Prepper projects: 4 Ways to upcycle Mason jars
By Divina Ramirez // Jan 28, 2022

The mason jar is a molded glass jar used in home canning to preserve foods. It has a two-part top: a lid with a rubber ring on the underside, which creates a vacuum seal for safe canning, and an outer band with screw threads. The lid can only be used to seal once, but the jar itself and its outer band can be reused several times.


Today, mason jars are not solely used for home canning. Many homesteaders upcycle theirs into useful items, such as planters, tissue dispensers and even lamps. If you have mason jars you have already used for canning, give them a second life by upcycling them.

Here are four ways to upcycle your old mason jars.

1. Mason jar planters

Mason jars make great containers for plants, succulents, herbs and flowers. Here's how to make them:


  • Mason jars
  • 32 inch-long piece of scrap wood
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Mending plate with screws
  • Pipe clamps
  • French cleat picture hanger
  • Sandpaper


  1. Sand the scrap wood to smoothen the corners and edges. Stain the wood if desired.
  2. Install the French cleat picture hanger to the back of your base.
  3. Measure and mark the holes where your mending plate will go to secure the pipe clamps to the wood.
  4. Divide the length of your wood by the number of mason jars you'll be attaching to it to determine the distance between each jar. Use a level to ensure the marked locations are aligned.
  5. Drill holes at each marked location for easier installation later. Place the pipe clamps at each location between the wood and mending plates, then fasten the mending plates to the wood with the screws provided.
  6. Measure the center point of your wall to attach the other half of the French cleat picture hanger, then hang your base. Make sure to hang it from a functional height.
  7. Center each jar in a pipe clamp. Secure it by tightening the clamp with the flathead screwdriver.
  8. Fill the jars halfway with stones for drainage, then add potting soil. Add your plants, herbs or flowers.

2. Mason jar tissue dispenser

Spice up your desk with a mason jar tissue dispenser. This project is done in just four simple steps.


  • Mason jar
  • Tissues
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Paint (optional)


  1. If you want an opaque dispenser, paint the jar and let it dry overnight.
  2. Fold all the tissues in half, then push them into the jar,
  3. Remove the middle portion of the lid so you have only the rim.
  4. Cut a circle from a sheet of scrapbook paper to fit the rim. Draw an "X" on the center of your circle, then cut along those lines.
  5. Place the circle inside the rim, then secure the lid back onto the jar. Pull the tissues through the "X."

3. Mason jar soap dispenser

If you like making your own liquid hand soap, then you'll love this mason jar soap dispenser. It's clean, sturdy and pleasing to the eye. (Related: How to make your own DIY liquid hand soap and laundry soap.)


  • Mason jar
  • Used plastic soap dispenser with pump
  • Power drill with a 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Glue gun with glue stick
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • DIY liquid soap


  1. Clean the mason jar thoroughly, then let it dry completely.
  2. Remove the lid from the jar. Mark the center of the lid, then drill a hole into it.
  3. Using the pliers, make the hole big enough so that the pump from the dispenser can fit through it.
  4. Attach the pump to the lid using hot glue. Seal all the spaces and openings with more hot glue.
  5. Trim off the excess tubing using a pair of scissors so that it fits snugly inside the mason jar.
  6. Fill the mason jar with your liquid soap. Screw the seal with the lid onto the jar. Display it on your bathroom counter or kitchen countertop.

4. Mason jar bird feeder

Attract birds to your garden with this mason jar bird feeder.


  • Mason jar with handle
  • Dowel rod
  • 1/2 package unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cups bird seed mix
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • Wire


  1. In a bowl, mix the boiling water, gelatin and honey.
  2. Add the flour and bird seed mix. Use your hands to mix everything together.
  3. Stuff the mixture inside the mason jar, then stick the dowel rod into the mixture. The rod will serve as a perch for the birds.
  4. Wrap both ends of the wire around the handle of the jar.
  5. Hang the mason jar bird feeder anywhere in your yard where you want to attract the birds.

Upcycling old mason jars is a great way to practice living a sustainable lifestyle. If you have a couple of mason jars you can no longer use for canning, give them new life by trying any of the craft ideas shared above.

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