How can I reuse or recycle pretty glass spice jars?

We’ve had an email from Dianne:

I found a box full of used glass spice jars at a car boot sale recently and had bought it before I knew it. They’re those narrow round ones with plastic lids. I’ve refilled some of the herbs and spices to make my kitchen look neater but still have a dozen or so. Any ideas?

My first suggest was going to be refilling them – but you’ve already done that ;) We buy spices in bulk bags and decant them into old jars/purpose-bought jars to make them easier to store/use. Extending that, perhaps you could also make up your own spice mixes too?

Away from their (almost) intended purpose, I’d imagine like many small containers, they’d be useful for craft storage – small beads, buttons, poppers and whatnot, even tapestry yarn/threads (fed through the holes in the lid). The clear glass would make it easy to find what you want and look pretty on a shelf too. (Actually, we’ve covered more boring shaker topped jars in the past and a lot of those suggestions are crafty and applicable here.)

How about taking the top off and using a few of them in a row as single stem vases? You’d have to be careful they didn’t topple over I guess – but they’d probably look cute (a bit like the test tube vase racks that were all over the place a few years ago).

Any other suggestions?

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15 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle pretty glass spice jars?”


  1. Roger says:

    If you have many of them and they are the style shown in the image you could make a string of candle lanterns for the summer. Tie a long length of string tightly round one at the top ridge, space, and continue this till you run out of containers. I imagine it might be a fire hazzard to have rally long candles poking out, but you could cut standard sized candles to size and put them in the jars, or if you recycle the wax from old candles you could make your own in situ candles inside the jars. Run them along a wall or a fence.

  2. Katie says:

    I think it would be kitschy-cute to use one to hold sugar for tea time. I would also keep one filled with baking soda in my shower, because I think it’s the best exfoliant there is.

  3. Melinda says:

    They are good for things that need to be sprinkled, like the aforementioned spices. I would add other mixes such as cinnamon sugar, and premixed spices such as pumpkin pie spice mix, taco spice mix, etc. Recipes are online.

  4. Cipollina says:

    I was about to suggest a cinnamon/sugar mix, too – it’s so neat to have that handy for the rice porridge or for the apple cake. Another blend I like to prepare myself is a provencal-ish mix of mostly home-grown herbs and spices.

    These jars are also great to use as regular salt and pepper shakers – I have one pair of odd shakers on the table, one pair near the stove, and one pair in the cooking corner in the garden.

    I also have a shaker with cinnamon against mould and damping off disease in my garden caddy.

  5. Rose says:

    I would think putting small beads or glitter in them for crafts.

  6. anna says:

    Make some spiced sugars for coffee use. One with vanilla (sticks if you have), one with cinnamon, one with tiny bit of cocoa and cinnamon…

  7. Chris says:

    How about seed storage.

  8. Linda says:

    and seed sprinkler for planting. Just bore sufficient holes in the top depending on how distributed you want the seed!

    Children’s musical shakers or water chimes.

  9. Patricia says:

    So many great ideas!

    Bran flakes! I refill a spice jar with a large holed top to sprinkle bran & add fiber to many dishes.

  10. bookstorebabe says:

    Home made bath salts? A row of these could look pretty in the bath, especially if you added a drop of color to your salts.

  11. Cappenz says:

    If you grow herbs, you can dry extra oregano, thyme, mint, bay, etc. and relabel the jars to give home grown herbs as gifts.

  12. bookstorebabe says:

    Oh, I like that idea, Cappenz! And back to the vase idea-what if you poked holes in the lid? It’d act as a flower frog to hold blooms upright.

  13. Melinda says:

    More things to sprinkle: some use a mix of corn starch and baking soda as a deodorant. These jars would be perfect for sprinkling them. How about for those who use corn starch instead of talcom powder for babies’ diapers?

  14. Heidi says:

    If you have indoor / outdoor cats or dogs, put Borax into the old spice container, and sprinkle a nearly invisible layer on your carpets. Then brush it in with a broom. This will kill fleas for years.

  15. Stephanie says:

    I often have expired spices such as oregano and certain tea bags I don’t use anymore for putting in the soil. Oregano makes my plants have a nice herbal smell and it helps fertilize the soil. I put a tea bag on the bottom of the pot and it helps the acidity of the soil.



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