Vintage Jars

My in-laws gave me a ton of old canning jars last week with the declaration, “you are rich in jars.”

Indeed I am. I seem to always need jars. But when I saw the labels on some of the boxes, I became kinda excited – don’t they seem rather old to you?

They had come to my in-laws by way of an aunt who used to do a lot of canning.

Apparently a long time ago.

When I was going through them on Saturday in the garage, I think I let out a squeal when I saw these little beauties. Little squarish half-pint size Ball jars. I’ve been canning for awhile and I’ve never seen this shape of half-pints before.

I counted nineteen- all in perfect condition.

Then I started to find depression-era jars like this Boyd quart jar.

And this round, straight-shoulder Kerr “Self Sealing” quart jar.

This Presto “Supreme Mason” quart jar is about the only square one I found.

But my favorite was this heavy, Altas round quart jar – namely because of it’s “Strong Shoulder” label. Who doesn’t want a strong shoulder to rely on?

I have about a dozen of the round, straight shoulder Kerr “Economy” quart jars pictured on the left and another dozen of the squat Kerr pint-size wide-mouth jars on the right. They are heavy and have cool bubbles in the thick glass.

So here’s my dilemma: 

I don’t want to can with them- I want to have them out somewhere that I can look at them all the time! I’m thinking of storage – maybe crafts or seasonings?

Do you know how I can use these vintage jars? I’d love some more ideas!


PS- I did also get some newer canning jars that I’m going to put to good use as containers for gifts- come back tomorrow to see another “Gift in a Jar” idea! You might want to subscribe if you don’t already, to make sure you get all our posts!





  1. says

    ooo-definitely don’t can in them! I have many old “dominion” jars, which were made in Canada (I live in metro-Detroit, so Canada is just a few minutes away. I use my Canadian jars to store dry goods in my pantry–I would be so sad if I canned in them and one burst in the canner! I also use them to store loose change, the kids’ trinkets, etc. They look so pretty!

  2. Anonymous says

    I used some to store things like macaroni, dry beans, etc. I was also lucky enough to inherit 6 vintage half gallons.

  3. Tami says

    Oh how I LOVE canning jars!! My older ones I use for storage one has my niece’s straws standing up it. One short chunky one has my measuring spoons in it and a shorter chunky one fits tooth picks perfectly along with other small ones for my bulk baking supplies look so cute in a kitchen cuboard with glass front. I use bigger ones for most all my dry goods again in a glass front cabinet. I thought I was the only one to get so excited about jars!

  4. Tami says

    I ran out of room above!One of mine has tea bags in it. Kind of addictive once you start storing stuff in them you find all sorts of uses. I love the decorative value of them best! …….I have been thinking of using some for candles for the holidays too……I love the flameless candles I bought at costco. You could decorate the jars….or not. I have seen many ideas for this on the web.

  5. says

    Love old canning jars for storage! Besides food storage and luminaries, I love them for craft supplies. I have several 1/2 pints and pints with vintage buttons… each color has it’s own jar. The big ones hold odds and ends of ribbon, lace, elastic, safety pins, jingle bellsm etc. My favorite old blue 1/2 gallon jar has my Grammy’s antique wood spools in it. Love seeing them on my shelf :)

    Pinterest has a lot of mason jar boards and pins, too. Have fun with your jars!

  6. says

    Lucky you! I buy my grains, flours, pasta, beans, dried fruit, and teas in bulk, so I use a variety of jars for storing them. I love being able to see exactly how much of something I have and they look so pretty on the shelf.

  7. says

    I’m totally drooling over here.
    I use mine for dry goods, pasta, breadcrumbs, beans, etc. I also use them for vases sometimes. I like the idea of holding craft stuff in them. Now if only I had a craft room….

  8. says

    I have about 8 beautiful blue ball canning jars that I love. I don’t use them for canning, but I use them to store my dehydrated fruits and veggies in them for short term use. I plop in an air pack and put a lid on them. If your jars full they kind of seal tight, if not I use my food saver with the jar attachment to suck the air out. It keeps all my dehydrated items nice and crisp.

  9. says

    Love them! I just snagged some vintage canning jars this past weekend at a thrift store and now I’m thinking I need more! lol I use my jars for storing buttons, as vases and with a bit of sand and tealights, as luminaries along the walkway for special evenings when we’re entertaining. I’ve also made jar candles with my smaller mason jars. Can’t wait to see what you decide to do with them! :)

  10. Anonymous says

    I used vintage canning jars in my bathroom as a display/holder for q-tips and cotton balls. I secured three of them to an old piece of thick baseboard using metal hose clamps. 2 held the toiletries and one holds a dried hydrangea flower. I love it! Jars are the best.
    Jodi @

  11. says

    I use them in my cupboards to hold stuff like barley, baking soda, rice, pasta – anything that comes in a bag. Love the look. Great score!!! xox

  12. says

    My thoughts are along the same lines as everyone else. Use them for dry goods, oatmeal, granola, beans, rice…whatever you choose to do, I’m sure it will be lovely.

  13. says

    those jars are great!! i use mine to store buttons, my soap herbs, colored rocks, seeds, beans, different flours, instead of having gallon jugs sitting around in the kitchen i use the jars to store syrup, vinegar, worcheshire sauce, soy sauce, teryaki sauce, beads, pencils, herbs for cooking, small soaps, dishwasher packets, kabob sticks,…………

  14. says


    The squat short jars you could 1/4 fill with white sand and then put in a smallish candle.

    The larger ones you could fill with different shells and place in your bathroom.

    The candle ones would look lovely in an outdoor setting, Its summer here but winter your way I guess but keep some for summer entertaining.

    Then you could fill the remainder with preserved fruit and keep them on display in your kitchen, pears, peaches etc.

    Not sure if this is helpful, I am sure you have a million ideas.


  15. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    What great ideas! I’m totally going to use these- especially the candles. I’ve got things in the bathroom that would look lovely in them and of course I can always find craft things that should be organized. :-) Thanks!

  16. HHL says

    Awesome gift!! You could use some for storage in craft room and the rest for canning… they would certainly look great in the pantry .. filled with yummy delights!! xo HHL

  17. keeleykats says

    LOVE the jars! What a blessing! I use a lot of jars for storage. My favorite use is for storing buttons. I use buttons on cards & crafts. I inherited my grandmother’s gallon jar of old buttons. I love to be able to see them. I recently purchased cute French canning jars with a little bee at Tuesday Morning. I have colorful Stampin Up! buttons in those. My son uses canning jars in his room to hold little collections. Kym

  18. says

    Contrary to above comments, I use the short, square pints for canning every year. They are great for tuna, larger vegetables like beets and for canning pear halves. There are only two of us at home now so I seldom use quart jars any more.

  19. Anonymous says

    On largemouth jars, I’ve made ocean-decorated lids and little skirts, then filled with cotton balls, q-tips, small seashell soaps, and bath salt cubes or bath beads. They were new jars and given as a gift. My bathroom is bare, but if I had vintage jars, I’d make them up for me.

    brenda from arkansas

  20. Anonymous says

    They are lovely and you will find many uses for them. I was recently reading on a Canadian blog that the old canning jars should not be used for canning. The edges are not even and can prevent a complete seal, or something like that. I was skeptical but many of the commenters on that blog also said the vintage jars were not safe for actual canning. Lots of good ideas already – what about making terrariums with some of them?

    Barbara H.

  21. says

    Oh. My. Stars. What a treasure trove. There are so many uses for jars. Along with pantry items, we store our cotton balls and q-tips in them. Love having them around.

  22. says

    I have decided to begin a vegetable garden this year. I live in my grandparents’ old home, both of them have passed, and my grandmother canned much of her life. They lived in Alexandria, IN, just a few miles west of Muncie where the Ball glass plants were after moving from NY in the late 1800’s. I remembered her jar collection in the attic so I brought them all down last night and cleaned them this morning. I have 7 of the large (prob 1/2gal) blue glass “perfect mason” jars, 8 quart-sized blue perfect masons, Ball Ideal, Atlas, Presto, and other beautiful looking varieties. Here is a site that is great for dating your Ball jars (just copy and past it into the address bar):

  23. kk says

    I happend to find many square mason jars I found 7 quart and 5 pint I was wondering how old they are? Everybody I ask has never seen one.

  24. Terry Rowland says

    We have collected lots off blue’d depression jars of all sizes. And a few from Canada “Dominion”. A nd a really special one named after my wife “Jeanette” we use allot of them for nothing just in a widow on a shelf. Some of the newer old ones we use as storagge for leftover soups or sauses.I even made a chandelier using 3 “pint” depression jars.over our dinning room table.

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