Baby Food Jar Christmas Tree Tutorial

by Susan Myers on September 10, 2010

Want to make an unusual Christmas decoration from something as surprising as baby food jars?  A beautiful holiday tree and recycled craft!  Create something amazing with this step by step tutorial.

baby food jar christmas tree

This is an idea that I first saw in a craft show.  Yep, I’m one of those irritating individuals that goes through craft shows taking notes.  Looking at things that catch my eye and thinking, “I can do that”.  Then I go home and try it out.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t so much.  But the great thing about being a crafter is that there are so many ideas out there to inspire and inspiration is always right around the next corner.

The one pictured above was made for me by my sister-in-law.  She is rather crafty herself.  In fact, she has a craft room bigger than my living room and enough supplies to make the average craft store hang its head in shame.  She made them for the Ornament Club one year.  That meant that she made 20 of them.  I’m thinking she was totally baby fooded out.

I made three of them myself and getting the baby food jars was sort of a challenge.  Not having any small children or grandchildren or even friends with small children, I was forced to justify purchasing 51 jars of baby food.  I fortunately came up with a plan.  It seems that banana baby food is great for making banana bread.  So there you go.  My famous banana bread:

Okay, you can quit your laughing now.  How, you ask? Well, I promise I stood right by that oven the whole time. I didn’t go anywhere. My husband monitors me now, keeps the batteries fresh in the smoke detectors and the fire extinguisher handy. He was fully prepared if needed. He knows the drill.

I finally did manage to get four batches of banana bread completed.  But I had to learn a few lessons in the process.  Don’t bake four loaves at a time, be sure that the baking powder hasn’t expired, flour is difficult to get out of your hair and off the dog. And did you know that one full minute in the microwave is way too long to melt a stick of butter?  Just saying.

Anyway,  I finally had my supplies.

For this project I used:

17 Glass Baby Food Jars
Gorilla Glue Epoxy
12″ x 4″ Wood base (Any wood base will work)
Assorted Garland
Strand of 35 miniature Christmas lights
Assorted miniature Christmas decorations
String of bead garland
3″ wide ribbon
Bow for top of tree
Awl and hammer

Begin by punching holes in each of the lids using your awl and hammer.  The hole needs to be big enough to push your miniature lights through.

Choose what color of garland you would like to put inside the jars and cut about 2″ pieces to add to the jar.  Remember that there are so many options here.  All silver garland with blue lights is awesome, so is gold with white lights.  I used silver garland and red stars garland and multi-colored lights.  The possibilities here are endless.  Just remember not to fill up the jar entirely.  You want to be able to see the lights.

Because I do not have an unassembled tree, you’ll have to work with me here.  The next step is putting the lids on all the jars and then using the epoxy to glue the jars into a tree shape as below.

It is important here to use epoxy or glass glue.  Not hot glue.  You see one of the properties of hot glue is that when it gets hot, it melts.  Plug in that sucker when it is glued together with hot glue and I’m betting that within a half hour, you have a floor full of baby food jars.  Ask me how I know…

Once the glue has set, you can push the miniature lights into the holes in the lids.  Then stand it up on your base and use the epoxy to glue it down.  Let it dry well before you go to the next step.

Cut your wide ribbon long enough to cover all the sides of the tree and glue it on with gorilla glue, pushing it into the crevices between the jars.

Take your beaded garland and glue it on the front in a garland-like fashion.  You know, my youngest daughter always called it “garlic”.  So that is actually how we refer to it in our house.  I remember her coming home one day from middle school totally furious with me because one of her classmates had corrected her.  I guess by the age of twelve, we probably should have corrected her ourselves, but it was cute! And embarrassing my kids is kind of a hobby of mine.  So there.

Take your miniature Christmas decorations and glue them around the bottom of the tree.

Finally, add a bow to the top.  I used a pre-made fabric bow and a couple of Christmas “picks”.

Then light that sucker up.

Pretty, huh?  Makes me all Christmassy happy inside.  And it’s only September!  So you have several months to hurry up and consume some baby food for this project.  I recommend the Blueberry Buckle… it’s kinda awesome.

Want to try your hand at quilting?  My newest quilt Pattern- Batiks Gone Wild!

batiks gone wild quilt pattern

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mare May 1, 2013 at 12:10 am

Just made my first baby jar tree,what kind of backing should I use,thxs

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2 Yolanda Crisostomo February 19, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I shared this on my CafeMom group – Holiday and Party Crafts – with a link back to you for the tutorial. I Love this craft! It’s a great way to recycle!

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3 Anonymous November 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm

THIS IS ADORABLE AND IT CAN BE SIMPLE OR VERY ELEGANT DEPENDING ON SUPPLIES. LOVE IT….

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4 naomi October 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Try going out to your local Freecycle.com site to find folks that have stuff like baby food jars. I’m a recycler and save nice bottles, etc… for someone else who might be able to use them.

Cute tree.. gonna have to give it a shot!

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5 Suzy October 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Thanks, Naomi! And thanks for the tip!

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6 Lana June 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

Found you thru Pinterest…and LOVE this project! I have never seen one of these before and cannot wait to try it. I have boxes of jars in the basement waiting for something fun…and here it is, with enough time before Christmas to actually make them! Way cool. Let me suggest to you all that if you are looking for things like baby food jars or ANYTHING else…check out your local chapter of http://www.freecycle.org/ Its a great way to recycle, to get rid of the stuff in your house that you dont feel like having a sale for but still has tons of use. I have done this for years (actually started a chapter for the town that I live in) and its been very helpful…as well as rewarding to help others that need it. I urge you ALL to check it out. I am NOT affiliated with it, just a strong believer. :) Now I am off to dust off those boxes and start assembling Trees! Thanks for sharing this fun idea!

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7 Suzy June 30, 2012 at 11:50 am

Lana,

Thanks so much for the kind words and the great information about Freecycle.org! Believe me, I’m always on the lookout for great places to go for project materials. My favorite projects are my recycle and upcycle ones.

Let me know how your trees come together. And be sure to use a strong glass adhesive. We had tried hot glue originally, but the heat from the lights actually remelts the glue. I have one that is put together that way and I’m constantly fixing it. Ha! There are so many options to go with this project that you can make many trees and they all look entirely different!

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8 LindaJ March 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Did this project back sometime between 89′-91 with my 16 Brownies and 7 Cub Scouts. Made two full extras for “showing”. Still have at least two of them after all these years. I found the best way to get mass amounts of baby food jars is to check in with your local day care centers. If you provide the container to hold them and pick up at the end of each week, you can amass an amazing amount of baby food jars in assorted sizes.
However, now in 2011, after just leaving my job at DayCare after 6 years, mny of the babyfood items are now being packaed in portable squeeze containers and such. So, maybe jars are going out in a few years. Another craft items to make with baby food jars are Snow Globes. We still have several of those left after all these years and they sill have the liquid in them! good also for very mini terreriums. Those did no last more than a couple of years. Well, our move probably did them in. So, there are a lot of things todo with these jars. Though Ihave to say, after all of them…the Christmas Tree is my favorite!!!

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9 Anonymous September 25, 2011 at 4:14 am

I have done and seen several of this project done over the years. You can also make a wreath using the same method. What I wanted to say is that your style of expressing yourself is fantastic. You seem like a great person to know. I hope life treats you well.

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10 Anonymous September 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I wonder what it would look like if the inside of the jars were painted like you do the clear Christmas balls by drizzling different colors of paint in them and then pour out the excess.This would only work if your aren't making several of them because of the time.

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11 Anonymous September 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I love it but I"m not sure I've got the patience. HOWEVER, as far as not correcting your kid because you think their "mistake" word is "CUTE" — how about this. Around the house ever since mine were little, we called the microwave the "beep-beep" — cuz afterall isn't that was it does when it's done??? BEEP, BEEP … how annoying but when they would say it… needless to say, my son comes home from 1st grade — HUMILIATED !! Who knew??? LOL.

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12 Rita E December 16, 2010 at 8:07 pm

What's old is new again! I remember these trees from YEARS back. They were great sellers at craft fairs. I always wanted one but never had the time to make it. Now that I have an empty nest I can make one thanks to your tutorial! But now I have no baby jars … oh, well, banana bread sounds good!

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13 baby gifts October 13, 2010 at 4:18 am

You amaze me with your skills and creativity! I love how you made those baby food jars into a wonderful Christmas decoration.

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14 Anonymous October 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm

I just found your post through "UnderTheBedAndDreaming" and I had to see your tree! My Mom used to make a similar one out of empty tuna or cat food cans welded together (NO Gorilla Glue back then), with Christmas balls hanging in them – no lights, very simplistic, but a great recycling project for Christmas. Then I saw yours, and now I can't wait to give it a try. Don't know where I will put it – I am like your sister, everyone comes to me before going to Michael's, and my kids are threatening to call the Hoarder's Show on me, but at least I know that I am not alone in my quest to literally make everything out of anything laying around! I've bookmarked your site and can't wait to see more – thanks!
hAndiMom

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15 mary e March 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm

my mom and i did the aluminum tuna can trees but we covered the cans in green yarn – with the balls hanging in them.

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16 Ashlee @ I'm Topsy Turvy September 28, 2010 at 3:59 am

During our last move my husband threw away my baby food jar collection! I wasn't sure about what I was going to use them for, but they ALWAYS come in handy! So frustrating! Thanks for linking up to Topsy Turvy Tuesday's!

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17 malia September 23, 2010 at 3:29 am

Very cool! thanks for linking up to a crafty soiree last week… hope you visit us again tomorrow

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18 Courtney McAulay September 18, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Yay! Thanks so much for coming over and linking up! See you next week! ;)

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19 Courtney McAulay September 17, 2010 at 2:57 am

I have never seen this before! So clever and what a great way to reuse something! I would just love it if you would come link this to Crazy Cute Thursdays at Between U & Me! I'm also your newest follower! ;)

http://www.betweenuandme.com

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20 Melissa September 16, 2010 at 11:59 am

Very pretty. I've seen those before. Thanks for the great tutorial.

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21 Erin September 16, 2010 at 12:40 am

Absolutely adorable!!

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22 Baye September 15, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Very nice! I've seen something similar before but not nearly this nice.

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23 Rebecca September 15, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Cute idea! Christmas is the main event of each year at my house so I am always looking for new design ideas! Love it!

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24 Jenn September 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm

So cute!! I used to make these all the time when my kiddies were babies and I had an abundance of baby food jars!!!

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25 Donene September 14, 2010 at 3:21 am

How festive and cute!!
I have a big request for all of you bloggers out there, I am in a contest for one of the posts I did on losing some weight. I just really need to have your vote because I would love to win this contest! All you need to do is go to the link I will put below and first become a fan or push the like button and then go to the right column and under the 14 pictures, click on my picture and make a comment that you vote for me! I know the power of blogland is big, so can you please vote! I would so, so, appreciate it!!!
http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Lehi-UT/Kristi-Approved/391083710513?ref=ts

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26 Tony and Kimra September 13, 2010 at 6:43 pm

love it! we had one of these (a much simpler one) growing up. It was always one of my favorite decorations. I love how dressed up yours is. Hopefully I can get around to making one myself one of these days.

Kimra
kimraskreations.blogspot.com
crafty-cove.blogspot.com

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27 Maggie September 13, 2010 at 3:26 pm

wow this is beyond creative..
Maggie
http://cuttingabove.blogspot.com

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28 Jerri September 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm

What a beautiful tree! Very creative!

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29 Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door September 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm

This is so cute! Very clever! I'm one of those irritating individuals, too. You're not alone!

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30 Whitney September 11, 2010 at 11:14 pm

That is so very cute! This would look so cute in pink & silver for a little girls room at Christmas time.

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31 michelle@somedaycrafts September 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm

You have amazing ideas! I never would have thought of this. Very, very creative. I am featuring your box of chocolate pin cushions today!

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32 Katie's Nesting Spot September 10, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Where was THIS when I had tons of baby food jars still! Can't believe it LIGHTS UP! Holy coolness☺ Would love you to join me at A Crafty Soiree, every Thursday.

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33 Lisa September 10, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Cute, cute, cute!! Love the tree! Now, I don't know about making banana bread, but my mom has the most wonderful recipe for Spice Cake using 'plum' baby food. I'm not much of a baker, but it is very easy! I will have to post it one day. Love the name of your blog, too, and yes our life is a sitcom full of crafts and dog hair! I'm following your blog now, please stop by and take a look at Color My World, and my daughter's blog, too. Have a great weekend!

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34 Michelle L. September 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm

No way! That is kind of stunning and I love it! And now I want baby food banana bread.

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35 mommyroo September 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Thanks for the great idea and the laughs! You are too funny!

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36 Katrina September 10, 2010 at 3:30 pm

So cute! How creative, I would have never thought to make a tree out off baby food jars!
I'm your newest follower from New Friend Friday!

http://craigfamilychronicles.blogspot.com

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37 Life in Rehab September 10, 2010 at 3:13 pm

This was really cute, and I love that you gave a full tutorial AND reminded us that hot glue+lights=disaster.

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38 Kristi Flanagan September 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Cute – and you gave me a good laught this a.m. – I can so relate to the banana bread disaster!

Thanks for planting your creative seeds at Plant a Punkin Seed Party,

Kristi
Punkin Seed Productions

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39 Lynne September 10, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I am still thankful I had a friend working at a day care center. She saved all the jars for me so I didn't have to find uses for over 400 jars of baby food. (I actually made 25!) Even though I was really tired of them by the time I was finished, this is one of my favorite club pieces I have made.

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40 Lynda September 10, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I've always loved mine. It looks so good all lit up. OH, by the way, you know, I'll be happy to teach you how to make banana bread, he he he

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41 Melissa September 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Looks good! Your tree, not the bread! ;)
Have a good weekend!
Melissa

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42 Katie September 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm

VERY creative!

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