Glass containers of every size and shape are the perfect beginnings to a lot of easy but special and unique DIY projects. With Mother’s Day this weekend, if you’re still out of ideas, why not recycle a glass jar or bottle to give it new life as part of a thoughtful gift for Mom?
Glass is underrated. Unlike most plastic it’s inherently beautiful, classic and non-toxic. There’s never any danger with phthalates leaching out of glass and contaminating food for example. Yes, it’s more fragile and no, it might not be as convenient but this adds to the perception that it’s classier and more exclusive. As if whatever is inside is automatically better quality because it deserves glass.
Not that glass is exclusive or limited. Walk down the aisles at the grocery store and amongst the shelves of cans and plastic are rows of glass containers. And once whatever they’re holding is finished, you have a glass container left over that can easily be recycled and reused.
Here’s how to do it and ideas on what to fill it again for Mom this Mother’s Day.
Cleaning and Prepping Glass
One of the most annoying things about recycling glass is that usually it’s covered in labels. Some of which are impossible to get off without the help of industrial solvents. All of which are highly toxic. A quick and easy alternative to using these is to mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste, leave it on the goo that needs to be gone for a few minutes, before scrubbing it all off, label included.
Liquor bottles of all shapes and sizes are great containers to be recycled; often they’re made of coloured glass which will protect any precious oils if used to store them and come in a range of shapes. The tiny bottles from a single shot are more convenient sizes than the full-sized versions sometimes but the options are endless.
Grolsch, a beer from the Netherlands, uses bottles with a pop top on them which would make a perfect container for liquids like a gourmet salad dressing or infused oil. Here’s hoping you like to drink whatever liquor is inside of the bottle that suits your need though.
Liquor bottles aren’t the only options by far. Any glass container can work in a lot of situations. For examples, old decanters make beautiful gifts, even if it’s just to store mouthwash on the bathroom stand, or olive oil in the kitchen. The trick is just to get it so it isn’t obvious you’re recycling the bottle, especially if it’s being given as part of a gift.
The best way to make sure glass bottles are clean and sterilized is to rinse them out a few times before boiling them in water for a few minutes. Don’t throw in the lids unless they’re metal and can take the heat, speaking from experience.
To cover any markings on the lid, the easiest and most efficient way to do this is to use spray paint. Not exactly clean but Krylon’s H2O Latex Spray Paint is reportedly less toxic than most. Another option if you don’t plan on having foodstuffs come into contact with the lid is to mod podge scrap book paper onto the lid.
5 Gift Ideas for Mom
Plan a DIY Spa Day with mom via Martha Stewart Living
There are tons of recipes for clean DIY scrubs, masks, creams, serums, butters and waters. Make a set of complimentary sugar scrub and body butter and store in a recycled jar for your mom to enjoy long after Mother’s Day.
Make a gift out of the container itself. If you have a beautiful glass vase or bottle, why not fill it with something special, but personalise the glass itself so it’s something Mom can use long after Mother’s Day. Glass etching a design is a way to do this.
Check out Make It, Love It
Beeswax is easy to get hold of, even at this late hour. If you have a wide-mouth glass container melt beeswax over a low heat in a double boiler, add enough of your Mom’s favourite essential oil or blend to make up 3% and grab wicks at your local craft store to make a non-toxic and highly personal candle.
Via A Beautiful Mess
Whip up a batch of infused gourmet salt using regular sea salt, like Celtic, and your mom’s favourite herbs and spices. Glass jars are perfect for storing the salt. Attach the recipe so your mom can keep the jar filled throughout the year.
Via The Kitchn
Moving on with the herb theme, make a aromatherapy herbarium that can sit on your Mom’s desk or bedside table for example. Use a large glass container, plant your mom’s favourite herbs in the jar either from seeds or seedlings. Keep the lid on and whenever your mom needs a pick-me-up, she can open the jar and breathe in the good stuff.