Excess Baby Food Jars

Q    Does anyone have any suggestions for used baby food jars? I have kept  them thinking I may need them for something and have accumulated quite a  few. I do make my own baby food but have bought some as well when it  was on sale to use for going out and camping.

My dad would use these in his garage for screws, nails, washers, etc. Many small items could be sorted this way and he could always see exactly what he had. If they were different sized he just marked the jar accordingly. He would secure the cover onto a piece of board, and screw the bottle on and off of the cover.  I am sure this could be used for kitchen spices, sewing items, or any kind of small craft items.  We have used them for making "sand paint". It’s easy to shake up the ingredients, and then it can be immediately stored after use.

Many kindergarten, preschools and day care centers like to get things like baby food jars. They sometimes use them to make projects to send home, like planters for Mothers Day etc. Also baby food jars are great for storing paper clips, rubber bands, etc. And finally they are very useful for potting herbs.

She could donate half of her un-needed jars to a local girl scout troop.  They are always looking for that size jar for gifts and crafts.  Or offer them at church.  Homeschoolers use them for art, science and crafts.  

Very clever organizers can be made from baby food jars and some spare wood.  A frimnd nailed the lids to a brick-sized block of wood (inside of lids face out so you can attach the jar!), and then mounted the block of wood to the side of his workbench, in such a way that it could be rotated (looks like wooden paper towel holder). He then filled the jars with various nuts n’ bolts and securely twisted the jars back onto their lids, and just rotated the block until the jar he needed to open was on the bottom.. unscrew the jar, use what you need, and replace the jar on the rotating organizer. You can also nail the lids to a board mounted under a cabinet, so that they hang down like "space saver" appliances. I use them for storing beads and other small craft supplies, but they also make good containers for mixed paint colors, bug homes (poke small holes in the lid!), jewelry,  paperclips, whatever! You can’t open a drawer in my house without finding something being stored in a baby food jar

Have old candles around that didn’t melt down right, or maybe are just past their use life?  Well I have made plenty of home-made candles in these little jars, and its easy!!  You can buy wick at any craft store.  You’ll need it, little metal washers (in the hardware dept) to tie them to for weight, and you’ll need toothpicks.

Melt your old candles down (remove any excess wicking or debris from the wax), or you can melt regular paraffin and color it with crayons.  I add a drop or three of aroma therapy scented oils that appeal, while the wax is melting.  Set the jars up before hand on a old cookie sheet.  To do this, measure a section of wick to be about twice the height of the jar.  Tie one end to a washer ring, and measure how long it will need to be to reach the top of the jar.  Tie the other end around a toothpick, and suspend the wick in the jar using the toothpick to keep it from falling in completely (like a bridge over the top of the jar).  Ladle or pour the melted wax SLOWLY into the jar, making effort to keep the wick as straight as possible – it will hang good anyway because of the weight.  Fill to where the jar just starts to crest inward toward the top.  Allow to sit and fully harden.  You can do this with different colors too if you don’t mind more than one melting session or have a good supply of wax melting pans (I have one dedicated to this and other non-food uses).  If you want layers of color, just fill the jar part way with the first color, and when its set, fill with the next one.  Cut the toothpick off, leaving about 2 inch wick above the wax.

You can just screw the lid on and you’re done, OR you can take another minute, and cut a circle of fabric, about 1� inches larger in diameter than the lid for the jar.  I cut it out with pinking shears for a finished edge.  Brush a little glue (hot glue works well, but Elmer’s will do) on the center of the piece, and set the top of the jar upside-down on it centered.  Allow to dry some.  To finish off, use a section of narrow ribbon, or whatever you have, to wrap around the sides of the lid, securing the fabric around the top of the lid.  I have gone as far as to make little stickers that fir the round lid top, like you would for jellies, or whatever.  These make great last minute gifts, thank-you gifts, decorations at a less formal wedding or other gathering, or they’re just nice to put on the edge of the tub next time you have a bath.  I use a fairly large stock pot when I do this (and still have neighbors saving their jars for me), so I make maybe 25-30 at a time.  The grocery store has boxes (that the baby food comes in), which are perfect for storing any over runs you have.

Here is an idea for those baby food jars. A friend of mine recently had a birthday party for her son, the theme was Winnie The Pooh. She decorated several baby food jars as honey combs using construction paper, glue, and markers. She also put gold chocolate kisses inside the jars and glued a bumble bee on top of the lids. They were then passed out to all the kids at the party in place of a candy bag.

I have a suggestion, my mom makes Christmas trees out of them. One string of lights strung through them, garland in the bottom of the jars, and any other decorations you may want. Hot glue the jars together in a triangle shape. Beats throwing them away!

Turn the jar upside down to make a snow globe. Unscrew the top (which becomes the bottom and glue to it any seasonal item (little pumpkins for fall, little flag for 4th of July, etc). Add some glitter and then fill with water. Close it tightly and flip over so the top becomes the base. You can even hot glue it closed to ensure no leaking. Trim the bottom with ribbons or lace if desired. Makes a great kid’s craft for friends, teachers, and grandparents!!!

Put a spice label on each one and put your spices in the jars. Nail the lids in a row up underneath a cupboard and then screw the jars into the lids. You now have a hanging spice "rack". When you want to use a spice, just unscrew the jar, take out what you want, and screw the jar back up. Try to put the jars under a cupboard that isn’t hit by direct sunlight, as this is not good for the spices.

Invest in some potpourri oil and soak some cotton balls in the oil. Place the balls (some soaked in oil and a couple that have not been) in the jars, place the lid on (poke some holes in it) the jar, and hide behind things in your home. A nice way to fragrance any room and can the scent can keep being added as it diminishes.

I had a lot of them and put a small hole in the top and then put a spool of thread in the jar and fed the thread out through the hole.  I was then able to pull as much thread as needed from the jar.  This keeps the thread neat and does not get tangled.  It is very convenient.

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