DIY Mason Jar Bathroom Organizer

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Since moving on base in June we have slowly been adjusting to living in significantly less square footage. We have been making the best of it by doing lots of organizing and rearranging to make our furniture and style fit this little cookie-cutter home. One room that I am having a very hard time getting used to is our new bathroom which is basically the size of the powder room in our old house, lol (to see our old master bathroom and how we transformed it on a budget check out this post). The lack of space is killing me, the vanity won’t even provide enough space to fit our toothbrushes and toothpaste and there are no drawers, just a small cabinet below the vanity that is already crammed with bathroom paraphernalia and extremely disorganized. So, in the spirit of organization and making the best of our tiny bathroom, I decided to try my hand at a Pinterest project that I had been eyeing for quite some time – a mason jar bathroom organizer. Since I already had mason jars all I was going to need to do was get a piece of wood (which I ended up getting out of my neighbor’s trash, score! lol) and some metal hose claps (I’ll explain below), for just a few dollars (literally a few, I think my total project cost was just under $4.00) I was able to create a beautiful and functional little addition to our not-so-master bathroom. This is SUCH a simple project and can be fashioned using scrap wood and any size jars since the little hose clamps come in several different sizes. Need more than three jars? No problem! Just a use a longer piece of wood and additional jars. There’s nothing I love more than a project that is simple with many options for variation so that I can duplicate it in other areas of the home (I plan to make a cute little addition to our laundry room soon so be on the lookout for that!) so I’m super excited to share this with you as a tried and true Pinterest trial!

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SUPPLIES:

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NOTE: if you are happy with the look of your wood as is you need not go through the trouble of painting and distressing it, this just happened to be the look I was going for. This supply list and step-by-step instructions apply to my specific variation of this project.

  • 1 piece of scrap wood – mine was cut from a 12′ board we scored from a neighbor’s trash. I cut mine to be 16″ long, it was the perfect fit for the space and the three jars.
  • grey chalk paint – I used left over paint from my hand-painted sign and shutter shelf, check out this post here to see how I made my own chalk paint using sample sized latex paints, this one is “Stone Mason Grey” by Valspar.
  • white latex paint
  • Minwax Paste Wax in “Special Dark”
  • 2 keyhole fasteners
  • black foam brush
  • regular 2″ paint brush (for dry-brushing the wood)
  • sanding blocks, sand paper or electric sander
  • 3 mason jars (I used standard 16 oz. jars)
  • 3 stainless steel metal hose clamps (available where the HVAC supplies are at your local home improvement store, if you can’t find them just show an employee a picture of the craft, they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about)
  • 6 standard picture hanging hooks and the nails that come with them (see picture below, these are available at the dollar store, supermarket and countless other places, make sure they look like the ones that I have pictured or they will not work!) NOTE: if you have a good quality power drill and strong drill bit you can skip the picture hooks and drill a hole directly into the backs of the hose clamps and use a 1/2 inch screw to attach the hose clamps to the wood. I will tell you that takes some SERIOUS elbow grease and a very strong drill, when our drill bit wouldn’t even make a dent in the steel my hubby improvised the hook idea so I could finish my project that night – ain’t he sweet 😉
  • Needle-nosed pliers (you only need these if you are planning on using the hook method)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: I began by prettying up my trash wood. Please refer to my post on creating my DIY Rustic Picture Display for a detailed description on how I go about painting and distressing most of my wood pieces. In short, what I did was apply a coat of chalk paint to my wood (or two, I can’t remember, lol) using a black foam brush, then once it had dried I used my regular paint brush to dry-brush the surface and once that had dried I used my electric sander to distress the edges and surface with 150-grit paper (this can also be done using a sanding block or regular sand paper). Finally I used a rag to apply a coat of paste wax and then buffed it once it had dried.

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wood – before

painted wood

painted wood

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wood - finished

wood – finished

Step 2: Once my wood was ready I attached my keyhole fasteners to the backs of my wood piece, one in each corner. Don’t leave this until the end as it will be very hard to do once the jars and hardware are attached.

Step 3: I then marked where I wanted my mason jars to be placed on the board. NOTE: if you have a fancy drill and plan on drilling holes in the backs of the hose clamps and screwing them into the wood this is the point at which you would do that (then simply fasten the clamps around the necks of the mason jars), if you are planning on using my less conventional “hook” method read on! We (I say we because this is where J’s crafty brain stepped in, ha) then fashioned make shift little holders for the mason jars out the picture clips. I took my picture hangers and using pliers unfolded the top part of the hook so it sticks out (kind of like the bottom does to begin with) then flattened both ends over the back of the metal hose clips, two per (making sure to unscrew the hose clips first). The key was to ensure that when I folded over the the tops of the hooks (the part with the hole was always facing UP) the two holes at the top became pressed together to form one nail hole (this is how I nailed them to the wood).

we tried a nail first, didn't work out so well, lol.

we tried a nail first, didn’t work out so well, lol.

The picture hooks I used. See how if you flatten the tops the two holes will come together to for a tab with a hole in it?

The picture hooks I used. See how if you flatten the tops the two holes will come together to for a tab with a hole in it?

Hose clamp after attaching the "hooks", two little tabs stick up with holes through which the nails can hammered.

Hose clamp after attaching the “hooks”, two little tabs stick up with holes through which the nails can hammered.

Step 4: Once all of my hooks were fastened to the hose clamps I used the nails that came with my picture hanging hooks to nail the hooks into the board (using the little tabs at the top that were created by flattening out the hooks). After my three hose clamps were attached to the board I re-screwed the clamps around the necks of the jars. All done!

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Although the “hook” method may seem a little wonky these jars have stayed put and since they hold our toothbrushes and toothpaste we are handling them multiple times a day. That being said, this is a GREAT project for a renter, not only does it free up space in smaller bathrooms but you only require two small screws in the wall to hold it up. Additionally this project can be made using items readily found at your local home improvement stores (which will cut the wood to size for you), Walmart and dollar stores, which is great for people who may not necessarily have many tools on hand (you can buy a hammer and pliers at the dollar store, I checked, haha). 

Updating Our Guest Bathroom

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I’d like to share our guest bathroom update, which was one of the first projects I tackled upon moving into our home. I know I’ve mentioned in my other house posts that I like to stretch our budget by simply updating our rooms with DIY decor and fresh paint, as opposed to doing a complete reno. The upstairs bathroom was in decent shape, the tub surround, toilet and light fixtures were good, and although we decided to replace it, the cabinet portion of the vanity was acceptable as well, so I regret not simply replacing it and purchasing a new vanity top (don’t make the same mistake we did, read my tutorial on repainting cabinets and get to it!). I decided to go with a beachy-chic feel for the bathroom decor, normally I’m into a little more monochromatic design with pops of color because I feel it is a little more modern, but I figured for the guest bathroom it wouldn’t hurt to have a little fun with it, after all we had just moved to the coastal Carolinas! The majority of the bathroom update was simply adding decor, with the only hard part being the replacing of the bathroom vanity (don’t get me wrong, I love the way it looks but it was a major pain in the arse).

Before I get to the specifics of the bathroom update, let me help you to hopefully avoid one of our giant missteps in the project by giving you a much simpler DIY solution. If you are considering replacing a vanity completely, before you tear out the existing one I urge you to first take a lay of the land and ask yourself – is there physical damage, missing or rotten pieces of wood? If so, replacing the piece may be your only option, however, if you are just dealing with something that is ugly but functional read my post on refinishing cabinets, mine were as ugly as they come, a real 1980s builder-grade gem lol. If you are still not convinced, let me tell you this – replacing a vanity, especially one that is original to the home, will involve replacing parts of the floor beneath it before installing your new vanity, and I can assume that since you are reading DIY posts on home updates you are not in fact a professional builder, haha. Once you rip that old vanity out there’s no going back, you’ll be stuck as we were, having to sand and paint the walls (which will be damaged by your removal of the vanity), install new subfloor (oh, and the fact that we owned only a hack saw and drill as far as power tools went made it even more fun – NOT lol), then lay new tiles and grout before you can even THINK about putting in that cute new vanity that has been sitting in your garage for the weeks it took you to prepare the space for it. Still sound like a good idea? If you are up for a challenge, by all means, go nuts but if you are like me and would rather spend your weekends at the beach instead of on your hands and knees grouting a bathroom floor when all you wanted was a new vanity, then I plead with you to go the repainting route haha. That being said, our bathroom did come out super cute and if you do decide to replace your vanity you can still DIY it (if you have any questions about replacing the floor tiles leave a comment, we had no idea what we were doing and it still came out great). Now for the specifics, since this isn’t a tutorial I’ll just explain the update and give sources for all of my decor finds.

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WHAT WE DID: 

  • Removed the vanity, replaced the floor tiles around it and installed a new sink/vanity combination. As I mentioned above, I do wish we had simply repainted the vanity in retrospect, however, the smaller vanity open up the bathroom a great deal and made the space seem bigger.
  • Painted the walls.
  • Removed the vanity mirror and replaced it with a hanging mirror.
  • Installed two floating shelves above the toilet.
  • Replaced the towel bar.
  • Installed a hand towel ring.
  • Installed  a three-hook rack for hanging towels.
  • DIYed a free-standing small linen storage unit.
  • Hung pictures.

SOURCES:

  • Vanity  // Purchased at Lowes, available here for $269.00. NOTE: If you don’t care about having extra drawers they have another similar option for $189.00.
  • Floating Shelves // Purchased at Home Depot, available here for $28.80 each. They are also available at Target, but I believe H.D. is still cheaper.
  • Free-Standing Storage Unit // Thrift Store find. After project costs, the item comes in at around $29.00. See my post here on painting laminate furniture to see more about this particular piece.
  • Wall Paint // Color is “Woodlawn Bedroom” by Valspar.
  • Vanity Mirror // Thrift Store find. Purchased for $10.00 and hit it with a coat of gray spray paint.
  • Towel Bar // Purchased at Lowes, Moen Brand Spot Resistant Brushed Nickel 24″ Towel Bar, available here for $19.98. We had a Lowes credit or else we would have hit up Walmart for this item to save a few bucks.
  • Three Hook Towel Rack // Purchased from “TheShabbyShak” via Etsy for $23.00. This shop has lots of great shabby chic decor in a huge variety of colors and finishes. I chose the aqua in keeping with my beach theme.
  • Towel Ring // Purchased from “VeritasInspired” via Etsy for $22.99.
  • Damask Shower Curtain // Purchased from Amazon for $36.00. Available here.
  • Towels // Lime Green Bath Towels – Target, Target brand $4.99 each. Navy Blue Hand Towels – Bed Bath & Beyond, Wamsuetta Brand (these were wedding gifts or else we would have gone for the Walmart or Target option on these, expensive hand towels? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat).
  • Baskets // All three baskets in my bathroom (as well as those hidden under the sink), were purchased from Michael’s. I LOVE baskets. I once saw a Hoarders episode featuring a woman who had over three thousand baskets or something like that and I’m not saying that’s me but I’m well on my way, lol. NOTE: I only purchase baskets from Michael’s with a 40% off coupon or when they are on sale for over 40% off or else they are a total rip off. I would say these three cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5.00 each for the small ones and $8.00 for the large one.
  • Wall Art // Each item on this wall was virtually free. The beach picture was a picture I had taken myself right on our own Onslow Beach here on Camp Lejeune, I just blew it up at our local drugstore for around $1.00, the frame was the second half of a buy-one-get-one deal they were running at Michael’s so we had it sitting around anyway. The “catch me by the sea” print was one I found on Pinterest, saved as a JPG and printed at our local drug store in size 8X10 (this may or may not be legal, but there was no watermark so I assume it was a free print, if not I’m sorry copyright gods!). If you want to do the same just Google “free whatever-you’re-looking-for images/quotes” and you should find some, the quality may not be so fab but it’s just for looks. The frame for my print was one of the old ones we used in our condo so I just hit it with the same gray spray paint as the mirror. The tiny mirror was a thrift store find for $3.00. Not pictured here is my DIY nautical rope frame, which you can make for under $1.00 read the post to find out how!

 

BEFORE

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AFTER

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We estimate the total cost of the project at around $500.00, and for the transformation we achieved I think this is a GREAT price, keeping in mind a full bathroom reno by professionals can cost you around 5K on the low end, which even if we had the cash (which we definitely don’t, lol), I don’t think I would be able to stomach. Say it with me people, “D-I-Y” it’s a beautiful word!!! 

NOTE: This transformation occurred over about 5-6 months, we only bought things as we could afford them which really made that $500.00 project price tag a little more bearable, because I don’t know about you but even though it’s not a 5K reno, $500.00 is still a lot of money, especially when taking on multiple house projects at a time.

There you have it, our beachy-chic guest bathroom re-do! This would not have been possible without my wonderful hubby J who helped my 7-9-month pregnant self hang and place various items when I couldn’t physically bend that way, lol. Hope this inspires you! XOXO