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Decorating with Layered Bean Jars

Decorating with Layered Bean Jars
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November is a time of year when I use more nature-based materials to decorate  our home because I enjoy the rustic appeal of legumes, gourds, seeds, acorns and dried grasses.  Decorations made from these materials are durable enough to last the month (and many times, much longer) which means you can keep them around for Thanksgiving or any other autumn events.

Layered Legume Jars
Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
Layered Legume Jars

Layered bean jars are effortless to make.  After all the Halloween decorating I am ready for something simple! All you need to make this craft is a jar (or more than one jar, depending on what fits your needs) and some dried legumes.  Legumes come in a variety of colors such as red (kidney beans), orange (red lentils), yellow (yellow lentils), green (split peas), black (black beans), white (cannellini beans or navy beans), and even speckled or mixed colors (i.e. Jacob’s Cattle beans).  You can choose the colors you desire for this craft.  Legumes can be bought pre-packaged at the grocery store or you can buy them in bulk at markets and health food stores.  For the jars, you can use recycled ones from home or you can buy the jars you like from a craft shop (craft shops usually have several styles to choose from).

Layered Legume Jars
Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
Layered Legume Jars

Materials to Make Layered Bean Jars

  • 3 or more different varieties of colored legumes
  • A smooth jar
  • Optional– twine

Directions to Make Layered Bean Jars

  1. Remove the lid from the jar.
  2. Scoop a layer of one type of beans into the jar.
  3. Lightly tap the jar to help the legumes settle.
  4. Add the next layer of legumes.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 till you have all your layers.
  6. Put the lid back on the jar.
  7. Optional– wind a length of twine around the jar or affix a bow to it.

You can use layered bean jars “just” for decorating if you like, but don’t forget that when you are done with the jars you can use the beans for cooking!  Think of all the stick-to-your-ribs stews and soups you can make with the leftover legumes.  You can also leave the beans in the jars and use them for year-round decorating–if you live in a rustic style home like we do, they last all year and look great!

Layered Legume Jars in the hutch
Photo/Art by Bonnie Thomas
Layered Legume Jars in the hutch


Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas


Bonnie Thomas shares her ideas and instructions for simple Yankee crafts. Bonnie Thomas works full time as a child and family therapist in Southern Maine and is also an established artist and author. She has published two books via Jessica Kingsley Publishing, titled Creative Coping Skills for Children: Emotional Support Through Arts and Crafts Activities and Creative Expression Activities for Teens: Exploring Identity Through Art, Craft and Journaling. Don't miss her latest book, How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors, and Connecting With Nature

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