20 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Glass Jam Jars

June 9, 2013

I have recently been introduced into the novelty of a jam jar tombola.

My daughters school has just held the annual big fundraiser BBQ with said tombola. So what did we contribute?

Inspired by Jen (make do and mend year) amongst others I was determined to avoid filling our jam jars with plastic tat toys and sweets. I tried to have various themes, but ended up with a lot more ideas than I managed to execute (nothing like leaving to the last minute!)

Cleaning Products: Kitchen Coffee Soap, my recipe was from the great book “the handmade soap book” by Melinda Coss however there is also a recipe at handmadeology. It’s great soap which removes the smell of garlic and onion from your hands. Other ideas include making body scrub, bath salts, DIY fabric conditioner (could I locate the idea of vinegar and mint leaves as the basis of fabric conditioner?!)

Jam Jar Storage

Household DIY Printing Kit

Creative jars for the kids: A DIY printing kit. this was filled with everyday items for mark making and printing. This one included kitchen sponge, cotton reel, a mega block, bubble blower, and a string /cardboard print.

20 Ways to reuse Jam Jars

Jam Jar Plant Pots

Jars for growing plants: We potted up herbs and various other plants out-door plants. Other ideas included creating a face on the jar, with cress growing out of the top for hair


Girly bits. My daughter suggested a jar with rags… I love it, we attached a note with instructions for twisting/plaiting your hair and the different results. To our amusement a boy inevitably won it!

We also created a jar with a flower corsage and  hair clips (instructions for the hairclips came from Martha Stewart)

Reuse Jam Jars

Jam Jars as food containers

Foody jars: I had great plans for three different types, chocolate chip cookies, tiffin and cheese straws. Sadly the cookies were too big to fit in! The night before I realized we had no golden syrup in stock so there was no tiffin… so cheese straws it was!

Other foody jar ideas include homemade chutneys, jams, jellys, cheesecake, wild garlic pesto, soup mixes the options are endless.

I had great fun thinking up the ideas. Check out my a Pinterest board with more ideas, including a link to embossing a jar, and creating your own snow globe.

Lets hope the children and parents who won the jars got a little bit of the something I was trying to say… we don’t need plastic!! Open yourself up to creativity:)

What would you put in??

Please do top by Handmade Harbour and see what other people have been making this week.

27 comments so far.

27 responses to “20 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Glass Jam Jars”

  1. My old jam jars usually get used for tealights or a place to keep my paintbrushes. 🙂
    I love the jam jar tombola idea.

    Jan x

  2. Hurray for this post! I have a jam jar tombola at my WI this week and was totally stuck for ideas, phew!

  3. Jen says:

    They are all BRILLIANT ideas! I thought you just had to do one. Soooo much better than all the plastic tat and sweets 🙂

  4. What great ideas. You are so clever. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Natalie says:

    I use old jars to hold my buttons, seperated into appropriate colour groups! (Control freak, me?!!)

  6. Ginny says:

    What great ideas. My daughter’s school has occasionally had a jar tombola, but most of the jars just had sweets. Your ideas are much more imaginative.

  7. craftymadre says:

    These are great ideas. I love the jars and always have a bunch sitting around.

  8. This is a lovely idea for raising money, your choice for jar fillings is huge. E.g. cake mix, scone mix, sewing kit, any number of kits for making things, games etc. I’ve just decorated a jar for myself to keep self cover button blanks in and, like yourself, my buttons are in jars.
    Hope you have a lovely week.

  9. What a great idea for a fundraiser and not too expensive for people to do. I always wash and keep jam jars to use but don’t always need them all! They are great for craft room bits and bobs and of course the larger ones are for Fairies for my fairy bottle gardens! (Patchwork Fairy)

  10. freespiritdesigns says:

    so many great ideas! I especially love the cress for hair and the cheese straws look so pretty 🙂 I always keep jars, especially ones with interesting shapes – you never know when you might think of something fun to do with them! 🙂

  11. hmk71 says:

    We do a children’s jam jar tombola at our school fete. When I ran it we didn’t stick tickets on the jars so that the children could pick the jar they wanted. (You still had to pick a winning ticket, you just didn’t get allocated a particular jar) which made it less work too…

    I didn’t have as many good ideas as you and I must confess to having offloaded a few plastic toys in them, but they were recycled 🙂
    I put mini colouring pencils in some, and homemade play dough. Homemade paper beads and I think popcorn too…

  12. say it says:

    Great ideas. We just always fill our jars with sweets, but this is so much more creative!

  13. Wendy says:

    Love the idea of a jam jar tombola and love the ideas you cam up with. We definitely don’t need more plastic!

  14. Lucy Blossom says:

    What a lovely idea – and so many different things you can put in them – I must admit wouldn’t have thought of something creative – but now I’ve seen your ideas I can see how great they are.

  15. What great ideas for using the jam jars. I like the idea of using them to grow plants…the kids get to see the roots grow as well as the plant gets bigger.

  16. Ali says:

    What wonderful inspiring jars. Like you said so much better than sweets. The flower clips are lovely.
    Ali x

  17. Another fabulous upcycle project! Thanks so much for linking up to the Upcycled Linky Party at http://love2upcycle.blogspot.com/2013/06/upcycled-linky-party-11.html

  18. Gertie says:

    I have to confess that I usually just use them to steep paint brushes. Having seen what great ideas there are for the humble jam-jam, I will be putting them to different use from now on xx

  19. Lilly's Mom says:

    What a creative way to use jars. I like all of them, especially the herb jars. I think I will try to do this myself.

  20. Helen says:

    Fab ideas 🙂 we did a jam jar ombola at school at christmas… I have some new ideas for next year now. Lots of ideas for presents too, thanks for the inspiration x

  21. Ron harrison says:

    I never throw screws away I put them in jam jars nuts bolts string tubes of anything drill bits ,chuck key it’s endless I’m going to try putting million bells plugs in one just too see

  22. sra says:

    If i use a glass jar or a bottle to plant a growing plant .. and i water it everyday how will the excess what come out..? do i need to put a hole underneath.. ? or how.?

  23. Sonya Fox says:

    Reused Jars can be the perfect gift idea from that birthday present to a seasonal offering. With a touch of glitter, ribbons or other decorations your jars can be turned into a classy looking present. Small touches to your jars can make a huge difference. It’s not just decorations that can make a huge difference a lick of paint whether that be luminous paint or standard paint, can transform the look of jar. If this isn’t enough why not fill the jar with personal small gifts or even fill the jars with positive notes from the year (a time capsular) and re open months later.

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A passion for sewing, upcycling and caring for the environment - the perfect excuse to haunt charity shops for bargains!

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