Trash to Treasure Vases…using Old Food Jars & Vintage Handbag Straps!

DIY Upcycled Jars using Paint and Handbag Straps

Who woulda thought an instant coffee jar wearing a belt could look so cute?

Not me, if I’m honest.

This was one of those experimental projects which could have gone one of two ways…epic fail or surprising success.

Thankfully, it appears to have been the latter!



Jars Before

Of course, the very first thing to do is gather a collection of old food jars, remove the labels and clean them thoroughly. I simply used some warm soapy water and a dash of eucalyptus oil for the more stubborn label glue.

Jars Before

To finish I wiped the jars with isopropyl alcohol to remove any residual oil or grime and ensure they were squeaky clean.


Next I hit the jars with several light coats of spray paint. I used Dulux Duramax Chalky Finish in Classic Duck Egg. Absolutely love the matte velvety finish of this paint. And, as a bonus, it adheres super well too!

Dulux Chalky Finish Spray Paint


Although I’d always wanted to try revamping some old food jars, there was one thing holding me back…how to deal with the threads left visible after removing the lids.

DIY Jar Upcycle

Granted, it’s not a huge problem and can actually be desirable if you want that upcycled feel, though I wanted my jars to look quite refined, like ‘proper’ vases. So, for me, the visible threads simply gave away the fact they were merely old food jars.

Enter…vintage handbag straps!

Old Handbag Straps

I removed these from some leather handbags I bought from an op shop for just a few dollars each. You could also use pet collars, skinny belts or dog leads.

I figured that by using straps of leather I could conceal the jar threads AND give the jars a stylish twist to boot!

I contemplated and trialed several methods of attaching the leather though settled on creating snug bands which can be slipped on or off, just like (tight) bracelets. Not only does this provide the means to remove the leather if ever desired, though I found it much easier to create neat joins this way.

To make the bands I first cut a strap of leather to fit. This meant ensuring the ends of the strap just touched when wrapped around the jar. Next I applied rapid set super glue to each end before bringing them together and holding neatly in place until bonded – around thirty seconds.

Leather Join

I was skeptical as to how well this would work, though it created a very neat and strong join.

Once the glue was fully set I carefully shimmied the bands into position on their jars.

DIY Upcycled Jars using Paint and Handbag Straps

The leather has some give though you don’t want to test the glue too much so take your time. I found twisting the bands worked well.


Now all that’s left to do is make everything look pretty!

You can leave the jars empty and display as a collection of vessels, dress them up with flowers as I’ve done, or use them for general storage (maybe holding pencils, jewellery, cotton tips, kitchen utensils, or so on).

DIY Upcycled Food Jars using Leather and Paint

DIY Jar Vases

And of course these are great for table settings or decorations at weddings and other events.

A few of my jars didn’t have threads because the lids were push on caps. For these I used the buckles off the handbag straps to create little “belts”.

DIY Upcycled Jars

For the littlest jar, I found that the radius was too tight to create a neat band using the leather. Instead, I concealed the thread using a strip of faux leather contact paper I had left-over from this old project.

DIY Spray Painted Glass Jars

Hope this helps inspire!



Amazing Old Jar Upcycle using Paint and Handbag Straps!

  1. Neena Martin says:

    I love this! I save all my glass jars but never thought to make a collection like this. I will be making some now, thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Susanne says:

    Oh goodness! Now I will be saving jars, lol! These are so cute, what a great idea.

  3. OMG Stop it!!!! What an awesome idea!!!!!!! I so need to save my jars now. I love what you did with the belts too!

  4. Leslie Wood says:

    What a great idea! Thank you!

  5. Kay Lake says:

    Very, very clever Kristen!!

  6. Dawn Royster says:

    Your creativity is sometimes just scary!!!! So adorable.

    • LOL! Thanks so much. Though I think you’re confusing my creativity with my map reading skills – now that’s scary! Thank god for GPS :)

  7. Caroline says:

    I upcycle jars all the time, if it’s a cute shape I save it (kind of getting to a hoarding situation with them)!
    I love the added leather, I’ve used twine rope but love this idea! Thanks!

    • Yes, twine can be cute. I’ve used it on some old milk bottles before. Time to put your hoarding to good use – LOL!

  8. This is the cutest idea!

  9. What a cute idea! Great job and beautiful styling as always. :)

  10. Evelyn O'Donoghue says:

    Another great idea. I wonder if tightly wrapped twine/string could look effective too? I particularly like the colour you’ve used and the contrast with the leather band. Thanks!

  11. I adore the color and how the straps look attached to the vases! That blue, matte finish is to die for! I am going to pin this to a couple boards, thanks for sharing at Grandma’s House!

  12. Marie says:

    I love this idea! Very pretty!

  13. Clean Home says:

    I have lots of airtight jars and I am thinking about getting rid of it before I saw this post. I’m a fan of it but I just don’t have any idea where to start. Actually, I also bought the same color on your vase w/ a vintage twist and it’s on my center table right now. I hope I can make something like that next time.

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