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Reusing Glass Jars

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.

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Reusing Glass Jars, Glass Jar on White Background
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August 2, 2012 Flag
24 found this helpful

Make these upcycled gift jars by decorating jar lids with beads, etc.

Two jars with finished lids, motifs, and beads.

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April 23, 2012 Flag
6 found this helpful

Here's an idea for bringing a splash of color to those bare spots in your yard and garden. Recycled jar gaden vase on its own.

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Approximate Time: 1-2 hours

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. To keep the wire from slipping down the stick, cut a notch into the stick with your knife or file. Or use a stick with "nubbies" on it that will hold the wire in place. Jar and wire for making garden vases.

  2. Snip off a piece of wire about 2 feet long. Experiment with different gauges of wire for the look you want.

  3. Working in the middle of the cut piece of wire, wrap it around the notch several times to secure it to the stick.

  4. Now wrap the ends of the wire that are left over around the top of the jar.
  5. Attaching wire to the jar.

  6. With a pencil or something similar, curl the ends of the wire to form tendrils.
  7. Now look for a spot in your yard or garden that needs a little color and push your vase-on-a-stick into the ground.
  8. Add a little water and some flowers from another part of the garden.
  9. Recycled jar garden vases by the house.

  10. Stand back. Enjoy. Smile.

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

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July 25, 2007 Flag
2 found this helpful

gift mix in a jarHere are a bunch of creative ways to use recycled glass jars from condiments and other foods.

Craft Storage

If you're a crafter, use them to store your crafting supplies! Be sure to decorate each one. For example, if you're using one to store trim, use a piece of that trim along the rim of the jar. Glass jars also make great recycled gift ideas. Clean the jar very well. Then, fill the jar with the dry ingredients for cookies. Try to layer them neatly - brown sugar packed down, flour, baking soda, etc. Then create a cute gift tag using leftover wrapping paper.

By Andi

Gifts In A Jar

You can use them for Gifts in a Jar. Fill them with the ingredients to make cookies, brownies, whatever. After you put the lid on it, put a pretty piece of fabric on the lid and secure with a rubber band, followed by matching ribbon. Print mixing/baking instructions on a small card. Trim the card with pinking shears. Using a hole punch, put a hole in an upper corner of the card. Thread this card on the ribbon you are using to cover up the rubber band. If you use a ribbon that is 1/4 to 1/2 wide, you can put a bead of hot glue down the center of it to secure the ribbon to the fabric covered or rubber banded lid. Finish ribbon off with a bow and add a touch of hot glue so it won't come untied.

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!

God Bless

By GrammySheila

Gift Mix Recipes

Here is the link to ThriftyFun's recipes for gift mixes:

Homemde Hot Cocoa

I use for gifts in a jar. Homemade; hot cocoa with marshmallows, etc. I put a tag on it, top with a fabric round, tied with a ribbon, etc.

By keeper60

Painting Jars

For jars that have pretty shapes, decorate them with the wonderful glass paints and relief decorative (tubes). The paints can be baked in a regular oven to be permanent. The jars can be filled with potpourri, candles, cotton balls for the bathroom, even cookies. I printed off some ideas for creative writing projects for kids and another for adults. Pulling out one a day and writing on that topic is good exercise for writing skills. Hope this sets people going!

By EasternLady

Decoupage Jars

I love to decoupage them. My son and I love making crafts, and use any glass bottles and jars to do this. We just rip or cut out any type of paper (magazine, newspaper, tissue paper, wrapping paper, etc.), into pieces small enough to work with, and cover the clean, dry jar with a thin layer of glue (diluted with water)... then, carefully add each piece of paper, making sure to smooth out all rough areas/or bubbles. Once covered, add another layer of the glue solution over top of the paper pieces. Of course, the finished product will not be water soluble, but it can be made so... with a sealer, found in, either, the crafts section or hardward dept. of Walmart or similar store. I have also used fabric to decoupage, with beautiful results! Your imagination is the limit! Then, if you want, you can add candies, small cookies, mixes, trinkets, etc. and give as personal gifts!

By Heather S.

Small Aquariums Or Terrariums

You can use them to have Betas (Siamese Fighting Fish) in since they don't need an air filter; you can use them as pots. Take some small gravel, put in the bottom, fill partway with indoor potting soil, seeds, then fill the rest of the way with potting soil up to 1" from top, screw the lid on until the seeds grow to little plants, take the lid off, put in a baggy to create a green-house effect, then when they're big enough to be out of the bag, take them out. Be sure you label what kind of plant, and date planted. Mostly works for small flowers (African violets, herbs, ect.)

For The Holidays

If you have a Christmas or Hanukkah party in December, those jars will look absolutely spectacular with lit candles in them, lining the driveway and entrance. I have seen and used them in this fashion and they are breathtaking.

By Margie

Potporri Jars

I fill them with potpourri and as I fill the jar, I use a small stand of 20 clear Christmas lights tucking it around as I fill the jar. When you have it filled you can take a long spoon and space the lights out. Place the cord out the back. Put a rubber band and the rim to hold the cord, then put a doily over the top and tie a ribbon around it . These are great little light and the heat of the lights makes the potpourri smell wonderful! I sell them at craft shows for 20 bucks apiece in a gallon size- now I need more jars having sold over forty !

By Cindy

Snowman Jars

I make snowman lamps out of old jars and the small white or colored Xmas tree lights, usually the 15 light strands. Clean the outside of the jar with soap and water, rinse and dry with lintless towel. Using paper towel or cosmetic squares, rub alcohol all over the outside of the jar. Let dry naturally.

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.

Decorative And Gift Ideas

Depending on the size of jars, bigger ones add sand or coloured gravel and put a candle in and tie a ribbon around the top, For smaller ones, insert a tea light candle and do the same at the top as bigger one, these make ideal lanterns in the garden on a nice evening.

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!

By Gillie

Thankful Jar

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.

By Tinah

Affirmation Gift Jar

I love my jars! I too do bath salts, candy, cookie, cake and bread mixes in the nicer shaped jars for gifts but I mainly use my jars for day to day storage for everything from food staples (beans, rice, cereals, snacks etc.) to nails, nuts, bolts, screws, rubber bands, paper clips, cotton balls, q-tips, SOS pads, etc. I can't even name all the things I have in all my recycled jars. If I know if I want to keep them in view I will either spray paint the lid or cover it with cloth or paper decoupage so it looks a lot more presentable.

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 Jane

Painted Jars For Cannisters

My family loves kosher dill pickles. We buy them in large gallon jars. I had about 10 of these jars and didn't know what to do with them, until I got an idea. I have a beautiful canister set that I don't use because it is graduated and it doesn't hold enough. I decided to paint my jars to match my kitchen decor. At the time I was into apples. I painted all sorts of apples and the name of each thing I kept in them. We moved into a new house and the kitchen is "purple". At first I hated it. The theme is grapes, fruit and birds. I used nail polish remover to remove the apples. I redid my "canister" set. They are now grapes and birds. I guess if we move again, I can redo them again. I love my canisters.

By Susie from Buckhead, GA

Feel free to post your ideas below.

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June 2, 2010 Flag
6 found this helpful

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

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March 31, 2009 Flag
3 found this helpful

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

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January 23, 2012 Flag
4 found this helpful

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

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August 10, 2009 Flag
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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.

Closeup of lid.

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August 13, 2008 Flag

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.

Filled jars.

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March 27, 2012 Flag

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.

Painted Jars

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April 6, 2009 Flag
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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

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June 7, 20090 found this helpful

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!

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May 18, 2012 Flag

A pretty way to display your flowers. Painted Glass Jar Vases

Approximate Time: 30 min

Supplies:

Instructions:

  1. Wash your jars and remove paper from them.

  2. Then paint the outside of the jar with acyrilic paint, let dry. Purple, red and Pink painted glass jars

  3. Tape a stencil on the jar, use a different color for stenciling. Painted Glass Jar with Pink Flowers

  4. Then add your flowers into the jars, and use as a vase.

By Coville123 from Brockville, Ontario

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May 21, 2010 Flag
2 found this helpful

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.

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January 24, 2012 Flag
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Decorate an old jar (any kind of container will work!) with scrapbooking paper

Decorated Candy Jar with the words "So Sweet"

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March 6, 2014 Flag
2 found this helpful

I started buying the Polar fruit jars at Wal Mart. They are the cutest little jars and the fruit is lovely to eat. When the jar is empty, you would not believe the things I use these jars for.

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October 5, 2009 Flag
3 found this helpful

scarecrow and pumpkin lightsThese are scarecrow and pumpkin decorated electric tealight holders. They could also be made as decorative treat jars

Materials

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry a jar of any size. Remove labels.
  2. Spray paint jar and lid (flesh, beige for Scarecrow, terracotta or orange for pumpkin). Allow to dry.
  3. 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.
  4. Decorate face as desired using paint pens or craft paint.
  5. Spray lightly with a clear sealer to keep paint from scratching.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.

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June 11, 2005 Flag
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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.

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October 16, 2007 Flag
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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!

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October 8, 2010 Flag

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.

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