Turn an Empty Jar Into a Reusable Gift Jar

Lou LoGiudice
by Lou LoGiudice
4 Hours
When visiting friends or relatives a kind gesture is to bring a small gift. Their favorite candy, cookies or other treats is always a good choice. Bringing the treats in a reusable container will make a big hit.
In this project I turned an empty jar into a gift jar. You need to know how to operate a lathe before attempting this project. For an experienced wood turner, this is a simple project that will take 2-4 hours of work. However the process will last for 2 days because you have to let the glue dry completely in 2 stages. The first stage is gluing the wedges and the spacers, the second stage is gluing the 2 discs together.
My projects are made from reclaimed materials so I don't know what type of wood I used. The wood came from an old office chair.
There is a video attached to this project showing me making this decorative lid for this jar.
Tools and supplies I used:

I use reclaimed materials for all my projects, the cost of this project I estimate at about $3.00. The glue, finish and decorative accent on the top where the only items I paid for. The wood which is usually the most expensive was free.

Wood Turning Lathe with chisels.

Miter saw


Wood Glue

Sand Paper

Rubber bands

Dust mask

Face shield

Ear protection

Wood finish of your choice. I used Danish Oil
Preparing the wood:

This design style is called segmented wood turning. It is achieved by glueing segments of wood together.

I used two strips of wood each measuring 12" long 1 3/4" wide and 3/4" thick. Using the miter saw set at a 22.5 degree angle, I cut 16 pieces (only 8 are shown) at 1 3/4" long.

I also use two strips of a darker wood measuring 18" long, 3/4" wide and 3/16" thick. I cut that wood into 16 pieces 2" long (only 8 are shown), those pieces I'll call spacers.

These measurements will vary depending on the size lid cover you need to make.
Assembling the wedges into discs:

I made a total of 2 rings consisting of 8 wedges and 8 spacers. Using wood glue I joined each wedge separated by a spacer and secured them with rubber bands. For this size project, strong rubber bands work well, anything bigger you will need to use hose clamps to secure the segments.

I let the glue dry overnight.
Preparing the rings for the lathe:

After the glue dried I sanded each surface using a disc sander. It is important to to sand them completely and evenly. I then glued the rings together. Align the rings as you like, I chose to position the spacers of one ring in the middle of the wedges of the other ring.

Clamp the rings together with as many clamps as you can and let the glue dry overnight.
Creating the decorative top:

I attached the two glued rings to the faceplate of my lathe and starting shaping the rings into the lid cover. After I achieved the proper size and design I liked I sanded is smooth. I started with 150 grit and worked up to 600 grit.
After sanding I used danish oil as a finish. Since the wood will not be in contact with food the finish you use does not have to be food safe.
Attach the new decorative cap to the lid using 2 part epoxy or hot glue
Add a decorative detail to the top
Fill with candy, cookies, nuts or whatever you like and you have a one of a kind hand made decorative, reusable jar to give as a gift.
Frequently asked questions
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