Buy vs. DIY: Mason Jar Tumblers

Mason jars add a touch of country chic to pretty much everything; cocktail glasses, flower vases, candle votives, and now sealed travel drink tumblers. Compared to their ugly white Styrofoam predecessors, to-go cups made from mason jars are adorable, functional and environmentally friendly.


And even though mason jars are still pretty inexpensive to buy in bulk, the tumblers go for about $12-$20 a pop on Etsy. So how much easier and cheaper is it to just make them yourself?

Brian Marquis of Lilies and Loafers made 12 lids of his own after he was inspired by a friend who bought a mason jar tumbler -- for $15.

“I was not going to buy a $15 cup, although they were pretty cool,” he says.

 

 

DIY: From Plain Mason Jar to Trendy Tumbler

He already had the mason jars at home, so with the help of his engineer dad, they came up with a plan to make their own tumblers.

“We knew we had to put a hole through the lid for the straw, but a grommet would cover up the sharp edges of the hole and clean it up,” he says. “We measured a straw width and went from there, meticulously taking measurements and researching grommet sizes.”

It took Brian and a friend about 30 minutes to make 12 lids for the mason jar. When it was all said and done, it cost them approximately $2 per jar. But they didn’t just save money – they gained a proud sense of accomplishment.

“For us it was about taking an already useful item, and using it in an unexpected way at our gathering,” he says. “When you make something yourself (and it comes out really well), that object holds a special place in your heart and means that much more to you.”

 

Supplies
  • Mason jars and lids
  • Drill with bits (different sizes, but making sure they are smaller than 3/8-inch)
  • Hammer and pick (pick optional)
  • Small flathead screwdriver
  • Rubber grommets (measured to fit the hole you are making -- you can buy an assorted pack and test different sizes out)
  • Block of scrap wood for drilling
  • Straws
Directions

Step 1: Place scrap block of wood on a work bench or the ground, and then set the jar lid on top of the wood block.

Step 2: Locate where you want to make the hole (Brian’s was off-center), and place the pick on the spot. Using the hammer, make a dent in the post where you will drill for the hole.

Step 3: Fit your drill with a smaller sized bit, and slowly drill through the spot where you made the dent.

 

 

Step 4: Once you drill through, find a bigger size bit (but still smaller than 3/8 inches) and repeat step 3. The goal is to make a nice clean hole, free from twisted metal and sharp edges.

Step 5: Fit the drill the with the 3/8-inch bit and drill through. Brian used a rubber grommet so he could squeeze it through the drilled hole. The grommets cover up the edges, and keep the straws in place. Use the flathead screwdriver to guide the grommet through the hole and around the lid.

He says this is the trickiest part. For every five jars they made, they lost one grommet during this process.

Step 6: You're done! Before you use (and for sustainable care), hand-wash the lids. You can put the jars in the dishwasher. Enjoy your trendy new tumbler!

 

 

Cost:

Mason jar: $12 for a pack of 12 wide mouth jars at Walmart

Grommets: $7 for a pack of 100 rubber grommets from a bulk hardware store.

Paper straws: $7 for a pack of 144 from Soap.com. (Find reusable plastic straws on Starbucks.com for $1.99 for a pack of three).

Total cost: About $2 a jar.*

*(Does not include cost of drill rental, bits or scrap block wood).

 

Buy: Stylish To-Go Cups Made Easy

If you’re looking to save some time and hassle, you can buy the tumblers instead. We love the assorted varieties from The Mason Bar Company's store on Etsy, indluding:

 

16 Ounce Mason Jar Tumbler Mug: $14.95

This 16 ounce tumbler mug with a reusable straw is perfect for iced coffee and any cold to-go drink, but the handle makes it tricky to fit into most cup holders. 

 

Medium Mason Jar Traveler Jar: $13.95

For $13.95, these 16 ounce jars are the classic mason jar design, and will fit perfectly in cup holders. 

 

24 Ounce Mason Jar Tumbler: $14.50

For a sleek and more unique style, try this 24 ounce mason jar tumbler with a reusable straw. Perfect for the days when you need just a little more coffee or iced tea. 

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