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Jam jars

My second crafty recycle column looks at the humble jam jar and its many uses: Read on to get inspired and get them out of the recycling bin...

Written by Hannah Bullivant

My next project is not quite so ambitious or labour intensive as last weeks weatherproof bunting, buy information pills but I want to include some easy instant ideas too.

Jam jars have got to be some of the most overlooked and underused objects in our kitchens, and they have, like, a gazillion potential uses. My fondness for jamjars (and I would definitely call it fondness) began at university. Necessity bred invention and my jam jars found them selves reinvented as pen holders, food containers, shot glasses, tea light holders, door stops, bowls, plates, bee traps and potential weaponry against baddies and pissed house mates.

My favourite reincarnation of the humble jam jar is as water tumblers. Just steam or soak the labels off and pop em in your cupboard. That’s it. Crafty, free and endlessly self replenishing. Jam jar glasses again originated from student necessity, but I have come to respect their unique utilitarian charm.

If jam jar drinks glasses clash against your neat modernist aesthetic, then maybe you could use them at summer barbeques and parties. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about your verging-on-alcoholic friend smashing your favourite Habitat glasses against your patio.

Jam jars also make quite fetching photo frames too.

Just spray the lids a colour of your choosing and pop your pics in.

Photos inside jam jars

You could add stuff to the jar too, if you fancy it, like keepsakes, fabric scraps, pressed flowers, whatever really.

Jam jars stuffed with pretty bits

And remember that for each jar you turn in to a water glass or photo frame, you are saving money by not buying glasses and photoframes elsewhere, keeping them from landfill and preventing energy being used to recycle them. Captain Planet would be proud.

It is a sad indictment of my life when I admit this but I would be genuinely excited if you could enlighten me with further potential uses for jamjars below. I am always excited to hear about new uses for old things.

Until next time cherries


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12 Responses to “Jam jars”

  1. Tom A says:

    I use my jam jars entirely conventionally, for storing pickles, jams and things like that, but I do love them, so I enjoyed reading your article!

    I stopped recycling our jars so I would start engaging with how many we were getting through and I was shocked by how quickly they started to pile up. I get through a lot of mayonnaise!

    They’ve become a really good visible reminder that I don’t have to buy my pickled cabbage or mayonnaise, and add yet more to my jar store, I can make it instead…

  2. Amelia says:

    Hi Tom, I couldn’t agree more – I actually get through very few jars, but I do get through an awful lot of marmite…. so if anyone has ideas about what to do with those jars (apart from store herbs) then I’d love to know, Amelia x

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Hannah, you are a crafty genius! I love it. I have been collecting jam jars for no other reason than I don’t want to throw them away. I think they look nice. But now I have the inspiration to fill them with awesomeness.

  4. HannahB says:

    Tom, I also stopped recycling jars and have indeed become aware of how many I get through. I have a penchant for fancy jams, chutneys and pickles. But you have spurred me on; this year i want to have a go at making my own. I have been thinking about it for ages, it means being able to use my growing stash of jam jars to store… jam! Plus saving money etc etc.

    Amelia- marmite jars are a bit of an odd shape arent they. Could you get a tea light insdie it? then srap a wire coat hanger round the lid and make it in to a hanging lantern? the shape might mean they would be good humane bee and wasp traps with a bit of honey or jam at the bottom? Hmmm will have a think!

  5. Lee May says:

    I stopped recycling my jars too last year as we want to use them as mini vases at our wedding next month. Seeing as I don’t really use sauces from jars etc and make nearly all our food from scratch it’s surprising and a little bit scary how many we get through!!

    I like the Marmite jars as candle idea….perhaps you could fill them with citronella scented candles to keep the bugs away in the summer?

  6. Amelia says:

    Hmm, not sure about using them as candle holders…. you should see how many I’ve got. I’d be the first to admit that I have hippy tendencies but I think a house full of marmite jars filled with candles might be taking it a bit far! A x

  7. Abi says:

    Hannah – I love these articles – I have piles of the things and never get tired of recycling them. Photo frames are a great idea!

    Amelia – I use marmite jars for storing spices & herbs, those mini beads used for love beads, my rings & earrings, but they’re actually best for mixing acrylic paint in – if you keep the lid too, they’re small enough to keep the paint from hardening for about a week, and it means you don’t waste paint too.

  8. Siobhán says:

    Hannah – I read your blog quite religiously and love all of the ideas you come up with.

    Yesterday I saved some HP bottles from the recycling and have turned them into candle stick holders. A bit of melted wax around the top and sides and pop a taper candle in and its ready for the first garden party of the season!

  9. HannahB says:

    Thank you Siobhan! Made me blush!

    Glass bottle holders as candle sticks is GENIUS! Might have to translate that in to a future amelia’s craft column!

  10. Faith says:

    I’m using jam jars in my wedding! They are going to be used as lanterns and vases. They will look so cute! We were thinking about using them for glasses aswell but thought that might be a bit of a jar overload.

    Loved hearing about how other people use jam jars!

  11. Suzie says:

    can anyone tell me how to get the sticky

    stuff off jam jars, i’v tried boiling water

    that only loosens the paper and leaves the gue


  12. Gilli says:

    Remove the glue by rubbing with a cloth dipped in white spirit, then wash the jar well with washing up liquid. Apparently you can also remove any strong smells in the jar by cleaning with bicarb.

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