Don’t buy Mason Jars when plastic will do!

I’ve been after you not to buy Mason Jars (or any home canning jar) to use for projects. Use what you already have in your pantry. Honestly, most of the projects you see using Mason type jars can be done with plastics. For this project, I use plastic peanut-butter jars.

Here is what you need:

  1. Plastic jars
  2. Stencil – buy one or make one
  3. Medium grit sanding sponge
  4. Plastic Primer
  5. Spray Paint
  6. Knobs
  7. Self-Tapping screw
  8. Screwdriver – powered is better

Thoroughly wash jars and lids, scrub off the labels. If any adhesive is left, use olive oil or solid vegetable shortening to remove it.

Use blue tape to affix the stencil to the plastic. For this project I used a reusable, plastic stencil in the shape of a tag. You may use any type of stencil you like, or make one. As long as it will stay in place with the tape, and can be used multiple times you should be okay.

Scrub the empty stencil space with the sanding sponge. It make take a while to achieve the hazy, etched look but keep at it. You don’t want the area to look like it was scratched in one direction. You want it to looked etched.

I listed both plastic primer and spray paint. You might only need spray paint if you find one that will adhere to plastic. If the paint you like isn’t specific about plastic, you probably want to use the plastic primer first. Both can be found at most box stores, the plastic primer is definitely at the larger home improvement stores.

upcycle project jars

Use the self-tapping screw and screwdriver to create the hole for the knob and screw. Trying to use a hammer and nail to punch the hole in the plastic lid will most likely crack the lid, making it useless.

The screw for the knob must crank-down snugly to the lid. Otherwise, the knob will spin without opening the jar.

Use chalk to write on the “etched” area. I tried a couple different colors on mine. Not all show up as well as you would think. You might also use chalkboard paint in the etched area. You can see that above on the “corn meal” jar.

This is a great option for RVs and campers.


By Robin Holstein
Robin’s Upcycle is located in Kanawha County, WV. Open by appointment.
Phone 304-460-5NEW (5639).
For info, visit