R. Ann Parris on Uses For Used Canning Jar Lids


Canning Jar Lids — the Gremlins of Preservation by R. Ann Parris for PrepperGroups.com

Along with the mighty mountain of canning jars we need to preserve even most of a year’s worth of harvest, we need a separate heap of canning jar lids. See, with few exceptions, those lids aren’t reuseable — not for canning, anyway. I don’t know of anybody who actually finds a purpose for all of their used lids, but there are lots of things we can do with them, for fun, to make life easier, and for practicality.

For any of the projects below, you’ll need any of just a handful of goodies: a hammer and small nails, Sharpies, a Dremel or a larger variety of nails, a stick or five, cooking oil, an old t-shirt or ripped pillowcase or towel or even smaller scraps, and paint.

(I like spray paint and some of it uses glow-in-the-dark “GID” paint; also, consider a plastic-metal primer instead of paint — it comes in a range of colors and is less finicky, and works as a base coat if we want to use paint markers or household and outdoor paints for added touches.)

With very simple twitches, those lids can be used all over.

In the garden…

– coat in red and yellow paint, let dry, then wipe or mist with cooking oil to trap gnats, whitefly, aphids, and others

– punch holes and tie together in long garland, then wrap trees to dissuade woodpeckers, sap suckers, and sometimes even porcupine and deer

– poke a hole and hang in sets, spaced around, to discourage birds

– punch holes in the four compass points, use twine to tie together in a mesh, and layer under new garden beds or line holes for new trees/shrubs to reduce losses to shrews, moles, and chipmunks

– nail to sticks for garden plant labels

(as-is with a Sharpie or grease pencil, or coat with paint or fabric for “prettier” options)

– poke double holes in 5-8, then matching pairs of holes around another to shape a flower, then give it some twists, a center hole, nail, and a stick, and create a pinwheel

(That one’s not just for looks — enough of them can help keep squirrels and cats out of our gardens, and can help keep birds off seeds and sprouting crops.)

To make training aids…

– bend one side, attach a clothespin or binder clip, and use as targets for airsoft, BB or pellet guns, firearms, and even archery equipment

– glue/nail 6-10 together and launch like wobbly clay pigeons for target practice

– create educational flash cards (any subject, youth or adult)

For safety & ease…

– bend and poke holes, then assemble with wire or stick pegs to create cages around mouse/rat/small game traps to avoid snagging songbirds, cats, dogs, chickens, and larger animals that will only be injured by small traps

– coat in GID paint or reflective tape for place markers and guides

(That runs the gamut: highlighting the last-known blood spot and footprints while tracking game, hanging as guyline markers, highlighting dark walkways and step edges, guiding us to outhouses/latrines and sheds, hanging from backpacks and bikes for extra reflectors)

– use stencils or cut/poke/drill shapes, then surround a flashlight, lamp or candle to create a lower-illumination nightlight

– use for no-slip or easy-slide furniture disks (cover with cloth for no-slip on carpets and easy-glides on wood/tile)

– turn into candlestick holders with just a nail in the center, or paint or cover in foil; use as a coaster and wax catch for existing candlesticks

– join together to make “rain chains” that will decrease the force of water hitting the ground

– use for oversized washers for repairs, or tack as a patch and seal with FlexSeal or similar

– punch a hole and use with a straw and standard jars and rims/rings for a travel drink

Just for fun…

– stock materials for kids to turn them into seasonal tree ornaments or flowers

– paint, poke holes, and hang for solar system or holiday mobiles

– poke holes and decorate for garland with images or spelling out “Happy Birthday”, etc., glue or poke holes and bend nails or tie with wire, ribbon, or cord for wreaths

– cover or paint and use for oversized checkers or tic-tac-toe, add images for chess

– paint and turn into round playing cards or matching games

– add lettering for games like bananagram/Scrabble/Jitters types, Scattergories, Outburst, Last Word, Pictionary, Bingo, etc.

– use as wheels for simple stick/limb/scrap lumber toy trains, trucks and wagons

– cover or paint and use as a disk-toss games instead of frisbees or bean bags

Hit the internet. Ideas abound, more and less practical. We can also get ideas from crafts and projects that use saucers, frisbees, and slices of wood.