Your Weekend DIY Project: Glass Jars

Before you bring your recycling bin to the curb next week, take another look inside. All those jars--from sauces, jams, jellies, olives, salsa, pickles, anything--can be repurposed into simple but beautiful (and practically free) projects in just five minutes.

Since we're always interested in reusing what we have, and we're always in the market for free, helpful items like desk organizers and vases, we bring you five creative and super easy projects. So give those jars a second life with craft supplies you might already have around the house (if you don't, they're cheap to buy).

Your first step for any of these five projects is removing the labels. To do that, run the jar under hot water for a minute or two, then use your thumb or the scrubby side of a sponge to loosen the paper and glue. When the goo is gone, run the jar through the dishwasher (on the top shelf) along with its lid.

You’ll be left with a clean and sparkly glass jar that’s ready to be put to new use.

To view the slide show as one long list, click into the show and choose "list view."

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  • Amber

    Thanks for the tips -  I have so many mason jars and sauce jars. I threw a bridal shower for my friend a few months ago and wrapped some twine around the mason jars and put fresh flowers in them. They looked so nice in groupings in the center of the tables.

    • Deb

      Twine is a great idea for the top of jars.  I’ll use different colors.  It should make a colorful look to my jars.

  • Steph

    I love these tips, but I’m a bit skeptical about the chalkboard contact paper.  While this is a cute idea, I’m assuming the paper wouldn’t last through washing of the jars, and I can’t imagine putting contact paper on the jar every time I re-use it…

    • Meghan

      I had the same thought about the hot glued-on fabric for drinking glasses.  Seems more like a one-time use thing.

      • amkade

        Hi Steph and Meghan,

        We spoke to the author of this story to get her take on your comments. Here’s what she says:

        “You could definitely get a couple of washes out of the contact paper. While it’s not waterproof it is resilient and if it’s hand-washed and not soaked it should hold up. You could also put the contact paper on the lid if you’re planning on putting foods inside that will require the jar to be soaked or put in the dishwasher.The hot-glued fabric on drinking glasses is the same thing. Hot-glue can get wet, and so can fabric. As long as you don’t put these in the dishwasher, just soap up the rim and inside and they’ll be totally fine.”

  • Lauren

    Fabulous ideas!  We also love using old beer bottles to display bracelets:

  • CRbirdie

    Over the past few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that i prefer drinking out of glass instead of plastic.  Just one problem….. we tend to break our glasses rather quickly.  Rather than wasting money by constantly buying new sets of glasses, I just started using jars instead.  Spaghetti sauce jars are the best, but I have a few jelly jars, small pickle jars, and cherry jars that have snuck in.  My mother thinks it makes me look poor and nearly homeless but i beg to differ.  There’s a tradtion (at least in the south) of using jelly (mason) jars as glasses.  Spaghetti jars aren’t much different, just bigger!  I can hold a much more respectable quantity of ice tea in a spaghetti jar as opposed to a small mason jar.  I also use them for storage (multi-functional!).  Have just a small bit of juice left but the container is taking up too much room?  No problem!  Pour into jar, screw the lid on…. instant space saver!  Plus the hubby can grab the jar on this way out the door in the AM to have juice with his breakfast with no worries about spilling in the truck.  Plus, jars cost no extra money out of pocket.  So if we happen to break one…. no big deal!  Next time we have spaghetti for supper, I’ve just replaced that broken jar.  It’s worked out great for us.  I’ll probably never purchase glassware again!

  • Jennifer

    I only use glass jars for storage. I label them with either a Permanent marker with the date or a Wax crayon.  Either one easily wash off of the glass or the lids…  Then, you do not have to worry about the contact paper getting destroyed & continually replaced.

  • I use coffee cans for storage because I am ghetto, but I definitely will have to act like an adult and try this. 

  • Alioopsz

    Can’t stand the misuse of grammar! One TAKES her recycling to the curb (unless we are standing at the curb when she talks to me).

  • Carrielrushing

    Thank you, thank you for List View

  • sjdemo

    i use my small jars for storing homemade spice blends. 

  • Tricia Blazy

    I love this idea and have been squirreling away my spaghetti glass jars. I use them for storing food in the freezer (esp when i make soup i want to store. Dont’ fill too high), and food that i plan on re-heating. Glass is safer to re-heat in the microwave than plastic. I am planning on storing my sewing supplies in them soon. Need to squirrel a little bit more. I use snapple bottles for my travel mugs (wrapped in a coozi-like holder). I usually carry my coffee to work in those, and water for trips. I suppose i can use the spaghetti ones now (I’m losing my snapple jars. I rarely replace them because i don’t buy snapple that much).

  • Deb

    What is the point of the acrylic paint?  It seems like an unnecessary step.  I use glass jars for all kinds of kitchen storage.  If you like to visit “antique” stores, you can find cool old mason jars with the metal clamps to hold the lids.  They look great on the open shelving in my kitchen.