Mason Jars – as Useful Today as They Were 100 Years Ago!

2013 Marks the 100th Anniversary of the first series of Ball Jars designed by the Ball Brothers.  The first Mason jar was patented in 1858 by John Landis Mason.  Mason jars – of all sizes, brands and styles are still as useful now as they were back in the day.  Since jars are so readily available at Arc’s Value Village Thrift Stores and ideas are so readily available online AND on our Pinterest site, we thought we would share!

Jar Ideas for Pantry:

Top Shelf  – Magnetic Spice Rack:

Pantry Projects

Spice Rack Instructions Using 4 oz jars:   Follow the instructions via the link for this project – with a few exceptions.  Since stainless steel is not magnetic, purchase a 1′ x 2′ sheet of regular steel for about $10 at any Home Depot.  Have the sheet cut to fit your desired size.  I had mine cut to fit a box at a cost of $12 at my local hardware store.  Using a squeeze or two of Gorilla Glue, glue and apply weight to the bottom of the box so that it stays put.  Let dry thoroughly.  Purchase 1 half-inch, super-strong magnet for each of your jars.  The magnets could be glued to the jar lids but they weren’t in this case so that they could be used for other projects.  It will work either way.  If you choose to glue, use a solid one-piece screw top (save some from other jars in your pantry or purchase them online) as the lid/screw top combination will flex and the glue will not be as effective.  Design/print labels using sticker paper or use ready made labels.

Notes:  Because of the $50 price tag on the magnets, I don’t think the project was worth it.  Perhaps you can find strong magnets for less.    I do like that mine is in a box which allows me to take it with me or tuck it away.


Second Shelf from the Top – Jars Using the Top of Salt Containers:

salt container top closed Top open

Adapted Salt Container Tops:  Follow the instructions via the link for this project using the tops of salt containers.

Notes:  It worked out very well and I love the project but I would caution you that the pour spout “staples” are quite fragile and weren’t designed for a lot of bending so you have to be really careful not to break them when you take them off and put them back on once you have your top covered with pretty paper. I used double-sided adhesive paper to stick my paper to the salt container box instead of glue because it results in a nice smooth look.  You could also use double-sided tape.

Third Shelf from the Top – Baking Ingredients with Chalkboard Labels:

Chalkboard Labels (see first photo):  Super simple.  Purchase chalkboard labels and adhere them to the jars.  If you are persnickety, measure where you will place the label so that they’re all the same on the jars.  It looks nice when they’re all lined up.  Write the ingredient name on each label with chalk.

Bottom Shelf – Dried Ingredients with Chalkboard Painted Lids:

Chalkboard Painted Jar Lids

Chalkboard Paint on Mason Jar Lids: Krylon Chalkboard paint.  Sand the top of each lid slightly to rough it up, then wipe off any residue. As you need adequate ventilation, lay out the wide-mouth lids outside on newspaper anchored from the wind by rocks.  Spray according to the instructions on the can in sweeping motions.  Spray on SEVERAL coats and let dry between.

Notes:  I thought three coats would be adequate but as you can see, it’s really not.  I’ve heard from one source that it takes as many as nine coats to really build up that surface so you can write on it.  I used the Martha Steward chalk (from Staples).  Michael’s carries chalk markers in a four-color pack which would probably have been more visible and double or triple the cost.



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