Working through my spring cleaning checklist, I came across a top shelf filled with empty glass Mason jars. I remember storing each of these with great intentions for all sorts of Pinterest-worthy projects. Mostly, I wanted to become someone who brought their saved glass jars to bulk stores. I wanted a picture-perfect pantry and a feeling that going zero waste isn’t so hard.
Alas, life and the winter hum-drums got in my way. These jars have been sitting for so long, I decided to re-wash and re-think my approach to re-using them. Now, I still want to bring a few to the bulk store and re-use them as a zero waste way to buy teas, baking supplies, and spices, but I also have other plans.
Below, you can see the 10 ways I plan to re-use my glass Mason jars, but right now, let’s talk about how to remove those pesky labels the eco-friendly way.
Removing Labels From Glass Jars
You don’t need Goo Gone or muscle power for this. It’s actually much easier than that.
I effortlessly remove all kinds of labels from glass jars by simply soaking them overnight in hot water with dish soap. Use whatever dish soap you have on hand. Make sure all the jars are submerged.
The next morning, you will notice the labels basically slip off without any sticky residue. However, some jars are more stubborn than others. They hang onto that sticky film, despite shedding their label. In these cases, you can look to a simple DIY to help.
Here is how you can easily and quickly remove stubborn sticky residue from glass jars after the labels have slipped off:
- Mix equal parts baking soda and solid coconut oil until the texture is paste-like
- Spread this paste over the sticky residue
- Let sit for a few minutes
- Gently scrub the paste off
- Rinse with hot water
This method prevents you from scraping and scratching the glass.
I have said this before and I will say it again, I am not the craftiest person on the internet. You won’t find me cutting glass or constructing glass castles in my spare time. You will, however, find me doing some simple upcycle projects so I can reduce my use of plastic and work towards a more eco-friendly and lower-waste household.
1. Homemade Happiness Jar with Fair Trade Chocolate
What is a “Happiness Jar?” It’s the sweetest gift you can give. Dispersed amongst a variety of sample-size fair trade chocolates are handwritten happiness notes. These notes can be a mix of happiness quotes, tips, and nice sentiments from you to the gift receiver.
You can decorate and personalize this Happiness Jar with a cute label and some eco-friendly ribbon or hemp rope.
2. Air Plant or Mini Succulent Terrarium
There are so many reasons to do this DIY: it saves money on a fancy glass terrarium, it re-uses something you already have, and it is freaking adorable.
For the air plant terrarium, you can layer different types of rocks or marbles and place your air plant on top.
For the mini succulent terrarium, start with pebbles. Add a layer of high-quality potting soil. Repeat: pebbles, soil, pebbles, until you reach the point of planting your succulent into the soil layer. The pebble-layer is important for proper drainage since the bottom of your jar doesn’t have holes. You can add decorative moss or coloured marbles on top.
3. All-Natural Sweet Sugar Scrub Jar
You can make this for someone who loves at-home spa nights or keep it all for yourself.
Just mix together some sugar, olive or coconut oil, and a few drops of desired essential oil for added skin benefits and aromatherapy.
You can get the full details in my sugar body scrub recipe here.
4. Jar for Making Zero Waste Citrus Vinegar Surface Cleaner
At any given time, you can find a quart-sized Mason jar filled with citrus peels and vinegar in my cupboard. That’s because I’m always prepping the next batch of my zero waste citrus vinegar.
I use this sanitizing surface cleaner for things like cleaning bathroom and kitchen countertops, toilet seats and tanks, and bathroom sink basins.
You can find the full details on how to make your own zero waste citrus vinegar surface cleaner here.
5. Cookie Jar Gift for Mother’s Day
You know those adorable recipe jars you find at artisan markets? You can easily make your own, fancy it up with a cute handmade card, and make someone feel extra special.
Simply layer your dry ingredients in the jar and attach a handwritten recipe note. This is the vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I use for my handmade jars. I love it because it is allergen-friendly and only requires three wet ingredients.
6. Flavoured Water Infuser Jar
Infusing water with natural ingredients like chopped strawberries, cucumber, lemon, and mint leaves adds essential nutrients and a refreshing flavour. I love sipping on these in the spring and summer months. I don’t bother with straining the ingredients before sipping, either. I use a reusable straw instead.
Here are my favourite blends:
- Lemon slices + mint leaves
- Strawberry slices + cucumber slices
- Frozen cherries + fresh raspberries
7. DIY Eco-Friendly Candle with Essential Oils
Making a candle is actually really easy.
Buy some long wicks that work with your chosen Mason jar and some soy wax. Melt the soy wax and add stir-in drops of your favourite essential oils. Place the wick in the middle of the glass jar. Slowly pour the scented wax into the jar in layers, letting the layer cool before adding more.
Pouring in layers prevents uneven cooling and will help foster better burning.
8. Bulk Spice Pantry Organizer
This is probably the easiest way to re-use Mason jars of all sizes. Clean and dry them. Bring them to the bulk store and fill with your whatever your heart desires. The best part? Most of your spices and dry goods don’t even need new labels at this point because you can see what’s inside with a quick look.
9. Dried Wildflower Vase Centrepiece
I like to keep things as natural-looking as possible, so you won’t find any brightly-painted jars in my home. However, this is absolutely an option. Get as creative as you can.
I wait for my wildflowers to bloom and begin to wilt. Then, I dry them by first making my bouquet and hanging it upside down with hemp rope tied to a rod.
Next, I tie some more hemp rope around the Mason jar mouth and toss in a few stones until they fill about a quarter of the jar.
When my flowers are dry, I position the stems in between the stones. These look great in bathrooms, bedrooms, and bookshelves.
10. Homegrown Kitchen Herb Garden
To transforming a glass jar into a proper planter, just add pebbles to the bottom for a drainage solution and fill the rest with high-quality potting soil.
Plant your herbs and place them next to a sunny window. I suggest starting with chives, mint, basil, and rosemary. Make sure to add a cute label to each and keep the jars away from curious cats.