Please Contain Yourself! DIY Zero Waste Organization You Can Easily Do

If you’ve stuck with me awhile, you’ll know that I’ve been blogging for a little over 5 years now.

I love those nice little clear jar collections you can see in boutique stores and on Pinterest. Unfortunately, I don’t have shelves worth of perfectly matched jars and lids. It would cost at least some amount of money to buy such a set, which I like to avoid because I’m cheap, and it would be a waste because I already have so many jars around the house. I’m sure you have some too- an empty pasta sauce jar, a finished jar of jam jelly, a giant clear plastic tub from Costco that’s now empty. There are lots of clear jars out there.

But they don’t match. And matching matters.

So I decided to use chalkboard paint to create matching labels on every jar. It makes a collection of random junk look pretty and pulled together, and it lets you label and relabel your jars every time you fill one up.  It’s a pretty easy process, and though it takes a bit of drying time I think you can easily do this on Saturday morning.

You Will Need:

  • chalkboard paint of any color
    • (though I recommend not using a light color like mint in the future because it does not let white chalk show up well)
  • Any plain old foam brush
    • or you could potentially use an old sponge you were about to throw away to be more green/cheap, rags/ paper towels,
  • Protection for the work surface
    • (I used old cardboard from cereal boxes).
  • Old Jars
    • You can rinse out and use jam or jelly jars, jarred peaches, pasta sauce jars, mixed nuts jar, mason jar, or really any kind of big clear glass or plastic jar with a lid of some sort.

Prep Work:

If you have a jar with a gummy label on it (so, the labels that are like a sticker) you can wash that off in the sink with hot water and soap, and scrape it off with your nails to get big chunks off. Use the scrubby end of the sponge to get the leftover gum paste off.

glass jar with rectangle made of painter's tape cradled on rags and cardboard worksurface nextto jar of mint martha stewart crafts chalkboard paint and foam brush

Step One

First you tape off the area you’ll want to label. In the picture I chose the area that had a printed label I couldn’t wash off. Makes sense, right?

jars with chalkboard paint labels outlined in painter's tape with cardboard worksurface and rags in backgroundStep Two:

Here is the first coat of chalkboard paint. The directions said to wait an hour between the two coats, and I found that when I caved and tried to reapply earlier it ended up scratching the drying paint off! I found the brushing from side to side, instead of up and down, also worked best.

hand holding orange box cutting knife to peel away masking tape around chalkboard label on glass jarStep Three:

When the second coat of paint is still wet, you’ll have to remove your paint. I found the the paint would stretch or crack if I just ripped off the tape, so I held a small razor at the end of the tape and pulled the tape away from it, a lot like holding your nail at the base of a perforated page to make it come off cleanly.

upcycled glass apothecary and jam jars with mint chalkboard paint labelsStep Four:

You’ll need to drag a piece of chalk lightly against the paint and erase it again to ‘cure’ the paint before you write on your label. Now you’ve got a beautiful collection of ‘matched’ jars! Just be sure you store things that are guest safe in here, and keep anything you don’t want guest to see in opaque containers.

I have these jars set up in the bathroom, but you could easily use them to sort small bits in your closet, or display curios on your mantel without letting any dust in. Figure out what you need organization for, and go for it!

Would you try this? If You Did, How did it go? Let me know in the comments!

There have been diys from day one. A lot of diys. But mostly, the summary of my diys is that I just like pretty things that I can’t afford I guess! If you find yourself in the same boat click through some of these links for ingenious hacks to turn trash into crafts!

Like Zero Waste? Try this diy to save money and pack smarter on your next trip.


Hiya pal, please share your thoughts! :)