The Ultimate Guide to Mason Jars
Decorating with mason jars (vintage or new) is easy, budget-friendly, and can add the perfect touch of farmhouse style to your decor.
I remember the first time I saw vintage blue mason jars lined up on a shelf in someone’s kitchen. It was in a magazine, but I don’t remember which one. From that moment on, I was smitten. I hopped on eBay and found a “lot” of jars for hardly any money. In fact, I think the shipping was more than the cost of the jars. There were 9 or 10 jars in the box…all wrapped up in newspaper. When they arrived, as I unwrapped each one, it was just like Christmas. I have used them in my decor since the day they arrived on my doorstep. I’ve added a few more along the way, but that original group of jars is still the heart of my collection.
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Why is it called a mason jar?
The Mason jar, used for home canning and preserving food, was patented in 1858 by John Landis Mason, one of America’s early innovators. A tinsmith by trade, he named the canning jars after himself, but sadly he never enjoyed the fruits of his labor. He sold the patent for his glass jar before his design became popular. The most important feature about a mason jar is the lid. It’s in two parts, a top and an outer band. The top has a rubber airtight seal around the edge which creates the vacuum, and the outer band screws onto the jar.
If you are wondering, a mason jar and a Ball jar are one in the same. Ball mason jars are named after the Ball Corporation that produced them.
Mason Jar Colors + Sizes
Mason jars are available in such a wide variety of sizes that they can be used for literally anything. They start with a 4 ounce jelly jar and go all the way up to a 64 ounce wide mouth. The openings come in two sizes: regular and wide mouth canning jars. I prefer the wide mouth jars because the bigger opening makes it easier to fill. Originally, Ball mason jars were blue. (My favorite.) The Ball Corporation stopped making blue jars in 1937, and began producing clear jars. Occasionally Ball comes out with a special edition color. Currently available are pink jars, and a reproduction of the vintage aqua.
Mason jars are made by several companies, in addition to the Ball Corporation. Good quality glass mason jars are made by Kerr, Anchor Hocking, Bormioli Rocco, and Libbey.
Unique Ways To Use Mason Jars
In this post, I’m not going to touch on the actual reason mason jars were invented…which is to can and preserve food. Obviously that is their main purpose. What I love the most about mason jars is that no matter what you put in them, they have a certain charm that’s undeniable.
Mason Jars As Decor
Of course, in my opinion, mason jars make perfect vases. Anything looks better in a mason jar! I use them for flowers, greenery, and herbs, all through the year. You’ve heard me say many times that grouping like items together makes more of a statement. This is especially true with mason jars, but I also truly love the look of just one, single mason jar filled with flowers.
Mason jars are so versatile that they can stand alone, or be grouped together. A collection of mason jars gathered on a dining room table definitely makes a statement. Either way, alone or grouped together, these charming containers are perfect for showing off your favorite flowers.
Mason Jars As Storage
Vintage jars can double as storage and decor. They can be used to store just about anything! One of my favorite ways to store dried herbs is in mason jars…and I love the way they looked on my Sutton Place kitchen countertop.
- Cotton swabs
- Buttons + craft supplies
- Oatmeal, barley, etc.
- Baking soda, baking powder, salt, etc.
- Herbs + spices
- Cereal + granola
- Cupcake liners
- Kitchen utensils
- Food storage: homemade sauces, honey, leftover broth, store-bought salsa, fresh veggies, homemade goodies.
Mason Jars As Packaging
Even though this post is about decorating with mason jars, I want to show you a few ways to use mason jars as packaging. (Get the fall gift tags HERE.)
- They are a very pretty packaging idea for homemade sugar scrubs.
- Use a mason jar to deliver chicken noodle soup to a loved one.
- Salted roasted pecans in a mason jar is the perfect all-occasion gift.
- Fill a mason jar with Chex mix.
- Mason jars are the best way to store homemade applesauce. (In the refrigerator for a short period of time.)
- Make a big batch of olive oil granola…keep some, and give some away in a mason jar!
- Place homemade flavored butter in a mason jar.
- Keep the bugs away with DIY citronella candles.
- Use a handy pump to turn a mason jar into a soap dispenser.
- Plant a mason jar herb garden.
Ball Wooden Lids
The newest additions to the Ball mason jar line are very nifty wooden lids. They are not suitable for canning or preserving, but they are perfect for storage. They come in both regular and wide mouth, and the lids pop on a jar with an airtight silicone seal.
Unfortunately, they are incredibly hard to find. (There are many knock-off styles, but I have never purchased any.) My daughter was able to get them at her local Kroger, and the wide mouth lids are currently available on Amazon. But don’t wait because they sell out quickly!
- Wide mouth wooden lids
- Regular wooden lids (out of stock right now, but hopefully they will be available soon.)
- Pantry labels
My philosophy when it comes to homemaking is that you should surround yourself with things you love. Trends provide new ideas and inspiration…but stay away from them unless they truly speak to you. If you don’t completely adore something, it doesn’t belong in your home. I mix my vintage/farmhouse accessories, including mason jars, with my traditional furniture in our open-concept home. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me. That is the whole idea of making your house…your home.
Where To Buy Mason Jars
Get Your Mason Jar Printables!
A set of 6 watercolors
suitable for wall art!