DIY hand soap and jar dispenser (plus Ball® giveaway)

It’s almost that time of year when our family gets together for an annual tomato canning extravaganza. It’s also the time when I fall in love, all over again, with my ever-growing collection of canning jars.

Since I have so many, I’ve explored different ways to use my Ball® jars beyond stuffing them with food. I’ve crafted a holiday vignette, displayed flowers, caught lightning bugs, and served drinks in them.

But I’m most proud of my latest canning jar creation – a DIY hand soap dispenser.


To make your own soap dispenser and the homemade hand soap for it, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 Ball canning jar (pint-sized or smaller)
  • 1 canning lid and band (I’m loving the new Design Series lids.*)
  • 1 dispenser pump (I reused one from an empty bottle.)

Homemade essential oil foaming hand soap recipe:

  • 2-3 Tablespoons liquid castile soap
  • 5 or so drops of essential oil (I like the Young Living™ Thieves blend. The oil is optional, though.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin or Vitamin E oil (also optional)
  • Filtered water


Step 1: Use a 5/8-inch power drill bit to cut a hole in the center of the canning jar lid (or use whatever bit matches the size of your soap pump).


Step 2: Insert soap pump into hole. To seal and secure it to the jar lid, I used hot glue.


(For the record, glue gun burns are the worst! They make me feel like saying words no church-going woman should ever say. Can I get an “Amen?”)

Step 3: Add homemade soap mixture and filtered water to jar.

Step 4: Secure top to jar. Shake vigorously to activate foam. Done!


To make my dispenser pretty, I added a chalkboard label from Walmart and wrote on it with a silver permanent marker. Tip: Use a smaller, narrow label. I had trouble getting mine to stick because it had to wrap around the jar.

Do you enjoy using your canning jars for more than food storage? Ball also has some cute jar accessories to help us multi-purpose our jars even more.


Ball Regular Mouth Sip and Straw Lids on drink mugs

For all my fellow canning and jar enthusiasts: On Aug. 1, Jarden Home Brands will host this year’s fifth annual Can-It-Forward Day, broadcast live online at from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. The webcast will have an integrated chat function where consumers can submit home-canning questions to be answered in real time. New this year, there will also be an exciting celebrity mason jar auction unveiled during the webcast!

So be sure to tune in to that. I’ll be sharing a link to the broadcast here, so you can also check this post on Aug. 1 to watch.

Until then, enter below to win a coupon for a free case of jars. This year’s limited time, vintage-style jars are gorgeous!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience. 

Easy DIY wall art with plywood and vinyl

When designing or decorating a room, I’m always on the lookout for fresh, original and thrifty art for the walls. If I can use wood scraps or leftover materials I already have on hand, all the better!

For example, I recently put together a large piece of artwork to display on top of the board and batten in our upstairs hallway. I used some scrap plywood, stain, paint and a vinyl wall decal to create my masterpiece.


For a complete list of the supplies I used for this project as well as my step-by-step instructions, head over to Royal Design Studio’s Paint+Pattern online design magazine here.

Creative way to keep track of library books

Summertime is when our family reconnects with our local library. Oh how I wish we were faithful about visiting this magical place all year round! But at least during the summer we are regulars.

This year, I wanted to get smarter about keeping track of all our library books to avoid the dreaded 20-minute hunt for that one missing book that needed returned, like, three days ago.

So I put together this super easy library book holder to corral everything. It probably took me two hours of total work time to complete this project.


Materials needed:

  • Unfinished crate (The one I used is from Crates and Pallet and is available at Home Depot.)
  • Wood stain and finish
  • Thin sheet metal
  • Piece of plexiglass (for the bottom of the crate)
  • Four small screws
  • Letter punch set*

Step 1: Apply a coat of Varathane® stain in Traditional Cherry to the unfinished crate.


Step 2: Cut out a rectangular piece from the sheet metal using tin snips. (I picked up my pair at Home Depot.) This will serve as your “Library” label.


Step 3: Take a hammer and punch the word “Library” into the sheet metal label using the letter punch set.


Step 4: Attach the label to the center of the crate with four small screws. I recommend pre-drilling the holes first to keep the wood from splitting.


Step 5: Apply a coat of Rust-Oleum® Satin Clear Enamel to seal the piece.

Satin-Rust-oleum-enamelStep 6: Add a piece of plexiglass to the bottom of the crate, to keep books from falling through the crack in the bottom. (I stole a piece from an old picture frame in our basement and cut it to fit.)


Step 7: Hang up the holder and enjoy your new, highly organized library book storage system. :)

Library book holder


Do you have any tips for how to keep track of library books?

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum for providing some of the supplies needed to complete this project. 

*Affliate link