02 July 2009

Mason Jars: The Hidden Killer!

While my plans for dressing up the dinner tables are slowly coming together (thanks to you guys! :) ), I have a solid idea of how I want to decorate the top of the tables. Like a lot of you, I swoon over aqua-blue mason jars.

Since my venue doesn't allow open flames, I plan on filling my mason jars with pretty vegetables and flowers. I'd love to have that glow-y effect of the flickering candlelight behind aqua glass, but it's just not in the cards. I need the aqua jars, though. Need them.

Seeing as how I'm a whole hemisphere away from my venue (and my family), I can't exactly troll through antique stores and goodwill at my leisure. (and collecting 40+ quart size mason jars locally and bringing them with me on the plane is rather impractical.) So, I did what any tech-savvy bride (on a budget) did - I started looking on my favorite site, eBay, I scowered the classifieds here on the 'bee, and I looked in the Portland craigslist (my super awesome future step-MIL (FSMIL) has been the best with helping me locally!).

The result? Aqua mason jars are expensive. Like, really expensive. Unless you find them wholesale somewhere, you should expect to pay around $5 - $8 each, after shipping. I don't buy that, though. I'm of the mindset that the value of an object is set by the buyer. I think these things should cost around $1.50 - $2 each, after shipping. Call me stingy, but it's just old glass.

I must have been right, because I found my preciouses for $1.50 each on craigslist, and in Portland. The seller has a lot of canning equipment. I told him I wanted to buy around 50 quart-sized aqua mason jars, and he said he had more than enough!

source via Bliss'd

This was great! Fantastic! I'd get my deal, and it'd be local!

But then the seller "educated" me on a few legalities of mason jars. He asked me if I was planning on using these for a wedding (let's call it a "family reunion", shall we?). He told me that if I planned on putting candles in the jars, he absolutely wouldn't sell them to me. And if I was planning on drinking from the jars (I wanted to also buy around 80 normal jars to use as glasses), he also wouldn't sell them to me. Um. WEIRD.

They don't make mason jars like they used to. Apparently there's a high probability that your beautiful antique blue mason jar will EXPLODE if you put a candle in it! The guy selling the jars said he was sued recently because a jar exploded at a wedding, injuring a guest! Also, he informed me that it's illegal (at least in the state of Oregon) to sell canning jars for the purpose of drinking beverages. He recommended I buy these "drinking" mason jars from a supermarket - these organizations are too large to prosecute feasibly.

As much as I'd love to have beautiful mood setters like this:


...I don't want my guests to risk injury! If you're planning on using mason jars for candle holders, be careful! I recommend using newer jars (but don't quote me on this - I'm not the expert!).


This seller also helpfully informed me that certain types of flower food can dissolve the old aqua glass. I told him I was planning on using the jars for flower vases (this, apparently, was acceptable to him).

I thought I had all my ducks in a row (no candles! no drinking from the jars! no flower food!), so I asked my awesome FSMIL to coordinate locally with the seller. Turns out, he's a complete kook. He yelled at her on the phone, proclaiming about how these aqua-blue mason jars are special, antique... they weren't meant to be used at weddings! And he wasn't going to sell them! And how dare she suggest that! Did she know that they could EXPLODE at any minute?? (aqua-blue floral grenades!)

So- whatever. We washed our hands of this potential bargain; the red flags were definitely going off. But I'm still looking for aqua-blue quart sized mason jars. :(

I really don't know where to look now. Do you know of someone who wants to sell their aqua-blue quart-sized mason jars to me? :) Or do you know of someplace to find them for relatively cheap?

6 comments:

  1. Not sure if someone local would be willing to do it, but there's a wedding posted all over the blogosphere where they PAINTED the mason jars aqua (maybe they ran into the same issues you're finding!) Ultimately it might be easier, and involve less explosions, to go this route. Also, have you seen the battery-powered tea lights? They're available in bulk online for not too much, and they're reusable (you could have KILLER jack-o-lantern displays come Halloween!) Then you could be all "glowy" without the open flame bit being an issue! Good luck!

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  2. holy cow! That is a nutso story!

    I've been having a heck of a time finding jars too...or at least REASONABLY priced jars. I'm going to go with clear glass at this point...which I love too :-)

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  3. I'm sorry your having a tough time... but that story was hilarious.
    I agree, paint new jars for the effect but remember to thin the paint

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  4. I will watch for these for you. Bought 3 at a yard sale this weekend for total 1.40...don't cry!

    And...I had already decided to put in the battery tea lights with a little brown shredded paper!

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