Making a TBR Jar!!!!

bronto 10

by Bronto Incognito



Hello!  And welcome to our very first T Rex Crafts blog posts!  I don’t know how often we’ll make these, because crafting takes a lot more time than reading, but we still want to share with you our love of nerdy crafting so hopefully you can do it at home, too!

So for our first nerdy craft I decided to keep it book themed.  Tritops and Trilogies left us *still crying* for another state (setting up grad school blah blah) so I decided to make her a going away present.  Like this lovely thing here:


Super simple and took me less than an hour (not including paint-dry time).

Now if you’re the kind of person (or gifting to the kind of person) like TheDinoWhisperer is, then you have no need for one of these things.  You can finish 4 novels in a day and are clearly crazy.

BUT! If you’re like me then you have book-buying addiction and instead of a TBR pile (To Be Read if you’re wondering), I have TBR BOOKCASES.

Keep in mind that every one of those shelves is double-stacked. (And these aren’t the only shelves.)

So if you’re like me, sometimes you have a hard time deciding what to read next (especially after reading a really bad book), thus enter THE TBR JAR.

I don’t know why, but I just wrote that in a really creepy voice, so if you read it that way…good for you??

The way it works is you put the titles of the books you haven’t read into the jar, and when you get stuck you pull out a title and start reading that book. (Not that I’ve ever cheated and drawn more than once….*cough*)

Anyway, let’s get started.  Fist things fist, gather your supplies:


You will need:

1 Jar
TBR label
Glue/double-sided tape
Paint and paintbrush (or spray paint)
Old book or craft paper
Colored paper (or you could just use notebook paper like I use in my personal one)

Okay, first off, the jar. As you can probably see in that picture, this one is an old salsa jar I sent through the dishwasher.  I always save old jars because you never know when you’re going to need them!

As you can tell, the label didn’t come off the first time. Not an issue here since we’ll be covering it, BUT if you need to remove it for some reason soak it in water and peel it off.  To get off any leftover glue residue, use baking soda!  Works like a charm!


Next there’s that lid, though.  Didn’t want a black lid with the expiration date on it so I painted it.  Did that first so it could dry while I worked. (Though I did end up using 2 coats, but more on that later.)


Next is the jar covering.  You saw the state of the book I gutted for this, right?  No one’s hyperventilating that i tore pages out of a perfectly good book??

My adorable puppy (who’s now 3) decided this book would make a nice chew toy a couple years ago, so I’ve been hanging onto it for just such an occasion.

I pieced a few pages together, holding them in place with double-sided tape.  Then I glue-sticked them to make them stay. (Always remember the Catch-22’s of crafting: Elmer’s sticks better, but can bubble paper.  Glue sticks lay flat but can come apart.)

Next, the measuring!


Sounds more complicated than it is.  My jar was indented where the original labels were so I simply laid the jar down, put little marks for the top and bottom, and then used a straight edge (I seriously think I used the side of the cardstock there).

Cut it out, and voila!


Now I had my covering.  On the one I made for myself, I used either craft paper or wrapping paper.  really whatever works best for you.  On this one I wanted to keep the look of that first chapter page there, which really just meant some careful positioning when I put things together.


I attached the covering with double-sided tape and then glue-sticked down the overlapping parts.

*NOTE: If you don’t have double-sided tape, DO NOT try and attach the paper to the glass with a glue stick! Use Elmers, hotglue, modpodge…anything else that sticks better.  Glue stick will not stick to glass well!!


Next I cut out the label I printed on my comp (Just used a stencil font and made it bigger.  On my personal jar I handwrote it, but since this was going to someone else and my handwriting is terrible, I decided printing was the way to go.)

After I cut it out, I glued it onto some card stock, cut those both out and flapped it on the jar.  *Made sure to cover some of the white space but still leave the chapter heading.


Next, DECORATIONS!!!  As you can see I got real fancy with this one here.  Mine I painted, but for this one I busted out the owl and book stickers.  Super hard, right?


Then the slips of paper.  All I did was take some colored printer paper, slice it into even-ish strips, and tie them together with an old bread twist-tie.  Don’t stress too much on making this thing super polished (unless you just want to). Part of the appeal of this thing is the DIY look.

(Also, you probably won’t need to precut slips if you’re not giving this thing away.  Just write your books down, cut them out, and drop them in!)



Fancy! Am I right?!?

So, in the end I decided that I didn’t like the grainy feel of the acrylic paint on the lid, so I went hunting for some clear spray paint or gloss to slap on it.  Had neither.  So I did a light misting with a yellow spray paint and I think it added a nice effect to the lid.


And now you’re all finished!  Tritops and Trilogies loved her new jar and I got to enjoy a fun, easy craft to give a handmade present to someone I love!

Have you guys made a TBR jar? Do you have another method of choosing your next read?  Show us pics or share your ideas in the comments below!


4 thoughts on “Making a TBR Jar!!!!

  1. Pingback: Non-zombie Zombies

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