8 Crafty Ways To Upcycle Mason Jars

Done pickling and don’t need any more glassware? These DIY projects keep those prolific containers out of the recycle bin.

July 2, 2015
Jar Terrarium

Try this DIY project from Apartment Therapy to create an indoor eden you’ll almost never have to water (I skipped the moss and kept to succulents in mine). They deliver some instructions on the toughest part of the project: how to keep the plants alive once the terrarium set-up is finished.

Jar lamp
Oil Lamp

Here’s one of the easiest hacks around, with elegant results to boot. Turn that dusty old jar into a lovely light for summer nights outside—just add oil and a wick! I keep mine on the back porch, as a centerpiece next to a few cut garden flowers, also in a mason jar. Follow 2 Bees In A Pod’s directions for a citronella lamp alternative to keep mosquitos away, too.

Jar soap dispenser
Soap Dispenser

Just like the oil lamp, this transformation is complete in about five minutes flat, and if you use a nice-colored natural soap like this, looks beautiful next to the bathroom or kitchen sink. Love Grows Wild provides two different methods for making the soap dispenser and getting that pump attached just right.

Jar bean sprouter
Bean Sprouter

Sprouted beans and grains are a nutritious, crunchy addition to any salad or sandwich, but you don’t need to buy them at the store. If you’ve got the dried seeds you can repurpose an old mason jar to grow what you need, when you need it. They only take a couple days to sprout, and Boulder Locavore’s smart tip for making the lid is cheap, pretty, and easy to do.

Jar butterfly feeder
Butterfly Feeder

These six simple steps from Bright Nest show you how to gussy up a jar with sugary sweet nectar to bring more butterflies to the garden. I used natural sponge instead of the fake stuff, and for a slightly fancier (and more secure) string, wove a little net, following these instructions from video blogger Melissa Chan.

Jar travel cup
Travel Cup

Make your own to-go mug! Those screw lids are pretty handy when you’re on the go—the only problem is you’re constanly unscrewing the lid to drink. Find instructions for making an easy straw insert over at the Clumsy Crafter. The lid is super easy to make, and the best part is it works on different-sized jars!

Jar planter
Bulb Planter

OK, so this hack is pretty straightforward. But the mason jar serves a purpose few other bulb pots provide: a window to the normally subterranean life of roots, including those of large, awkward seeds like avocado. You can grow it in dirt, like I’ve done, or use small stones or pebbles. Get inspired at the Stone Gable.

Jar bee nest
Native Bee Nest Box

With the latest news about colony collapse, there’s been a lot of talk about honey bees. But what about native bees? They may not make us honey, but they provide vital pollination services, and they need somewhere to live. Follow these simple steps from Tall Clover Farm to create a home for mason bees—an excellent pollinator of orchard crops like apples. They call for a baked beans can, but the mason jar I’ve used works just as well.