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Style Is More than Clothes - “BRI”ef: 104

-Friday, November 7, 2014

When most of us think about style our first thought it about the latest runway fashion, which in the long run trickles down to what clothes we put on each day. Style plays a very important role in the world of packaging and much like dressing yourself to impress, you have to dress your product to impress too.

Packaging comes in a huge assortment of styles and choosing the right style for your product is important. You want your packaging to make a statement. In my previous blog “Shaping Up” I discussed the shapes of bottles; and each of those shapes can be further subcategorized into style. In this “BRI”ef we are going to review the more popular styles of bottles and jars to give you a better insight into the world of packaging.

Round Bottles

Round bottles can be a vague description, but when we refer to bottles as Boston rounds, Imperial rounds or Modern rounds we can greatly reduce the number of returns we get on a search.

Round Bottle Styles

Boston round bottles have a round cylindrical shape with a short curved shoulders. These bottles are a very popular style as they are great for a variety of uses: aromatherapy, apothecary, and medicinal; and everything in between. A fluted Boston round bottle is similar to a regular Boston round, but has gradually tapered shoulders versus the short curved shoulders of a standard Boston round.

Sauce bottles, carafes, and decanters can be used interchangeably for a sauces, beverages, and syrups. They can come with a continuous thread or lug finish, which makes them great for use in the kitchen. The primary difference between a sauce bottle and a decanter is that a sauce bottle tends to have an indented label panel; and decanters are more decorative and are specifically made for liquor or wine.

Bullet bottles, also commonly known as Imperial rounds or Cosmo rounds, are tall narrow bottles with gradually slopped shoulders. The difference between the three styles really comes down to which manufacturer made the bottles. Bullet bottles are usually made of plastic and due to their slim and stylish look, are great for a multitude of uses.

Cylinder bottles are tall and narrow, like Bullet bottles, but have squared off shoulders and straight sides. Also like Bullet bottles, they tend to come in plastic.

Jugs can come in glass or plastic, and in either case, always have a handle for the ease of use. Great for bulk products or beverages, the bottles large capacity makes them ideal for a number of purposes.

Round Jars

Like bottles, jars come in so many shapes and sizes. Round jars are pretty common.

Round Jar Styles

Paragon and economy jars are great for canning and preserving. Paragon jars are usually tall and narrow, where economy jars can vary slightly in shape and tend to have a slight shoulder; unless they are wide mouthed as pictured above.  They can come with either a continuous thread finish or a lug finish.

Double wall jars are plastic jars that have an inner and outer wall. They tend to give an appearance of larger volume and tend also protect the contents of the jar due to the dual walls.

Spice jars can come in glass or plastic and though they can be square, round or unique with an area specific for a label, they almost always come with a finish fit for snap on fitments.

Wine Bottles

Wine Bottle Styles

Claret bottles tend to have a short neck, short shoulder, and a long body; and are also commonly known as a Bordeaux bottles. These bottles are good for red wines and blends such as Cabernet Francs, Cabernet Sauvignons, Malbecs, Merlots and Petit Verdot.

Burgundy bottles, which are ideal for Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, have a short neck, long sloping shoulder and short body. The difference between the Burgundy bottles, Hock bottles and your traditional Champagne bottles it the body of the bottle itself. Champagne bottles have a wider body than Burgundy bottles, while Hock bottles tend to have a more slender body.

While both Claret and Burgundy bottles were typically found with cork finishes, they can now also be found with continuous thread or Stelvin finishes.

You can also find stylish liquor bottles, that don’t necessarily fall into a wine bottle grouping, and because of their uniqueness they are classified as liquor or decorative bottles.

As we are learning, there are endless shapes and styles to bottles and jars as new molds and designs are made every day; and I am sure there are many that this short blog didn’t touch on. I wanted to at least give you an idea as to what the various shapes and styles look like; and how to tell them apart.

Join me next time when I discuss how the color of your containers plays a role in helping you sell your products. Until then, I am happy to help should you have questions. Please feel free to email us, or call us at (855) 754-3728 if you should ever need assistance with choosing the correct product for your specific needs. Should you have any questions about this blog, or ideas for future please email me at brianne.livas@packagingoptionsdirect.com, and type BLOG TOPIC in the subject line.

Packaging Categories - "BRI"ef: 102

-Friday, October 3, 2014

Categories in the container and packaging industry are general terms used to describe a package. Bottles, jars, cans, jugs, pails, drums, and tubes are just a few. They are very broad terms which do not provide much information; but in understanding basic packaging categories, you can begin to narrow the search on the specific item you want for your product.  At Packaging Options Direct, our product line is mostly comprised bottles, and jars; with a few others mixed in.

In this second “BRI”ef, I want to provide you with a better understanding of the basic categories used for packaging. If you need to reference our first “BRI”ef  “Introduction to Packaging”, click here.

Bottles

Glass and Plastic BottlesBottles come in a variety of materials. Aluminum, glass and plastic are the most common, and each type of material has its own sub-type. We’ll get into material types later. Typically speaking, bottles have narrow mouths; which means the opening of the bottle is roughly one half the diameter of the container or smaller.  Bottles are primarily used to store liquids of various viscosities like beer, shampoo, and even ketchup. Bottles can come in an endless number of shapes, and sizes; and take a wide range of closures and finishes.

 

Jars

Glass and Plastic JarsJars usually have a wide mouth; meaning the mouth opening of the jar is roughly half the diameter of the body of the jar, or larger. Jars are most commonly found in glass and plastic and, like bottles, can come in a variety of shapes though the most common are straight sided or economy style canning jars (commonly referred to as Mason jars). Jars usually have continuous thread or lug finishes; and though they are typically cylindrical, they can come in other shapes.

 

Jugs

Glass JugJugs are more oblong, are usually thicker near the middle than the top, and will always have handles. Jugs are usually a half- gallon or larger and come in glass or plastic. The normal finishes on Jugs are a continuous thread finish, though they have also been known to come with smooth finishes for use with corks or as those seen on large water jugs (like Sparkletts). Liquid storage is the most common use for jugs.

 

Cans

Plastic PailCans, like bottles and jars, come in a variety of materials and have just as many uses and styles. Paint cans are the most common, however they can come with screw cap finishes, in oblong and cone shapes or can even be square. Pails and drums are types of cans. Pails, also commonly known as buckets, often come in plastic or steel. They are deep, cylindrical containers that are normally made of metal, plastic or wood. Pails are often known to come with handles and have tight fitting lids with gaskets that provide an airtight seal. Pails are good for storing liquid and solid items. When people think of small versions of pails or buckets, you often think of tubs.  Drums are made of steel, stainless steel, plastic, composite or fiber. They come in open, closed or tight heads, and can be round or square, lined or unlined, seamed or unseamed.

 

Tubes

Plastic TubeTubes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. The two main characteristics of tubes are those that have one end that is crimped and others that stand on their caps. Tubes have a large variety of applications and are often used in toiletries, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, household products and more. For more information on cans, pails, drums or tubes, you can contact our parent company TricorBraun.

 

Now that you have an idea of the general categories that you containers fall under, we can start to look at sub-categories, finishes, closures and so much more. Join me next time as we continue our journey through the world of packaging, and as always, I am happy to help any time you have questions.

Feel free to email us or call us at (855) 754-3728 if you should ever need assistance with choosing the correct product for your specific needs. Should you have any questions about this blog or ideas for future posts, please email me at brianne.livas@packagingoptionsdirect.com and type BLOG TOPIC in the subject line.

Choosing the Right Mason Jars for Canning

-Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Canning and preserving your own food is more than just a popular trend that is making its way through homes in the United States – it’s a wonderful way of preserving your food to protect it from spoiling, to protect yourself from rising food costs and it offers many other benefits.

Many people are afraid of tackling the efforts of canning because they have heard about how complicated and time consuming the process can be. Although it does require a time commitment, the process of canning your own jams, jellies, sauces and veggies is totally doable and easy to learn. Eating food that you preserved yourself is rewarding, delicious and healthy.

Not only do you have control over the ingredients you add to your creations but you can also experiment with flavors and get creative. Canning your own food requires tools that you can already find in your kitchen and the right mason jars for your creations.

Before we go into detail about the different glass jars and lids you need for canning your own food, let’s learn a little bit more about the benefits of canning and the history of the process.

Canning Jars

Benefits of Canning

Health Benefits – Many people are concerned about the rise of BPA in commercial canned foods. BPA (bisphenol A) is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics since the late 1950s.

Exposure to this chemical can result in negative health effects on the brain and behavior of infants and children. When you can your own food you have a choice of what container to store your food in. BPA-free food as well as healthy preservative-free food that contains no harmful additives or pesticides is the number one reason many individuals switch to canning.

Eco-Friendly – When you use glass jars to can your own food you are reducing the waste associated with pre-packaged foods and your containers are recyclable and reusable. Financial Benefits – When you buy produce that is in season it’s not only tasty but it comes out cheap and economical. You also have to buy the supplies required for canning only once!

Sentimentality – Some feel that canning is a powerful connection to culture, family, heritage and the past.

Personal Satisfaction – There is something very rewarding about producing and preserving your own food.

Quality – No commercially produced product tastes as good as a homemade preserve, that’s just a fact of life.

History of Mason Jars & Canning

Napoleon is often credited with the invention of modern canning because the French military offered a cash prize of 12,000 francs to whoever was able to develop a new method to preserve food in 1795.

In 1858 John Landis Mason invented the original Mason jar. The threaded top used to seal the jar was a revolutionary concept in food preservation.

Unfortunately for Mason, he didn’t renew the patent on his creation until after it expired in 1879 and he passed away relatively poor in the 1900s.

There have been many others who have expanded on Mason’s original idea by creating a wide range of glass jars, lids and closures to use for food preservation.

Different Types of Mason Jars Used for Canning

A Mason jar is a molded glass jar that is originally used in canning to preserve food.

Although in today’s modern world of DIY projects and Pinterest there are various other ways to repurpose glass jars, using the container to preserve food is still its number one purpose. The mouth of the jar has threads on its outer perimeter so it can accept a metal ring when it is screwed down onto it.

Other common names for the original Mason jar include Ball jars (after the Ball Corporation), fruit jars and simply glass canning jars.

All Mason jars are not created equal. They are remarkably similar to commercially used jars, but the biggest difference is that real Mason jars have a wider rim that gives them a better sealing surface.

They are also made better so they can resist cracking and breaking under the high pressure that is necessary for canning. Real Mason jars have two types of mouths – a “regular mouth” and a “wide mouth.”

The regular mouth jar is slightly smaller near the top, which helps to hold the food under the liquid level. This type of jar cannot be used for freezing because the smaller neck won’t allow for expansion of the liquids as they freeze. A wide mouth jar is great for food that may be hard to put in a regular mouth jar and they are safe for freezing.

Tips for Choosing the Right Mason Jars for Canning

In the same way that there are different types of knives for cutting different types of food, there are also a variety of sizes of canning jars made to properly preserve different kinds of foods.

Here is a run-down of the different sizes and styles of Mason jars used for canning.

Wide-Mouth Half-Gallon Jar – The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends using half-gallon jars only for canning apple juice and grape juice. Due to the large size, these jars are hard to heat all the way through and it’s impossible to ensure that the food in the center of the jar has been heated and cooked properly.

Regular-Mouth Quart Jar – This is probably the most versatile canning jar. You can store pickles, fruits, vegetables, beans, tomatoes, juices and more.

Wide-Mouth Quart-Jar – This jar is perfect for large chunks of fruits and vegetables and you can freeze them too.

Regular-Mouth Pint Jar – This jar is the most widely used jar in kitchens around the world. Perfect for sweet pickles and fruit preserves.

12-Ounce Jelly Jar – This jar is smaller than a pint and it’s perfect for giving away your delicious creations as gifts.

Half-Pint Jelly Jar – This size is preferred by many canning experts for jams, jellies, preserves and butters.

Wide-Mouth Half-Pint Jar – These jars have a nice shape and are also commonly used as packaging for gifting homemade goods.

The Commercial Jar – This jar is not a real canning jar in spite of its Mason jar label.

Getting Started with Canning

Although the idea of reusing commercial tomato sauce jars as canning jars may be tempting and seem economical, they are not appropriate for canning homemade goods. These jars have a greater possibility of sealing problems and breaking. They also have smaller necks, which makes them hard to fill. These jars are perfect for storing dry goods such as rice, flour or pasta but never use them for canning.

These tips may seem odd, because a jar is just a jar right? Wrong.

The difference between packaging your preserves in the right jar can make a huge difference between delicious jellies and dangerous spoiled goods.

If you are interested in learning and mastering the craft of canning, or if you need to replenish your inventory of good quality glass Mason jars, then contact the experts at Packaging Options Direct.

We offer the finest quality of classic Mason jars of all shapes and sizes that will perfectly fit all of your canning needs.

Contact us today to learn more about our inventory or to place an order!

Best Ways to Repurpose Glass Jars

-Friday, February 7, 2014

There are so many ways to repurpose glass jars.

From wine and beer bottles to Mason jars and everything in between, with a little imagination your glass jars can be turned into a myriad of things that can be useful at home, in the office or at school.

Why throw away the glass jar that your spaghetti sauce came in? Make yourself a beautiful flower vase or storage container for grains or baking supplies. Take a few moments to wash out the Mason jar on your counter and use it as a centerpiece, storage container or planter for your herb garden.

At Packaging Options Direct, we’ve seen our fair share of creative ways to repurpose glass jars. We’ve taken some time to put together some of our favorites to give you inspiration for your next DIY project. Let’s get started!

Glass Jar Uses

Learn the Best Ways to Repurpose Glass Jars

Clear Glass Vases: The simplicity of a beautiful flower display in a flint glass jar similar to a Mason jar can be a beautiful statement for your home dining table or even as a wedding centerpiece. For rustic elegance, pair a clear glass jar with a formal flower arrangement with a burlap bow or accent. We’ve also seen clients use fruit such as lemons and limes as a vase filler and pop of color before adding their flowers.

Painted Glass Vases: Another one of the ways to repurpose glass jars is to paint the jar and add flowers. Two coats of acrylic paint will usually do the trick as long as you use a quality sealer after the paint has dried. For a rustic or vintage look, use a nail file to scuff-up raised letters and spots around the jar before sealing it. This project works well with glass jars of all shapes and sizes.

Decorative Displays: Have a beach house? Fill a few glass jars of varying sizes and shapes with artifacts from the beach: seashells, sand, rocks and starfish. Place your display on a shelf and enjoy its beauty. Need a place to display and store your makeup brushes? Add some decorative filler to the bottom of the jar and insert your makeup brushes for a clean and beautiful way to store and display them.

Pantry Storage: One of the best ways to organize dry goods and to keep them fresh is to use glass jars. In fact, there are tons of free printable labels available online to make your storage as organized and visually appealing as possible. Many people use Mason-style glass jars for this type of storage, as they hold a considerable amount of product. However, any glass jar with a good quality seal would be ideal for this type of use. Similarly, use glass jars in the bathroom to store everything from soaps and cotton balls to toothbrushes and swabs.

Craft Supplies: Another of the most creative ways to repurpose glass jars that we’ve seen is to paint the top of the jars with chalkboard paint for easy labeling and storage of craft supplies. Store everything from glitter and rubber bands to bows and glue sticks. Similarly, glass jars make great storage for school supplies.

Soap Dispensers: With the proper glass jar, a pump can be added to the top to create a custom soap dispenser for your kitchen, bathroom or powder room. Add colored liquid soap that matches your décor or paint the jar prior to adding the soap for a truly custom look.

Plants: From herb gardens to terrariums, which are very popular right now, glass jars can make great planters. This of course depends on the type of glass bottle you have. Even in the simplest of containers, they can be very beautiful to look at and can add life and color to your living or work space.

Gardening: Have a lot of extra glass jars and bottles lying around? One of the most interesting uses for bottles and jars that we’ve seen recently is as edging around a garden bed. Many folks try this with wine bottles, inserting them upside-down into the ground, and leave the labels on for a truly rustic look with time.


Ready to Renew Your Glass Jar Inventory?

These are just a few of the many, many ways to repurpose glass jars. Do you have additional DIY projects to share with our Packaging Options Direct family? Connect with us on Facebook to share your latest glass jar or glass bottle project. In the meantime, if we can help you find the perfect packaging for your next project, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always just a phone call away and look forward to earning your business.

Should you have any questions, you can contact us by calling customer service at 1-855-754-3728 between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm CST, Monday thru Friday.