Whatcha Gonna Do With all Them Jars?

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If your kids love pasta as much as mine, then you may be going through at least one jar of pasta sauce per week. What about jam? We go through at least one jar per month. Olives, pickles, coconut oil... jars, jars jars!

I was raised by an Italian mother and they don't throw anything away; tin containers, plastic bags, gift boxes, anything with Jesus or Mother Mary on it... But I am Jewish now and there are only so many things I can salvage. Alas, glass jars do not get thrown away in my house. They are always stored for a later use.

What to do with them, you ask? Below, I offer you 10 DIY craft ideas for your saved jars. Our family likes to give them out during the holidays to teachers, workout instructors, the mailman... anyone with whom we interact daily and want to show our appreciation for. It's a great way to get the kids involved in the gift-giving process. Additionally, repurposing what would otherwise be thrown out is always a good idea! 

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients

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The kids and I created these a couple of holiday seasons ago. We gave them out to teachers and friends. It is the gift that keeps on giving because the recipient gets the pleasure of baking and perhaps sharing the cookies as gifts for their loved ones. 

  • Using a funnel, pour one measured DRY ingredient at a time into the jar. (You can use any cookie recipe- I like how the oatmeal and chocolate looked in the jar, so we did oatmeal chocolate chip for this one)
  • Secure a square piece of fabric over the lid with a piece of twine.
  • Print out the cooking directions (including how much and which wet ingredients to add) on 2"X3" pieces of paper. 
  • Glue the directions to a pretty tag. Viola! 

 

Mindfullness Glitter Jar

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These are great tools for meditation for kids and adults alike. You shake it up and watch the glitter swirl and settle. Each fleck of glitter represents the thoughts swirling around in our heads. As we focus on the jar and watch its contents slow down and begin to settle, our thoughts begin to do the same. Eventually, we are still and clear. My daughter broke hers during our first "crack" at this meditation, so that should tell you something about her ability to be still. But, we can always try and model... hope and pray... save up for therapy? I digress...

  • Heat water (enough to fill the jar) and 2-3 tablespoons of glycerin or corn syrup on the stove (do not bring to a boil, just get the mixture hot enough to combine). I like olive jars or glass juice containers as they are thin enough for a child to handle and shake with one hand. 
  • After the mixture cools, poor it in to the jar and add 2 tablespoons of any color (or multiple colors!) of glitter that you wish. 

 

Natural Body Scrub

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Last holiday season, we used all of our saved jam jars to curate these babies. We even repurposed mini jam jars for travel size scrubs. 

  • In a large bowl, mix sugar (brown or white) with oil (coconut, grapeseed or olive oil work best) until you have a thick consistency.
  • Add in a little vanilla or essential oils for scent.
  • Fill your jars!
  • You can create a personalized label online. We used Vistaprint.

 

Glitter Flower Vase

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You can decorate a large jar and use it as a flower vase. There are many ways to decorate your jars. We are showing a glitter example cause... SPARKLES! 

  • Using a foam brush, paint Elmer's glue or Mod Podge on the outside (or inside) or your jar.
  • Generously coat the glue with glitter.
  • You can use painter's tape to mark off sections and just cover a portion of the jar. 

 

Homemade Granola Gift

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These make another lovely teacher/friend gift for the holidays. We filled ours with homemade granola that the kids helped me prepare and attached little ornaments to the twine. Below are the ingredients we used for the granola. Measure to taste:

  • 5 cups of old fashioned oats
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • almonds
  • coconut flakes
  • dried cranberries
  • honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • vanilla
  • Bake for about an hour at 325 (stirring every 15 mins)

 

Jars for Art Supply Storage/Sorting

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Do your kids have giant collections of tiny things? Mine love to hoard crystals, rocks, lego men, beads, chapstick...You can sort these items in your jars to organize your playroom and kids' rooms. We also use them to sort art supplies such as paint brushes, markers, crayons, colored pencils... You can let the little ones decorate them with paint or keep them clear to showcase the contents. 

 

 Jar Planter

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  • Fill the jar with good quality planter's soil.
  • Dig a hole in the top 2-3 inches deep.
  • Drop in the seeds (flowers, herbs or anything that doesn't need a lot of space to grow).
  • Place near a window where it will get direct sunlight.
  • Water once per day.
  • Watch your plant grow! 

 

Water Bottles/Smoothie Jars

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We purchased the lids and straws from Bed Bath and Beyond. The kids love having their favorite smoothie or drink in these jars. I've even gotten them to try GREEN things with them! 

 

Candle Holders

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Whether you are throwing a party or just want some cute outdoor lighting, these will spruce up your back yard with a little shabby chic decorum. 

  • Fill the bottom of the jar with sand, rice, barley or any kind of fine grain.
  • Stick a white tea light candle in the middle. Light it and BOOM!

 

Layer Cake or Parfait

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I've saved the best for last! My most favorite dessert is CAKE! This is a fun way to eat it and looks pretty for parties! You can also layer with yogurt and granola for a healthier version. But why??

  • Scoop whipped cream or frosting into the bottom of the jar
  • Cut a circular portion of cake from the cake pan and add it on top of the frosting layer (Funfetti cake looks really pretty for this one- just sayin...)
  • Repeat the layers until you reach the top. 
  • Sprinkle with sprinkles cause... CAYUTE!!!
Annalisa Barrett