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10 MORE Ways to Reuse Glass Jars

by Tiffany in Recycle

10-more-ways-to-reuse-glass-jarsOne of the first places I head to in my local thrift store is the glassware section. It is not uncommon for me to buy up all the mason jars or other glass jars they have. I like ones with lids (as long as they don’t have mold or rust) but I will buy ones without lids as well because they are one of my favorite storage containers. I rarely buy anything from the store that comes in jars like these (spaghetti sauce, pickles) so I have to get mine second hand.

Last year I wrote about 10 Ways to Reuse a Glass Jar and I was inspired today to write about 10 MORE ways to reuse and repurpose glass jars cause I just LOVE them!

1. Drink out of them – I drink my green smoothies out of them and because they are often rimmed or bent I use a glass straw as well. My husband drinks iced coffee and tea out of them too. They are the first drink glasses we will go for. I steal the smaller chipped ham glass jars that my dad buys and those are the kids glasses. It was those chipped ham jars that I drank from every summer when I stayed with my grandma. She was the queen of thrift and managed to save over a million dollars during her working years, while employed at a factory. Every time I drink some OJ from a chipped ham jar I think of it as a frugal luxury.

2. Collection Jars – Glass jars are great places to put marbles, buttons, sewing notions, stickers, shiny rocks, pretty baubles or anything you or your kids like to collect. Not only do they store the items for you, they display them nicely for you. There is a lady down the street from me who put 3 shelves inside the window sills of her windows and on them she displays glass jars filled with various treasures. Every time I pass by her house I have to look!

Glass Jar with Marbles

Photo by alexkerhead

3. Dried Beans, Nuts, and Seeds – Instead of buying glass jars from Wal-Mart or some other store I just put old ones to work for storing dried beans on my counter top. I use jars in the refrigerator and freezer for raw nuts and seeds too. You could also use them for flour, spices, or virtually anything.

4. Specimen Jars – If you homeschool or just enjoy home education projects then glass jars make great specimen jars. You can put herbs, leaves, bugs, cocoons, or other objects of interest and then line them up for your kids to identify and study. The bottom can be labeled with the name of the specimen so they can check their work. They can be reused every week with new specimens to encourage your little scientists and nature lovers.

5. Nut Butters – The great thing about having a food processor or a Vita-Mix (which I have) you can make your own nut butters like almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew butter. Glass jars are a great place to store them.

6. Snack Jars – When your kids get home from school you can whip out a couple jars filled with grapes, nuts, raw cookies, and dehydrated fruit in jars. It makes them feel special to have all these options to presented to them in a pretty way and they know exactly what they can snack on when they get home without ransacking through the frig and pantry, or maybe its just my kids that do that!

Paint Brushes and Paint in Jars

7. Paint Brush holder – All our paintbrushes are stored in a glass jar so that if the kids don’t bother to clean them afterwards there is no large mess to clean up.. I just rinse the jar out when it needs it. I use candle jars from the thrift store for the wet paint. You can also use a glass for holding straws, pens, pencils.. you name it.

8. Fermentation – Jars are awesome for your sour dough starters, Kombucha tea, and homemade vinegar.

9. A hanging lantern – In one of MaryJane Butter’s books (I can’t recall which at the moment) there are instructions for using glass jars and the lids to make a hanging lantern using a chain and a candle. They would be perfect for eating outside in the summer and if you put a citronella candle in them you could keep the bugs away too. The ones in the book are absolutely lovely.

10. Voodoo Jars – This is probably geared towards Halloween but I just love it. You put scary little items in the jars.. like eyeballs or those little babies like you get in the King Cakes at Mardi Gras (been years since I had some King cake!) and then you color the water and make it look like you have been conducting “evil experiments”. Muhaaawa! Plus you can probably get most of the stuff at your local thrift store so you don’t have to buy new.

How do YOU use glass jars?

Voodoo Jars

Photo by revjim5000

  • Ally from Zwaggle

    Great ideas! I need to get some more… :)

  • We use tons here too. I freeze homemade strawberry applesauce in them and also use them instead of tupperware for leftovers. No plastics leaching into the food and safe to reheat in the microwave.

    Fun ideas! Thanks!

  • Rema

    Any tips on how to remove glue stuck on used jars?

    • Rema, I usually soak well and then use a butter knife to scrape off the glue.

      • Mrs. B

        Olive oil works well to get the glue off. I scrape as much off as I can then liberally put olive oil on the glue. Let it set for awhile and take a plastic scraper to get it off. Wash as usual.

  • I use mason jars with lids to take my lunch to school. I do planned leftovers and the jars I bought are perfect for 1 serving. So after I serve myself dinner, I put the left overs in the jars and I know how many meals I have.

  • PureModLife

    Ha.ha..ok i came out of reader to say hi! love your blog it’s so inspiring to me & this post is the best..i’m totally the new uses for the jars.

  • Melodie @Breastfeeding Moms Unite!

    I often get a sense of people’s personalities and values based on the number of glass jars in their houses. If they offer me a drink in a glass jar I’m so their new friend! A little girl I know has all her lunch items packed in the tiny glass jars in a metal lunchbox. It’s pretty cute. Veggie dips go in old lip balm containers even!

  • A Natural Dawn

    I use glass jars for everything from drinking glasses/water bottles to Knitting needle and button storage.

    I’m sure once the LO is older he’ll start having his own special uses for them…the only one I have to get onboard is my husband! The man will NEVER learn to clean out a glass jar and imagine a new purpose!

  • Sarah

    Wow, I could actually do some of these things. We always keep our beans, and raw nuts/seeds in plastic bags. Glass jars make more sense, and it’s probably healthier anyway. Oh, and green smoothies….Mmmmm. :)

    Thanks for the ideas. I’ll be heading to Thrift Town to find some jars soon!

  • Heather Ross

    These are great ideas! I especially like the idea of storing rice, beans, etc. I keep thinking “why did I not think of that”? I also am wishing I did not recycle all the glass spaghetti sauce jars last week. They would have been perfect!

    Thanks for the ideas! I will be using jars from now on! : )

  • MaryAnne

    I use jars for many thing. I start new plants from cuttings in jars with water. I tie string around the top and hange them from a rod in my window. I have used the really large pickle jars to cure my own pickles; pickling the old way as in a crock. I also use them to cover tender plants during a frost. You have to be sure to remove them as soon as the threat is over or you will be having cook baby plants instead ( I also use old milk jugs for this)
    I get messy drawers and use them to sort into “piles” so I can then take the items to the right place. I also put my loose change in them. Office sufflies such as paper clips, thumbtacks ets can be stored and easily seen in smaller jars. Place candles injars for safer emergency candles. Emergency vases,
    Wrap a wide ribbon around them if you want them a bit mor fancy.

    Small ones for paint pots or basta beads for little ones.
    Sorting games for little ones.
    Storing little playing pieces for games in smaller ones works well also.
    Color salt. Store in jars. Lit kids use salt to make sand art in other jars.
    Color sugar and store in jars for decorating.
    Dry your own lemon peel and orange peel and store for cooking .
    and more

  • MaryAnne

    I get excited and can’t type sorry hope you can decifer my notes above. Another one that I found useful was to cut out letters, both upper and lower case Out of cardboard boxes, such as cereal boxes. Also punctuation marks if you want to do sentences. You will need many, many letters. While cooking dinner or whenever you need a teeny time doing something, grab out the letters so the child can spell out spelling words, or the idea of the day or whatever. This reinforces the spelling using visual and kinetic teaching and if you have them say and spell each word out loud to you it is also audio. Beside it is fun like a puzzle.

  • Hi Tiffany!

    I am always inspired by your blog!! I too am a glass jar junkie and, like you, I love to buy them at thrift shops and yard sales. You probably already do this, but another way we use the larger jars is for freezing home made foods such as marinara sauce, veggie chile’, stew, soup stock and the like. These work beautifully as long as you leave a good inch of space at the top for expansion and contraction. We try to avoid plastic when we can so these are an excellent solution. I wanted to say I love all your ideas! Especially liked the idea of using them for serving healthy after school snacks to your children~~such a clever idea! I would never have thought to use them for that. I bet your kids just love to see what you come up with next!!

    Thank you so much for all the useful information you present here. It’s so valuable and such an inspiration.


  • Shelly Hughes

    Thanks for sharing all of these great tips for glass jars! I have been squirreling away glass jars since I was in college when I used them to make an herb collection for making tea, salves, and shampoo. I recently covered a jar with felt and fabric, and my 3 year old daughter and I decorated it with ribbon and buttons. She uses it as her crayon holder. I looked at your other sites and appreciate all that you share! I’m getting excited about those green smoothies…
    Thanks so much!

  • oh, man, those voodoo jars ROCK! (around here, we mostly use glass jars for leftovers, and science experiments, and bugs, and flowers. not all at the same time.)

  • Kimmy d

    I’m so glad I read this! I LOVE jars! I have collected them since i was a kid. I use them for spices and dried herbs, beans and seeds, drinking glasses, tinctures and oil infusions, flower arrangements, and leftover storage. I also make “voodoo jars” except mine are real- I’m a witch, so I make little spell jars and candles in pretty jars.

    • Tabitha

      She’s right. She IS a witch. And she does make candles and spells and spells with candles…
      I just love her.

      Jars are neat too.

  • Great article! I like using them as an ecclectic grouping of flower vases, for storing left over food, and filling with water to dip my watercolour brushes in. Along with a few of your recommendations, too.

  • Amber

    I keep the glass jars from the food i buy and put in things like rice, granola, seeds, herbs, etc. so they don’t taste like plastic. I hate when my food tastes like the plastic it came in. Plus, if it tastes like plastic, it probably has plastic in it. Ew. ;)

  • Rob

    I use smaller 1/2 pint jelly jars and 1 pint jelly jars in my lunch at work- great for holding soups, or a bit of leftover casserole in, people have finally accepted that I am anti-bag.

  • Wendy2shoes

    Mason jars are wonderful for sprouting seeds and beans. I use the jars with a piece of screen and a mason ring to rinse, dump and sprout.
    I hate (!) miracle whip, but my mom used to save the jars because they took mason rings, and she used them for canning.
    Some jam and spaghetti sauce jars sold these days, do fit the rings and discs.
    I keep my beans, nuts, rice etc in liter & 1/2 masons, with white plastic “storage lids” sold usually with other canning supplies.
    Great way to store bulk purchases.

  • Ian Moise

    Hi Tiffany,

    Thanks for this article on how to reuse glass jars. It is DIY articles like this that can really make a difference! At ReUseConnection, we are all about reuse and I love running across these how tos.

    If you have more reuse examples (or if you’ve written more articles on them), I would love to hear about them and post to our FB page which will provide a global platform for idea exchange on reuse – e.g. how do we reuse CDs in Finland, or bicycle tires in Lesotho? If you like our concept, you can find us on FB at

    When we go live, we hope to add an eHow section for our re-use solutions. It would be great if we can collaborate on some level.

    Thanks again for the article and the great examples.

    Warmest wishes,
    Ian Moise

  • linda

    No one ever throws away a glass jar in my house, they automatically put it by the sink to be washed. I have been leery of freezing or microwaving them though. Is it safe to freeze any old glass jar, or should you use the “canning jars?” Do you have to bring the jars up to room temp. before microwaving them? I use them for arts & crafts, glitter frosted candle jars, and every thing else. I also love them just for being jars. The ones on my shelves that are not in use yet are picked up periodically and admired for the lovely jar that they are.

    • Linda, I use canning jars for freezing. I do not own a microwave so I have no idea about their safety in that regard.

  • Afra M.

    I love these ideas…. We love jars in our family… i store bottles and jars in my kitchen and when when I’m out of space i put them in boxes and send them to my Mum.
    i use them mainly to store dried beans, spices, nuts.. but i never thought of using them outside the kitchen.
    My children nanny puts plastic flowers and fills the jar with water to impress the kids.
    My Mum use narrow nicked bottles for tomato sauce and the jars for her homemade pickles and spices.

  • Nshedlock

    I make bath salts in large batches and put it in jars decorated with bits of leftover material, ribbon, or yarn.  These make great gifts.  If I have broken glass I mix it with a small amount of quick concrete mix and make garden stepping stones. They sparkle when the sun hits the glass.

  • Susan Betke

    What is IN the jars in that last picture?  Great post… 

    • Toy snakes, eyeballs, frogs, plastic babies, for Halloween. 

  • Snugbug

    My best friend and I love using glass jars to drink out of- here’s a link to her blog post about it with pictures to see how we made them into sippy cups.  Only difference is that when I use them I turn the glass straw around to prevent it to coming out of the lid