Save that Jar! 5 Easy Ways to Reuse Glass Jars

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Everyone’s heard it, but don’t we skip the first two in favour of the third? Embracing reusing isn’t nearly as daunting or clever as it can seem – and the easiest place to start is the oft-recycled glass jar.

All of these ideas are the better for a touch of paint, sparkle or whatever personal flair you want to bring to them. Leave them simple and clean or go all out – or anywhere in between.

all shapes and sizes of empty glass can work for these simple ideas

all shapes and sizes of empty glass can work for these simple ideas

Baby Food Spice Jars

If you’re using jarred baby food, you’re going to end up with a lot of empty jars. A touch of paint and a run through the dishwasher can turn these into perfect storage for dried spices. Simply clean them out and when they’re spotless and dry, run a swipe of chalkboard paint over the lid. You can also paint the sides, but you may want to sand with a light-grained sandpaper first, so the paint adheres. This is the second time we’ve mentioned chalkboard paint, and for good reason – it’s inexpensive and endlessly versatile. Let it dry, and you have reusable spice jars that will keep your spices fresh.


You don’t need to use baby food jars here. However, the more air in the jar, the faster your dried spices will lose flavors. Plus, the small ones are so cute!

Mason Jar Meals
The rustic appeal of a mason jar elevates the presentation of almost any food. Clear glass is especially good for showing off interesting colors and textures. Now that the weather’s cooling down, try hearty, individual-sized mason jar lasagnes. Simply assemble whatever ingredients you usually use in shallow jars. Sprinkle with cheese and put them in the oven – the best part of this recipe is how much cooking time is reduced. Handle with care while you’re letting them cool and dig in.

This is just one of hundreds of great recipe ideas – think other mini casseroles, deserts, or gifts. A little imagination goes a long way!

Soap dispenser

This is crafty but design-minded décor at it’s finest, and for a fraction of what you’d pay at a retailer. Pick a jar of any size – keep in mind, bigger jars mean less refills – and puncture a hole in the jar’s lid. You can buy individual soap pumps or pick up an inexpensive soap dispenser and recycle the base – just make sure the pump’s stem is the right size for the jar you’ve picked. Simply insert the pump and screw on the lid. Easy!

Tea lights

The light-reflecting qualities of glass make candles a natural choice – and here, the possibilities are really endless. Fill the jars with sand, pebbles, anything you want – just make sure you don’t use anything flammable unless you’re using an LED candle.

easy, portable indoor or outdoor lighting

easy, portable indoor or outdoor lighting

For extra creativity points, turn these into hanging lanterns with a bit of wire or twine. There’s really no end to the ways this design could change.

Sun Tea

This is excellent for soaking up those last rays of sunshine, even when it’s a little cold to spend the day outside. Simply fill a large jar with filtered water and a selection of tea bags – start with black or green, and then add a few flavors like lemon, pear, jasmine, apple or sage. Set in the sun for a day and watch the color deepen and change – steeping in warm water instead of hot will take longer, but deepen and warm up the flavors. You can add slices of fruit too – just filter the pulp when you’re done. Refrigerate or serve on ice – yum!

homemade lemonade looks and tastes great, too

homemade lemonade looks and tastes great, too

all images courtesy

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