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As we move towards more self-sufficient lifestyles, we are often taking steps back towards the way people lived a century ago. We are living with less, growing our own food and repurposing items. Mason jars can play a big role in this.

For those of us with gardens, we spend a lot of the autumn preserving harvests, canning pickles and relishes and jams and sauces. One (and there are many more) of the great things about producing our food this way is that it’s very low waste. Garden scraps are composted. Mason jars are reused. But, there is one blemish in this rigmarole: mason jar lids.

Unfortunately, mason jar lids, those little metal circles that seal in the contents and seal out the air, are not reusable. That means we are left with at least a little trash to deal with. However, that doesn’t mean that said trash needs to be sent to the landfill. There are loads of crafts that can be done with old mason jar lids.

Mini Blueberry Pies

Source: Rebecca Siegel/Flickr

1. Mini Pie Pans

The team of old mason jar lids and rings make absolutely fantastic pie dishes because they create the perfect single-serving size pies. These little pies are not only cute, but they up the ante on what people think is going on in the kitchen. Another cool feature here is that the ring slides right off from around the pie, making it easier to keep it fully intact.

2. Coasters

Before devoting time, effort and money to buying coasters, it’s worth realizing that mason jar lids are just about the perfect size for doing this. They are stackable, take up very little room and—for those of us who can vegetables and jams—are in endless supply. They can be painted to match the drapes. Some people like to up the game with some cork.

3. Candle Holders

Making candles at home is a fun DIY project. Plus, for those of us who live plant-based, we are able to insure we aren’t buying animals products (beeswax), and we can keep out any toxic fragrances by using essential oils for our aromas. Old mason jar lids (and rings) make perfect candles molds to create disc-like candles and/or candle holders (just decorate the ring with some lace or paper or paint). Then, we can reuse the candle ends in our next batch of candles.

4. Tree Ornaments

Old mason jar lids are the perfect medium upon which to piece together personalized Christmas tree ornaments. They can be simple and sleek by just using a scrap of some wrapping paper. They can be family-oriented by donning them with family photos. They can be painted different colors, patterns and so on. They are great ornaments.

5. Seasoning Shakers

For those who have a few extra jars hanging around and who make their own dried herbs and seasoning mixes, old mason jar lids can be punctured a few times to become an easy-to-use seasoning shakers. These can add a really personal touch to the DIY kitchen and help to put some serious flavor into those specialty dishes.

6. Fish-Scale Shingles

For budding carpenters and project-type people, a slew of old mason jar lids make a great roof. They can be tacked onto a birdhouse or an insect hotel in an overlapping pattern to add some pizzazz and funk. Just remember to start putting them on at the bottom so that the water runs over the top of the shingles.

7. Crop Protection

When growing gardens, berry patches and fruit orchards, the birds are sometimes a bit too apt to steal produce. There are lots of methods for trying to scare them away. One common method is hanging stuff in branches, or on fences, that reflects the sun. Birds don’t like the visual distraction. Spent CDs have long been the go-to for this task, but as they become less available, mason jar lids could take their place.

8. Chalkboard Tags

Mason jar lids are just the right size for making labels for stuff, and they can be easily converted into reusable tags by painting them with some chalkboard paint. Then, they can function as price tags at yard sales or name tags for parties or place savers for seating. A dozen or more chalkboard tags find a way of being handy.

Mason jar lids

Source: FeyginFoto/Shutterstock

9. Jar Lids

Of course, there is always just continuing to use them as jar lids for things that don’t need to be sealed completely. They work fine for refrigerator pickles, for mason jar salads and for storing leftovers. Or, they can be used for mason jar gifts. The main thing is to not use them for canning again as they may not seal properly again, a risk for botulism.

And, that’s a lot of ways to use a lot of mason jar lids. They don’t take up a lot of room, so it’s not such a burden to stow them away for some rainy-day projects. It could be a lot of fun and may turn out to provide something unexpectedly useful.

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