northstory + co.

Upcycled Pickle Jar – Move over Mason Jars!

Let’s talk about the underrated pickle jar. I made this upcycled pickle jar vase because everyone on the internet has this love affair with mason jars. Mason jar drinks. Mason jar gifts. Mason jars for canning. Mason jars at birthdays. Mason jars for everyone!

Look, I like them too, don’t get me wrong. I’ve done enough projects with them. But sometimes I find we’re so obsessed with mason jars, that we forget all the other goodies that lay around in the condiment section of our refrigerators.

And ever since I started using pickle jars to hold things around the house like straws and pencil crayons, I’ve been hoarding these jars.

Pickle Jar are the underrated jar of the DIY home organization and decor world. Why?

A) They have no embellishments on them at all. That means you can decorate them any way you’d like without having to worry about getting around writing, logos, etc.

B) They have a wider opening at the top, and because they’re taller, can store taller and longer things. Such as flower stems.

So I decided to make two vases from two of them.

How to make an Upcycled Pickle Jar Vase

Despite my love of vintage and antique items, our home decor overall has a very contemporary feel with the former used as accent pieces throughout. There’s a lot of IKEA and a very heavy Scandinavian decor influence. I have also always been a big fan of the Swiss Cross decor items so I went with that as the two compliment each other quite nicely.


Because I didn’t have a cross stencil, I made one out of Removable Self Adhesive Vinyl (that you can find at the dollar store) and an X-Acto knife.

I know. This would be much easier if I had a Cricut no?


But until then it’s old school stencil time. Straight edge shapes are easy to make stencils out of this Vinyl. Curved shapes and letters are a different story.


I stuck the stencil on the jar and use simple inexpensive acrylic paint and a foam brush to dab the paint on.

I applied the paint in thin layers vs thick to allow for additional paint layers.


While the paint was still wet on the white cross one, I pulled it off the stencil and it turned out perfectly with no smudges and pretty crisp lines. But I let it harden a touch too long with the red.

The verdict? I had to touch up the red one as some parts peeled off with the stencil.

So take it off while the paint is still damp.


Once the paint was dry I baked them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes to seal the paint and make them waterproof.

You basically take the jars and put them on a cookie tray into a cold oven. Turn on the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes (this includes the warm up time).

After 30 minutes turn off the oven and leave the jars inside the oven until they cool down. Don’t take them out and immerse them in cold water or whatnot or they may crack. Once they’re cool feel free to use them at will.

Do not forget this part or they will not be waterproof.

I know right? That’s a pretty cute looking pickle jar turned upcycled jar vase!

I wonder how much this would sell at a store like Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters. Maybe I should ask. Etsy business potential? Hmm…

Upcycled Jar Vase.

Storage jar.

First aid kit.

Gift “box”.


Whatever floats your boat. I’m very happy with it given that it probably would have wound up in the recycling bin. So start saving your pickle jars!!

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  • Reply
    March 16, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Love these, Alex! I am such a mason jar freak that I often forget about the condiment jars in my fridge. These pickle jars are fabulous!

    • Reply
      March 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      You should see my coffee canister collection too. I have enough to make birdfeeders for a month.

  • Reply
    Inspire Me Heather
    March 16, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Cute jars!! They are pretty with the flowers but I they would look great in the bathroom with stuff in them. Lot’s of possibilities though!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    love these! so cute

  • Reply
    Jenni @The Common Creative
    March 17, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    These are great! We go through so many pickle jars around our house. This is a really cute way to re-use them 🙂


  • Reply
    Rachel | The Crafted Life
    March 17, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    So strange, I had a similar idea to this the other day! We ARE crafty soul mates! And yes, pickle jars > mason jars forever 🙂

  • Reply
    Danielle from Storypiece
    March 17, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Major points for pulling this off without a Cricut! I’m a huge fan of Swiss Cross Decor too and this is just one more reason why… love it!

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Persia Lou
    March 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Yes! Pickle jars. Totally agree. And I love your vases. If you have a second to come share them at The Makers link party on my blog I would love it. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Love. I have totally used them before too – so amazing without the wording/embellishments!

    • Reply
      March 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

      So much easier to decorate too! You know what else I love? The tall salsa jars.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I am thrilled for an alternative to the mason jar. These are so cute!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Cute! Personally, I like these a lot more than mason jars (I have nothing against mason jars–they’re just not my thing).

    And I had no idea you could waterproof regular old craft paint. You’re a genius, lady.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I love these!!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Ah, I love this! I have so many random jars kicking around it’s nice to see some great inspiration! For some reason I just can’t bring myself to throw away a jar – that craft/storage potential! haha.

  • Reply
    Dani @ lifeovereasy
    March 23, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Great idea! Do you know someone who shops at Costco? They sell some things, like artichokes, in huge jars which would be great for storage. How to eat all those artichokes is another story!

    • Reply
      March 23, 2014 at 10:57 am

      I live at Costco. I’m serious. It’s a problem. Now I’m so going to go look for these jars. Thanks Dani this is all your fault! When I turn them into a planter I’ll tag you ASAP.

  • Reply
    kim @ DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS
    March 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    This is so good Alex! Love seeing it on Apartment Therapy!

    • Reply
      March 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks Kim!! I’ll trade you for your kitchen. 😉

  • Reply
    April 2, 2014 at 9:52 am

    How fun!

    – Brooke –

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