Glass jugs aren’t nearly as common as perhaps they once were, but that’s not to stay we don’t sometimes find ourselves stumbling into one. They come bearing apple cider, wine or spirits. Sometimes we discovered old 5-gallon water jugs that came before the times of plastic. Growlers for beer have become a thing.

Large glass jugs, in other words, are making the rounds, and with that in mind, perhaps it is a good time to start thinking about how we might reuse and repurpose them. They are great containers for culinary experiments, or for those who aren’t quite as artisanal in the kitchen, they are fantastic vessels for craft projects.


Suffice it to say, there are lots of ways for us to avoid sticking the jugs into the recycling bin and reusing them instead.

Just a Jug

Of course, for those who make their own kombucha or water kefir, a couple of glass jugs around the house is pretty handy. They are also good for housing homemade vinegars, liquor infusions and ginger beer. Those with projects like these on the go can stand to have some strong glass jugs around. With glass, unlike plastics, we can rest assured chemicals aren’t leaking into our ferments and infusions. That’s a good feeling.

Jug Lamps

One of the more popular upcycling projects to do with old glass jugs is to make a lamp, and there are several methods for doing so. Essentially, though, these methods boil down to either have the jug itself be the lamp with lights inside it or have the jug work as the base of a lamp with a shade and light bulb atop it.

  • Option #1: Lamp – For a jug lamp, it’s as simple as getting some old Christmas tree lights or string lights and sticking them in the jug. Of course, it might pay to check that they work first. Then, plug in the lights and that’s a stylish lamp.
  • Option #2: Base – Using a jug for a lamp base is a bit more of a project, but it isn’t a complex one. Buy a light bulb socket, wire it (a simple YouTube project) with an extension cord, and attach it to the top of the jug. Then, get a lamp shade.

Source: Lubica Vinicenko/Flickr


Tiny Terrarium

Another established glass jug project is the tiny terrarium. These little blasts of life are growing more popular, and they are fun to do at home. Like the jug lamp, there are multiple choices for a glass jug terrarium, but the options whittle down to three: lids, open and closed.

  • Option #1: Lid/Open – To make a terrarium lid requires a glass cutter, and it begins with cutting the bottom of the jug off. This bottom can make a nice plant pot, display bowl, or an open terrarium. The top part can be put atop a saucer, plate or platter to become a lid over a terrarium. Then, it’s just the basics of planting a terrarium.
  • Option #2: ClosedClosed terrariums are simpler to make, likely more impressive and easier to maintain, i.e. once set-up they take care of themselves. These begin by making a “false bottom”, a gravel layer covered with charcoal then topped with screening. A layer of substrate is added over this and tiny plants into it. They never need watering and can last for years.

Decorative Jug

With a little added flare, a basic classic jug can be whipped into some suave décor with eco sensibility. They can be painted or frosted or covered with a strip of cloth. Some people like to stencil lettering onto them. Some people whirl them in ribbons. A peruse through Pinterest will supply plenty of ideas, and soon that jug can be transformed into a classy craft.



Once a jug is converted into a decorative jug, it’s easy enough to fill that decorative jug with some striking twigs or fresh flowers, converting it into a vase.

“Piggy” Bank

Seriously, no one really needs to go out and buy a piggy bank. They can be made from all sorts of stuff, and amongst that list is the glass jug. Get rid of the cap or cork and start putting change in it. For that matter (and price), why not have a jug for each type of coin? If this one is for the kids, they could make an activity out of decorating it. (Hint: A jug on its side isn’t that far off from looking like a pig.)



For musical types, jugs have long functioned as instruments, and playing one is simple: Blow across the top. Anybody that makes music ought to have a shelf of easy-to-play and fun instruments for guests to grab and sit in on the set. It makes for many a fun night of silliness. Glass jugs (and bottles) are great additions, and varying sizes will create different notes.

Hopefully, two or three or a few of these options were appealing, and the next time you find yourself with a glass jug, you’ll think twice about tossing it in the recycling bin. There are other options out there and fun crafting adventures to be had.

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