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.
Make these upcycled gift jars by decorating jar lids with beads, etc.
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.
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
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 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 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 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.
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
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!
A pretty way to display your flowers.
Approximate Time: 30 min
By Coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
These are scarecrow and pumpkin decorated electric tealight holders. They could also be made as decorative treat jars
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.
Hi. 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.