Upcycled Pickle Jar Canisters

Several years ago, we bought a seasonal restaurant and although the days of “Bobby-Jo’s” are long gone, we still have several of those gigantic relish jars from buying bulk.  I have used them as canisters for years, but my husband recently installed a shelf, so that we could have open storage and de-clutter our basement entrance/pantry.

Upcycled Jars

Basically, all I did was wash the jars and add a label.  I had planned on spray painting the lids, but haven’t done so yet, and because they are so high up, you can’t see the tops.  You can see the jars are quite large ~ 10″ high and 6″ wide.


The labels were made by taking regular white peel and stick Avery labels and painting them with homemade chalkboard paint. Click here for a tutorial.  I then trimmed the ends with specialty scissors that made the scalloped edge.

Homemade Chalkboard Paint Recipe

ingredientsI don’t use the spray paint as suggested in the label tutorial above.  This is the recipe I use for chalkboard paint.  I prefer to make my own as you can make it any colour you wish and it is dirt cheap.  I bought the grout several years ago.  I don’t remember how much it was, but I am thinking under $10.  It lasts forever and has made many batches of paint. (One blogger said that she finds fresh grout works better as there are less lumps. I haven’t really had a problem with lumps.) However, I do find that the mixed paint does not keep well, so I tend to make smaller batches and re-mix for each coat. Depending on the surface, you may need to prime first (raw wood). I find that two coats works well for most projects, with a very light sanding in between coats (use high grit paper). If the surface is a memo board or menu (something that will be used often) I would recommend 3 to 4 coats for extra durability. Be sure to allow it to dry thoroughly between coats and at least 24 hours after the final coat. Once it has had time to cure properly, prime the board.  Use the side of a piece of chalk to completely cover the painted surface and then erase it. Priming is an important step, so don’t forget to do it before you begin to write on the surface.

Open Storage Shelf

We purchased a piece of pine and I stained it dark and then gave the shelf 3 coats of urethane.  I loved the idea of an industrial type look, so I asked my husband what he thought the cost of piping wood be.  He didn’t think it would be expensive and so I sent him out to purchase the pipe we would need.  We decided on three supports because of the weight of the full jars.  My husband isn’t nearly as frugal as I am and I almost had a bird when he told me he spent almost $60 on the pipes.  I would have bailed on the idea and came up with a less expensive alternative, but lucky for me he did the shopping and went ahead with the purchase.  I absolutely love the look.  Yay Tim!

mounted shelfHere is the finished look, with the jars nicely displayed on the open shelf in my kitchen.  I am so pleased with the additional “pantry” space this has given me and love the outcome.

open kitchen storage

open display

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