When it comes to being green- refusing, reducing, and reusing should be our first priority and recycling should be limited to a last resort. Upcycling is a great way to reduce the amount of stuff we put in the recycling bin while creating something useful and perhaps beautiful.
But you may be wondering how to upcycle. It’s definitely something that takes practice and creativity! Here is one upcycling project for your old glass peanut butter jars.
This DIY project is great for two reasons. 1- Depending on what materials you already have lying around, this project can be free or almost free. And 2- It uses old peanut butter jars that would otherwise just go in the recycling bin (thrifty and environmentally friendly!).
What you will need:
- Empty jars (I used Teddy peanut butter jars. You could use canning jars too.)
- Spray paint for metal (where to buy)
- Labels (see below)
First you will have to start by collecting some jars. They don’t have to be peanut butter jars but they should be glass with metal tops. Wash and dry the jars and tops. (Hint: to remove peanut butter easily fill the container half way with vinegar and let it sit for a few hours or overnight flipping and shaking occasionally.)
When your jars are clean and dry take a piece of sand paper and rough up the metal top a little bit. This ensures that the paint will adhere to the top and not just peel off. Wash again to get rid of any dust you create from sanding.
Spray paint according to the cans instructions. My tops turned out a little bit bumpy on top because we didn’t spray them in a warm enough place but they still look fine.
While the tops are drying remove the labels from the jars by soaking in warm soapy water. The labels will peel off easily when they are saturated. (You can also do this step when cleaning the jars.)For the labels you will need:
- 2.5in circle labels from staples (my brand was Avery)
- a printer
Avery has a really good online label making program that lets you choose your design or upload your own. I used my own design simply because I think it’s fun to create designs but you definitely don’t need to. There are a number of nice designs on Avery’s website as well as lots of free designs floating around the internet.
Print 2 labels for each jar, one for the top and one for the side.
A few tips: I spent some time scrapping off loose paint around the edge of the lids as well as the bit of paint that got on the inside of the lids. I didn’t want any paint flaking off into my food. I was also very careful to clean up all of the paint dust so that my daughter wouldn’t touch it while crawling around the house. Lastly, let the spray painted lids cure until they don’t smell like paint anymore (a few days or more).
What other ways do you reuse things that would otherwise go into the recycling bin?