Preparing your own baby food can be a great cost-effective way of providing meals for your baby. However, as a busy mom there are times when I just don’t have time to prepare batches of baby food. For times when we’re on the go or I don’t have something readily prepared in the fridge, I’ll get store-bought jars to keep on hand. I hate to throw away good glass jars so I’ve found a few ways to repurpose baby food jars and containers.
Sometimes I get jars and sometimes I’ll get the ones that come in little plastic containers like the Gerber foods. A few months ago BabiesRUs had a really great special on these so I racked up (and I still have some in the pantry since I don’t use them everyday) Busy moms who frequently use store-bought baby food can accumulate a good bit of jars over time. Recycling is always great but not everyone has a recycle company nearby or a service that picks it up. Here are a few ways you can recycle your own jars and containers.
Repurposing Baby Food Jars for Storage
One of the easiest ways to repurpose baby food jars and containers is to use them as storage containers. You can store a multitude of things in them for organizing your kitchen or crafts projects. Here are some examples:
- Art supplies
- Screws and bolts
The options are endless. Basically anything that is small and easy to lose can be stored away in a baby food container. Best of all they’re clear so you can see what’s in them.
Reuse Baby Food Jars as Containers
There are a few things you could use your containers for holding (not necessarily storing). For instance, if you like to let your kids get crafty and you have bottles of finger paint around a really neat idea is to use jars for holding small amounts of paint. The weight of the jars helps to keep them from spilling over and it’s a little less messy than putting squirts of paint in a paper plate where the colors easily run together and can get all messed up. You could also just cap them and save them for later use when the kids are done (considering the paint is still usable).
The little plastic containers that the Gerber foods come in with the snap on lids are perfect for holding snacks while on the go. I stash a couple in the diaper bag filled with cheerios or animal crackers and we’re set. If you pack lunches for your little one for daycare these containers also work well for dips such as ranch for veggies or yogurt for fresh fruit.
Then, of course, you can still reuse your baby food jars and containers for holding your homemade prepared baby food as well. Don’t store glass jars in the freezer, though because they may break. If you prepare large batches of baby food in advance to freeze I suggest using only freezer-safe containers such as those specifically made for freezing baby food.
Repurposing Baby Food Jars for Crafts
Glass jars can present the perfect opportunity for a craft project. One in particular is snow globes. These are easy for kids to make and can be given as gifts or to decorate shelves and mantles at *holiday time.
Here are the steps for making snow globes:
First you will need jar (jars) that are 4oz or larger, epoxy glue, glitter, glycerin, and a small toy or figure that will fit inside the jar.
1.) Apply epoxy glue to the bottom of the toy and attach to the underneath of the jar lid. This should be done by adults only. I use epoxy because it holds up really well and is water-proof. Set aside and allow to dry completely.
2.).) Add a little touch of glitter to the jar then fill with water. Add a few drops of glycerin (this is optional. Glycerin allows the glitter to fall slower)
3.) )Apply a thin amount of glue around the rim of the jar along the treads where the lid screws on.
4.). )Screw the lid on making sure it is properly in place and screw tight. Wipe away any excess glue. It’s ok if some water overflows from inserting the toy in the jar as this will reduce air bubbles in the jar.
Once the glue is dry you can flip over your jar for a cute mini snow globe the kids will love! If you’re looking to make holiday snow globes, many stores often sell various figures individually that go with the lighted village houses around christmas time. These work great for snow globes.
Another decorative craft idea is to use them as votives for candles. Candle-making is an art that takes time and practice. I don’t advise it as a craft project with kids because it can be dangerous as there is a risk of burns. However, you can decorate them as votives with ribbon, fabric, and/or glitter and use tea light or votive candles purchased from the dollar store to place inside. If you follow Pinterest you can find loads of cute ideas for different craft projects using baby food jars.
Repurpose Baby Food Jars For Gifts
Handmade gifts are always a sentimental gesture to give friends and family. There are a few easy and inexpensive gift ideas you can make by repurposing baby food jars. I’ve actually made a few of these:
- Party Favors – fill jars with candy for party favors at kids’ parties. You can paint the lids and tie a colored ribbon around the neck of the jar to go with the party theme. You can also make little cards to go around the jar or tie around the jar with the ribbon by punching a hole in it with the date and the birthday boy/girl’s name on it as a souvenir.
- Baby Shower/Wedding favors – Similar to the party favors mentioned above, you can use items such as bath salt or candy to fill the jars with and add embellishments according to the theme. You could also make cards to place on the jars to use as place holders. I recently made these for a friend’s baby shower using *bath salt that we made and colored in pretty pastel colors. We left the lids plain and added some sheer ribbon on top but you could also paint them.
- Potpourri – pick out a preferred scent of potpourri to fill the jar with. Use an ice pick (if you have one, or any tool you may have that can poke holes through tin) to make several holes in the top of the lid for the scent to get through. Adorn the top of the lid with lace or sheer fabric and tie a ribbon around the rim of the lid using hot glue to adhere it.
- Canned jams or preserves. My grandmother used to make homemade jams and pepper jelly which she used small mason jars to can them and gave them out to her good friends and family. Baby food jars do not have the same type of canning lid needed for preserving but if you make a fresh batch and jar it while it’s still hot then screw the lid on tightly it creates an airtight seal.
*How to make your own bath salt – if you’re doing large batches for favors, its much cheaper to make your own bath salt than to buy it. You will need:
- 1 cup of Epson salt
- 1/2 cup of Kosher salt
- Fragrance oil that is safe for skin such as essential oils
- Food coloring
Combine together in a ziploc bag. Add a few drops of the oil based on how strong you want it and the a few drops of food coloring based on how dark you want it. We used lavender scented aromatherapy oil. Shake the bag up to mix well (this is a fun part you can let the kids do). Pour out onto baking pans and allow to dry the put into your jars. This recipe will fill about 3 4oz. jars so if you’re planning on doing a great big batch of them you will need to do some math to figure out about how much epson and kosher salt you will need to buy.
If you use commercially prepared baby food keep your jars and containers! There are several ways you can recycle these for new uses and save money on other things. If you have some creative ideas on how to repurpose baby food jars and containers not mentioned here please feel free to drop us a comment!