Mason jars have been the tried and true container for food preservation since their invention in 1858. But beyond non-toxic canned food storage, mason jars are awesome because they are so darned versatile and endlessly recyclable! Here are 10 unconventional ways to re-purpose these gorgeous glass jars after you’ve eaten last summer’s pickles:
1. Light Them Up
Rather than purchase new hanging fixtures and sconces, repurpose mason jars into beautiful lights. Fit jars with electric wiring and bulbs and suspend them from the ceiling, or fill them with candles to create a gorgeous hanging chandelier, or simply load them with string lights. Save electricity by making an oil lamp out of a mason jar. Fill them with tea lights for wind-proof lighting outdoors. Or to entertain kids, make firefly jars out of glowsticks!
2. Take Them With You
Mason jars are ideal for portable meals! Prep your healthy lunches ahead of time, by layering salads (heaviest ingredients on the bottom) in mason jars and storing them in the fridge for up to a week. You can even purchase a reusable attachment to turn your jar into a bento box that keeps ingredients separate until ready to mix. And if you need to whip up some salad dressing, or a single size smoothie, many mason jars easily thread onto most blenders! Mason jars also make excellent travel mugs! You can purchase a reusable screw-on lid attachment, or make your own! The sturdy, heat proof glass makes mason jars perfect ramekins for baking portable individual pies and cakes to bring to a picnic.
3. Fill Them Up
Mason jars are ideal for space-saving organization in the kitchen, bathroom, garage, and many other places in the home. Attach magnets to the lids to hang spices on the fridge. Or modify the lid to make a soap dispenser. Affix mason jars to the wall in an office to keep pencils, pens, and other office supplies within arms reach. Not sure what to do with the seashells you collected from your day at the beach? Display them, or other souvenirs and trinkes in inverted mason jars on your shelf. With a little modification, mason jars can be an excellent way to keep craft supplies like yarn and ribbons organized. Simply drill a hole in the lid, thread yarn through, screw the cap on, and store the rest of the skein in the jar. No more messy yarn tangles!
4. Make Them Loud
Upcycle jars to make portable desktop speakers! Or simply place your portable music player into a jar to amplify the sound in a pinch.
5. Plant Them
Mason jars make excellent planters for small plants. If you are comfortable working with glass, you can drill drainage into the bottom of the jar and use as you would a regular flower pot. Or you can affix jars to the wall for an attractive display for kitchen herbs. Mason jars also make wonderful terrariums for tropic, humidity loving plants like Venus Fly Trap.
6. Make Them Pretty
Mason jars make a beautiful vase all on their own, ready to be filled with fresh flowers or to store herbs. But if you’re feeling crafty, why not spruce them up a bit with paint! Try writing on the glass surface with a hot glue gun, then painting the jar, for a lovely, personalized vase or container.
7. Entertain With Them
The DIY possibilities are endless when it comes to mason jars and entertaining! Mason jars are excellent as drinking glasses at parties. Why not pre-mix single serving cocktails in mason jars and serve in ice buckets? Use jars to organize flatware for parties and picnics. And with some modification and creativity, you could even turn those jars into wine goblets using dollar store candlesticks and glue, or a Mason Jar Shaker!
8. Make Them Smell Lovely
9. Give Them Away
There are lots of people that collect mason jars all on their own. But even if you’re friends aren’t collectors, mason jars make excellent gift packages. Fill them with dry ingredients for cookies in a jar, nail polishes and emory boards for manicure sets, or create an adorable sewing kit.
10. Sprout in Them
Boost the nutritional value of grains like quinoa, veggies, and seeds by sprouting them in jars for eating, or use the jars inverted as a greenhouse for sprouts you plan to transplant into the garden.
Have fun and get creative with those canning jars!
Image source: Eric Kilby/ Flickr