16 Smart Uses for Mason Jars


Because they come in so many sizes, mason jars are ideal for storing and transporting all manner of goods. It's easy to stay organized when you can see the contents of every jar.

They are minimal enough that they match any décor. They were designed to handle prolonged and repeated dipping into boiling water so they make excellent, microwaveable and oven-safe takeout containers. Their lids are watertight so they are great for storing liquids. The glass is non-reactive, which lessens unintentional chemistry accidents around the house. They are relatively cheap, endlessly reusable, and recyclable all over the world. They are one of the few consumer goods in my home that I can point to that actually save me money and make my life easier.

And, if it wasn't clear already, they can be used in many, many ways.

1. Bullet Blenders

One of my very favorite kitchen hacks converts a standard blender into a bullet blender with the use of a mason jar instead of the blender pitcher. This is obviously great for smoothies, but I love using this hack to make pesto.

2. DIY Double Boilers

I don't own a double boiler. When I need to melt chocolate for a recipe or beeswax for a craft project, I use a mason jar double boiler instead. Simply put the metal rings from the mason jar in the bottom of the pan (or slow cooker) and fill with pan with water. Heat the water. Put the chocolate, or whatever you want to melt, into a mason jar and set the jar in the hot water, making sure that the jar is sitting on the rings and not the bottom of the pan.

Luckily, the two major mason jar manufacturers Ball and Kerr (which are actually owned by one parent company), along with many gadget companies, have figured out that there are tons of people like me who are using mason jars in all sorts of off-label ways. A whole host of mason jar accessories have come onto to the market to make them even more functional.

3. Lunch Vessels

Mason jars make excellent refrigerator storage. Cut lettuce and produce inside mason jars stays crisp, which makes them the perfect container for make-ahead lunches. Adding a jar adapter can make your jarred lunches even more convenient. The BNTO adapter creates a separate compartment inside the jar for carrying dressing for a salad, or fruit preserves for yogurt.

4. The Perfect Pour

Why keep a separate cruet for homemade salad dressing when I can add a pour lid to a jar I already own? I use this style pour spout for honey, but it's great for molasses, simple syrup, Italian soda flavoring, and pretty much any other sticky liquid.

5. Seed Sprouters

While we are on the subject of salad, why not sprout your own sprouts with a jar strainer lid that does double duty as a sifter? By the way, the mason jar sprouter is a super easy DIY project: just cut a piece of window screen the size of a flat lid.

6. Salt Shakers

My friend Katy is another huge mason jar fan. She turned me on to this old school kitchen hack: replace the flat lid of a mason jar with the pour spout from an old salt container! You could also purchase a shaker attachment rather than just poking holes in the flat lid with a nail like your grandpa did.

7. Craft Corrals

Because they come in so many sizes, mason jars are also ideal for corralling craft supplies. While I personally like to store everything separately, I love this cupcake-topped sewing kit just for the sheer cuteness factor.

8. Bathroom Beautifiers

As with the kitchen and craft room, make your bathroom look instantly more organized by decanting all your random lotions and potions into mason jars fitted with pump dispenser lids. Semi-homemade liquid soap in a jar makes a lovely host gift.

9. Snazzy Centerpieces

Speaking of gifts, how gorgeous are these faux-mercury glass vases made from mason jars, mirror spray paint, and vinegar? These would also make terrific wedding centerpieces.

11. World in a Jar

One of my all-time favorite Martha Stewart projects is Winter Wonderland in a Jar AKA the homemade snow globe. I have a pen pal, Stephanie, who is ridiculously crafty and positively ninja at upcycling readily available supplies into stylish décor. Every year she organizes a community craft fair at her church, where local families can come and make holiday items for free. According to her, the jar snow globes were a big hit. She's also turned jars into the cutest terrariums ever.

12. Radio in a Jar

Okay, this is probably the least functional lid accessory around, but possibly the coolest. I'm hoping my fellow DJs at KXLU aren't reading this, because they're getting The Public Radio, in their Christmas stockings.

13. Emergency Lanterns

My assistant Nic made me a set of these amazing solar powered lanterns. He gets extra crafty credits for faux frosting the jars first. Who says emergency lighting has to be ugly?

14. Trendy Lighting

See your name in lights with your own monogram marquee. Make a beautiful pendant light, for either indoors or out on the porch. Show off your collection of seashells, vintage buttons, or flotsam and jetsam by displaying them in the base of this mason jar lamp.

15. Lovely Luminaries

If you prefer the romance of candlelight, mason jars provide the ideal windbreak for candles. Fill the bottom of jars with sand, add a votive candle, and use them instead of paper bag luminaries to guide party guests up to your house. I'm making these book page luminaries for my next book exchange party. Mason jars also make a bang-up container for homemade hand-poured candles, citronella candles or tiki torches. That said, if you are nervous about the fire risk involved in making your own candles, you can make your own rainbow striped candle using crayons. Just save up your old crayon short ends, pack them tightly into a jar by color family, and add a wick.

As party lighting, mason jars are super easy to theme. Turn them into miniature oil lanterns for your next picnic or Christmas party. Or create nautical-inspired party decorations for your next luau. What about these glow in the dark fairy lights for your kid's next sleepover party?

16. Photo Frames

My brand new favorite alternative use for mason jars has got to be these photo specimens. Submerged in vegetable oil, vintage photographs look like evidence from Dr. Frankenstein's lab. They are so neat!

What's your favorite mason jar hack? Please share it with your fellow readers in the comments section.

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Guest's picture
Kelli B

Love all of these fun (and useful) uses for Mason jars! You can also use them to contain gifts.