This is a guide about reusing glass jars. Instead of recycling or throwing out your glass jars, find another function for them. From storage to decorating, glass jars have many different ways of being reused.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
Make these upcycled gift jars by decorating jar lids with beads, etc.
Approximate Time: 45 minutes
I'm starting to think about making Christmas gifts and recycled jars are a good way to contain your gift, and to help the environment.
I'd been saving some unique jars like an artichoke hearts jar, and a horseradish jar. (It's also interesting to see what you can find in your fridge as far as possibilities. Jars with colored lids are really great, as that will be your background color, and you can work with that when you make your "motifs".)
Add a little bling to your lids by making a "motif". Hot glue a pretty "jewel" right in the center, then start gluing your string, or loose beads, around it, then add another string of beads for the outer edge, let dry, and that is it. Fill the jar with candy, or whatever you wish to give your fav someone. They will even have 2 gifts in one and can use the gift jar for storing something else in later on.
Some gift ideas might be a jar filled with pretty beads for a favorite sister, fishing tackle for a big brother, home made cookies for dad, and a sewing kit for mom. (*I find that using a bamboo skewer works really well to "fine tune" your beads into place.)
By CDC from FL
I had some old jars laying around and put some acyrilic paint in the bottom with a little bit of water and shook them up and then let them sit to dry over night. Now the kids have colourful jars to store pencils, crayons, and scissors.
By Coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
A pretty way to display your flowers.
Approximate Time: 30 min
By Coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
Here's an idea for bringing a splash of color to those bare spots in your yard and garden.
Approximate Time: 1-2 hours
Bonus tip: if the soil is too hard or too sandy, use a big flower pot with rocks to hold your sticks upright. :-)
Source: I saw a similar project in the book, 2 Hour Garden Art, by Ruby Begonia
By ~gloria from western NY
I reuse all the glass jars that come into my house. The real small ones are great for extra washers and screws, beads, jewelry holders when traveling (I use small pierced earrings), extra chopped veggies, and so on.
The larger jars make pretty candy jars with a little dab of decoration. The very large jars are great cannisters for staples like flour or sugar. Dried beans, peas or macaroni look attractive with a touch of decoration on any shelf.
By Elizabeth from Dodson Prairie, TX
I do not throw away any glass or plastic jars that can be reused. I save the small ones for spices I buy in bulk at the store for a fraction of what they cost in bottles on the shelf. I also use them to store taco mix, gravy mix, beans, etc. Anything bought in bulk is usually fresher and less expensive.
By koffeeladie from Twin Falls, ID
Sometimes I buy coffee in jars that look like small storage jars. I use lots of spices so I find them very handy to use as spice jars. When they are empty, this is what I do. It saves on money and they hold so much more than the small ones that are sold. I also keep the fuses from plugs when the appliance has refused to stop working in the jars to reuse when a fuse blows in another plug.
By Longworth from London, Middlesex
Spray paint jar and lid (flesh, beige for Scarecrow, Terracotta or orange for pumpkin). Allow to dry.
Glue lid (inside facing upward) to top of jar (I used E-6000). If you desire to use these as treat jars, do not glue lid to top of jar.
Decorate face as desired using paint pens or craft paint.
Spray lightly with a clear sealer to keep paint from scratching
For Scarecrow, glue raffia around brim of hat, trim for bangs. To make hat, decorate a straw hat with artificial flowers, buttons and ribbon to your liking. I painted a wooden triangle to resemble a crow! Attach hat to lid (I again used E-6000)
Place electric tealight on lid. Because of the raffia and straw hat this is extremely FLAMMABLE, I recommend using an electric tea light instead of a regular candle.
Made in a variety of shapes and sizes, these look adorable on a mantle or porch. And can be used year after year!
By Diana, Louisville, KY
Editor's Note: This project should never be used with a traditional candle flame, it is very flammable. Only battery operated tealights or other non-flame candle substites should be used.
I picked up these interesting little jars at a thrift store for 25 cents. They sort of reminded me of perfume jars so I thought they would be nice in the bathroom.
I painted simple sailboat scenes on the lids, and filled them with cotton balls, etc. Add a few sea shells from your vacation and place them on a coordinating hand towel (like a mini beach towel) on a shelf to remind yourself of those soothing beach days all year 'round!
Approximate Time: 30 minutes, depending on the scene you paint.
By Cindy from Waynesburg, PA
I try to store my open bags of peas and beans in a glass tea jar (I use a funnel to get them in). This keeps me from having the beans spill all over my pantry when the rubber band doesn't go on properly. I have found that if I open up the plastic bag at one end, I can slide the bag with the label and directions over the end of the jar, so that I don't forget what's inside OR how to cook it. It's easy to pour the beans out into a measuring cup since the mouth of the jar is narrow. Now my pantry stays a lot neater with the jars upright instead of having different shaped rice and bean bags everywhere. Also, I can save some money by not buying containers since I just reuse a jar!
By Erin from Blue Bell, PA
I started buying the Polar fruit jars at Wal Mart. They are in the canned fruit lane. They are the cutest little jars and the fruit is lovely to eat. I think they are $1.00. When the jar is empty, you would not believe the things I use these jars for. I use them for things like: coins, sugar, salt, pepper,
finger nail clippers, tweezers and so on.
Decorate an old jar (any kind of container will work!) with scrapbooking paper
Approximate Time: 10 minutes
Cut a band 2-3 inches narrower than the height of the container. Make sure it is long enough to completely encircle the container, plus 1 inch. Join 2 pieces of paper together with your adhesive if necessary (as I had to do in this sample). Apply adhesive to one short end of the strip and to both long ends of the strip. If your strip is particularly wide you may need to add another line of adhesive in the middle.
Carefully position the short end of the strip at the center front of the container (the seam will eventually be covered with your label). Here is the tricky part. Go slowly to assure the strip is properly positioned on the container as you will not easily be able to remove it and reposition. Turn the container on its side and apply adhesive to the remaining short end and secure over the beginning of your strip.
Create a label (I used Stampin' Ups new Label framelits dies). I used 3 different ones, but used coordinating papers and dimensionals to give the label height, contrast, and interest. Stamp a sentiment and adhere to the label.
Mount your label to the front (covering the seam of the 2 short ends of paper).
Fill with treats and enjoy or give as a gift!
By Diana from Prospect, KY
When you buy restaurant size jars of mayo, salad dressing, hot sausages, pickles or pickled eggs, save the jars and use them to store your bird seed or other pet food. It keeps the mice from being drawn into your house and eating your expensive animal chow. Any large mouth and large in size jar will do.
By shotpusher from Lucama, NC
After pricing drinking glasses in the store, I bought a case of a dozen pint canning jars for about 1/3 the cost. I enjoy the "country" look, and can use the jars next fall to can.
Years ago I could buy mayonnaise and salad dressing in quart glass jars. No more, that's a things of the past. I just started making my own homemade mayonnaise with my Vita-Mix and wanted to keep it in a glass jar in my refrigerator. I found several quart glass pickle jars with lids in the glass recycling bins in the apartment complex.
By MCW from Lewiston, NY
If you are like me, you love displaying things in jars. I do it with rice, 16 bean soup, buttons, etc. However, if you are doing something crafty and you want the effect without the wasted stuff on the inside that no one sees (not so important with rice but a real loss with old buttons), then do what I do. Keep a TP roll or for a taller jar, a paper towel roll and slip inside the jar. Then fill around it with your pretties. I am submitting two examples, one done and the other not finished so you can see what I mean.
As a special bonus, one of those jars can be a secret stash for jewelry, cash, etc, by slipping it all down the center where no one would think to look.
By Sandra from Salem, OR
I don't ordinarily save jars, but I've found that the best to save are the Wyler's bouillon jars, nice size, airtight, and the labels easily come off! :o)
By Kim from Crawford, CO
Here are a bunch of creative ways to use recycled glass jars from condiments and other foods.
There are tons of different mix recipes on the crafting sites on the web: find one that you like, make it "yours" and have fun with it!
By Heather S.
Do not handle the outside of the jar with bare hands--you may leave oily fingerprints, then paint may not stick. Use disposable rubber type gloves. Put the jar over one hand if mouth is wide enough, otherwise, hold the jar by the top rim. Squeeze some white acrylic paint out onto a paper plate. Dampen a sea/wool sponge and dip into paint. Sponge the paint all over the jar, thin coat. Set aside to let dry. Clean sponge (Actually I do several jars at a time.)
When jar(s) are dry, sponge another coat of white paint onto entire surface. Dry, clean sponge. Repeat these steps until jar has at least 3 coats of paint. It should not be too opaque that you can't see through the jar, but opaque enough that you can't see the green light strand too clearly.. Let sit to dry for several hours, or overnight. It is not necessary to bake it.
Later, paint 2 smiling eyes on one side 1/3rd of the way down from the top, using an artist brush, round, pointy one and black paint. Under the eyes, paint a pointy carrot with orange paint, and under that, a silly grin with a liner brush. With an old scruffy brush or a stencil brush, paint a light "blush" on each cheek in pink.
When all is good and dry again, brush a clear gloss acrylic sealer over the entire jar. 2 coats are better than one and 3 thin coats are best. While the sealer is drying, insert the Xmas lights, with the cord hanging out the top.
Make a "stocking cap" out of a scrap of fleece, or a brightly colored kid's sock. Put that over the mouth of the jar, arrange "jauntily", and sew or hot glue jingle bell to the very top or end of the "cap". Plug in the lights, and Voila! A Snowman Lamp!
I make these to sell at craft shows and they fly off my shelves. I price them according to size, starting with $3.00 for little guys that I put a battery tealight inside to $6.00 for the mayo jar size. They make great gifts, too, for teachers, nursing home residents, the aunty or uncle who has everything else in the world, mainly everybody. Oh, and if you don't think you can paint the face, you might try looking for those rub on decal faces at your local craft or Michael's store. Have fun!
By Kathi in Beautiful Wisconsin
Editor's Note: Here is a post about inspecting light in glass jars often to minimize any danger.
Another idea is cover the lids with a scrap bit of fabric or parer, stick flower oasis or play clay on inside of the lid and stick in some artificial flowers into the oasis or clay then screw the jar back onto the lid upside down and then you have a nice floral decoration to display.
Kids could also make snow storms, instead of flowers stick a small toy or figure then fill jar with water and glitter. but make sure the lid is screwed back on tightly so there are no leaks when shaken,
Hope you find these suggestions of interest!
You can paint them, decoupage them, glue beads on them, pot plants in them, put pretty collections in them, use them to give gifts in instead of a bag, insert a pretty cloth or tissue paper, cover the lid with a corresponding pattern, tie ribbon with gift card and fill with goodies, gifts, small trinkets, gift cards, etc. they are great to individualize for sharing homemade baked goods. Also, I put a thankful jar out and each person writes what they are thankful for and sticks it in the jar, when we are feeling down and out we pull our thankful notes, and feel better immediately. Hope this helps.
One year when I was strapped for money right at my nephews birthday, I got a really nice jar, painted the lid a very neon orange and filled the jar with little strips of a various colors of brightly colored neon paper. The strips of paper were about the size of those you find in fortune cookies and on each one I wrote a message on it for my twelve year old nephew who was going through a rough time and feeling down in the dumps because of his parents divorce. I wrote things like "You're a terrific kid", "Have a great day!" "Hugs and kisses" "You have a wonderful smile" "I love how you are so kind and caring when talking to Mrs. Jones" (our elderly neighbor) etc. I put about fifty of these affirmations in the jar as well as about ten that offered low cost things like "Good for an ice cream cone" or "Good for a hug" or "Good for one movie ticket" etc.
He only got to pull one strip a day and couldn't look through the jar before he pulled a strip of paper. Every day he had something to look forward to and he never knew if it was going to be a "warm fuzzy" or a little "gift". I put a little tag on the jar explaining all of this but I still wasn't very sure how my very materialistic and spoiled nephew would deal with this as a gift for his birthday. I thought he might think it was lame but he LOVED it! At the end of the sixty days, he asked if we could do it again! Who Knew?
Anyway the idea is that you just need to be creative. I have always been a big fan of recycling and I always need things organized so I just combined the two... Hope you got one or two ideas. Happy jar collecting
By Susie from Buckhead, GA
Feel free to post your ideas below.
Recycle your large salsa jars. I use them for my salt, pepper and spices. Just spray paint the lid any color, I use white spray paint then take a nail and hammer in holes on the top of the lid large enough for whatever spice you are putting in them. Great for dry rubs and your own spice blends. These work great for barbecue. After friends and family saw mine they all made their own.
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Here are questions related to Reusing Glass Jars.
I have about 20 or more little 2 oz. glass jars with lids. Seems a shame to throw them out. Any ideas what to do with them? Thanks!
By Batwing from Virginia
By Donna Griffin06/07/2009
Use them to store leftover food. Or use them as drinking glasses. Save the lids and use them so that if you knock over the "glass" it doesn't spill out. Peace!
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
I hate throwing away and even just recycling glass jars. I wash and reuse them instead. As a result, I am overrun and need some thoughts on additional uses for glass jars (with lids or without).
Recycle small wide-mouth glass jars to store leftover onion. Store on a shelf where you can see it. No odor and no waste since it is easy to see and does not get pushed to the back of the fridge.
Glass jars are great for other foods, since you can easily see the contents; you know the old saying, "out of sight, out of mind."
We have a sandwich shop and end up with empty glass gallon jars from the pickles. Any suggestion for a craft or other uses?
By C Hop from Winter Haven, FL
You could donate them--preschools and art teachers would love them.
You could sell them in your shop for $1 each
Sell them at Christmas full of cookies made in your shop (06/18/2009)
We did this down the walkway in front of the house one year at Christmas time and it was really pretty! I got the candles at the dollar store and I used all white candles.
You could use other colors at Christmas (red, gold, green, etc.) or switch them out depending on the holiday. Red for Valentines, green for St. Patrick's, pastel for Easter, etc. You could use more than one color candles: red and green for Christmas or red, white and blue for the 4th of July!
Hope that you get lots of neat ideas! Elizabeth Jane (06/24/2009)