I don't want candy....
September 10, 2018 6:25 AM   Subscribe

I have a large collection of glass candy jars. I am looking for suggestions for non-edible things other than glass stones/pebbles/marbles that I could put in them for display. The jars are all clear, so they generally look better with things inside them, and I no longer want to fill all 20+ of them with candy. Thanks, hivemind!
posted by anastasiav to Home & Garden (58 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Tickets or other sentimental stuff if you keep them
Corks if the jar is big enough or small enough for the date at which you end up with a cork
Leftover craft material scraps
Sand from places you visit in future
Terrarium setup? Keep plants alive in one ir two?
posted by bilabial at 6:29 AM on September 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

Useful: Pens/pencils/crayons, Nuts/bolts/misc hardware. Thumbtacks, alligator clips, rubber bands, balls of twine, zip ties.

Not so useful: Bouncy balls, dried flowers or mosses, paper cut out art, colored oils.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:31 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

Spools of thread, bundles of fairy lights, fake lemons, buttons, pillar candles, pinecones, corks, those twig and moss balls sold at craft stores, pastas.
posted by missmary6 at 6:33 AM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Would different colored/shaped gaming dice be too close to glass pebbles?
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:34 AM on September 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

I collected gumball machine toys, if you can find a decent enough old fashioned collection, to put in a glass jar at one time.
posted by frumiousb at 6:35 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Crayons, pot pourri, terrarium, tinsel or xmas baubles, soaps, coins, paperclips, shells, different kinds of dirt - dust from the red centre, coarse sand etc.

Flower clips for hair, coloured water, glitter, photographs, shredded coloured paper, love notes, LED lights, battery operated tea candles, artificial flowers or leaves, sawdust from different wood, layers of paint, cotton wool and earbuds.
posted by b33j at 6:38 AM on September 10, 2018

Layers of colored sand.
posted by nantucket at 6:39 AM on September 10, 2018

Fun previously
posted by slipthought at 6:40 AM on September 10, 2018

Murano glass candies?
posted by mosst at 6:40 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

Dice, especially varied dice. Buy a Chessex Pound-o-Dice for only 20 bucks!
posted by 4th number at 6:41 AM on September 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

Barbie shoes
posted by Stonkle at 6:42 AM on September 10, 2018 [7 favorites]

Fortunes from fortune cookies.
Another candy jar.
posted by dywypi at 6:43 AM on September 10, 2018

Whenever I get roses (the times I've gotten roses), I've dried them and saved the dried heads. I keep them in a glass jar and it's very pretty.
posted by gideonfrog at 6:44 AM on September 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

Sweet gum pods
posted by veery at 6:44 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

LED candles (a set with a remote/timer)
posted by bighappyhairydog at 6:45 AM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Small, brightly-colored mini-Christmas tree ornaments.
posted by answergrape at 6:52 AM on September 10, 2018

posted by angiep at 6:56 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Tiny paper cranes. If you fold them yourself and get to a thousand, you can eventully give them as a blessing to someone.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:02 AM on September 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

Can you get a base inside and use it as a display case for a specific small object? Either a solid base or something like a cushion or sand might work.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:03 AM on September 10, 2018

One of my friends growing up used to make these paper stars out of the edges of notebook paper and saved them in a jar. It looked really nice! They sell cute paper for making these if that was something you had an interest in.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:13 AM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Plastic or wooden eggs.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:15 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Small pompoms or little balls of yarn
posted by Liesl at 7:17 AM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

colorful origami stuff
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:18 AM on September 10, 2018

Buy some polymer clay and make assorted weird-shaped things in strange colours; things that might be candy but might equally be seashells, slugs, acorns, arrowheads, kumquats, coral fragments, legumes, tortellini, mushrooms, shavings, owl pellets, giblets, Mario characters, quail eggs, giant prozac capsules, rolled up measuring tape, a doll's foot, dog treats, crab claws...
posted by Morpeth at 7:20 AM on September 10, 2018

paperclips (colorful or otherwise), rice, beans, colored toothpicks
posted by Tabitha Someday at 7:22 AM on September 10, 2018

Fill one up with quarters. When it's at capacity, go out and treat yourself to some small luxury.
posted by HeyAllie at 7:34 AM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Do bath beads count as glass pebbles? If not, they can be both pretty to look at and nice if you want a slightly luxurious bath every now and then.
posted by huimangm at 7:36 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Little Lego people?
posted by tavegyl at 7:37 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have a bunch of glassware in my craft/office area filled with:
- colorful pompoms
- colored pencils
- colored markers
- wooden stamps
- beads
- paper tags
- washi tape rolls

I use scientific glassware (beakers, flasks, etc.).
posted by jraz at 7:38 AM on September 10, 2018

(found) shot gun shells
beer bottle caps
jingle shells
If they have good lids: beans, grains, dried chili peppers, seaweed, mushrooms
posted by Botanizer at 7:38 AM on September 10, 2018

small holiday baubles
wooden blocks
one or two figurines, for the jars with flat bottoms
large plastic/acrylic beads in interesting shapes and/or colors
posted by jlkr at 7:43 AM on September 10, 2018

You could actually leave them empty but put labels on the outside that say things like "Hugs" or "Stolen Moments" or something that is not tangible but meaningful (or not). Take one but please replace.
posted by AugustWest at 7:48 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

googly eyes
posted by poffin boffin at 8:00 AM on September 10, 2018 [7 favorites]

You can get all kind of beads and tiny charms at crafting stores. Yarn also looks nice.

If I could get enough tiny cute fimo skulls like in that relatively recent FPP to fill a jar, I totally would, but YMMV.
posted by praemunire at 8:07 AM on September 10, 2018

Barbie doll heads.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:12 AM on September 10, 2018 [6 favorites]

I have a collection of bouncy balls that look like billiard balls. Those look great in a jar. Anything that would be unexpected is going to look great. Tiny rubber ducks. Glow in the dark something.
posted by clone boulevard at 8:23 AM on September 10, 2018

I would fill a jar with itty bitty model railroad people.
posted by phunniemee at 8:34 AM on September 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

If you like to travel, we have a jar full of leftover change and small bills in various currencies; we often end up with too little to be worth changing back. Bonus - handy to comb through if you end up planning a trip back to one of the countries you previously visited.
posted by solotoro at 8:46 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

Consider wool yarn. There are some really beautiful varieties out there, and they look really interesting wound into small balls. Plus, you can get varieties from different parts of the world, sheep, goats, alpaca, etc.

OR: you could make some of the jars into mossariums.
posted by amtho at 9:33 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

In my workshop I use jelly/jam/etc jars for storing nuts, bolts, screws and nails.

You could store wine corks in there.
posted by mmascolino at 9:41 AM on September 10, 2018

Tiny succulent plants which will enjoy their own private greenhouse no end (but will periodically need to be repotted). They make great gifts too.
posted by intergalacticvelvet at 9:42 AM on September 10, 2018

PVC dust caps for various connectors.

Sounds odd, I know, but at my last office, in the area were our crew manufactured our product (which was some professional video equipment), one of the employees had a take-out container, the kind into which you'd scoop some pasta salad at the grocery store's salad bar, full of these bright little PVC dust caps for BNC connectors that our equipment had, so the caps were cylindrical and about 1/2" x 1/2". They were mostly day-glow yellow but there were a few green ones sprinkled in, and every time I walked by her desk, I felt like I could reach in there and eat one- they looked like candy without being candy. I think it was the mixture that did it.

Otherwise, the bulk fastener bins at the hardware store are good, particularly if you can find something they'll sell by the pound, and of course coins-- dump your change into jars. I've got a quart jar that fills up with about $200 in misc change, and goes into my Amazon account as a gift card (Coinstar doesn't charge a fee if you use an affiliate such as Amazon).

And last but not least, make a Thing in a Jar.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:42 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seasonally appropriate tiny dioramas.
posted by wwax at 9:56 AM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

I tend to collect stuff so I have jars full of fortunes from cookies, colored pop-top tabs, action figures, rubber duckies, legos, buttons, colored chalk(I have a door painted with chalkboard paint), windup toys, sea glass, army guys, googly eyes, alphabet beads, spools of thread, plastic dinosaurs, etc. They are in a glass-fronted cabinet. I let little kids play with the toys; they are totally enthralled with my collections.
posted by theora55 at 10:49 AM on September 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Marimo ball terrarium so cute and it can grow indefinitely!
posted by yueliang at 11:02 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Handfuls of tulle or organza in various colors, maybe with some LED string lights mixed in (or the aforementioned candles, depending on the size of the containers)?
posted by missmobtown at 11:19 AM on September 10, 2018

terrarium jars using Morpeth's fimo doodahs as pebbles and with wwax's seasonal dioramas
posted by clew at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2018

If you have space on your bathroom countertop, you could fill small ones with cotton balls, cotton swabs, maybe a small nail kit (clippers, short nail file, etc).

Oriental Trading comes to mind as a place where you can buy a lot of small things in bulk.

Oh, also, this is temporary (or not?), but it's almost October so you could make a great Halloween display. Fill one with plastic spiders, one with rubber worms...I'd search around on Pinterest for ideas.
posted by radioamy at 12:38 PM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you have 26, you make each one a different letter of the alphabet and collect either that letter or things that start with that letter in each one.
posted by 10ch at 3:23 PM on September 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

Fun-shaped mini erasers
posted by Rora at 5:23 PM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

10ch has a neat idea, and you could also spell your name with the letter jars.

At an estate sale I got a nifty, retro looking clear plastic pill bottle from Eckerd, which is a defunct drug store chain that I miss, and I filled it with blue gel Ibuprofen pills. It looks nice where I put it, on a shelf with a lot of other blue stuff. A whole candy-jar, though. That would be a lot of Ibuprofen.

What about cookie cutters? I have a big pile of them. I might put them in candy jars if I had candy jars.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:18 PM on September 10, 2018

nth-ing the suggestion for dice. I keep some of my older dice on display in a large brandy snifter. As mentioned above, you can buy dice in bulk for a reasonable price.
posted by Gelatin at 4:58 AM on September 11, 2018

Barbie accessories, in layers like sedimentary rock, sorted by type or color.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:34 AM on September 11, 2018

I put all my chopsticks in a similar vessel on my counter.
posted by brokeaspoke at 11:04 AM on September 11, 2018

Various seeds / seed pods
Brightly colored flower petals
Pussy willow buds
Bits of yarn with a variety of shades and textures trimmed from the fringe of a winter scarf
posted by dancing leaves at 11:22 AM on September 11, 2018

I have a small jar on my windowsill full of miniature ceramic vegetables: tiny leeks, cabbages, aubergines, spring onions, carrots. You may also enjoy such a thing.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 2:24 PM on September 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Putka pods look just like tiny pumpkins. They are unspeakably adorable.
posted by Carouselle at 10:19 AM on September 13, 2018

Thanks to everyone for the great ideas.

Most of the jars are quite old (I have several 19th c dakota jars, for example) so I'm trying to avoid putting anything in them that will clink (coins, glass marbles) or stain the glass (liquid, moss).

Up until now we've been doing seasonal candies (this time last year all the jars were filled with black or orange candies, for example), and I'm sort of trying to replicate that in non-edible things.

Here's the list of what I've used so far:

small balls of yarn
fairy lights
fake fruit
fake flowers
shredded paper
mini ornaments
pony beads
buttons (eventually)
origami things
plastic spiders

Thank you for all the great ideas!
posted by anastasiav at 6:05 AM on September 18, 2018

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