Recycle glass jars

Glass jars seem to be a common ‘leftover’ commodity in all homes.  Whether you received canned goods from a neighbor or have cleaned out your refrigerator only to find empty pickle and mayonnaise jars, there are many varied ways to upcycle them.  Here are some ideas to give those old jars new life:

  1. Make a memory jar. It’s like a scrapbook in a jar. Instead of buying expensive souvenirs, collect little mementos on your trip and then put them in a jar. Examples of things you could put in the jar: post card, shells, ticket stubs, piece of a map, pebble, sand, or trinket. You can also make a memory jar with special memories written on slips of paper!
  2. Use the upside down jar like a picture frame. Cut the picture down to size to fit into the jar… but upside down. The curve of the jar will act like a magnifying glass and give your photo an unusual dimension.
  3. Terrarium inside a jar. Collect moss, cactus and small plants. Put a small amount of dirt on the bottom of the jar. Lightly mist. Put the lid tightly on top. The water will evaporate and then “rain” back into the jar, creating a tiny micro-environment.
  4. Make a flower vase. Paint the inside of jars to make colorful flower vases and fill with dry flowers.
  5. Twig covered pencil holder. Gather a few handfuls of small and straight twigs. Cut down to a length just slightly taller than the jar. Hot glue the twigs to outside of jar. Tie a colorful bow around the twigs. You can also use a recycled can to make this project.
  6. Craft storage. Use the jars to sort and store craft materials like crayons, buttons, colored pencils, stickers, foam shapes, glue sticks, etc. Create a fun and colorful label for each jar.
  7. Garage work bench storage. Rather than storing buttons, store nails and screws. This is an easy way to recycle glass jars and not have to dig for the hardware you are seeking.
  8. Candle holder. Small wide mouthed jars (like baby food jars) are great for small candles. Decorate the outside with bits of tissue paper for a mock stained glass look.
  9. Make your own dill pickles. Pickled vegetables are normally a specialty item in the grocery store. Therefore, they can be overpriced. You can make quick pickled vegetables that don’t require very much work or expense. The next time you eat all the pickles from the store bought jar, don’t throw away the brine. Just cut up your own veggies (cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes) and put into the left over liquid. Put back into the fridge. After a couple of days, you will have dilled vegetables. Another option is to find a recipe online and make your own brine.
  10. Catch fireflies. If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has fireflies on warm summer nights, you will need a glass jar with holes poked in the lid. Catch a bunch of fireflies and put them in the jar. So much fun for little kids to watch the glow. Just be sure to let the fireflies loose.  Firefly’s do not live very long in captivity, so after a bit of fun, open the lid and set them free.
  11. Store your pantry items to keep away the pests. Pantry moths like to breed in the corners of paper bags and cardboard boxes. Storing dry goods in glass jars is your best bet for keeping those nasty bugs away. Make sure you label the jars as not to confuse ingredients.

Upcycling glass jars is an easy way to help the environment.  Creativity is key, but the options are endless.  So clean out the refrigerator, and start recycling!