Craftiness, Thrifty

18 ways to upcycle old jars

12 November, 2012

If you are like us and eat a lot of lemon curd and peanut butter you have a spare jar, or several hundred, in your home. I keep all mine in the little alley way alongside our kitchen, accessible only by our back garden, a place we try to pretend doesn’t exist. It’s covered with a tarpaulin and houses our Projects. I also, bizarrely, buy extra jars from car boot sales, but just if they are especially pretty or vintage – yep, my huthband doth dethpair.

You see, you can NEVER have enough jars. They provide endless opportunities for giving thrifty but appealing gifts, for beautiful, craftilicious decoration and of course, simple and lovely storage. And for Christmas jars come into their own. Un fact, Christmas was MADE for jars. (Love and family and hope, they get a little look in too.) Despite there being already one million ways to up cycle a jar, I am still not sure the human race has even reached the full realms of what is possible.

But to get us started, here are 18 of the best…

Gift ideas

Use chalk board paint and sweets inside With a bit of tile grout and some ordinary acrylic paint you can whip up small, colourful batches of chalkboard paint. It slicks straight onto any surface, including jars, meaning you can fill a jar with sweets and label it with a cool message.

Put a figure on top and homemade finger paints inside Once you have glued a figure on top of a jar, and painted it, there is no turning back. It looks so wicked. In this instance I filled the jars up with matching homemade finger paints, and gave it as a gift to a toddler.
Decorate the lid and put a home made body scrub inside
Just a bit of cool paper and a decoupage technique (homemade mod podge) can transform a rubbish old jar. I filled mine with the easiest homemade body scrub ever.

Layer cake ingredients inside and give with instructions to make No, youย  cynics, this isn’t a lazy way of giving some baking, it’s CUTE, all right? I like it.

Put together a tiny sewing kit and make the lid a pin cushion. A lovely friend gave me a sewing kit in a jar once and I just loved it. Such a gorgeous gift to receive.

Photo credit and How To from must-read Momtastic

Fill with reshaped old crayons Melting and reshaping old crayons makes a gorgeous gift for children. Putting them in a handy jar so you can see the shapes and colours against the side make it that bit more special.

Decoration Ideas

Use paper on the outside to create a beautiful tea light Cutting shapes into pages from a book and popping it around a jar to create a candle holder has to be the most simple decoration ever… oh wait, but look:

Decoupage leaf candle holderย  Maybe that honour goes to the sticking of leaves to the outside of a jar to make a candle holder. So lush, and can be seasonal, in whatever season. A bit of nature in your home.

Photo credit and beautiful How to found at From Panka With Love

Glow in the dark jars You can get glow-in-the-dark paint from most craft shops, and it is put to stunning use here. How perfect for a child’s room.

A beautiful jar chandelier This is an upcycle that needs a bit more dedication, and possibly an electrician. But, if you are looking for a light feature THIS IS IT!

Christmas Ideas

Christmas snow globes A jar, a bit of glitter, some objects and some glue. Amazing. I am definitely going to craft up some of these with Ramona, I am going to keep my eyes peeled at car boot sales for especially kitcsh Christmas decorations I could feature in them.

Photo credit and stunning How To from Elisa McLaughlin Designs

Christmas in a jar Love this, giving someone everything they need to fill their home with the Christmas pong, I mean, SPIRIT. You could really adapt this idea, with what you can find that smells awesomely Christmassy.

Edible Ideas

A jar of DIY peppermint hot chocolate I love the idea of giving someone a little treat they can give themselves when the time arises. A ready to go drink would be something my husband would love.

Rainbow Cake in a jar All the glories of a classic 1980’s rainbow cake with the added gimmick of eating it out of a jar. Immense.

Photo credit and How to at the brilliant Run with Glitter blog

Berry crumble in a jar If someone was to serve me a pie in a jar I think I’d be their BFF.

You kind of get the idea here, I guess… bake things, but in jars.

Storage Ideas

Glue lids to underside of shelf, screw jars on to itThis is an ace idea, possible with just a glue gun, a shelf an some jars. Really ideal if you don’t have much surface space.

Photo Credit and How To from Good Housekeeping

Use a hot glue to spell out the contents of the jar and paint overย  Another simple idea, but SO effective. I need this so that when I finally reach my one life’s ambition of having a cleaner they’ll know where to pop my tiny trinkets…

Tadah! They are my faves. What are the best ways you have seen to reuse a jar?

PS See beautiful pictures of all the above ideas on my Upcycle your Jars Pinterest board. (Crumbs, you know you have made it when you have a Pinterest board about Jars…)

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  • Mel Wiggins 12 November, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Jartastic! I have such a stash to do stuff with this christmas. Last year was all about the body/hand scrub. This year it’s crumbles/baking stuff in a jar for SURE. I really want to make that light fixture too – my living room is crying out for it….

    • lulastic 12 November, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      OhI can so imagine you pulling off the chandelier in your new home! Pllleeeeeease do it!
      Didn’t you say you were going to give away salted caramel in jars too? LOVE that idea!

  • Molly - Mother's Always Right 12 November, 2012 at 8:46 am

    You’ve actually read my mind. Seriously. I am a terrible jar hoarder and now have an excuse to stop the husband chucking all my jars out of the shed! I always get rid of a few jars at Christmas by making chutney and giving it as gifts in decorated jars, but I LOVE the other prezzie ideas – not to mention the jar storage idea. Genius!

    • lulastic 12 November, 2012 at 11:44 am

      I kind of sneak my empty jars into the alleyway ๐Ÿ™‚ Chutney is a total classic, can’t believe I missed that one!!!

  • Crafts on Sea 12 November, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I love all of these so much! Off to eat some jam now ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • lulastic 12 November, 2012 at 11:45 am

      Hehe! Totally, slap it on that toast ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been known to pick certain more expensive jams because the jars are that bit nicer!

  • Ella Tabb (@Purpleella) 12 November, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    What lovely ideas, I have always saved jars but never really done anything with them. Time to change that I think.

    • lulastic 12 November, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Yes, so much more for them than to let them languish in your cupboard!

  • Hook, Line & Sink Her 12 November, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I want to add every idea on this list to my “to craft” Pinterest Board! I’ve been meaning to stick some plastic figures on jar lids and paint them since seeing this picture about a year ago – I’m thinking some sea creatures to house cotton balls etc in the bathroom ๐Ÿ™‚


  • City Girl At Heart (@CityGatHeart) 13 November, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Love all of these ideas. Great for xmas pressies too ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • pauline acton 29 November, 2012 at 6:41 am

    brill am such a horder of jars am going to give some of these ideas a go

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  • Nadine Murtaza 25 January, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    This was AWESOMELY awesome – only two ideas were things I had seen elsewhere online (repeating ideas are getting hard to not find vexing) and you are REALLY funny:) Thanks for sharing.

  • Lucy 25 January, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks everyone ๐Ÿ™‚ But you know, especially Nadine *waves* Really funny, me? Oh, whhy, doon’t… Come back any time won’t you?!

  • ginnie 27 February, 2013 at 6:46 am

    I am so excited about the rainbow cake in the jar! I am going to definitely use some of these ideas, I have a whole drawer full of old jars. It’s taken me until now to find any interesting uses for them. Usually it’s all vases and body scrubs. I absolutely love the glow in the dark jars too. I am going to do up about six of them each to put on both mine and my daughters windowsills, they look just like fireflies in a jar. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yay!

    • Lucy 27 February, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      I havent made either of those things yet and I am so keen to!

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