8 Interesting Uses for Mason Jars

Written by Brandon Garrett

Mason jars are some of the most durable and useful items in your preparedness pantry. While Philadelphia’s John Landis Mason first patented the jar in 1858 for home food storage, the jar has now found multiple uses including cleaning, gardening, housing emergency supplies and more.

Check out these ideas on what to do with your Mason jars and comment below to add your input.

Add a Spout
Most cardboard salt containers have a metalized spout on the top that folds out. You can add these to any mason jar. After you’ve finished with the old salt container, cut the whole top off of the salt container. Mason Jar PlanterIt will likely be too wide to fit inside the mason jar sealing ring. Simply measure how large it needs to be by tracing the ring on the lid and cutting out the excess. Place the spout in the ring and start pouring. This will allow you to divide out those large bags of food storage staples into manageable mason jar sizes.

Oil Lamp
Cut a small x in the top of the mason jar lid. It should only be a few centimeters wide. You can then push a candle wick through the top and pull it through. Fill the mason jar with canola oil and let the wick soak up the oil before you light it up.

Flower Vase
Find a taller mason jar and fill it with water. It adds a bit of a rustic feel to any flower arrangement.

Soap Dispenser
You’ll need to grab a pump from a lotion bottle. Cut a hole in the top of a mason jar lid that’s about 1.5 cm wide (or as wide as the straw in the pump). Slide the pump through the hole and glue add a layer of hot glue on the inside of the lid to secure it in place. You may need to trim the straw after you place it into the jar. Fill the jar with liquid soap and you’re set to go!

Salad in a Jar
Salads in a jar are a great lunch option. They’re filling, durable and easy to grab on the go. The lettuce takes longer to brown when vacuum sealed in a mason jar too. The thing that I love is that you can make it into a salad shaker by placing the lid and giving it a whirl.

Wall Planters
You’ll need a wooden board, 4-inch metal worm drive clamps, and a few screws. Place the clamps evenly across the board as desired. Secure the clamps to the board with the screws and then place the jars inside. Tighten the clamps around the jar so that they won’t fall down when filled and turned upright. You can then add soil and seeds inside the dirt and hand them on the walls or wherever you want.

Mason Jar Sewing KitMatch Holder
Find some fine sandpaper and cut out enough to place on top of your mason jar lid. Secure the sandpaper down with the lid ring. Store the matches inside the jar and when you need to strike them, use the sandpaper.

Self-Contained Sewing Kit
You’ll need a small mason jar, fabric, glue gun, stuffing, a pencil and hot glue gun. Place the mason jar lid (circle not the ring) on the fabric and outline a circle 1-inch wider than the lid. Cut out the circle and lay the top side of the lid on top of the fabric. Begin to fold the fabric over the edge of the lid and glue the edges to bottom of the lid. Leave an opening in order to place your stuffing inside between the fabric and lid. The mason jar lid ring should be able to pull over the fabric. You should be able to toss in needles, string and other sewing material inside the jar and screw the pin cushion on top. Full instructions (with photos) can be seen here.

What do you have to say?
How have you used Mason jars? Comment below and share the knowledge.

Updated January 9, 2013


  1. smiledr wrote:

    Great for making candles in.

    January 9th, 2013 at 10:04 pm
  2. Linda wrote:

    I vacuum pack my crackers in 1/2 gal. Mason Jars for long term storage. I use a mason jar to store my brown sugar. I vacuum the jar and my grown sugar is always soft. After I open a #10 can I place the contents in a mason jar and vacuum.

    January 10th, 2013 at 5:55 am
  3. jenny wrote:

    My son and I used mason jars this past year to make snowglobes for his grandmothers and great grandmother. They were a hit.

    January 10th, 2013 at 6:01 am
  4. John wrote:

    How do you “vacuum” a Mason jar?

    January 10th, 2013 at 6:08 am
  5. Cher wrote:

    There is a process called the “52 Method” in which you put a recipe of food storage items together into Mason Jars with an oxygen absorber. It helps in having a meal already put together so that all you do is add the liquid and cook. You can google “52 Method” and find recipes. I haven’t tried it yet but my curiosity has certainly been peaked.

    January 10th, 2013 at 7:26 am
  6. tracey wrote:

    The “green” lid off my Parmesan cheese fits a pint jar (regular) and I use that as a sugar shaker. Also, instead of a wall planter, the same set up can be used in the bathroom for qtips and cottonballs and toothbrush holders, etc..

    January 10th, 2013 at 7:31 am
  7. Pam wrote:

    I am new to all this….. How do you vacuum a mason jar. I know you didn’t mean with your Hoover vac. Did you mean like you are canning in boiling water? Is there an easier way?

    January 10th, 2013 at 8:00 am
  8. Karen wrote:

    I actually use wide mouth jars for most of my regular food storage. Bulk herbs go in 1/2 pint, gf flours in 1/2 gallon. I use the plastic storage lids. This way all my food is in glass storage rather than icky plastic, and all the lids match all the containers. Another fave, is we put remaining paint in them, with plastic lids, turn them upside down to seal. The paint stays good for years (with a little shaking), and the color is clear.

    January 10th, 2013 at 8:19 am
  9. Karen wrote:

    How do you vacuum?

    January 10th, 2013 at 8:23 am
  10. Beth wrote:

    To Linda:
    What brand of food vacuum do you use?

    January 10th, 2013 at 9:28 am
  11. dmwalsh wrote:

    Re: match holder

    Sandpaper will only work if you get strike anywhere matches which are getting harder to find. Regular matches must be struck on the box since some of the chemicals are in the striker material. As an alternative you could take the striker strip to the outside of the jar. Just make sure you don’t store it inside the jar with the matches…too much risk of accidental ignition.

    January 10th, 2013 at 9:38 am
  12. The Ready Store wrote:

    Hey All, Many food saver vacuumes have wide mouth jar sealer attachments.

    January 10th, 2013 at 9:47 am
  13. ssalgy wrote:

    To all who asked about how to vacuum a mason jar… There are several systems on the market that allow you to put food into special bags, and then suck the air out and seal the top with heat. Some of these systems also have a little add-on device that you place over a Mason or Kerr jar (regular or wide-mouth attachments are available) and it vacuum sucks the air from the jar and seals the lid.

    The brand I use is called Food Saver http://www.foodsaver.com/product.aspx?pid=9066

    We love it. It allows you to make manageable sized jars of items you buy in bulk, and maintain optimum freshness.

    We also have a food dryer, and we routinely dry extra tomatoes, peppers, apples, etc., and then either bag them or stow them in Mason jars, and seal them via the vacuum. It reduces the volume like crazy — I did a big basket of peppers and reduced it down to fit into one quart jar.

    January 10th, 2013 at 9:54 am
  14. Andy wrote:

    You can use a Food Saver machine to evacuate “vacuum” Mason jars, if you have the proper attachment. Alternately, you could heat the jar in the oven (not too hot–I wouldn’t exceed 200 degrees F). Remove the jar from the oven and let it sit. As it cools it will seal, in the same way it would seal if you had used the jar for canning.

    January 10th, 2013 at 9:57 am
  15. KirkG. wrote:

    Most “foodsaver” type vacuum sealer’s come with a jar attachment.

    January 10th, 2013 at 10:06 am
  16. Candace B. wrote:

    What do you use to cut the holes in the lids? Tin snips?

    January 10th, 2013 at 10:18 am
  17. kathryn wrote:

    i LOVE the idea of starting my plants early and the idea od the mason jars,,,,,I LOVE IT

    January 10th, 2013 at 10:45 am
  18. michelle wrote:

    To vacuum seal Mason jars, I use the ‘pump n seal’. It works wonderfully without purchasing o2 absorbers. You punch a hole in the lid with a pin, and pump out the air by hand using the device, great for no electricity situations too!

    January 10th, 2013 at 11:22 am
  19. Katie wrote:

    We use our jelly jars and wide mouth jars as drinking glasses. We have several children and they do not break when dropped on our wood floor and do not crack as plastic cups tend to do. Glass is just better anyway! Somewhere out there is a drinking lid for the wide mouth jars so you can take it on the go. A great idea, but they are a little spendy.

    January 10th, 2013 at 2:06 pm
  20. Prepper Daddy wrote:

    Use the 2 quart size to store all kinds of rice/beans etc – buy the white plastic lids taht fit the jars. I also buy coconut oil in bulk; 5 gallon buckets. I store in 2 quart jars by heating the jars in the oven at 250 degrees, melt the coconut oitl on the stove in my big SS pot, fill the jars and seal with new meatal lids. As the jars cool the lids ‘pop’/seal and it is a great way to preserve O2 free.

    January 10th, 2013 at 2:26 pm
  21. Denise in NJ wrote:

    I have a problem with the plants. First, there is no drainage. It would be too easy to overwater and rot the roots. A couple inches of pebbles on the bottom would help, but add weight. Second, eventually the plants would get too big for those jars and with enough root growth could crack them.

    January 10th, 2013 at 3:25 pm
  22. The Godfather Prepper wrote:

    Get a plastic needlepoint screen (about .50) and cut circles out the diameter of the canning jar lid. They work great for sprouing!

    January 10th, 2013 at 4:27 pm
  23. Ray White wrote:

    You can vacuum seal a mason jar with a FoodSaver vacuum sealer with a “lid” sealer attachment. Google FoodSaver and see–it works great.

    January 10th, 2013 at 4:59 pm
  24. Ben wrote:

    For those wanting to vacuum seal on a budget try Ziploc vacuum freezer bags. The vacuum pump costs roughly $4.50 while the bags average about .30 a piece.

    January 10th, 2013 at 5:40 pm
  25. JayJay wrote:

    John wrote:
    How do you “vacuum” a Mason jar?

    You need a food saver with a port and accesssory hose, and order from Amazon a jar sealer–mine is on the way.

    January 10th, 2013 at 7:08 pm
  26. JayJay wrote:

    Re: match holder

    Sandpaper will only work if you get strike anywhere matches which are getting harder to find.

    Ace Hardware–last I bought were a dollar.

    January 10th, 2013 at 7:11 pm
  27. Cherie wrote:

    I use mason jars for tons of things, different sizes: bathroom: q-tips,cotton balls,bandaids, wet ones,other-in the garage for nuts,bolts,screws,steel wool,leftover paint and lots of other things. I use them for candles, bath salts,lotion,office supplies,sewing and crafting supplies…just about anything that fits in them!

    January 10th, 2013 at 10:24 pm
  28. Sam wrote:

    I oven seal all my dry foods in pint or quart jars. It is very easy to do. I fill my jars, sit them in a cake pan so they don’t tip over easily. Sit them in the oven, turn it on to 200*s and set the timer for 1 hour. After one hour take the jars out one at a time, (jars are hot so be careful) put on a clean flat and ring. Sit them on a towel and listen for the ping to tell you they are sealed. Since they are dry foods, even if they don’t seal, they will not get bugs. You can do any dry foods, from Flour to beans,pasta, cake mixes, etc. They will keep for many years. Just don’t oven seal any thing that you plan to use for seeds to plant. This is not a method for any thing with liquid.

    January 10th, 2013 at 11:32 pm
  29. jeff wrote:

    Grandma put mason jars over many of her flowers like roses and snap dragons to help them make it through the winter . It was the perfect little green house to start the roses.

    January 11th, 2013 at 7:56 am
  30. Tressa wrote:

    I use my Reymolds Handi-vac with the FoodSaver jar sealers (both sizes are available from Amazon) and put the business end over the hole. No big FoodSaver or hose required. I don’t think the HandiVacs are sold anymore but ZipLock makes a hand pump and vacuum bags. These are available in the supermarket. I thought if mine ever breaks, I’d get one of those; much cheaper than FoodSaver. I use my jars for everything. The sealers are one of the best things I’ve evey bought.

    January 12th, 2013 at 9:27 am
  31. Kim wrote:

    You can also use the FoodSaver lid attachment without the FoodSaver if the power goes out. Just use a cheap bike tire pump.

    January 12th, 2013 at 7:17 pm
  32. mike mcdaniel wrote:

    how to make a jar shelf you will need a 1×6 wood board 2 – 1×6 shelf brackets and glue. the 1 x 6 board can be any length to fit your needs. equally space jar tops gluing them to the board leaving enough room to screw jars on to lids. place board on shelf brackets with jar lids on bottom of board. fill jars and screw them on glued lids. this will leave you with a top shelf and a see thru jar storage underneath.

    January 12th, 2013 at 11:46 pm
  33. Pete wrote:

    I want to put rice and beans, seperateley into mason jars for storage. Are there any rules to follow, and what would the life expectancy be? Just short of forever? Haha.

    January 16th, 2013 at 8:05 am
  34. lh wrote:

    I use a “Pump n Seal” to vacuum seal mason jars. They are very inexpensive, easy to use and the best part they don’t require electricity. Can reuse jar lids over and over. http://pump-n-seal.com/

    January 17th, 2013 at 11:49 am
  35. Lynn wrote:

    Here you can see how to seal any jar, Mason type or any other kind, using a food saver and canister. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E552XSAXEdk

    January 17th, 2013 at 7:49 pm
  36. Jody wrote:

    Just a word of warning for those heating their Mason Jars in an oven to seal or vacuum dry goods. I’ve been told, by canners I trust that Mason Jars use a glass designed for “wet” heat, not “Dry” heat. If not unsafe, it can shorten the lifespan of the jar.

    For those wanting to vacuum seal a jar without using a Food Saver device, try using a manual brake bleeder tool along with the FoodSaver Wide Mouth or Regular Mouth Jar attachments which can be bought separately on Amazon.com.

    Do a search on YouTube for “Katzcradul” or “ImStillWorkin” for videos on both topics.

    May 30th, 2013 at 5:03 am
  37. Cheryl O. wrote:

    I use a “Pump N Seal” to pump the air out of dry goods in mason jars. It doesn’t require electricity and if you run out of the little seals that go over the hole in the lid, a square of electrical tape works beautifully

    May 30th, 2013 at 5:30 am
  38. Skillet wrote:


    May 30th, 2013 at 7:33 am
  39. Oscar wrote:

    A clerk at Ace Hardware told me he uses the large mason jars to make individual sun teas, 5 or more at a time, you can have a larger selection of flavors then making one big gallon.

    May 30th, 2013 at 10:45 am
  40. Laurie wrote:

    Lynn, thanks for that link, I watched the video on vacuum sealing jars and it was really helpful!

    May 30th, 2013 at 12:50 pm
  41. prepforshtf wrote:

    Make butter.

    May 31st, 2013 at 8:13 am
  42. NameTerryl wrote:

    O² Absorbers

    I use 100 cc O2 absorbers.

    A home vacuum sealer will only pump down to about .035 Mpa. That is about -5 psi. At that negative pressure you are removing 65% of the air witch leaves 35% air that has 21% O2.

    Quart Jars
    1 Qt jar = 946.35 cc volume
    1 Qt jar empty has 199 cc of O2
    1 Qt jar 80% full has 40 cc of O2
    1 Qt jar 80% full and vacuum sealed to .035Mpa has 14 cc O2 .

    #10 Cans
    #10 can = 3980 cc volume.
    #10 can empty has 836 cc O2
    #10 can 80% full has 167 cc O2
    #10 can 80% full and vacuum sealed has 59 cc O2

    Mylar Bags
    8” x 10” bag is about 1 qt.
    A sealed bag has about 126 sq” of area.
    A properly sealed bag will have at least a ½ “ sealed area with no wrinkles.
    A good Mylar bag has an O2 abortions rate of
    .0006 cc/24 hr. /100 sq inches.

    May 31st, 2013 at 9:21 am
  43. Linda wrote:

    I use a vacuum pump that pulls a stronger vacuum with the bottom of my pressure canner. There are some being sold now or you can make your own. Search on you tube or google it. I can vacuum 7 quarts at a time or 5 half gallons. You can re-use ball lids at least a hundred times so once you have the equipment (jars, lids, vacuum sealer)there is no additional cost to seal your food. You can also rig the pump so you can seal bags with a magic vac or food saver but I like the bottles better for long term storage.

    December 14th, 2013 at 6:34 am
  44. Madcracka wrote:

    First off you can find matches at any hardware store, like Ace ,true value , even your supermarket. as far as striking a match, all you need is friction, you can take a match and strike against the glass window. if you push hard enough and fast enough for it to light, I’ve done this many times, with cardboard matches and wood matches.

    December 14th, 2013 at 7:03 am
  45. Gail wrote:

    I use Mason jars (wide mouth) for making sprouts. Also for food / smoothie storage to put in the fridge (instead of plastic containers).

    December 14th, 2013 at 7:36 am
  46. Laurie wrote:

    I take the Mason Jars and fill them with left over paint and throw out the cans. I write on the top what it is and tape the paint formulation on the sides.(What composes the colors,)It emptyed 2 shelves in the basement and the jars are sealed air tight.

    December 14th, 2013 at 12:17 pm
  47. AMom wrote:

    In power outages. A couple of large, large mouth jars with a little sand, colored rocks, glass rocks.(Available at the dollar store) about anything in the bottom about 2-3 inches deep. Put a taper candle in the middle. Place them about the living room, bed room, rest room. No worry of falling over, or dripping on the counter and can be carried from room to room with the flame protected.

    December 14th, 2013 at 1:18 pm
  48. Ruth wrote:

    I use mason jars for pantry storage – jelly size for spices and quart size for grains (cracked wheat, wheat germ, freekeh, quinoa, etc). I also make my own spice blends that I keep in pint jars. It’s sure cheaper than Tupperware or Rubbermaid storage containers.

    December 14th, 2013 at 1:43 pm
  49. Dave wrote:

    Different companies offer standard size mason jar lids with solar lights built into them. They are safer to use than candles and use a renewable resource. I already have a couple and they work great as nightlights.

    TRS? Would you consider adding them to your product line?

    December 14th, 2013 at 8:25 pm
  50. Mark wrote:

    We got 1/4″ poly tube and fittings to create a vacuum container for milking our goats. Two barbed fittings sealed with o rings and some tubing and irrigation syringe. Then you connect an aspirator pump to one side, the syringe to the goat. We also use the quart wide mouth jars for storage of the milk. It all works great and didn’t cost a ton of money.

    August 16th, 2014 at 6:56 am
  51. Sam wrote:

    You can oven seal any thing dry, rice, oats, flour, meal, etc. just fill the jars, put in the oven (I set six jars in a 9×13 pan), put in a 200 degree oven for one hour. Take jars out one at a time, wipe the top of the jars, Put the lids on and set aside until cool. You should hear them ping when they seal. If they don’t seal, you will never have bugs in them. DO NOT use this method for anything with liquid ! Dry foods only ! these foods last many years.

    August 16th, 2014 at 7:44 am
  52. Healthy 4 Life wrote:

    I do NOT recommend using the cheaper zip-lock method for long term storage, only for more a day or two. Use Mylar or glass for long term. After eating organic and storing food in glass and stainless steel, I can taste the tainted chemical taste of food stored in plastic (whether bags or containers).

    August 16th, 2014 at 9:38 am
  53. Alan Satow wrote:

    I use my mason jars to store water in times of trouble. I put them in a hot water bath, then cool. Store in boxes. Ideal for single use drinking.

    August 16th, 2014 at 9:52 am
  54. Duckie wrote:

    Tried oil lamp. Keeps going out any suggestions? Used candle wick and canola oil

    April 3rd, 2015 at 6:48 pm

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