Monday, December 10, 2012

DIY: Memory Jars

Last year, I was looking to create gifts for my family that were meaningful and wouldn't break the bank. I also was itching to get crafty! These memory jars were so much fun to do and pretty well-received and appreciated. They just took a little more time than finding that video game on your bro's wish list. (Sorry, Paul.) ;)

Kristen was actually the one who shared this idea with me. Thank you, K! As soon as she suggested it, I was like, "Yes! That's exactly what I'm looking to do." It's a simple project to assemble, really; it just takes some extra elbow grease (thought and time!).

K - feel free to add your thoughts and process here as well!

Day before xmas eve still formatting at an Ohio café ;)
Here's how I put these babies together:

I had some help with my exacto knife precision. 

  • I purchased jars from World Market for about $6 a piece. I've seen cheap jars at Marshalls and Michael's as well.
  • I found my hemp twine at Michael's.
  • I made my name tags from sample cardstock in some of my Communication Arts magazines. But I was just looking for thicker paper that wouldn't easily bend. I hole-punched and stamped those guys, et wa-la! Nametags.
  • Paper and printing: I just took my "memories" to Kinkos (pdf) and printed on their nicest cream linen paper.
  • Now, as for the contents: Well this is the most challenging part, right? Recalling those memories wasn't the most time consuming for me, it was formatting and cutting them.
  • I set them up in a standard letter size 8.5 x 11 document. (Once you've got those in a doc, you're in the homestretch!) I used an exacto knife to cut them - which was equally as time-consuming as typing out and formatting my memories (wow, "formatting memories" - say that aloud and think about it). But take heart, I procrastinated and printed and cut all of mine on Christmas Eve. It's a doable last-min project if you have all of your pieces. (Thank you, Kinkos!)

I ended up doing about 30 memories per jar.

All in all, I ended up spending less than $10 on each jar.
Another pro to having a pet: You're never the only one up at 1 am.

See! Pret-ty simple. It's a double-whammy of a gift because it not only saves ya some moolah, it's actually very meaningful. Even if your little brother doesn't appreciate it now and is ticked he didn't get that N64 game, he'll probably appreciate that jar of memories later on.

This is the best part.

Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions on the details.

For some context.

Happy merry-making, friends.


A Note from Kristen:
I did my {jar} a little different (Rach was more ambitious with her arsenal of jars):
I wanted to give my parents a jar where they could read a memory every day for a year. I too made all our gifts last year, and with all the sewing and mixing going on, the prospect of coming up with 365+ memories was a little daunting. Instead, about two months out, I emailed all my parents friends, and everyone in our family asking them to send me a memory or two to slip in the jar. Some were just pictures. Some were hand-written notes. Some were emails sent from across the US. My brother and sister both came up with 30+ each. In all, I don't really remember how many memories we came up with, but there were many. My mom called me a few days later to told me she and Dad had binged and read every single one... also that it was one of the best gifts they'd ever received. 

It's not really an easy gift (per se), but it is low-cost and means something super special.

P.s. They sell hurricane jars with lids at Walmart as well.


  1. Rach-

    I'm so glad you got pictures! With all the "creating" that happened last year around christmas, I got very few pictures of...anything! I would have loved to just watch a video of my parents reading through them all.

    Leave it to you to document the special parts of life. :)

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