jar so that it pushes against the lid when you seal the jar. This will ensure that the layers will not move and mix up.

 12. I labeled the jars with vinyl that I had cut myself. You do not need to use vinyl. You may label the jars with tape, permanent pens, stickers and paper.

 12. Lastly, I labeled the cover with the place I got the sand from. I got all my sand from my island so I put Moloka'i (the island), Hawai'i (the state). You could also put dates, like the date of your trip for example:

Hawai'i Trip 
March 2011

Now I have jars of sand from my homeland that I can display in my home. I love, love, love my jars!!! I also gave some of my friends a jar as a present, they make great gifts! I also made some sand jars out of baby food jars for my kid's rooms. Because they are smaller, they require less sand and are perfect for  gifts for children.

1. I cleaned and filled the baby food jars exactly the same way I did my large jars. Paint the lids.

2. I printed the names of the beaches on my home computer using a very small font. You can print on regular paper or labels. I suggest using labels so they stick to the jar. Using a ruler, cut the names out so they are in one straight rectangle.

3. Now that you have the labels adhered to the outside of the jar, you need to put a laminate-like coating on the label so it won't smear. I used packing tape to do this.
  1. Place a strip of packing tape over the label and trim.
2.Make sure to keep the tape smooth over the label.

3. and 4. Using an exacto knife, kitchen knife or scissors, score or cut the tape along the outside of the label with the blade.

5. Grab the edge of the tape and peel. It should peel off easily along the edges of the label.

Here's the sand jar in baby size. How cute!

Enjoy your little bit of Paradise!



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