Making for Kids,  What Hannah Makes

Two Upcycle Craft Ideas With Every Day Items – Paper Bags and Baby Food Jars

Lately, I’ve been really thinking about our environmental impact in the world. We have a large family and it’s easy to produce a lot of waste.

Everyone has been talking about our planet’s plastic output and the facts and statistics can be overwhelming and discouraging. As a result, I’ve been thinking about what we can do to help. Even little changes can make a big difference.

I love making things. I LOVE crafting. I love being a good steward of the planet (what my Mom calls it). So I was trying to think of ways that I could reduce my waste when I craft.

Here are TWO ways that YOU can reuse materials to make a craft project.

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Upcycle Idea #1: Make Your Own Wrapping

What You Need to Make Your Own Wrapping Paper

This one is a really simple but really fun project. My kids enjoyed participating and it cost us exactly 0 dollars apart from the materials we already had.

We often shop at Aldi and occasionally I forget to bring our reusable shopping bags. On one of those trips, I ended up bringing home several Aldi paper bags. We decided to turn it into wrapping paper!

What’s neat about this is the kids got to express their creativity in any way they chose, and we used something that would easily have been thrown out. When they were done drawing, they all had a good time wrapping presents with their personalized wrapping paper.

Bonus: Paper bags are great for putting under messy craft projects. We’ve done painting projects and used our paper bags to protect our table and other surfaces. A win-win for crafting time.


Upcycle Ideas #2: Reuse Baby Food Jars

A few years ago I made a Shea Butter Body Balm (say that 3 times fast) at a DoTerra DIY party. I LOVE this salve and it’s one of the best things I’ve used for my irrationally dry winter hands. I hope to do a future post to teach you all how to make the wonderful Body Balm that saves my cracking hands.

This year, I wanted to recreate the miracle salve myself at home. I looked on Amazon for little jars. I thought I’d make extra as Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers and maybe even teacher gifts. I wasn’t crazy about buying little plastic containers, though. I just couldn’t shake the idea of not wanting to add another bit of plastic to our household.

They did have glass jars available, but the selection was more limited. It got me thinking. We’re past the baby food stage, but maybe there were other people out there who would want to pass their jars on to me!

The stars aligned and I was able to find someone on our Facebook Marketplace who just happened to be selling a bunch of baby food jars for $5. Win!

She had taken the time to wash the jars and remove the labels which was a HUGE help.

Just one problem.

There was still a sticky residue left from the stickers.

I did what any good maker does and I looked up a YouTube video. Obviously, I wasn’t the first person with this sticky problem. I ended up finding an easy solution and a couple of cool YouTubers who specialize in upcycling projects.

Here’s What You Need to Remove Sticky Residue from Glass Jars

That’s it! 

How to Remove the Sticky Residue from Glass Jars

To get rid of the label residue from a jar you first need to mix the vegetable oil and baking soda in equal parts. As you mix it up it will create a paste.

Once the paste is finished, put it on the sticky part of the jar and let it sit. You can let it sit for about ten to thirty minutes. Then you take a wet washcloth and scrub it off the jar!

The Results of This Upcycle Craft

I decided to try it for myself, but I had my doubts. You’ve all probably been down that road before when something LOOKED great on YouTube or Pinterest and then you tried it for yourself with spectacularly underwhelming results.

I am here to tell you that it REALLY works. I didn’t even bother measuring for this recipe. I just poured it together and slapped it on the jars. I let it sit on there for a while and was able to scrub off the sticky glue with minimal effort. I have to say, I’m impressed.

So there you go. If you want to make a craft project with a used glass jar but don’t know how to remove the annoying sticky residue… try this trick.



All squeaky clean!!

Hope you’ve enjoyed these two easy upcycling projects. If it’s something you’re interested in seeing more of, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you.

-The Making Life


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