Uses for Recycled Glass Jars

Here 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.

gift mix in a jar
July 25, 20070 found this helpful

I use recycled glass jars instead of plastic storage containers. They let you SEE exactly what is in them, are free and come in a variety of sizes. They also generally close tightly and keep food fresh - crispy things stay crisp, marshmallows stay soft, etc. I can always find what I am looking for on the pantry shelf!

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July 25, 20070 found this helpful

I too like to re use glass jars and I also use them to store leftovers in whenever possible.especially things with a tomatoe base that would stain my plastic containers

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July 25, 20070 found this helpful

I love jars but am not much of a crafter -- whenever I paint or have painting done -- I always put the leftover paint w/ the color/make/date. I use a q-tip for minor touchups & a foam brush for largers ones. I also use jars to start cuttings for friends - "pass along plants" -- right now I have some mini rhodi's going...use gravel in bottom, soil w/ some additives (sand/pumice) & good old Rootone - I put them in a sunny window & watch them take root - we also drink iced tea out of them! I usually buy mine @ the Goodwill ..cj in camas, wa

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July 25, 20070 found this helpful

I would love to see a photo of the snowman lamp

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July 26, 20070 found this helpful

Glass jars are great for getting plant cuttings started expecially roses. Just take proper cuttings, dip in Rootone, and plant in a good potting medium. (I usually use a discarded one gallon plant container.) Water well and then place your glass jar (whatever size jar that will cover your cutting) over the cutting which now forms a "controlled atmostphere". Just place container in a sunny spot and leave it alone to grow on its own. Some water may be necessary but try not to disturb the cutting. I usually place 2 or 3 cuttings together just to be sure of at least one strong plant.

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July 26, 20070 found this helpful

I really like the idea posted about using glass jars to store leftovers and food items. I am not sure where I read it but I heard that chemicals from plastic seep into food items. If this is true I had been wondering what else to put leftovers in.

Also some people use them in the garage to store nails, bolts, etc. Just place the lid underneath the bottom of a garage cupboard and hammer a nail through it from the inside of the cupboard then the lid is stuck to the cupboard and the jar can be filled and screwed into the lid for under cupboard storage.

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July 26, 20070 found this helpful

I saw a project that I'm saving them up for where you clean them and turn them upside down and bury them in a row to use as a plant border. I've been trying to figure out if I can light them from with in as well. Much prettier than railroad ties or that plastic stripping.

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August 20, 20070 found this helpful

If you make little snowstorms with empty jars, add a bit of glycerine to the water. The glitter will float very gently! You can also take a tiny punch and punch out shapes from flattened out empty soda cans and add some of those.

You can buy glycerine at the drug store; a small jar will last forever.

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April 1, 20080 found this helpful

I salute your initiate and thank you for your contribution. I strongly agree with the 3 R principal and applaud your effort. I am concerned, however, about advocating the use of toxic substances such as paint, solvents and petrochemical products, not to mention the packaging these products come in, simply to prevent an inert glass jar from ending up in a landfill site! At some point in time the painted craft project will either outlive it's decorative appeal, fall into disrepair or simply break. Many of the suggestions tabled here do not really prevent the produce from ending up at the curbside: they simply postpone the inevitable. I suggest to you that if we consume yet another product in order to delay a visit to the land fill site we are not ahead, but rather behind, in our objective.

A less imaginative suggestion might be to use the unadulterated jars as everyday drinking glasses or as food storage containers. This suggestion is only effective if it prevents one from consuming another product. The idea is to not purchase another set of drinking glasses there by not consuming raw material that will end up in a landfill site and not consuming the energy it takes to manufacture and transport the product to your door. My spouse and I have been ferrying homemade soup to work in hardy, well-constructed jars for several years without incident. If a jar were ever to break it would end up in the recycling bin and we would pull another salvaged jar off our shelf. No firing up the family car for a visit to Wal-Mart to purchase a replacement manufactured product.

Some jars have embossed graduations and can be used as measuring cups. (Beware of hot liquids)! They are typically mason jars of hardy construction and will accommodate lids that seal extremely well. Both the jars and lids are replicable and interchangeable.

Martha Stewart might oppose. (Poor Martha: I shouldn't pick on her. She's been through a lot). Your neighbours might think you eccentric: your dinner guests plagued by contradictory signals. You might even be labelled a redneck, but you will have made a valid contribution!

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February 24, 20110 found this helpful

Hi there. I just joined. Great ideas here. I've been saving jars forever! I use them for everything-& save all jars from little fancy mustard jars to mayo jars.I even save plastic ones from spices. Film containers & prescription bottles come in handy as well. I use them to separate my beads,pins,tacks,& other small items. The large jars are used for everything from homemade bath products & potpourri to Spaghetti, macaroni, beach shells,etc. I have also made Gifts in a jar. Homemade cookie mixes, dog treats, dog cookies, Hot cocoa & jars of candy. These make nice gifts with a homemade touch.

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January 24, 20160 found this helpful

I keep an "herb"drawer for my many different types of kinds I use to make many 'botanical' wonders...loose incense with herb as base(sage is great)and then on top is put a small round charcoal that is then used to put ground up fragrant resins that burn slowly when you light the herb & charcoal which will slowly turn red as its lit/burning your sweet resins with less smoke and more fragrance.Im a big fan of glass jars for bothmy dried herbs(labeled accordingly)AND all my resins,pathouli,clove,myrrh,etc are perfect in baby food jars with tight lids tokeep fresh,also labeled and able to re-use when jar is empty,just refill with same resin and keep lid on tight to retain freshnesss!

Stacy Temby

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Reusing Glass Jars
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