by the Rodale’s content team
Mason jars. You can preserve in them. You can store food and dry goods in them. You can create easy meals in them. You can pretty much organize your life with them. But there’s so much more to mason jars than simply canning, eating, and storing food—including these 3 nifty ways to use our favorite glass jars:
1. Creative Sewing Kit
How to make it: Grab a large mason jar with a lid. For the pincushion top, cut batting into a small circle or square roughly the size of your jar’s lid. Wrap the batting like a package inside a leftover piece of fabric. Pin, fabric glue, or sew the fabric closed around the batting, then glue the pincushion to the lid of your jar—or if you’re using a jar with a band lid, you can push the pillow up through the lid’s circular hole and glue the pincushion’s edges to the bottom rim of the lid. Stick pins and sewing needles into the batting, and fill the jar with everything you need for sewing, from thread, scissors, and pins to fabric scraps, buttons, thimbles, and more!
2. Unique & Useful Place Settings
How to make it: For your next dinner party, event, or romantic meal for two at home, collect the same number of glass canning jars as there are guests. Decorate the jars to match the décor of the event—this could mean wrapping them with gold ribbon or twine, painting stripes along the glass, securing flowers or lace to the rim, or simply letting them be “naked” glass jars. Then fill each jar with a napkin, fork, knife, and spoon, placing one beside each place setting. Have your guests use their jars for drinks once the party begins!
3. Natural & Nice Room Scents
How to make it: Collect and slice your favorite organic citrus fruits, be they grapefruit, orange, lime, or lemon, and pair the fruit with complementary herbs and spices; top with a hint of pure vanilla. Add the fruit slices, herbs, and vanilla mixture to a mason jar, then fill the jar with water and tightly screw on the lid. Store the filled jars in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make your home smell amazing—perhaps during an in-law’s visit or a party, or even on a rainy day—then take the jar out, empty the contents into a small saucepan, bring them to a boil, and simmer them all day, topping off with water when necessary.
Suggested scent combinations:
- Grapefruit & Rosemary—Grapefruit, rosemary stalks, teaspoon of vanilla, water
- Lime & Mint—Limes, thyme, mint, and vanilla, water
- Lemon & Lavender—Lemons, dried lavender, vanilla, water.
Why make your own scented simmer pots/simmering potpourri? Everyone loves a beautifully smelling home—however, not everyone knows that many popular store-bought scented candles, air fresheners, and wall plug-ins can actually be toxic to your health. That’s because these products more often than not contain synthetic fragrances, which are typically derived from toxic petrochemicals, including hormone-disrupting phthalates. Those chemicals have been linked to a number of health problems, including breast cancer and diabetes. By making your own room scents from all-natural and organic ingredients like lemons and herbs, you can know that your home’s sweet smell is warm, inviting, and—most important—safe.
Bonus ideas for fun ways to use glass canning jars:
- Herb planter
- Flower vase
- Mason jar meals
- Bathroom item organization
- Toothbrush holder
- DIY lanterns, lighting fixtures, and candleholders
- String/ribbon/twine organizer
- Salt shaker
- Pantry organization