If you’re anything like me, being stuck in the house while the snow piles up outside you’re creative impulses may go into over-drive. Cleaning out my spice cabinet, my attention was drawn to the salt shaker containers. What, if anything could I possibly do with those? Here are three ideas.
All three projects require cutting, painting or gluing. I also used sandpaper, heavy-duty craft glue, glue gun, Modge Podge, paintbrushes, hair dryer,embossing gun, box cutter, Xacto knife, stencils, LED light or battery operated candle, and patterned paper for decoupaging. My list isn’t definitive, so get creative and use what works best for you.
Remove the label. You’re going to want to get the lid off first, and trust me, its glued on. I did this by heating the area where the lid was glued on with an embossing gun. This loosens the glue up and doesn’t tear the rim to pieces. I used the box cutter and Xacto knife and ran it under the rim after heating the lid. After removing the lid, there will still be loose pieces of paper around the rim; just peel those off. Using the sandpaper, start lightly sanding around the rim the and the glue spots where the label was attached. If you plan on covering the container in fabric, sanding isn’t necessary – I’ll explain why later.
Paint your container now. I say do this first because the cardboard soaks the paint up. You may have to do more than two coats, and this is where the hair dryer comes in handy. If you don’t like the color of the bottom of the container, paint it now, and seal with Modge Podge. This not only hides the dull white color, but it also provides contrast and a waterproof base.
Salt Container Catch-All
Covering containers in fabric isn’t new. In fact, if you search a thrift store or flea market, you might just find more than a few objects covered in fabric and shellacked from the 1960s or 1970s. I own quite a few of these treasures myself.
This catch-all was pretty simple to construct. I chose a fabric scrap that had selvage on one side and found a contrasting ribbon. Iron the fabric, then measure the circumference and height, leaving enough fabric to overlap the rim and where the fabric will meet on the back of the container. You may want to run an iron over the ribbon. To do this, use a light fabric such as muslin. Lay the muslin over the ribbon and iron. Apply glue to the area where the label had been first glued down, smooth glue out with paintbrush.
Align the selvage of the fabric with the bottom rim; smooth fabric out. Repeat until the fabric is glued down and the ends are touching or even overlapping, no one will see it. Using the paintbrush again, apply glue to the inner rim of the container. Fold fabric over, smoothing out wrinkles as you go. Apply Modge Podge or another sort of sealer to the outside of the container. While you can finish up the inside, I chose to just seal it, as I’ll be using it as a paintbrush holder.
Grab your glue gun and run a bead down the seam, then apply ribbon.
DIY Candy Holder
I don’t go in for Valentine’s Day, having been burnt by the love of my life in the sixth grade, but I found myself squealing with glee over this project. I also have a decoupaging problem I’m currently working out of my system. You can use this idea for any holiday or other occasion. The candy and words are from a gift bag I found for .39 cents at a post- Valentine’s Day sale. In retrospect, I should have chosen something with a larger pattern as I did spend an inordinate amount of time cutting out the words and candies. That time was well spent, though, because it took four coats of hot pink paint to get it to actually look hot pink.
The trick to decoupage is getting the glue and paper ratio just right. Too much glue and the paper wrinkles, bubbles and tears if you try to fix it; not enough glue and you’re left with what I call “tags” hanging off the project. I squirted plain glue onto the container in a small amount. Using my trusty paintbrush I spread it out to the approximate size of the piece of paper I was gluing on. If it looks too thick let it dry for a few seconds then apply the paper. Repeat many times. I recommend allowing this project to dry at least twelve hours before applying Modge Podge. No cheating with the hair dryer, either. I have tried this before – the glue gets warm and the paper bubbles. I used heavy-duty craft glue to glue the ribbon around the rims. I tried the plain glue first and within six hours the ribbon was falling off. Let dry completely, fill with matching tissue paper, candies or a small trinket.
Salt Container Lighting
I don’t know whether to call this a nightlight or mood lighting but I do think a couple of them will look nice sitting on a picnic table come spring time. DO NOT use a real candle to illuminate this.
This project took two Xacto blades and a box cutter. Paint the inside in a light color – I used white – before you start. This will reflect the light better.
Given the space limitation, I traced smallish swirls from part of the stencil onto the bottom and sides of the container before I painted. Make sure to choose a pattern that isn’t intricate, because even though the cardboard is thick, it starts to bend as it’s being cut. Using the tip of box cutter to make the initial cut, I followed the rest of the pattern up with the Xacto knife. Since the container is round and I was cutting down into it, I grabbed one of those freebie magnets that you get from a dentist’s office or an insurance company and used that as my cutting surface. As I was cutting, I applied pressure from the inside with the magnet. That was the only way I found to cut it without destroying the cardboard or cutting a finger off.
I cut the rim, which is now the bottom of the container, freehand. It took two coats of the rust colored paint and one of the black, and yes I used the hair dryer. I tried using a battery operated flickering candle first, but it did not throw off enough light. I then used a round LED light, bought at Dollar Tree, that gave off enough light to show off my handy work yet not bright enough to be distracting.
* If you don’t like the color of the LED light case, lightly sand the case and paint.