The first recycling pick-up of the year is always a doozy at our house. Despite our best efforts at upcycling, the combination of gift giving and lots and lots of eating and celebrating throughout the month of December means that the blue bin is literally bursting at the seams come recycling day.
To help ease the load this year, I decided to find as many ways as possible to repurpose the glass jars and bottles we emptied during the holiday season. I looked for uses all around the house; one bottle became an olive oil dispenser, another holds all my bracelets and hair bands neatly on my vanity, and a particularly large one has become a very useful laundry detergent dispenser.
I was down to the last few stragglers and running out of ideas when it struck me; these glass containers could not only be practical, but also pretty, if I painted them.
I’ve been trying to come up with a way to beautify my kitchen sink area-which always ends up cluttered with soap dispensers, rags and sponges of various shapes, sizes and colors-and these three remaining jars turned out to be the perfect size for soap and lotion dispensers. Plus, by painting them bright orange I could bring a splash of bright and cheerful color into my gray and chrome kitchen.
I was initially concerned that painting glass wasn’t going to be easy, especially glass that is going to be in contact with liquids and water. I did a little research and found out that the best solution was to paint the inside of the jars. For that, all I needed was some multi-surface acrylic paint (which I found in my daughter’s paint kit), some energetic children, and a dispenser lid.
First, I very slightly diluted the acrylic paint to make it a little runny. Then I poured it carefully in the jar, rotating it as I did so that the paint trickled down the sides. Finally, I screwed the lid on and handed it to my energetic assistants, who shook the jar vigorously to fully coat the inside with paint.
Once fully coated, I left the jars upside down for a few hours to allow the excess paint to drip out, then turned them right-side up for about a day to allow the paint to dry.
The finishing steps were simple: add a label to identify what’s inside each jar (I chose erasable chalk labels) and screw in a dispenser pump lid specially designed to fit a Mason jar (both available from most craft stores). Voila! A perfectly pretty, eminently practical kitchen sink soap dispensing system.
Clearly there are many, many ways to re-use glass bottle and jars. Please do share your ideas and upcycling successes in the comments. I’d love to try some more ideas out for my next #EasyUpcycling project.
Jennifer Tuohy is a busy Mom who tries her best to be green. She provides great tips and advice for The Home Depot on topics such as the best green kitchen cleaners and how to upcycle everyday items into kitchen cabinet hardware. To find other kitchen design ideas, visit homedepot.com.