The continuing appeal of Mason jars is hard to deny. Whether it's a green Lightning made over one hundred years ago, the ever-popular blue antique Ball Perfect Mason, or a more contemporary jar, the glassware's appeal is hard to deny. They've served myriad uses for over a century, from food preservation to home organization to more contemporary use as quaint wedding decor.
All of this means that mason jars are frequently found at estate sales across the country at varying prices, depending on the jar's age and availability. But even if you don’t have fruit to can or nuptials to plan, you can still put these versatile jars to good use. Here are a few easy, crafty ideas.
Even if you don’t know what an apothecary jar is, admit it, you want one just for the sound of it. Apothecary jar—classy, right?
The covered containers were originally used by druggists to hold their pharmaceutical supplies, but now they keep home kitchens and bathrooms organized.
Mason jars can be easily transformed into adorable apothecary jars, perfect for sorting your bits and baubles or keeping your candy handy. Armed with a can of spray paint, we gave a candle holder, Mason jar lid, and a toy dinosaur a good coating, then glued the jar to the candleholder base, the T-rex to the lid, and voilà!
If a bright pink T-Rex isn’t your style (I don’t know how that could be possible, but different strokes, I guess), there are options. Experiment with color. A matte, metallic brass looks great on a glass candleholder, for example. And I suppose you can reconsider your topper, if you must. A colorful, knobby drawer pull would make a sophisticated substitute.
Mason jars, particularly the wide-mouthed type, are the perfect vessel for a terrarium, with plenty of surface area to see all your wonderful layers, and ample room at the lid for you to easily reach in and arrange your plants as you wish.
And a terrarium is a great option for those of us without a green thumb—while you still have to water an open terrarium, hearty succulents can handle more neglect than other plants.
Simply layer large stones, moss, and well-draining soil into the jar, and then arrange your plants. I went a more earthy route, but you can zazz up your plants with layers of colorful pebbles. Check your local pet store for vibrant gravel, or a nearby craft store for a rainbow of sand options.
The antique blue Ball Perfect Mason jars provides great color for a lighted centerpiece or a mantle display. If you’re lucky enough to find some battery operated lights with a small battery pack, you can affix it to the top of the lid, and let the sparkly lights hang down and pool at the bottom, making it easy to turn the lights on and off as you please. But failing that, if you select a smaller jar, the battery pack can sit at the bottom of the jar, rendered inconspicuous by mounds of twinkling lights. (And the more jars you gather together, the more true this will be.)
While you could use the jars to grow herbs in the traditional manner, by placing some large stones (for drainage) underneath a thick layer of soil, and then planting your herbs, a more hydroponic method is both easy and adorable. All you need is a jar, a net pot, some clay balls, and your herbs. Plant your herbs in the net pot by surrounding the roots with clay balls, which will effectively serve as the soil. Fill your Mason jar with water, place the pot in the jar, and watch your garden grow!
Here I used a newer Mason jar because the wide mouth fits my 3-inch net pots. Smaller pots are available, which the antique jars should be able to accommodate.
I added glass stones for color—an unnecessary step, but one that brings color to the display and joy to my heart, particularly when the light shines through the window just right. It's so much prettier than dirt.
I’ve heard of people adding beta fish to their jars, creating an aquaponic system, where the fish waste fertilizes the plant while the fish benefits from the plants roots. A simple hydroponic system like what’s featured here is easy to care for. Though addition of animal life, requiring feedings, and water changes is more involved, the prospect of getting a larger jar and trying it out is intriguing.
By turning the lid into a pincushion, a small Mason jar becomes an adorable travel-size sewing kit, perfect for minor jobs or for people who sew just enough to warrant a 6-ounce sewing kit and nothing more. The project requires no stitching, only strategically-placed fast-drying glue, so those who fall into the latter category need not be intimidated.
Simply cut a circle of fabric that’s 1 to 2 inches larger than the flat lid of your jar. Fold the fabric over the side of the lid, securing it with glue. Repeat this step methodically all around the edge of the lid until only about an inch remains. Stuff the space between the lid and the fabric with filler of your choice. Once you think it's full enough, fill it a little more. Then glue the remaining edges of fabric to the flat lid.
You may then, if you wish, add glue to the inside rim of the screw band to secure the lid to it, but I find that step unnecessary. The lid, in my experience, stays in place well after it is closed on top of the jar for a while. So fill your jar with bobbins and buttons, stick some pins on the top, and admire how ridiculously easy and precious this project is.