jars of happiness

DIY jar of happiness

This year, we chucked some big jars of happiness right in the middle of Flinders Street Station.

But why?

Well, as a power company, we can’t really show you what we sell (that would hurt), so we made something up instead. And if rainbow seeds, wishing stars and warm fuzzies don’t reflect the feeling of picking a pro-renewable power company, well, we’re out of ideas.

The only problem with the jars is that they’re seven-foot tall and in the middle of a train station. It seemed unfair, so we decided to make a list of five different jars of happiness you can make yourself, to get a dose of the warm fuzzies at home. And if you’re the home-made gift-giving type with a penchant for crafternoons, we reckon they’ve got serious Christmas gift appeal too.

Tiny terrarium

Tiny terrarium

Terrariums can be used to elicit the happy feeling of being in a cool, calm forest by holding the jar very close to your face, opening your eyes and using your imagination.

You’ll need:

  • A jar
  • Gravel
  • Charcoal
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Indoor potting soil
  • Mini fern
  • Moss
  • Spoon/tweezers to help with positioning
  • Optional: tiny toy dinosaur

Make a shallow layer of gravel for drainage and add a few pieces of charcoal to help with bacteria. Put a thin layer of moss down to stop the soil falling into the gravel. Add the potting mix, and plant your mini fern and moss in it. You might need to add a little more potting soil to make sure the roots are covered.

At this stage, if you want to turn your terrarium into a tiny prehistoric world, add a dinosaur figure to the jar and pose it jurassically.

Use a spray bottle to spray water into the jar. Leave it for a day before putting the lid on to allow excess water to evaporate. Once the lid is on, the terrarium should recycle its own water.

If the plant goes limp, you’ll need to add a little water. If there’s condensation on the glass, open the lid for a day to let the excess water evaporate.

Big thanks to Nellie Bellie for the terrarium tips.

Rainbow seeds

Rainbow seeds

'But I thought rainbows came from the refraction of light off a water droplet’ we hear you say. And you’re not the only one. But if you look at the science, you’ll find that actually they come from lollies. Rainbow ones.

You’ll need:

  • A jar
  • Your favourite colourful lollies: M&Ms, Skittles, Smarties, gummy bears

As for the arrangement, you’ve got three options:

Chaos: Chuck them in. Let the pieces fall where they may
Arty: Separate all the colours, then add them to the jar in layers
Perfectly random: Add pieces one at a time (preferably using tweezers) so that no lolly touches another of the same colour. Be confident that even if no one notices, it was still an important thing to do.

Decorate the jar with our labels, or make your own.



Maybe your plant collection is getting out of hand and you need to decorate differently. Or maybe someone in the house is asking for a pet and you need a diversion. Either way, making a tiny aquarium out of an old jar is a creative solution.

You’ll need:

  • A jar
  • Pebbles & plastic plants (find these at pet stores)
  • Plastic animals
  • Filtered water
  • Blue food colouring
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Glycerine (optional – this helps glitter float and move more slowly)

Pop the rocks into your jar and add your ‘plants’ and ‘creatures’. In a separate clear glass, add enough water to fill your jar and drop the food colouring in a bit at a time until you have a colour you like. When you’re happy, pour the blue liquid into your aquarium.

If you’re using them, add a sprinkling of glitter and a couple of drops of glycerine and give them a stir to incorporate them into the liquid.

Keep the jar somewhere you can give it a little swirl every now and then. Maybe while you listen to whale sounds.

Jar of wishing stars

Jar of wishing stars

Pop a few of these around your house so that visitors can do a little secret wish-making when they come over.

You’ll need:

  • A set of battery-operated fairy lights with clear cord
  • A jar that will fit the battery pack standing up with the switch at the top and the fairy lights around it
  • Blue tack

Using the blue Tack, stick the battery pack upright in the jar. It doesn’t have to be a perfect job, it just helps keep the pack in place while you sort the lights. Then, starting at the end furthest from the battery pack, wind and bunch the fairy lights loosely around the battery pack. Replace the lid and decorate jar with our labels, or make your own.

Optional: If you don’t want blue tack showing on the bottom, gently pull out the battery pack, remove it, then pop the battery pack back in.

Cake in a jar

Cake in a jar

Unlike the other jars in this list, the happiness is at its most powerful once the jar is emptied and the instructions below are followed.

To make the jar:

In a 750mL jar, add:

  • 1 ½ cups of plain flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt

If you’re choc-chip inclined, get a slightly larger jar so you can add these too.

Then print out these instructions to go with the jar and give it to a friend. Ideally, one who loves to share cake.


  1. Preheat oven to 175˚C
  2. Line a loaf pan with baking paper
  3. Empty the jar into a mixing bowl
  4. Add ⅓ cup vegetable oil, 1 cup water, 1 tsp white vinegar and 1 tsp vanilla and stir to combine
  5. Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean
  6. Allow to cool in pan
  7. Tell only those who are worthy

Share your jars of happiness.

If you’ve made one of these jars of happiness, or gone freestyle and invented your own, we’d love to see it. Share the happiness on our Facebook page.

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