The perfect ‘Thank You’ card
This home-made mason jar shaker card has an extra little secret – you can lift the lid and take out the messages inside! Perfect as a ‘thank you’ card for teachers, you can personalise it any way you like, and the kids can add their own drawings and notes too. Want to make one? Read on to find out how I did it, and get my FREE mason jar shaker card download to make your own.
It’s that time of year when school and all the term-time clubs are winding up, ready for the summer holidays. Like many kids, mine do a whole host of different activities – ballet, music, swimming, cub scouts, forest school… they have a great time at these different activities wholly thanks to the efforts of the people working – some as volunteers – to organise them. So we really want to acknowledge and thank them, especially when it’s the end of their time together.
Making a special card that the kids can personalise themselves is our favourite way to say thank you, and these mason jar shaker cards are perfect because they can also be tailored to any occasion or theme.
Mason jar shaker cards look great but it doesn’t require any special skills or equipment to make them – in fact, I’ll show several ways to do it so that you’ll be able to make one of these no matter what crafting equipment you own!
Mason jar shaker card equipment and supplies
I’ve included Amazon links to the products I used for your reference. These are all affiliate links – you can find out more on my ‘about affiliate links’ page.
- My FREE mason jar shaker card image download (for printing out directly from your computer onto the acetate and kraft card)
Or alternatively, if you fancy a bit of hand-printing…
- Laser printer acetate or inkjet printer acetate (check out which type of acetate below)
- Kraft card
- White card (A4, folded in half)
- Corrugated cardboard – a scrap piece from a box is fine, it’ll be hidden out of sight in the finished card.
- Double-sided sticky tape – lots and lots of this stuff!
Options for the fillings
We also used a variety of paper punches to make the shapes that the kids put inside the cards. We already had most of these but they are easy to find and cheap to buy if you don’t have some, and make a great re-usable resource for arts and crafts with the kids. Our favourites were:
- Star punch
- Dragonfly punch – this, along with our little butterfly punch, were perfect for our Forest School teacher card!
- Ballerina punch – for the ballet teachers, of course!
- Music note punch – for G-man’s piano teacher and also for the ballet cards
But you also can’t go wrong with a basic circle hole punch for a real confetti feel!
To make this mason jar shaker card, start by printing your image onto a small piece of acetate (see the easy way and the hard way, below). You want this to be about a centimetre/ ½ inch bigger than your jar image, so cut your acetate down to size after printing if necessary.
Print the same mason jar image onto the Kraft/brown card, and cut this down to size as well (slightly larger than the acetate). You’re going to mount these onto the front of your folded white card, so make sure they fit.
If you are using a stamp/lino printing your image, you’ll also be able to stamp the image onto a piece of corrugated cardboard – it doesn’t have to be perfect as both this and the kraft card image will be cut out and discarded by the time the card is finished. If you’re using a printer for your images, just print an extra on the thin card and use it for a template to draw around on the corrugated cardboard, as we only really need the outline here.
So you now have three mason jar images and/or outlines – one full image on acetate, one outline/image on kraft card, and one outline/image on corrugated cardboard. The acetate image is the only one that you’ll see on your finished mason jar shaker card, so make sure that’s a good ‘un.
Let’s start with the kraft card. Using a sharp craft knife or scalpel, cut carefully around the mason jar shaker card image printed on it. If you don’t want your jar to be openable, cut out the whole image. You now have a kraft card mason jar to play with, ‘cos we don’t need that bit – only the frame that you’ve just made.
A jar that opens
If you DO want to be able to open the lid, then cut out the kraft card mason jar image only as far as the top line of the lid, so that the whole mason jar print is still attached to the kraft card, and lifts open like a flap, as in this picture.
Now cut off and discard the jar part of the image so that only the neck/lid is still attached – as shown in the image below. Make sure to put a crease into the card at the hinge to keep it neat.
You’re done with the kraft card for the moment, so set that to one side.
An acetate lid
To make the jar openable, you also need to cut off the lid section of your acetate image. Yikes!
Actually, it’s not that hard – just use your sharp scalpel and carefully cut that lid out. We will be using it so make sure that both the image and the hole you’re making in the acetate are neatly cut. Only do this if you want your jar to open though – if you DON’T want that lid to lift up, leave the acetate in one piece.
The final cut
Take your final mason jar print (or outline) on the corrugated cardboard and, using your sharp knife, cut out the image completely. Don’t worry too much about uneven edges, as this particular piece of cardboard will be completely hidden by the end. You can discard this mason jar print/ save for another project (corrugated cardboard mason jar bunting, anyone?), as all we need is that mason jar-shaped hole.
Now it’s time to put our three pieces together. Take your kraft window (with or without the lid flap), and check which side is the FRONT. Trust me, take a moment on this! Then affix double-sided sticky tape to the other side. You’re going to stick your acetate on here.
Sticking it all together
Ready to stick the acetate to the kraft card? Line up the mason jar image with the window, and stick them together so that the kraft is on top, hiding all of the acetate except the image of the mason jar.
If you cut the acetate mason jar’s lid off, you can now stick that back on top of the kraft card flap. As an optional extra step, I stuck some silver tape underneath this bit of acetate first, to imitate the silver colour of a mason jar lid.
Now we need to add some depth to the mason jar, to create that cavity which mimics a real jar. So we need to add an extra ‘filler’ layer, and that’s where our corrugated cardboard comes in.
Put some more double-sided sticky tape around the back of the acetate mason jar image, and stick on the corrugated cardboard – lining up the jar outline you already cut out with the acetate print.
Jar, meet card
You’re almost done! All you need to do now is put a final layer of sticky tape (yes, one more), this time on the reverse of the corrugated cardboard so you can stick it onto your white card. If you haven’t made your jar openable, you’ll need to prepare your jar contents now, and put them into the jar before you stick it on. With the openable jar, you can stick that puppy right on and get to filling it at your leisure.
Phew! So that’s your mason jar shaker card made – now what are you going to put in it? Take a look at what we did for some ideas.
Filling up the Jar
You can put anything (that’ll fit!) into your jars, but I love the look of paper shapes in bright colours. Craft punches are great for this; not only do they come in a gazillion different shapes, you can use them on all types of material too. Our shiny silver shapes were made from kitchen foil, for example!
Think about customising your card for the recipient too. Want to send one to a teacher? Add some little apple cut-outs and gold stars with your message. Or you could put in fish for the swimming coach, little ballerinas for the ballet teacher, or hand-drawn bugs for the forest school leader.
For one of our cards, we used washi tape stuck onto paper for our craft punched shapes – it’s an easy and cheap way of getting a variety of patterns. Alternatively, use magazines, flyers or other printed images for an easy way to add colour and pattern.
I rather glossed over the printing process in the main part of this tutorial because there are a number variables in method and materials to explain, based on which way you want to print your images.
The hard way, and the easy way
First up, hand-carved lino printing. I made my mason jar shaker card image by carving a bit of lino and then printing it onto the card and acetate by hand. It took me a quite a few tries and some experiments with different types of inks and acetates to get the end result exactly right – definitely the hard way of doing things!
If you want to try this yourself, then take a look at my tips in the stamping method explanation for details on the best ink/acetate combo I found that worked for me, so you can avoid all that trial and error.
Don’t worry though – I also have a couple of much easier options for printing your image, so if hand printing isn’t your thing, check out the printer method below instead.
The stamping method
Want to stamp your image the way I did? Then you can carve some lino like me (see this post for details on equipment needed for that). Download a FREE PDF of my image (for personal use only) to trace onto the lino.
Alternatively, you can buy a ready-made rubber stamp instead. This stamp is the closest I could find to the size of mine (it’s only about a centimetre smaller). These ‘cling mount’ rubber stamps have a clingy backing (hence the name) that sticks to an acrylic mount like this one. You just take the stamp out of the packet and whack it on, then you’re ready to ink it up and print.
Supplies needed for stamping:
The printer method
If you want to avoid all that carving and stamping flaff, you can use my FREE pdf mason jar shaker card image to just print out the image instead. This has to be the easiest way of getting your mason jar shaker card image onto the acetate!
If you have trouble getting your printer to take the acetate sheet (they are slippy!), try taping it to an ordinary piece of paper first, and make sure you’re using the right kind of acetate…
The right kind of acetate
There are several kinds of acetate around, and you’ll need to get the right one for your project to work properly. After my experimenting, I found that laser printer acetate and a stazon ink pad worked best for me when hand printing/stamping. The image printed clearly, dried quickly and didn’t smudge once fully dry.
This would also obviously be the acetate to use if printing out with a laser printer.
However if you’re going to use an inkjet printer to put the mason jar shaker card image on the acetate, then make sure you get inkjet acetate instead!
- Laser printer acetate – for laser printers or printing using Stazon ink
- Inkjet acetate – for use with inkjet printers (somewhat obviously!)
The right kind of ink
I tried lino printing on the acetate with several different inks, and by far the best result was using a ‘Stazon’ ink pad. This stuff is designed to ‘stay on’ (geddit) pretty much any type of surface, so it’s not surprising it works here too.
Conventional lino/relief printing ink was a complete fail, as it was still slightly smudgy even after heat fixing. However, because I had some anyway, I used it for stamping the image onto the cardboard filler and the kraft card so that I didn’t use up my Stazon ink unnecessarily. You could certainly use the Stazon for everything though.
Hand-made and hand-drawn
Don’t want to print it by hand or on a printer? If you are confident in your drawing skills, freehand or trace the mason jar image onto the acetate with a permanent marker, such as a Sharpie. I tried using a sharpie to touch up parts of the jar image where the printing wasn’t perfect, and it seems to work very well. Definitely an option for anyone who just can’t be bothered with printing in any form!
So there you have it – all the info you could possibly need to create your own amazing and openable mason jar shaker card. I’d love to see what you choose to put inside yours, so let me know if you have a go making one!
More Lino Printing!
Intrigued by the idea of lino printing? My Harry Potter lino print post also contains my recommendations for a ‘starter set’ of equipment that will get you up and printing in no time at all. Or take a look at the linocut printed fishes the kids and I made for Earth Day, decorated with fabulous eco glitter.