Buying products in glass containers is often deemed as being better for the environment than plastic. But it always seems like such a waste to simply toss them away, doesn’t it? Though if you’re not careful you can end up being overrun by jars. So, here are some ideas of how you can give them a new lease of life.
40. Instant noodle jar
Hang onto your glass jars so that you can whip up a quick and tasty lunch. Simply pack your container with noodles, vegetables and whatever protein you have at home and season with herbs and spices. You can store these in the fridge and when you’re ready to enjoy one, simply pour over hot water.
39. Trendy drinking glasses
Using a glass jar to drink from might not be the most inventive way to upcycle the items, but it certainly looks effective. They can be used as a receptacle for any sort of beverage – from iced coffees to cocktails – to make your refreshment look picture perfect. Top tip: do as this Instagram did and add an eco-friendly reusable straw, too.
38. Photo flower pot
Turn your jars into something worth keeping by adding function and sentimental value. These painted photo frame flower pots would make lovely additions to any home. And they could even be given out as cheap but cheerful homemade gifts. The best part is that they’re easy to make, but they look no less lovely when sporting your favorite photograph and a bouquet.
37. Start a herb garden
What better way to put your old jars to use than by adding more flavor to your kitchen? Plant them up with your favorite herbs and label them accordingly. The best thing is that each individual container can be moved to ensure every plant gets its optimum condition. What’s more, the whole lot can be transferred outside during barbeque season!
36. Make a soap dispenser
You can clean up with this nifty soap dispenser that will cost you next to nothing to produce. Simply cut a hole through the lid of a jar, poke a pump dispenser through, and then fill it with your favorite product. Every time you run out of soap, just add more – saving you cash and unwanted plastic every time you wash your hands.
35. Homemade candles
Empty jars make the perfect container for candles, and it’s easy to make your own at home with a little know-how. According to the YouTube channel Ideal Home, you just have to mix wax pellets with some dye and melt in a pot before adding a few drops of essential oil. Add a wick to your jar and pour in your mixture to make something that looks and smells amazing.
34. ‘Breathe jar’
When congestion strikes, this so-called breathe jar could be your new best friend. Fight the symptoms of allergies and colds by filling the receptacle with cotton balls that have been soaked in essential oils, the website One Good Thing recommends. Every time you feel bunged up, simply unscrew the lid and take a sniff to help clear your nose and airways.
33. Halloween decorations
Get Halloween all wrapped up ahead of time by making some of these awesome mummy decorations. They couldn’t be simpler to create: just wind some bandage material around a jar and add a pair of spooky, googly eyes. Before the trick-or-treaters arrive, you could even fill them with candies or add an electric tealight for a clever twist on the old jack-o’-lantern.
32. Fairy house
This kiddy friendly craft idea is sure to get the imagination flowing. Turn your unwanted jars into magical fairy houses by filling them with twigs, moss, bark and other things you’ve salvaged from nature. You can even create log cabins for the mythical creatures, and get your little ones to leave them notes.
31. Desk organizer
According to the ICON Network, all you need is a wooden panel, some spray paint, a few jars and a glue gun to make this desk organizer. Different sized glasses will also work well for different office items. For instance, small jars can be used to store paper clips or pins, while taller ones make perfect homes for pens or pencils.
30. Gel air freshener
If you are looking for a natural way to eliminate odors, gel fresheners could be the answer. The YouTube channel Our Oily House suggests using a mix of water, salt, gelatin and essential oils to create something which smells amazing. In addition, it comes without all the nasties of a store-bought alternative. And if you’re feeling creative, you can add colors or even silk flowers to the mix – all contained within a repurposed jar.
29. Rustic lantern
Spotless jars can be turned into something much more interesting with a little crafting knowledge. To make this rustic lantern, the YouTube channel 5-Minute Crafts VS suggests spraying your container with sea glass spray and weaving twine around it for a full-on nautical effect. Simply add a handle and a candle to finish the look, which is perfect for indoor or outdoor lighting.
28. Unique photo frame
At first glance, this upcycling hack from 5-Minute Crafts VS might seem a bit offbeat, but bear with it. First, take your chosen photograph and cover it in clear school glue. Place the picture inside a jar and – here’s where it gets crazy – fill the receptacle with vegetable oil. Place a silk flower behind the image, replace the lid and you’re left with an unusual but beautiful keepsake.
27. Snowy jar
When Christmas comes around, add some merriment to the place with one of these snow-effect decorations. Simply coat a jar in glue and sprinkle on some Epsom salt to cover it. To complete the look, tie a red ribbon in a bow around the rim and add a tealight so you can bask in that festive glow!
26. Colorful centerpiece
Recreate these colorful centerpieces by mixing a dollop of school glue, a drop of food coloring and a dash of water in a bowl before coating a jar with the concoction. Then pop the glass container in the oven for 20 minutes at 170°C, 5-Minute Crafts VS recommends. When you take it out, the mixture will have dried in an ombre effect – ready for you to add lights and flowers.
25. Glitter globe
For a modern take on the traditional snow globe, why not fill your creation with glitter instead? After creating your chosen scene inside a jar, Ventuno Art suggests sprinkling in some sparkly stuff and filling it with water and a drop of glycerin. Secure the lid in place before giving the whole thing a shake to see it do its thing.
24. Use them to propagate plants
Spare jars make great temporary homes for plant cuttings you’re wanting to propagate. According to The Spruce, you simply fill one with water, add a touch of rooting hormone and place your chosen stem into the solution. Once some roots have sprouted, you’ll be able to see them through the glass – meaning you know when to transfer the cutting into some soil.
23. Glow lights
These awesome lights can be made with some colored crepe paper and a little glue, according to Ventuno Art. Simply cut the paper into rectangles and paste them onto the jar to create a random pattern. Once you’ve completely covered the glass, put another layer of glue on top and allow it to dry. Add lights and, voila, you have your own unique night lamp!
22. Make a picture perfect pantry
You probably don’t need reminding that jars are perfect for storing food. They look particularly effective when filled with dried goods such as beans and lentils. The best thing is, you can decorate or label them in any way you might like to make a pretty pantry.
Did you know that jars can be easily recycled into terrariums? Just add a base of gravel, soil, moss and charcoal into one of your receptacles. This will sustain a tiny garden filled with plants that thrive off moisture-rich environments. These tiny eco-systems survive by mimicking the natural rain cycle – meaning they’re fascinating to have around.
20. Travel fund
By cutting a slot into the lid of a jar you can create your own unique travel fund. Decorate the glass with images of your desired vacation spot, or even the map of the world for extra motivation to save. That way, you’ll be more inclined to hand over any spare change when you have it.
19. Tissue dispenser
Always have a tissue to hand thanks to this handy homemade dispenser. Simply paint up a jar any way you like, make a hole in the lid, add a cardboard stopper and cut an “X” in that. Next, stuff the receptacle with paper tissues and pull one through the card while securing the lid once more.
18. Sand art
Sand art was all the rage in the 1990s, so why not stir up a bit of nostalgia by recreating the trend using a discarded jar or bottle? Simply layer the container with different colored sand and use an unfurled paper clip to poke some patterns through the tiers. When you’re happy with the effect, pop the lid back on and admire your handiwork!
17. Woodland lamp
Large mason jars can be kept aside to create some really outstanding interior features – like this woodland lamp. According to YouTube user Angie Holden, simply fill the receptacle with birch wood logs – or any other aesthetically pleasing item you can think of – and add a mason jar lamp kit. All that’s left to do to then is add a suitable shade and find a place for your new creation to live.
16. Farmhouse utensil holder
Add some farmhouse chic to your kitchen by making one of these rustic utensil holders. Simply paint a medium-sized jar using chalk paint in a hue to complement your decor, KraftsbyKatelyn recommends. After a couple of coats, allow it to dry before rubbing the ridges down with some sand paper for a well-loved look. When that’s done, you can decorate with twine or add a chalk sign to act as a label.
15. Jar lid fridge magnets
Many jar upcycling hacks neglect to make use of the lids. But before you toss these little metal discs out with the trash, consider making some of these charming fridge magnets. Cut a photograph to size and place it in the recess of the lid, YouTube user unOriginal Mom says. Then glue a magnet to the back and place them on your appliances to create a little memory wall.
14. DIY gumball machine
If you’re feeling particularly ambitious in your crafting efforts, why not give this DIY gumball machine a go? It will require some woodwork skills to create the base of the dispenser, but once you’ve mastered that, you just make a hole in the lid of the jar and place it upside down on the foundation. Fill the glass container with candy and secure it to the contraption – before finally savoring your spoils.
13. Artificial fishtank
With this DIY project from 5-Minute Crafts VS, you can have your very own aquarium without the commitment of looking after fish. Take a jar and add some pebbles, false foliage and a seashell to the bottom to complete the look. Fill with water and add a couple of drops of blue food coloring before suspending some fake aquatic life to the lid and resecure.
12. Wall hangers
Transform your unwanted jars into permanent home fixtures with these stylish wall hangers. You’ll need some wood to act as a base for the features, which you can paint or stain before attaching a hook to suspend a pre-decorated jar. The containers can then be filled with flowers or with more useful items to make for a clever storage solution.
11. Animal storage jars
Make use of any old plastic toys that you might have lying around by turning them into fancy jar toppers. Simply glue one to the top of your lid and spray it any color you like. You can fill your upcycled receptacle with anything you please, but we think these feline-themed ones would make the perfect cat food containers.
10. Vanity organizers
You can transform your old jars into pretty chic-looking vanity organizers simply with some old drawer handles, glue and spray paint. Different sized containers can be used to store specific items. For instance, long, thin receptacles are perfect for make-up brushes, while small, squat ones will suit things like Q-tips.
9. Reed diffuser
Create a sweet-smelling space with one of these homemade reed diffusers. Just take a jar and either remove the lid or cut a wide hole in it. Then fill the container with oil and add a few drops of essential oils. You can even inject a pop of color into your creation by mixing food coloring with vodka before adding it to the jar.
8. Candy jar
Cleaning a jar up and filling it with your favorite candy is an easy but effective way to give the discarded household item a new lease of life. To add a bit of pizzaz to your new container, you could glue a handle to the lid and upcycle the whole top section with a spray of paint or some other kind of embellishment.
7. Magnetic spice rack
This inventive magnetic spice rack is a cool way of turning jars into a key feature of your kitchen. Fill them with your cooking ingredients and secure a magnet to the bottom or side using double-sided emblem tape. Once that’s complete, you can stick them to any magnetic surface – whether that be a fridge door or a specially made feature wall.
6. Mason jar chandelier
This mason jar chandelier sure has the wow factor, doesn’t it? And to think: most of it could have ended up in the trash! To make things simpler, YouTube DIYer The Bonnie Life used an old pendant light fixing she no longer used to fix the jars to. But it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to make your own from scratch with a little research.
5. Vacation memory jar
Of course, there are some vacations that you’ll want to remember forever. And you can do just that with this home decor hack. Simply put aside keepsakes from your favorite trip – whether that’s sand from the beach or souvenirs from a city break. Once you’re home, arrange the items inside of a jar to capture the essence of your jaunt.
4. Chore jars
Dividing the household tasks up at home can be a job in itself, so why not consider making these handy chore jars? Just write tasks on popsicle sticks and place them in the “to do” container. Then your family members can pick one at random to complete – before enjoying all the satisfaction of placing the stick in the “done” jar.
3. Under shelf storage
If your cupboards are already jam-packed, you can make use of the gap left at the top of each section with this nifty storage solution. To attach the jars, simply screw the lids of them to the underside of each shelves. Alternatively, you might be able to make some magnetic contraption in order to keep your lids intact.
2. Yarn dispenser
Some things can be a pain to store away neatly, and yarn is definitely one of them! To keep unruly threads in check, wind them up and place them inside of a jar. By poking a hole through the lid and feeding the yarn through it, you can easily dispense the twine without unraveling the rest of it.
1. Salt and pepper shakers
Did you know that smaller jars can be easily repurposed into unique salt and pepper shakers? Simply paint or decorate the glass however you wish before punching a series of small holes in the lid using a hammer and nail. Once you’ve done that, label the items accordingly and fill them up with the classic seasonings.