Art Journaling Techniques on Glass

cate prato

art journal jar
It's clear what this jar is for.

The 19th century artist, textile designer, and writer William Morris is often quoted as saying, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

Words to live by, indeed, and isn't it wonderful when you can have both qualities in one object, and upcycle an ordinary object in the process?

A creative imagination coupled with the many new art materials on the market today make it easy to turn something like a simple glass jar you might otherwise toss into the recycling bin into a functional object into something so artful you could give it as a gift.

That's exactly what Jenn Mason did to create her Journal Jars. She applied art journaling techniques like doodling onto empty household jars using a variety of art pens and markers.  

These Journal Jars make a quick and easy gift, especially if you stuff them with something the recipient would love to have: sharpened colored pencils, a variety of scissors, a bouquet of ribbons and fibers, or vintage found objects, just to name a few ideas. Maybe even some art journaling supplies!


  • Jars
  • Pens (I used Glaze® and Souffle® gel pens, Identi®-pens, and Permapaque® Opaque markers by Sakura®.)
  • Paper:  found, purchased, scraps, etc.
  • Scissors
  • Soft gel medium, gloss
  • Embellishments (I used things like ribbon, zipper trim, twine, etc.)

art journal jar
This jar has an industrial quality, with doodled gears, zipper trim, and paper from an auto repair book.


1. Make sure your jars are clean and free of label residue.

2. Decide on your design and doodle away! Write words or phrases, sketch lines and shapes, or draw simple motifs. You know, put your creative journaling talents to work.

3. Add a paper insert. Cut a piece of found or purchased paper into a strip and adhere it to the inside of the jar with the gel medium. Coat the back side of the paper strip with gel medium as well to seal it and protect the paper from damage from the items you will be storing in your jar.

4. Glue a ribbon, a bit of lace, a string of beads, or something else from your stash to the mouth of the jar to disguise the threads and add a finishing touch.

This is just one of the many useful and beautiful ideas for gift-giving and décor you'll find in Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts 2011-2012. This special issue is available now in print, digital, and Zinio editions, so you have no excuse not to be ready for the holidays and beyond.

P.S. What's your favorite idea for upcycling the ordinary into a work of art? Leave a comment below.


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.