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Practical Uses and Ideas for Mason Jars

Updated on February 23, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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It's easy to dismiss the idea of using mason jars in the home and workplace. Every time you turn around, you find another silly decorative idea online that doesn't seem to serve any real purpose. It is worth looking past the more frivolous ideas and thinking about ways that you can use mason jars functionally at home and work. From small item storage to plantings to candles, there is something here for everyone.

Mason Jar Resources

If you do not have a stash of mason jars on hand, consider looking in one or more of the following places.

  • Big box stores. There should be some stock in the kitchen section all year round with more ample selections during the summer and fall for canning.
  • Big box craft stores. Most major craft stores keep mason jars in stock for both crafting and cooking projects and gifts.
  • Thrift stores. If you frequent second hand or thrift stores, it's worth keeping your eyes open for jars.
  • Amazon and eBay. Amazon has some of the best prices online for bulk jar sets in multiple sizes and with different features (i.e. handles, wide mouths). Don't forget to check for options that qualify for Prime free shipping. It's also worth looking at the current listings on eBay.
  • Garage sales / Craigslist. These methods may not be the speediest ways to get mason jars, but they can be great ways to get jars locally for cheap.

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Storage

You can use mason jars to store any number of different small objects. Your imagination is the limit. I've included just a few of the most popular storage uses for kitchens, bathrooms, offices / classrooms, and craft rooms.

  • Kitchen. Spices, canister items (i.e. flour, dried beans), silverware, serving / cooking utensils, ground coffee, tea bags, popcorn kernels, dried pasta, snack foods (i.e. pretzels, dried fruit), leftovers.
  • Bathroom. Q-tips, cotton balls, makeup brushes, toothbrushes / toothpaste, razors.
  • Office / classroom. Pens / pencils, crayons / markers, erasers, scissors, paper clips / binder clips, note pads, Post-It notes.
  • Craft room. Paintbrushes, beads, buttons, safety pins / pins, clothespins, thread / yarn / fabric scraps, paper scraps, pom poms.

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Lights / Candles

You can keep it as simple as placing tea lights in jars to making it as complex as upcycling multiple jars into a chandelier or other hanging light. There are lots of ways to decorate the jars so that you can make one of a kind lighting pieces to give as gifts and to display at home either year round or as holiday decor.

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DIY Mason Jar Light / Lantern

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Vases / Plantings

  • Fill a jar with a few inches of water and add freshly cut flowers to keep them beautiful for several days. They make a wonderful decoration for the home as well as a perfect table centerpiece for a wedding or party. Of course you can decorate these vases any way you like or leave them plain.
  • Mount the vase to the wall as you would with a small light fixture. Do It Yourself Decorations has instructions.
  • Grow and snip fresh herbs right in the comfort of your own kitchen or hallway. You can also mount one of these mason jar displays outside on a fence or porch. Tutorials are available at Camille Styles, Not Just a Housewife, and Wild Ruffle.

Summer Survival Kit as an end of the year teacher gift.
Summer Survival Kit as an end of the year teacher gift. | Source

Kits

  • Sewing kit. You never know when you might need to sew on a button or repair a rip. It's best to be prepared. A pincushion top is always a nice touch, too. There are numerous resources for this idea, but you can check out one with a mason jar at It All Started With Paint.
  • Wedding day emergency kit. Equip the bride-to-be with every last minute item that she might need on the big day from bobby pins to a Tide stain stick. Check it out at A Casarella.
  • Housewarming kit. If you're looking for an alternative to the traditional food gift or coupon book, a housewarming kit with supplies like a dish towel and hand soup is perfect. Head over to The Southern State of Mind.
  • Manicure kit. Manicure kits are great party favors for everything from teenage girl sleepover birthday parties to elegant bridal showers. Tidbits and Twine has all of the details for this fun project.

DIY Mason Jar "Manicure" + Other Mason Jar Gift Ideas | Baby Shower Game Gift Ideas

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Drinks

Of course you can simply stick a straw in a mason jar or drink directly from the jar and call it good. However, some people like to use tops so that they can take the mason jars with them for drinks on the go. The most simple solution is to drill or punch a hole in the top to fit a straw. Life Sanity has instructions on how to do this simply and safely. Ginger Snap Crafts uses plastic storage lids to make more sturdy drink tops. There are numerous ways that you can dress up your drink glasses or personalize them (i.e. adding chalk paint for names for a birthday party) if you like.

Soap / lotion dispensers

If you have a rustic or country décor theme or you're simply looking for something easy and practical for a bathroom or kitchen, a mason jar soap or lotion dispenser adds a nice touch. The concept is pretty self-explanatory. There are lots of pre-made dispensers for sale online as well as supplies to make your own dispensers. I've included just a couple of options on the right.

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Food Gifts

There are mason jar food gift ideas out there for everything from mints for a wedding reception to homemade hot chocolate mix for teachers. Regardless of the specific holiday or occasion and the given recipient, you should be able to find something that fits the bill. Many of the options are easy to customize as well. For example, instead of layering seasonal M&Ms for Valentine's Day, you can use the seasonal variety that is available at Easter.

5 DIY Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas | Whitney Jasper

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Party Favors

You can spend a lot of money on favor packaging that most people throw out immediately. Instead why not spend that money on an item like mason jars that people can reuse? Mason jar party favors are great for birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, wedding receptions, and more. Several of the previously mentioned ideas in this article are perfect for party favors including lights / candles, manicure kits, and food gifts.

© 2014 Rose Clearfield

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