Create instant centerpieces and patio containers from empty jars, keeping them out of the waste stream while beautifying your home and garden. Continue the earth-friendly action by using items that have outlived their usefulness as design details. Old ceramic plates, aquarium gems, outgrown clothing, yarn, natural-fiber rope and string, ribbon and other trims, leftover house paint, plaster or tile grout can all be used to turn jars into works of art to hold your flowers.
Apply tile grout or concrete mix to the outside of your jars if they will be displayed outside. Plaster of Paris works if you are making an indoor centerpiece jar. Art and craft supply houses have ready-made mosaic tiles, or you can make your own by wrapping old ceramic plates or mugs in a towel and breaking them into pieces with a hammer.
Joe E. Moorman of Mosaic Art Supply advises wearing goggles when cutting or breaking glass or tile for mosaics. Wear a dust mask when mixing grout and a pair of rubber gloves to prevent chemical burns.
Lay your design on a sheet of cardboard before applying it to the jar, which will allow you to make changes until you are satisfied with the shapes and colors of each piece. Instant adhesive provides an effective hold, keeping your mosaic pieces in their correct positions until you can work grout or cement into the spaces between your tiles.
Use acrylic paint for glass painting. Waves of red, white and blue along the top and bottom of your jars create a patriotic look. Add star stamps cut from potatoes after dipping them in red, white or blue paint.
Avocado, harvest gold and copper paint work well when creating a '70s look. Stamp a border of daisies along the bottom, add a few avocados, copper teardrop shapes and finish with a quote from your favorite '70s activist.
GlassPainting.co.uk provides free glass-painting patterns. Use free printable coloring pages from children's sites, such as FamilyFun.com, Kaboose.com or Crayola.com. GlassPainting.co.uk recommends printing the pattern and placing underneath panes or plates, but you can roll the paper and place it inside the jar with the design facing you if you are not confident making your own designs.
Tear old jeans or outworn clothes into strips and make braids. Apply instant adhesive to the outside of your jar, and then wind the braided cloth strips around the jar until it is covered from bottom to top. If you alternate different shades of blue denim, or work from light to dark colors torn from other types of cloth, you can create a "sand painting" effect.