Do you love to recycle things you don't need any more and turn them into thoughtful gifts? A versatile item you can do this with, is the glass jar. All you need to do is slowly start collecting all the jars that you finish with overtime - jam jars, coffee jars, pesto jars - the list goes on. Once you start looking at the jars you have around your home, you start to appreciate the unusual shapes available, which inspire what you make with them.
The following are just 4 easy-to-do ideas of what to make with your used glass jars. Do you know of any more? If so, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article and share your top tips. Which one(s) will you make this weekend?
Colourful painted jars - a pencil holder, a Shoe Fund money jar & a plant pot!
These colourfully painted jars had previous lives as a Moccona coffee jar, a strawberry jam jar and a tomato relish jar. All it took was a coat of primer (we used British Paints Prep 4 in 1), two coats of acrylic paint and jute rope around the top, and you have a colourful, personalised gift. If these are too bright then paint them in your recipient's favourites colours, add different accessories and custom-make something just for them.
Paint with a primer and then choose your colours. The jars will need at least 2 coats of colour
This easy idea, below, is cheap, quick and looks stylish. I used a salsa dip jar, Moccona coffee jar and a Jamie Oliver Pesto jar and wrapped them in jute rope. To begin, tape the end of the rope (still attached to the roll) to the jar, just below where you want the top to be. As you turn the jar in your hands, pull the rope tightly and position the rope neatly against the glass, covering the tape and continuing down the jar. At the end, finish with a dot of super glue to hold it in place. Simple, but effective!
Many years ago, a friend of mine gave me a home-made gift that has always stuck in my mind, as it was so thoughtful. She knew that I enjoyed baking, so she filled a sterilised glass jar with all the ingredients I would need to make Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies. Attached was a tag with instructions of what to do, what to add and how long to cook them for. I now make the same present for my friends who like to bake, using this recipe below.
Put in the jar (in order): 1 cup of SR flour, 1 cup of rolled oats, 1 cup cranberries (sugar reduced), 1 cup of pepitas, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons caster sugar and 1 cup of dark chocolate bits.
Write on the instruction gift tag: "Preheat oven to 170 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix together 3 Tablespoons margarine and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence. Stir in contents of jar and mix well. Roll into balls and place on baking tray. Flatten slightly with back of spoon. Cook for 15 minutes. Leave to cool on tray. Enjoy!"
If you have a friend or family member that loves the "beachy look", then you can make attractive shell displays in a jar as gifts. One idea is to attach jute rope around the rim of the jar, then use watercolour paints to colour the base of the jar. Fill it with shells - either bought or found. Alternatively, you can place a pretty candle inside the jar, add some small shells to surround it and add a shell and bead decoration. Get creative, the world is your "oyster"!
These are just 4 ideas that we have made, however, once you start collecting jars and see their unusual shapes, you will be inspired with more uses. If you have kids, they will love to cover them in stickers and fill them with lollies for gifts (and hope to receive them in return!). If you are making something for a green thumb, then fill a large jar with dirt and plant succulents, or make a terrarium. The ideas are endless, so you're anything like me, you will never throw out a jar again!
Lastly, when collecting your jars, also have a look at the lids. If you pop off the plastic seal from underneath the lid of a large Moccona coffee jar, you will find a pretty jewellery dish underneath. Let nothing go to waste!
Pop off the plastic seal off the Moccona lid and turn it upside down, for a pretty jewellery dish!