Make Vases and Votive Candles from Recycled Jars

How many times do you think twice before throwing your empty food jars into the recycle bin? Well, it happens to me just about every day. I swear being a DIYer quickly turns you into a level 3 hoarder.

My problem is the second I lay eyes on a piece of junk or something being thrown into the recycle I get this vision for what it COULD be. The other problem is that I have no idea how long it will take me to actually execute the project.  Because our house is on the smaller side, I limit myself to only saving the things that I have a plan for in the very foreseeable future.

Like these recycled jars.

I knew I was planning a Shabby Chic Birthday Party for Baby E MONTHS ago and started collecting these jars right away. I saved every jar that went through our house: spaghetti, apple sauce, olives, and of course baby food jars! I washed out all of the jars, ran them through the dishwasher and removed all the labels. For those stubborn food labels, I filled the sink up with hot soapy water and let the jars soak for about 10-20 minutes or until the labels peeled right off.

I’ve been very fortunate to have a grandma and mom who love sewing and crafts and somehow or another I ended up with boxes of this beautiful vintage lace, ric rac, binding tape and ribbon. Most of these date back into the 50’s or 60’s and a lot of them are still in the original packaging.

I used all of the beautiful ribbon and lace above paired with some burlap and new ribbon to embellish the jars.  I love how the different textures and colors to create a very vintage look.

For you moms out there, this is just a remind to not throw away your baby food jars! There are so many things you can do with them including turning them into votive candles like the ones above. I scattered these around the food table at Baby E’s party and it was a nice little detail that cost me nothing!

Using a mixture of jars really carries the eyes throughout the arrangement. The varying heights and sizes add dimension give off an eclectic feel. These jars are not only an inexpensive centerpiece idea for parties and showers, but would make a great spring project for your mantel or windowsill!

This project cost me $.00. The jars were free and would have been thrown out in the recycle anyway and the ribbon and lace could easily be found in your craft supply! So think twice before you toss those jars into the recycle bin the possibilities are endless!


Taryn is the owner/editor of Design, Dining and Diapers, a lifestyle blog that focuses on DIY home decor, design, seasonal crafts, easy recipes and just being a mom! She is all about making things for less by upcycling thrift store finds and using what’s on hand. Taryn lives in the greater Seattle area with her husband, 3 year old daughter and 1 year old son.

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  1. says

    These are lovely. I am working on teacher appreciation ideas and these would really brighten up a teacher’s desk. They’d also be a sweet Mother’s Day gift or just a thinking-of-you present for a friend. How pretty!

  2. says

    I’m definitely a level 3 hoarder. I keep everything! Bottles and jars…oh yeah. I’ve been known to buy a jar of something that I don’t eat just to get the great shape of the jar, ha. You did a great job with decorating yours and I LOVE the pink roses! Saw your link at TT&J’s party.

    Have a good weekend,

  3. says

    Hi! Came over from It’s Overflowing party! These are just absolutely beautiful!! I linked up a jar/vase DIY as well. I love love love the use of the ribbon and lace mixed. How gorgeous. I am gonna look around your blog now ;)

  4. Debra Kapellakis says

    thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing a way to save a few interestingly shaped jars from the recycle bin

  5. says

    Clever girl! I LOVE these. I have a few baby food jars saved up, and lately have been saving French jam jars (’cause they have a cool shape). I think these could also double as gifts and party favours… You’ve got me thinking now! :)

  6. says

    How ADORABLE!!
    Yes, I always think what could i do with the jars!!!
    i finally decided to keep them… i have a few already…
    thanks for the great idea!!!

  7. says

    Oh WOW! These are absolutely stunning. I love the touch of lace. I have a jar-turned-vase project coming up Monday!! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

  8. Maureen Hayes says

    Hi! I am just popping over from Flamingo Toes and I love these! I am a shabby chic kinda gal anyway so they were right up my alley! I agree about becoming a class 3 hoarder when you craft – LOL. I am always trying to find Mom’s who will save me baby food jars. I have a great recipe for homemade lip balm and they are the perfect size for gifting that too! Thanks for showing another wonderful way to recycle. I am now following your lovely blog and look forward to seeing what else you create.

    Have a wonderful day!

  9. says

    Love this so much that I must try it myself. I have some old blue jars that I have a visual of how they would look like this. Thanks for sharing your talent with us.

  10. Sarah @ Alderberry Hill says

    Stunning, I love them…perfect for so many occasions!
    You are being featured later tonight @ Alderberry Hill.
    Thanks so much for linking up to Make the Scene Monday, I hope you can join me again this week!

  11. says

    these are so so sweet!! i love the colors & styles you chose — and for each to be different yet so lovely. thanks for stopping by today – really appreciate it! :)

  12. Munchkin says

    A beautiful idea, thank you for sharing, it’s nice to be able to use jars and make them even more interesting than vases.

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