The average baby in the United States will consume 600 jars of baby food by age one. That's a lot of glass, especially taking into consideration that 4 million babies are born each year in the U.S. alone. That's a whopping 2,400,000,000 (yes, billion) jars a year! Unfortunately many of these end up in landfills.
That doesn't have to be the case though, as there are many, many ways to reuse these little jars! This article will show you how to turn baby food jars into cool little seed starters.
Upcycled Seed Starter
Growing your own herbs is a fun, easy way to increase flavor in your meals, save money, and practice sustainability all year round. Baby food jars make the perfect seed starters, as all you need is a label to distinguish their contents. Labels not only help keep your herbs in order, they also make great, personal gifts (my mom loves them).
This tutorial is easy to follow even if you are new to sewing. If you have a sewing machine it will speed up the process, however, this project can easily be completed without one!
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time: 15 minutes or less (may be more if you sew by hand)
The wonderful thing about making the jar sleeves is that they require a very small amount of fabric, so you probably already have scraps around the house that you can use! The remaining items are also things you likely have on hand.
- Plain white sheet of paper
- Quilter's pencil
- Scrap fabric (or you may purchase 1/8 yard)
- Thread to match or contrast your fabric, whichever you prefer
- Clean baby food jar
- Fabric markers
- Sewing machine or needle
- Clothes iron
- Potting soil
- Seeds of your choice
If you are like me and don't have children of your own, try asking a friend or family member if they have any. If that fails they are often advertised on Craigslist or the paper for free or next to nothing.
Template drawn on plain paper.
Step #1: On your sheet of paper measure out a rectangle 8-1/4" by 2-1/4". The finished product will be 7-1/4" by 1-1/4", so this will allow you room to make your seams.
Step #2: Cut out your template, leaving extra space on all sides. Pin it to your fabric. I find that when you go to pin it to your fabric and cut it out, it is much easier to have the extra paper rather than cutting precisely on the paper edge.
Step #3: Cut along the template lines to produce a 8-1/4" by 2-1/4" piece of fabric.
Step #4: Once you have your piece of fabric cut out, draw 0-1/2" seams on the long edges. Use an iron to press the seams.
Step #5: Pin your seams.
Step #6: Use a straight stitch to sew along each edge. Normally, I would use a reverse stitch at each end. Because we will be sewing the two short ends together, however, it is not necessary here.
Step #7: Using your fabric marker write the name of the herb, centering it on the strip.
Step #8: Fold the fabric strip in half so the two short edges line up, right sides touching. The finished label needs to be 7-1/4" in circumference (the standard size for baby food jars). To ensure that the seam is in the correct place measure out 3-5/8" from the folded edge. Draw a line to mark where the seam will be. Pin the fabric and sew the seam.
Step #9: Slip the fabric sleeve over your jar. Fill the jar with potting soil, poke a hole in the center with a pencil and drop in your seed. Cover the seed with soil and water lightly. Place the jar in the correct amount of sun for the seed you chose. Remember to water regularly! Since the glass jars do not have drainage at the bottom, be extra careful not to overwater.
Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors
- Don't over (or under) water.
- Give them enough sunlight.
- Try to keep the temperature between 65°F and 70°F.
- Try not to harvest more than half of the new growth.
Your Own Set of Seed Starter Jars
That's all there is to it! In a short amount of time, you can make a few sleeves and have your very own set of seed jars. If you plan on giving these as gifts, just keep the jar lids, paint them, and you are able to transport or mail the jars complete with soil without worrying about making a mess!
I've seen many DIY projects using glass jars. What are your favorites? I would love to hear them!
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 08, 2014:
A beautiful thought here and your creative mind makes it so special.
Victoria Anne (author) from Las Vegas on January 22, 2014:
Thanks Christy, I'm glad you like it!
Christy Kirwan from San Francisco on January 20, 2014:
What a great upcycling project, Victoria! I love the idea of giving them as gifts. They're eco-, family-, and wallet-friendly!