Art Deco Medicine Jars

Introduction: Art Deco Medicine Jars

About: I'm a freelance illustrator who likes to make fun crafty stuff in my free time :)

As a long-time sufferer of headaches, aches, and sniffles, I tend to collect a lot of OTC pills. I wanted to make pretty bottles that would help me cut down on buying too many duplicates of one kind of pain killer, make it obvious for me to see when I run out of something, and make it easier for my boyfriend to get me the right meds from the cabinet for whatever ails me. Now all I have to tell him is, "I have a headache," and without any further questions, he can grab the bottle that says "I have a headache."

These were a piece of cake to make, look super cute, and cost almost nothing. Win win win!

Materials Used:


Glass Jars

  • (substitute: baby food jars)

Tiny Scissors

  • (substitute: X-acto knife)

Measuring Tape

Avery 5163 Labels

  • (substitute: sticker paper or white paper and glue)

Optional: spray paint or acrylic paint

I found my glass jars at Hobby Lobby for about $1.25 each and thought they were the perfect look I was going for, but I also included some steps on how to use baby food jars if you have some lying around.

Step 1: Planning

1. Organize your pill bottles. Break them down into categories and figure out what you want to call them on the label.

  • (It was during this step that I realized A. I was out of Ibuprofen, and B. I needed to get another jar for when I got more Ibuprofen.)

2. Measure your jars with your measuring tape (I used my trusty Duck Tape!). Since I made a sticker for the front of the jar and the top, I had to know measurements for both.

  • The lid of the jar was about 1.5" in diameter. Based on the size of the jar itself, I decided I wanted to make my labels about 2" x 1". If your jars are rounded, make sure to keep in mind that the bigger the label is, the harder it will be to wrap it around the curved surface without it wrinkling. A baby food jar is actually easier for this than the circular jars because the baby food jar only curves in one direction.

Step 2: Label-Making

1. If you're Photoshop-savvy, you can design your own labels. I made the top labels 1"x1" and the front labels 1" x 2", then put them onto a template that would fit onto Avery 5163 sized labels. For the front of the label, I wanted to indicate the medicine's purpose, and for the top I decided to include the actual name of the pill.

  • If you aren't so good with Photoshop, I included the .PDF file for anyone who just wants to print those out and use the ones I made.
  • Or if you like the labels I made, but want to put your own text on them, I also included a .PSD file of the front label and the top label. Just adjust the color of the background on the label and plug in your own text for your medicine.
  • If you don't have access to Avery 5163 labels, you can just as easily print these onto a sheet of sticker paper, or even just plain printer paper and then glue them onto the jars.

2. Print the labels. I doubled up the template so it would print two copies of each label, just in case I messed up (which I didn't!).

3. Cut them out. You can use an X-acto knife or a small pair of scissors. In retrospect, I might have done a design that involved less intricate cutting, but I wasn't really thinking that far ahead when I designed the labels in the first place.

Step 3: Application

1. Once you have all your labels cut out, peel off the adhesive backing and stick them to your jars. For the front jar labels, I made sure the center was lined up, then smoothed out towards the edges to minimize wrinkling in the labels.

2. For the lid labels, screw the lid onto the jar before applying the label to make sure the label will be straight once the lid is on.

  • If you didn't have sticker paper and just printed your labels on regular printer paper, apply the glue to the back of the label. I recommend using a brush or a roller to apply your adhesive to make sure you can't see the squiggly lines through the glass. Make sure it's completely dried before handling your jar, as you don't want the label to slip out of place.

Step 4: Fill 'Er Up!

Fill the jars with the appropriate pills, and you're done! You've got yourself a unique set of medicine jars to keep your cabinet looking cute and organized.

Step 5: The Baby Food Jar Option

If you don't have any fancy jars, or just have a handful of baby food jars sitting around and want to use them for something, they work perfectly for this project too.

1. Print and cut your labels out like you did for the other project.

2. Apply the label to the front of the jar. This part is way easier on a baby food jar because it only curves in one direction, instead of curving side to side AND top to bottom.

3. To make it look less like a baby food jar, I decided to paint the lid. I had some baby blue acrylics easily on hand, so that's what I went with, though spray paint would work just as well.

4. After the paint is completely dry, apply the label to the top of the jar. If you know beforehand that you're using baby food jars, you can adjust the size of the label to fit it better, though I don't mind that it's a little small.

5. Fill with your pills, and you're done!

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