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Over the past year, our family has collected two years of empty jars in our pantry. Blame it on our love of salsa, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, and pickles. Blame it on our German heritage and absolute inability to throw away something we could use again. Blame it on the kids’ new understanding of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This is the same reason I have over 200 toilet paper cores in our attic. “These seem handy! But what are we supposed to DO with all this stuff?”

For the jars at least, I have a solution. This summer we have found a way to transform them into something useful and pretty. This has been such a fun family project, and I hope it will be for your family too.

My biggest stumbling block for upcycling old jars has been the labels. The reason everyone uses mason jars for everything from candle votives to cute beer glasses is because there’s no pesky label to peel. Or not peel, as has been the case around our house.

These stubborn labels have meant that over 50 odd-shaped jars have collected dust in our Art Room, waiting for someone with the patience and the tools to get off those sticky labels. A couple times I offered the kids cash to do the job, but their little fingernails were no match against the glue Pace uses to label their salsa.

But them we discovered the secret: OxiClean and Coconut Oil. First, we soaked the jars in Tide with OxiClean. The annoying labels slid right off like old paint. For any glue that remained, we rubbed a bit of coconut oil on the jars and it wiped away too. One afternoon later, we had a menagerie of sparkling, pretty jars waiting to become something else.


We also had a whole bunch of leftover spray paint. Like, really leftover–from years ago when we did the Kura Makeover. But I thought we would give it a shot and if it didn’t work, I had only wasted it on old pickle jars we would have thrown away anyway. We put the jars on cardboard, handed the kids spray paint and told them to spray away.

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As a final step, I cut letters with my Silhouette Cameo and added them to each jar. We labeled pencil cups for friends, Nerf Bullet Ammo Storage Devices for our boys, and the list goes on and on. Goodbye, jars cluttering our lives. Hello, Cute Useful Containers!

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We may give the kids’ teachers these cute pencil holders on the first day of school. Or we may decide we can’t handle that along with all the other drama going on this week.



Now to figure out something to do with those darn toilet paper rolls.


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