6 Holiday DIYs for Goodwill Glassware

lightbulb DIY


By Melissa Massello of ShoestringMag.com

Hi, my name is Melissa, and I’m a Goodwill glassware addict. Be it a pretty decanter or package of tea light holders, I can’t pass up the endless, shimmering possibilities of secondhand glass. Boring vases delivered by the florist then donated to Goodwill quickly become modern centerpieces with just a coat of spray paint or an old lidded candle jar becomes the vessel for a DIY spa gift after a quick rinse. I’m forever scouring the store racks and outlet bins for my next project – and given the delicate nature of glass, there’s a seemingly never-ending supply of donations that people just don’t want to move, store, or dance around anymore. Lucky us!

If you’re looking for easy, affordable & eco-friendly ideas for holiday decorating and gift giving, below are six of my favorites – and check out over a hundred more on our Pinterest board dedicated to all things Goodwill Glassware DIYs!


Salt or sugar scrubs and bath bombs are relatively simple recipes to make at home from pantry staples like salt, sugar, coconut oil, baking soda, cornstarch, and food coloring. Mix up a big batch and give as thoughtful yet inexpensive gifts to friends, neighbors, coworkers, family – anyone, really! – but save on the packaging by checking the racks at Goodwill first. These lidded jars were just 99 cents each at the South Lamar and Lake Austin Boulevard stores, a third to a fifth of the price at craft and kitchen stores. Check out my new seasonal recipe for clove & orange sugar scrub, or here’s an easy and very Texan version using salts, dried Hill Country lavender & bluebonnet essential oil:

Texas Hill Country Lavender & Bluebonnet Salt Scrub

About 10 minutes, start to finish

  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1 cup coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup dried Hill Country lavender
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut oil (melted)
  • 12-15 drops Bluebonnet essential oil from Fredericksburg Herb Farm
  • 2 decorative glass jars, medium size – cleaned and dried

Mix the Epsom salt, coarse salt, and lavender buds together in a large mixing bowl. Microwave the coconut oil for about 1 minute, or until completely melted. Add the melted coconut oil to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, then add the essential oil, and mix thoroughly. Spoon into glass jars, wiping any excess from the outside, and secure lid. Tie with ribbon or baker’s twine and add a gift tag, or create custom sticker labels, and you’re the new eco-friendly spa Santa in town.


Christmas Terrarium

Decorative glass apothecary jars have been majorly back in style the last few years, and every so often you get lucky and find one at Goodwill – I scored this one from the 10th & Lamar store earlier this summer for 

about $3.99. Following a cute and easy tutorial from Martha Stewart, some salt, and some miniatures I found at the Goodwill Outlet, I created a cute, whimsical, and super cheap centerpiece for my holiday table in just minutes!



mercury glass

Not only is real mercury glass prohibitively expensive at vintage markets and antique stores, but it can be dangerous, too. Fake it instead with this budget-friendly yet still Bohemian (and super easy) DIY faux mercury glass tutorial I wrote last year -- using Goodwill glassware and other recyclable bottles plus mirrored spray paint!




With about three weeks still to go, there’s plenty of time to start brewing up some DIY infused vodkas or liqueurs for Christmas gift giving or party hosting. My homemade cranberry cordial was a big hit back in New England, but you can use the same recipe for more local flavor, like swapping cranberries for prickly pears! Goodwill comes in handy both for an extra large glass jar to brew your hooch in a sunny windowsill spot for 14 days, and then again with glass stopper bottles for distributing among family and friends – or acquaintances who are sure to be your new BFF after they get your gift. Short on time? Fill a sterilized glass bottle from Goodwill with some Deep Eddy or Tito’s vodka and stick a few big sprigs of rosemary in it, then add a gift tag and tell your intended to stick it in a sunny spot and not to open it until after the New Year.


If you come across a set of clear glass ornaments at Goodwill any time of year, snatch them up! The number of ways to creatively fill them for holiday gift giving is limited only by your imagination. Last year, I picked up a pack of 6 clear glass ornaments at the South Lamar store for about $1.99, and filled them with my fan-favorite chili spice mix to give as host gifts all season long.

Filled Glass Ornaments


upcycled lightbulbs

Never pass by those packages of filament light bulbs at Goodwill – even if they don’t work in lamps, they always work great as ornaments! Clear or colored glass, it doesn’t matter, a few coats of acrylic craft paint and glitter will almost instantly transform them from outdated to festive and fun. Cover a tree or fill a bowl with just a few bucks! Check out this how-to for an ombre ornament set I made earlier this month, used to decorate a mini lighted tree I found at Goodwill for just $4.99.



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