Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recycled Baby Food Jars

I like to recycle certain things. I keep what I call "strategic trash" for this exact purpose. It served me well when I worked at a daycare because I had "just the right things" to make a telescope, or an art desk caddy, or puppets, or a terrarium, or - you name it!

I have been sitting on some glass baby food jars for awhile now. And this is after I already gave 1-2 diaper boxes full to my cousin who owns her own candle business to use in candle making. Recently both Nora and the child I sit for have stopped eating baby food, which left me with about 50 jars "leftover" that I was determined to put to use as "something else".

I decided awhile ago that I would like bigger spice jars. The ones we got for our wedding, while adequate, didn't always fit an entire refill jar, and didn't have a wide enough mouth to put a spoon in. This became even more important to me . . . when I started actually USING spices in my cooking. Until this past year, I hardly touched the spice rack. However, my infatuation with Paula Deen, increased watching of the Food Network, discovery of Penzey's Spice Store, and a subscription to "Food and Family" magazine (among other food magazines) definitely increased my spice usage. To give you an example: in the 5 years that I owned the previous spice rack I never once had to refill anything. This year, not only did I refill EVERYTHING (who knew spices went bad??) but I had to refill my parsley jar 3 times.

I know making spice jars from baby food jars is a typical "baby food jar" recycling project, but I had a few specific requirements before I would even begin:

1.) I had to find labels. I refused to put in the effort to make my own or paint the jars because I change out spices a lot.
2.) They had to look good!
3.) I had to find or make a good way to store them.

The first two requirements were easy. I found labels for about 2 bucks at the kitchen store in town, and I felt confident in my ability to make these things cute. The third one was tricky. I have very little woodworking skills, and wall space is at a premium in my kitchen. I started my search for storage with magnets and magnetic boards, and ended it . . . at the best place EVER . . . my one true "store love" . . .

IKEA. (*fanfare*)

IKEA happened to have the perfect rack for my spice jars. Literally perfect. Not only would it hold 6 large jars on it, but the wood could also be sanded and finished in anyway that I choose. So for 4 bucks a pop . . . I wanted 4! AT LEAST! But . . . the nearest IKEA is 5 hours from my house, and they didn't ship them. :( Hmmmm . . .

Just when I was looking into companies that make bi-monthly trips to IKEA in this area, a friend on Facebook said her and her husband were heading up there that very weekend. She graciously offered to take my shopping list with her, that included some really neat things:
(This bar system is awesome. It may not be the prettiest, but you should have seen this spot before!)

And of course, 4 spice racks, 2 of which were meant to hold my newest project:




I painted the racks with the same paint that is around our counter, an almond color from Valspar. Then I filled the jars with my spices, and . . . perfect. :)

I have enough jars for a second set, and two extra spice racks. I was thinking of putting them on the other side of my stove and filling them with more spices . . . but I can't. There is an outlet on the other side that I can't afford to lose. :( But who knows - I may try and work it out. Or, I may sell the other set on Etsy to fulfill one of my New Year's Resolutions. Not sure just yet what I will do.

I used the spice jars last night and they are exactly what I wanted. I was able to put spoons right inside and get spices out. And I think they look great. This project was totally worth it . . . and cost me less than 15 bucks. :)

Until next time . . .

Linked up HERE at the DIY SHOW OFF.


Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

This turned out awesome. Looks so great and the shelves are perfect. I love that the jars are a little bigger than normal spice jars, too. Mine are too small to fit a measuring spoon in.

Jaycie and Randy said...

Love this!! It looks awesome!

Michelle said...

What a great idea! You should hook up at DIY Thrifty Thursday @

Judy said...

That turned out fabulous...the spice jars look store bought and the shelves are adorable. I would love to have this in my kitchen!

Kathy said...

That is the cutest reuse I've ever seen!! Just love it! It would make great gift ideas a basket! Awesome job!