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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.

sunflowers in mason jars on end table
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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.

group of mason jars on tray with tulips 2022

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.

coneflowers and mint in blue mason jar 2022

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.

Storage Ideas

  • Cotton swabs
  • Buttons + craft supplies
  • Oatmeal, barley, etc.
  • Baking soda, baking powder, salt, etc.
  • Herbs + spices
  • Cereal + granola
  • Cupcake liners
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Cutlery/flatware
  • 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.)

chex mix in mason jar with gift tag 2022

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.

ball mason jars with wooden lids

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!

sunflowers and hydrangeas in blue mason jars

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

easy-to-download PDF

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A set of 6 watercolors
suitable for wall art!

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64 Comments

  1. Love all the pictures and suggestions for use. Mason jars bring me back to my childhood. My grandmother used them often. Do you recall where you purchased the sweet all white tray in one of the pictures? I have always loved your living room lamps too. Have looked for a long time with no luck. Gosh if you ever stumble on them again would love to have you mention in a post.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Ann,
    I love the blue ball jars also. I went shopping for them a few years ago at some antique places. Thank you for all of the storage ideas for ball jars. And, for the recipes.

  3. I love all of you great ideas for Mason jars. One Christmas I gave my neighbors home made granola in a mason jar. I used the wooden tops. (Love Them) And tied some red ribbon around the jar. It was so easy and it made such a pretty presentation

  4. I’ve always admired the blue Bell jars. They always brighten flower bouquets. Your collection is beautiful.
    Karen B.

  5. Finding good labels for the Mason jars has proven tricky for me. I’ll look at your suggestion. Thanks for the Talbot link! I always forget about Talbots.

  6. What would our grandmas think of the way we use Mason jars for decorations in our homes? Grandma’s cellar was stocked with canned vegetables and fruits. Nothing is prettier than canned peaches with the pit included separately, sitting in the window with the sun shining through. Years ago I also canned a variety of things. I’m afraid it is a lost art. When I give a friend an empty jar, she returns it filled with moonshine!
    I have a 1858 very pale blue quart jar (missing zinc lid) and a few with metal bale. My favorite is a pint sized white jar with metal bale which looks like the old milk bottles we had in school cafeterias.

  7. claudia bassano says:

    Do your jars with the handles have glass lids?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes! I have two jars with handles and they both have the lids too. It’s rare to find the glass lids so if you ever see one, grab it!

  8. claudia bassano says:

    Have you tried the solar lid lights?
    They look beautiful on my deck railing at night -fireflies!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Definitely checking this out. Thank you!

  9. Kristi Flournoy says:

    I LOVE the blue ones! I use them in my summer decor. They are so pretty especially if you have sunlight shining thru.

  10. We had my husband’s memorial last week. In the church reception, we had tables for guests to sit and visit with a tablecloth. I wanted to keep everything “simple” to reflect my husband. We put a mason jar tied with twine, filled with flowers from my daughter’s garden. When people left, we offered for them to take a mason jar bouquet home with them. It was a sweet end to a lovely service.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      This sounds lovely Gayle…well done. I’m very sorry for your loss. XO

  11. EVA SHARP says:

    Thank You for sharing the gistory of Mason Jar. My best memories with Mason Jars are with my Grandmother and a Aunt. When I live in Kentucky we Garden and canned vegetables meats fruit and made jellies and perseveres

  12. I also love mason jars,they are so nostalgic and charming.I only have one that’s in my bathroom with small soaps in it.The jars do look pretty with flowers in them.I appreciate the history of the jars, it was very interesting.

  13. Love Mason jars as well. They remind me of my grandmother and canning season. Thanks for the Talbots update. It’s my go to store for clothes!

  14. Tracy Mum Grandma friend Cook says:

    Oh Ann I so loved reading this. Also good to know the history.

    I love these jars so practical and stylish

    Here in Uk we have Fame Mason Jars which are good. However I love the word Mason on the side.

    Thank you again your posts make me smile daily.

    Tracy Shropshire England xxx

  15. I’ve always loved your blue mason jars.

  16. Hi Ann,
    You’re the one who made me fall in love with Mason jars. I now have 2 blue ones, and several clear ones that are are truly antiques as they belonged to my grandparents and my husband’s grandparents. I do so many different things with them. Thanks for the constant inspiration!

  17. Thank you for putting a spotlight on mason jars and their many uses. I have wonderful memories of my grandpa coming in from the garden with a handful of flowers for my grandma. She would put them in a blue mason jar and place it on the kitchen windowsill. I have a few of her jars that I cherish.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      What a lovely memory!

  18. I have three blue ones with zinc lids from my beloved Nanny. I just added a purple one from Amazon ! Love your “oh so welcoming “ home.

    1. I also love to use blue Mason jars for flowers. I have about half a dozen that I have grouped together with a floral stem in each jar. This past weekend I was at a rummage sale and spotted a few more, including 2 of the pint size jars which I didn’t have. I wondered, after buying them, if I really needed more blue Mason jars. Your post convinced me that I do! Perfect timing!

  19. Hi Anne
    I use mason jars to store dry beans, rice, barley as well as dried herbs. I have them grouped together in a large white enamel tray. They are part of my kitchen decor as they provide practical and beautiful storage .

  20. Like you, I love mixing my traditional style with my love of simple country pleasures, vintage and antiques. And, like you, I vividly remember my excitement when a friend returned from W Virginia with a bevy of antique blue Ball jars for me. I keep my beauties atop the laundry room cupboards and recently they set the theme of tiny boy’s baby shower holding candies and flowers…baby’s breath of course! Never thought to grow herbs in them. Thanks, your inspiration is always a high point in my day.

  21. Hi Ann, I am a subscriber but I don’t comment that often on your site. I just wanted to let you know that your blog is a welcome source of sunshine and beauty in my life. My mom passed about 5 years ago. We used to do a lot of the kinds of things you do on your blog. So…your site is a great comfort to me. I have been so sad that I stopped beautifying but I was able to live vicariously through your projects. I bet you wonder if your efforts make a difference sometimes…and the answer is a resounding YES. Thanks again for all that you do.
    Nina

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you so much Nina for taking the time to write…I appreciate your words of encouragement. I do wonder sometimes but you all are so kind and generous with your comments. I know I am very lucky in that regard.

  22. I love the look of mason jars, especially the blue ones. Your home always looks so cozy and inviting. Just a lovely, lovely space.

  23. I love the way you use the mason jars. Beautiful!!! I love old and traditional together too.

  24. Hi Ann! That’s why I like your blog. You mix styles and decorate with what you love and don’t apologize for it. And you don’t follow what everyone else does making a cookie cutter style, you do your own thing, and I love it! I like several styles too and somehow it all works, lol!
    I love mason jars and grew up playing with them, drinking from them etc… now I use them for vases because they’re just so darn cute! I love how you put the little labels on them, great idea! Have a great weekend! 😊

  25. Dori Troutman says:

    Ann, I have been catching up on past posts that I’ve missed reading and I have to say that I love this one on the mason jars. I think my favorite spot is to use them in my pantry. And since I have the screen door you can see them and they are so pretty. But I love everywhere you have yours. And your photography is amazing. – Dori –

  26. Shirley@housepitality designs says:

    Beautiful ways to decorate with the jars Ann!….and the blue is just gorgeous in the color scheme of your decor!…

  27. Kim Riley says:

    I love Mason jars! A few were dug up when we built our house. That’s when I fell in love, over 25 years ago! I use them like you do, and they look especially good with flowers. They are a treasure!

  28. Judy Acker says:

    ,I have been collecting jars since I was 15 when my great grandmother died. I use them, all sizes, shapes, and brands for many things. I love seeing the new ways to use them. I have too many just to use them for beans and rice. Your house is so pretty.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh your collection must be amazing Judy…thank you so much for stopping by!

  29. Shirley Brunskill says:

    Loved seeing all your Mason Jars in various locations and uses in your Home. I use them too, but my reason for collecting has a different focus. My maiden name was MASON.

  30. I had to smile when I saw your yellow flowers in the blue mason jars….I have that very combo in my entry today…the mason jar was my grandmother’s and it brings a smile to my face when I remember being a little girl and eating green beans that she had canned in the jar! I was convinced that the beans would be blue when she opened the jar! Always disappointed in the color but never in the taste!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you for sharing your story Carol…and thank you for taking the time to leave such a nice comment! Have a lovely week, Ann

  31. Yvonne @ StoneGable says:

    Ann, love your decorating philosophy, the jars and you!

  32. Mary Alice Patterson says:

    Your mason jars look so pretty each way you’re using them, Ann! They make such great containers for all sorts of fun things. Love all of your ideas!
    Mary Alice

  33. Love, love, love mason jars. I have a ton of clear and a few blue. Thanks for the tips on their usage. As always I love everything you do., Ann.

  34. Loved your post! I completely agree with your decorating philosophy about using and displaying the things you love. There are so many things I love that I have to rotate my collections in and out to give them all a chance! I don’t know what I enjoy more: the treasure hunt or decorating with them. I like to mix old and new too. Really enjoy your blog it is very inspiring.

  35. Vanessa Bower says:

    Hi Ann,
    I too fell in love with Mason jars many years ago and I have quite a stash. I use the very large jars for storage of my various flours (wheat, all purpose and self rising) pastas, and the small jars for my dried herbs from the garden. I store the jars on the open shelves of my kitchen and this has become the decor in my cottage. Every room you enter in my little cottage has at least one blue Mason jar. Perhaps I should name my home The Blue Mason Jar Cottage.
    I love your home and appreciate all the projects that you share with all your followers.
    Thank you,
    Vanessa

    1. Ann Drake says:

      The Blue Mason Jar Cottage sounds just lovely! Thank you for stopping by…Ann

  36. debbiedoos says:

    LOVE your collection of mason jars Ann. You have them all displayed and filled so pretty per season! They look gorgeous in your home.

  37. Sylvia Tyke says:

    My house is full of Mason Jars. We had a “Mason Jar” theme for my daughter’s Bridal shower. Jars of flowers on all tables as centerpieces. Guests were given them as prizes. I have collected them at flea markets and antique shops. Always excited to find ones with the Zinc lids attached. Just love looking at them in the sunshine. Your photos and ideas have given me some inspiration for this spring and summer. Thanks!

  38. I love your mason jars filled with gorgeous yellow roses! I usually combine Queen Ann’s Lace, sunflowers & small flags in Ball jars during summer, but as soon as my yellow roses bloom, they’re going in jars, too.
    Growing up, almost all the fruit that I ate came from blue Ball jars with zinc lids–pears, peaches, spiced apples, & rosy pink applesauce. When my dear Grammie could no longer can, she gave me a few cases of her jars, & I sadly remember so many more went to the dump! :-(
    I treasure each one I have.

  39. Jackie @2 Barnes Ranch says:

    Your jar displays are great! I have all my staples stored in antique jars as well as many of my sewing notions in my sewing room. Your blog is my favorite….such wonderful simple ideas and fantastic recipes that are easy and use items I have on hand. Keep up the good work. Oh yes and your photography is beautiful!

  40. Yes, I love mason jars! Unfortunately, the blue ones, which I love most of all, don’t work in my house. I’ve got a couple of jars in my kitchen, but you’ve inspired me to add more of them to my traditional decor!

  41. Love your photos & ideas – love,love,love those mason jars!!

  42. I saw some of these jars in store this week (Hobby Lobby?) and thought, they sure are pretty but what would I ever use them for? Well, now I know! Thanks for all the ideas, and I really love those yellow roses in them!!

  43. LOVE mason jars. I have some ‘antique’ ones and the commemorative blue ones. I even have one of the larger ones converted into a lamp in my kitchen (screw on top with electric cord attached)with a white lampshade on it. I like your style and have been enjoying your blog for a few months now. Thank you for sharing with us.

  44. gloria wyssbrod says:

    I agree with you Ann I love Mason jars. My husbands grandmother gave me a blue pint jar when we got married 46 yrs ago and a lot of lids I have always loved it. I have bought several along the way. I agree with you about decorating with what you love I don’t care if other people think its out of place or not.. As, always love your blog. Gloria

  45. Charlotte says:

    Love the blue mason jars…..I have several…..I need to find them and start using them again.The yellow flowers look so pretty in the jars.

  46. Mary Alice Kenley says:

    My Granny left some of these in her house; I also have several of Mother’s. Granny used to make a hole in the lid and feed her knitting and crochet thread through it. It kept the puppy out of the thread!

  47. I bought my first blue mason jar about 5 years ago at the farmer’s market. There is the sweetest lady who sells fresh cut flowers in recycled containers. I was lucky to get the jar and today it is sitting on the kitchen table with roses in it. I love your decorating style, Ann. Everything is beautiful and welcoming.

  48. Atta Girl Amy says:

    I like to think I loved mason jars before they were trendy. I certainly remember the first one I bought, and would you believe it was an old blue one with a zinc lid, and I got it for a song at a yard sale. Now, I find they’re much pricier, but I still hunt for my bargains.

    I so agree with you, Ann, about surrounding yourself with the things you love whether they’re in style or trendy or whether they “go together,” as it were. That’s how you create a unique style and home that you love.

    I love all your mason jars, and your photography is stunning, as always.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh my gosh Amy what a lovely comment…thank you! I have had my mason jars for several years…even before I started my blog. I agree, it’s hard to find a bargain now but if you look they are out there!

  49. Karen caraccilo says:

    Love the ideas you shared! I have a few mason jars I am not using – I must get them out! I especially need some ideas after packing up the bunnies and eggs! Thank you

  50. Laurel Stephens says:

    I love these ideas for decorating with mason jars, and your photos are so pretty.

  51. Those yellow roses with the ball jars are so pretty…I also have a lot of them and I think they go with any style of decorating. I pinned a few of them!

  52. Thank you so much for showing us simple ways to decorate with mason jars. I have a case of blue ones and will be incorporating some of your ideas.

  53. Kathleen Leonard says:

    Your photos are beautiful and yes I love my mason jars. I use them for everything. They fit in so well with all of my decor throughout the entire year.

  54. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    I do love Mason Jars. They look lovely the way you are displaying and using them Ann.