Introduction: Mason Jar Lid Inserts - 5 Designs (dragonfly Wing Inspired)

Mason jars, originally made for canning the harvest, are a readily available, inexpensive source of glass containers, that come in a variety of interesting shapes, sizes and even colours! One very convenient feature they all share, is the similar band sizes and replaceable lid inserts. This leads to many, many possible adaptations of these jars for different uses.

A couple of years ago, pre-makerspace in the Yukon, I bought a simple lid insert that had a hole punched in the middle to accommodate a straw. Clever! Suddenly, my mason jar smoothie glass turned into a drink container with a lid and straw that was great for taking in the car.

Inspired by the drinking straw lid, I came up with a few other ideas for lid designs and decided to try making them. Because I was designing them myself, I worked from the wing pattern of a dragonfly, one of my favourite animals. The dragonfly model I used in this design, was one that my dog found in the yard a couple of weeks ago.

Step 1: Materials and Equipment:

  • Mason jars in various sizes with common lid sizes (70 and 86 mm diameters)
  • Corrugated cardboard (optional for prototype)
  • 1/8" acrylic sheet (any thicker and the lid will not screw on)
  • Laser cutter
  • CorelDRAW design file for dragonfly wing mason jar lids

Note: If you are working with your own images, you can check out this instructable which shows you how to convert a jpeg into an .svg file:

Step 2: Cutting Prototype From Cardboard

Working from a photograph of my dragonfly wing, I transformed it into a vector image and then imported it into CorelDRAW. After creating my design file in CorelDRAW, using one layer and two lid sizes for each design, I tested out my design by cutting it out of cardboard, to check the sizing and design.

I ended up adjusting the circle diameters, so that the lids fit a bit loser in the lid bands.

Step 3: Cuting Acrylic

To cut the acrylic, I used a 60 watt Epliog fusion Laser Cutter using 10/100/100 speed/ power/ frequency settings. The 1/8" clear acrylic sheeting came with white protective plastic on either side, which I decided to leave on when I cut, thinking that it would keep the acrylic pristine and it did.

Before cutting, make sure you have all of your ventilation on, as it doesn't smells very good. I'm now thinking that it might actually be healthier to take off the protective plastic before cutting next time.

Cut out your lids, peel off the protective plastic, and put them to work.

Step 4: #1 the No-design, Solid See Through Lid

The solid, see through lid, is handy for seeing what is in your storage jars from the top.

Step 5: #2 - One Cell Lid

The one cell lid, can be used to insert a drinking straw or for feeding out string, wool or ribbon etc. and acts to keep it from tangling. Yay!

Step 6: #3 the Four Cell Lid

The four cell lid was designed to hold toothbrushes. The larger lid, has bigger holes and works pretty well, but the limiting factor is the handle sizes of some of the toothbrushes out there on the market today! Also, I put this lid on the standard 500 ml. widemouthed jar, and found it was a bit deep for the brushes - maybe look around for a better height.

Step 7: #4 - Large Mutliple Cell Lid - Flower Frog

This lid (my favourite) shows off the dragonfly wing pattern a bit more, and looks great by itself. This lid was intended to be used as a flower frog, to help separate the stems and arrange a bouquet of flowers.

I found that it also works great on the smaller jar, as a classy looking baking soda odour eater in your refrigerator.

Step 8: #5 - Small Mutliple Cell Lid - Shaker and Potpourri

The last lid design, is a smaller version of the previous design with much smaller holes.

This lid was intended to be used as a shaker for; hemp seeds, gomasio or parmesan cheese etc.. It also works great as a lid for potpourri - I filled up a small jar of lavender flowers for the bathroom (photo).

Step 9: Make Them All!

Most of these lids are already in use around my house and have I made a few extra for friends. I hope you find them useful.

Let me know if you come up with other clever mason jar lid ideas!

Special thanks to the unnamed dragonfly, which, although not an expert by any means, I have tentatively identified as a paddle-tailed darner - Aeshna palmata.

Summer Fun Contest

Participated in the
Summer Fun Contest