How to create stylish pantry storage by upcycling your old glass jars.

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The 'Why?'

Stylish pantry storage / shelves have been an obsession of mine for a while. Just to clarify, I’m talking about the perfectly styled and coordinating kind, with an array of interestingly shaped glass jars, filled with a smorgasbord (love that word!) of unrecognisable grains and seeds, labelled in stylish labels with trendy fonts and secured with artistic, textured ball stoppers. Not a packet of super noodles or a plastic storage basket in sight!

Are the aforementioned perfect pantry shelves massively practical for family life? Of course not. Do they look fab and make you feel like you have your shit together? That’d be a yes!

Months before starting this project, I’d done a lot of research on beautiful glass jars and found them to be expensive in the most part, especially the, jaunty angled, cork-ball stoppered, kind and I didn’t love the idea of buying more ‘stuff’ when we chuck loads of jars into the recycling every week. So for a few weeks I washed and kept all our empty glass jars; everything from instant coffee & pesto to pasta sauce.

Cut to August 2021, I’d recently had Covid and was still on a husband-imposed DIY ban so needed a project which wasn’t going to take a lot of effort to complete & DIY pantry shelves were the obvious option. By now I had a cupboard full of empty jars and months before, I’d ordered some rustic / industrial floating shelves off Amazon which had been kicking about on top of the fridge waiting to be called up, this was their (perfect) moment (Martine McCutcheon flashback anyone?!)
The 'How?'

I painted all the jar lids the same colour hardwearing, scrubbable emulsion (Setting plaster by F&B which I had left over from a recent decorating fail (it turned out a peachy pink ceiling wasn’t for me). I also painted some vases and ornaments in the same shade to tie the whole look together.

I'd had a bit of luck on Facebook Marketplace where I'd managed to pick up two 2nd hand carafes for a fiver which added some height and interest & I’d found some bargain cork ball stoppers on eBay which fit perfectly in the carafes.

FB Marketplace Carafes & bargain stoppers

The labels were easy to make in In Design (well they were after a bit of help with the layout from my graphic designer husband - knew he’d come in useful eventually), but there are loads of free templates you can download from the net (Canva is good apparently) as well as many reasonably priced templates you can purchase and print for yourself on Etsy.

Computer screen with labels laid out in a document

I bought sticky-backed paper on Amazon - you could definitely go for more durable vinyl stickers if you wanted but as these shelves really are going to be 80% for show, I wasn’t worried about the labels getting battered.

Once I’d measured and marked where I wanted the shelves I attached them to the wall - you’ll need wall-specific fixings depending on whether you have solid or stud walls so I’m not going to link what I used, but here’s a helpful guide

Empty glass jar with a label on
Jar of plain flour
Line of filled jars with their labels next to them
Line of jars now labelled up
Before and after of upcycled jar
Before and after of jar with label

So once the jars were cleaned, the lids painted and the labels made, it was just a case of filling the jars and sticking the labels on & they were ready for styling.

Open shelves with pantry jars

Ta-dah - DIY open pantry shelves using upcycled glass jars and homemade labels.

The great thing with open shelves is that you can change them up as often as you like and add some seasonal touches (This year’s Halloween edit below featured some cute little pumpkins)

open Pantry shelves styled with small pumpkins

Oh hello Halloween edit

Thanks so much for reading.

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