Sweet Sixty Jar: Step by Step Tutorial

8 Apr

2014-04-04 22.08.18

My brother and I could have come up with sixty “things we love about mom” between us easily, but I thought it would be more special if her whole family contributed. So we put out a call to the clan for memories. We tried to keep it light because we didn’t want mom to feel like she was witnessing her own funeral (but at the same time…who doesn’t secretly sort of want to do that?).

I’m really upset because I took pictures at every step of the way, and like half of them disappeared into the no man’s land of my phone. So you’ll have to use your imagination.

Sweet Sixty Jar: Step by Step Tutorial

You will need:

sixty candies

a glass container large enough to hold sixty candies

etching cream

letter stickers, stencils, or a really steady hand

duck or masking tape

paint brush or palette knife

self-stick address labels (and a computer and printer, do I really have to say that?)

ribbon and a small note card


The stuff you need, plus some other stuff (I call it cozy clutter).

Step 1:

Start by cleaning your glass jar. I just Windex-ed it down but if there are stubborn stickers or other assorted gunk you might want to dab on some Goo Gone. A note about the jar: I think something with flat sides is preferable to something round, because it’s easier to make the stickers totally flush. You’ll see.

Step 2:

Arrange your stickers on your jar. You can spell out whatever you want: the person’s name or monogram, “Mom,” “Happy Birthday,” whatever. Just be sure your letters are the appropriate size. I spent a really long time in Michael’s scrapbook aisle measuring letters. In the end I picked LOVE because it’s a jar of love, right? The letters I picked were slightly raised–I was worried about that, but it was fine. However, you do want to make sure that you press down really firmly. You do NOT want the etching cream to seep under.

Step 3:

Apply a slice of tape to the jar on either side of your letters, in order to make a sort of column around the word. Again, make sure it’s really stuck down good on the edge. I so wish I had the picture of this step, but you can see it illustrated in the original tutorial here.

Step 4:

Generously blob the etching cream over the letters with a paint brush or palette knife. Me and T used a heavy hand. You don’t want it to seep under the letters or the tape.

Be sure to have someone shake the bottle reeel good.

Step 5:

Wait twenty minutes. The bottle says to wait for one minute, but reviews advised longer. Note: the etching cream won’t dry, so don’t be looking for that.

Step 6:

Rinse off the etching cream in the sink. You can use your hand to scrub it a bit, but I wouldn’t like, buff it or anything.

Step 7:

Peel up the tape and letters. Finally, a picture!


If you look closely you can see the rough edges. That’s from seepage.

Yay! All done with the crafty part!

If you’re very artistic or have a lot of time, you can use stencils or make your own to etch patterns/designs. In theory you can also do this free hand with paint brushes and the etching cream, but it’s all way too ambitious for me. I did plan to use these pretty bird and branch stencils, but it turned out they were silk screens–will not work. (Again, How Not to Do Things).

All Done!

Now it’s time to get your list of memories and thoughts together.

Step 1B:

Get the memories onto the labels. I compiled everyone’s contributions into an excel file and then did a mail merge, but if you aren’t friends with the Office Suite you can always type them directly onto the label template. I used Avery 5160, which is a pretty standard size. You can use whatever size label fits your candy (or choose whatever size candy fits your labels). It might take a little playing with font size and type to make the text fit the way you want it.

Step 2B:

Print the labels out and stick one on each piece of candy. I got a giant bag of fun size chocolate bars on Amazon for–get this–.44 cents! I had a bunch of gift cards from Crowdtap and a free trial of Prime. But the joke’s on me, because the package arrived on the warmest day of the year so far and sat on the stoop for two hours. I think you can imagine what happened.

But even misshapen, it still tastes fine.


My sixty candies just BARELY fit! Whew!

2014-04-03 17.26.11

Step 3B:

If you want, you can slip a background behind the etched part. I used a slice of scrapbook paper. The contrast make the etching more visible.

Secure the scrapbook paper (wrapping paper also works) with a couple of pieces of tape. It doesn't have to live there forever.

Secure the scrapbook paper (wrapping paper also works) with a couple of pieces of tape. It doesn’t have to live there forever.

Tie a ribbon, twine, raffia, or whatever around the top for cuteness, and attach the card. The ribbon is store-bought brand new but I cut this little tag out of some blank stationary I had hanging around.



I wrote this poem my own self (Hallmark, call me).

I'll let you steal my poem if you send cheese dip.

I’ll let you steal my poem if you send cheese dip.


3 Responses to “Sweet Sixty Jar: Step by Step Tutorial”


  1. Once, Twice, Sixty Times a Lady | Cushion Cut - April 9, 2014

    […] Sweet Sixty Jar […]

  2. DIY Memory Banner Tutorial | Cushion Cut - April 10, 2014

    […] ended up with TONS of contributions for the jar project, more than double the 60 we needed. I didn’t want to exclude anybody’s […]

  3. Peanut Butter Cup and Pretzel Terrine | Cushion Cut - April 11, 2014

    […] cups. I had a 12-pack of standard-size Reese’s, plus maybe four extras leftover from the Sweet Sixty Jar. You could do more or less, according to your […]

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