Beach in a Jar

Beach in a Jar

Over the years, I’ve procured several blue ball mason jars, particularly those with air bubbles inside the glass. I’m such a sucker for old aqua jars with their vibrant color and crusty zinc lids. So, I decided to upcycle a few of my own into coastal decor or “Beach in a Jar” with seashells and beach treasures I had collected over the years.

Blue ball mason jar with glass bubbles

Between the brilliant turquoise color and the bubbles in the glass, these vintage jars remind me of being underwater.

And whether the urban legend about #13 jars is true or not, I’ve got one of those, too.

Rare mason jars are lucky 13 jars

The legend being that moonshiners considered #13 jars to be bad luck. So they would break the #13 jars instead of filling them with white lightning.

Anyway, to create a beach in a jar, I just needed to collect a few other bits in addition to my blue ball mason jars. 

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Beach Mason Jars

First, I added some beach sand to the bottom of each jar. I used real sand collected from the beach, but you could use craft or landscaping sand, as well.

And if you don’t have vintage mason jars, you can certainly use the new versions for this project!

Then, I placed a few seashells in the blue ball mason jars. I’m a marine biologist on paper, after all, so to say I have a few shells in my collection is an understatement!

Seashell decor to go in the beach in a jar as ocean decor

After that, I added smaller pieces of natural sea sponge to the beach in a jar. These actually came from the craft store, found in the craft paint aisle!

Natural sea sponges from the craft store for craft painting

In lieu of seaweed, I added a little bit of reindeer moss to my DIY beach decor, as well.

And last but not least, I added a few springs of curled dried grasses. I thought they had a nice “sand dune” element for my beach in a jar or ocean decor.

Dried reeds to go in the Ocean in a Jar or DIY Beach decor

Helpful hint – Kitchen tongs came in handy, but something even smaller (like a retractable olive grabber) would be even better! Using tongs allowed me to carefully place the shells and other ocean bits inside the vintage jars.

Ready to see how the Beach in a Jar all came together?

Beach in a Jar

When I was finished, I had whimsical pieces that perfectly captured a serene walk on the beach or dive under the waves.

beach mason jars

As you can see, I gravitated towards my orange shells which added a fun pop of color inside the DIY beach decor.

beach in a jar

Beach in a jar or this kind of DIY beach decor is as easy as it gets. No paint, no glue, no building anything.

Just vintage mason jars and treasures from your last beach vacation!

glass jars for seashells

I’m sure a few of these will end up on my summer mantelscape, and will likely be scattered throughout the house once the A/C kicks on and I smell of sunblock.

If you enjoyed this upcycling idea for coastal decor, then you’ll love this version of Thrift the Look for beach cottage decor!

Beach cottage decor with thrift shopping and recycled craft ideas

And for even more crafty inspiration for your beachcombing treasures, please check out this post, too!

seashell and driftwood crafts

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Ninia Macasil says

    The jars are gorgeous Sarah. I love them! xx

  2. Love those jars. They are just beautiful and I think you found a really nice way to display them.

  3. So fun! Also a great way to remember a vacation! May do this for my girl’s room!!

  4. I have one room decorated in a beach theme, and I love this idea. Those jars are gorgeous! 🙂

  5. such a great idea! Love your jars too. Had no idea about the 13 though, that much be one lucky jar! If you haven’t please link up to our Snickerdoodle Sunday sometime (Sunday 8pm ET – Tues 8pm ET).

    • Thanks so much! And I appreciate you not only telling me about your link party, the time and time zone it starts!!! That helps me a great deal- and it’s now on my weekly rotation calendar! 🙂

  6. They really look like you’ve captured little underwater scenes!

  7. JaneEllen says

    HI there, Your varied size blue jars look awesome together with bits of the ocean/beach in them. Love that blue color. I bought a 4 pack of bigger green jars at Target. Little ones too small for price. I’ll have to check my older jars to see if any have 13 on bottom. Too bad the newer jars don’t have the zinc lids tho. I was at our local thrift store last year and passed up a bunch of zInc lids, oh could I ever kick myself.
    Found you on “Hit Me with your best shot” party. Really love those blue older ball jars. Most of my jars came from antique stores west of Helena, MT and Bowling Green, KY. Hard to find here that aren’t so outrageously priced. Everything here is higher, it’s truly ridiculously greedy. We live few miles west of Grand Junction, CO. Ah to be able to go back to MT. No sales tax there. The climate in KY didn’t agree with me so we moved here to CO. If we’d known, especially property, was so high, comparative to So. CA. we wouldn’t have moved here.
    Enjoy your awesome jars, they are so pretty to put in any room aren’t they? Happy week

  8. Hey, we were glad to see you made it to Snickerdoodle Sunday! We hope to see you again next week.

  9. This is such a quick and easy craft to help usher in summer. I’ve pinned this to my summer board. PS Found you through 733blog’s linky party today.

  10. I have never seen Mason jars with bubbles inside them. Too cool! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with us at Show-Licious Craft & Recipe Party! Join us again this Saturday morning!
    ~ Ashley

    • Bubbles in the glass are a pretty sure-fire way of knowing it’s an old jar! I just love those imperfections…and in this project, it really adds an “underwater” feeling to them, right?

  11. Too cute, and perfect for summer! I featured this on my blog today and I’m just stopping by to pin it! Thanks so much for sharing at Creativity Unleashed!

  12. ishouldbemoppingthefloor says

    These are really, really neat, Sarah! Such a great idea. Thank you bunches for linking up and partying with us this week!

  13. What a clever idea to create vignettes in Mason jars. Is there anything they can’t be used for?

  14. This would be so cool as a memory jar from a beach vacay!! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Love these! I just made winter jars for the first time. Thanks for re-posting this! I will be looking for aqua Ball jars on my thrifting outings for next summer!

  16. Your jars are beautiful! I have collected canning jars for years but never heard the “13” story before so thank you for sharing. I found you via Betsy’s link party.

  17. These are beautiful! Such a serene look – and easy too -if I can find some of those mason jars.

  18. What a great idea! These look like a little piece of the bottom of the sea, blue water and all.

  19. Beautiful! I’ve been meaning to do something like this! Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. What a great idea. I am going to let my kids each make one from our summer vacation. to cute! thanks!

  21. I would love having these around the house especially in the winter, to remind myself that summer will come again! 😉

  22. They look so mysterious, like little under the sea type worlds! I thought they were filled with water at first. They’d also look great with some kind of flickering candle-effect light inside or behind them to look like moving water! 🙂 Great idea!

  23. This is gorgeous! I love it!

  24. these jars are great and would look neat on a book shelf. Neat project!

  25. Beautiful jars! I decorated vintage clear glass jars for winter and spring but never thought to do summer ones! It is one of my favorite new ways to decorate a table or bench or shelf. I love the coastal beachy feel your jars have.

  26. So very pretty & creative

  27. I love your beachy memory jars. The blue/green glass just makes it even more reminiscent of the beach!


  28. Very pretty. I could see those as a collection made from objects found during different beach vacations with all kinds of memories attached – a 3D scrapbook.
    Thanks for sharing with us at #HomeMattersParty

  29. Jann Olson says

    I adore aqua jars and have a collection as well. Both mason and small jars. They truly do make you want to jump in!! I love the beachy elements that you have added to yours. Perfect for summer!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  30. Sara, Your beach jars look beautiful! I love those old turquoise jars with the zinc lids! Thank you for sharing at Dream. Create. Inspire. Link!

  31. These jars are so cute! I want to make them RIGHT NOW!! Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing at my Grandma Ideas Sharing Time link party. I really appreciate your participation and hope you’ll participate again!


  32. Love this idea! I recently made a Terrarium in a Jar, so I love mason jars as display items. Love your idea of a beach vacation memory jar! Adorable!

  33. I have jars like that full of seashells on my picture window in the summer. Looks great in the sun!

  34. These jars are really charming. They are like little beach terrariums.The would be a perfect decoration for a vacation home or just to remind you of the beach wherever you are.

  35. acraftymix says

    Hey, I never knew you were a Marine Biologist? That’s so cool. Since my daughter was a teeny little person that all she’s wanted to do. These are so lovely Sarah and best of all they’ll stay safe and dust free, which is really great. I love them

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thanks, Michelle! Yeah, it’s my secret identity!! 🙂 I actually still work part-time as an environmental consultant (as a marine biologist or regular biologist) to this day. I guess it’s no surprise that repurposing is my thing…the environmentalism runs deep! 🙂

  36. Love these, Sarah! Thanks for sharing your fun beachy creations at Vintage Charm!

  37. Love these. Great beach keepsakes! Pinning. Thanks for sharing at the To Grandmas House We Go Link Party.

  38. These are super sweet and what a great way to feature both! ?


  1. […] may recall my Summer Beach Jars…which I still love!…but I just love the air plant in these! It really adds extra […]

  2. […] Summer in a Jar- Vintage Coastal/Beach Décor (Sarah at Sadie Seasongoods) […]

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