Mason Jars: The Hidden Killer!

While my plans for dressing up the dinner tables are slowly coming together (thanks to you guys! :) ), I have a solid idea of how I want to decorate the tops of the tables. Like a lot of you, I swoon over aqua-blue mason jars. via twobrides

Since our venue doesn’t allow open flames, I plan on filling our mason jars with pretty vegetables and flowers. I’d love to have that glow-y effect of the flickering candlelight behind aqua glass, but it’s just not in the cards. I need the aqua jars, though. Need them.

Seeing as how I’m a whole hemisphere away from my venue (and my family), I can’t exactly troll through antique stores and Goodwill at my leisure.

(And collecting 40+ quart size mason jars locally and bringing them with me on the plane is rather impractical.) So, I did what any tech-savvy bride (on a budget) did – I started looking on my favorite site, eBay, I scoured the classifieds here on the ‘bee, and I looked in the Portland Craigslist (my super awesome future step-MIL (FSMIL) has been the best with helping me locally!).

The result? Aqua mason jars are expensive. Like, really expensive. Unless you find them wholesale somewhere, you should expect to pay around $5 – $8 each, after shipping. I don’t buy that, though. I’m of the mindset that the value of an object is set by the buyer. I think these things should cost around $1.50 – $2 each, after shipping. Call me stingy, but it’s just old glass.

I must have been right, because I found my preciouses for $1.50 each on Craigslist, and in Portland. The seller has a lot of canning equipment. I told him I wanted to buy around 50 quart-sized aqua mason jars, and he said he had more than enough! via Bliss’d

This was great! Fantastic! I’d get my deal, and it’d be local!

But then the seller “educated” me on a few legalities of mason jars. He asked me if I was planning on using these for a wedding (let’s call it a “family reunion”, shall we?). He told me that if I planned on putting candles in the jars, he absolutely wouldn’t sell them to me. And if I was planning on drinking from the jars (I wanted to also buy around 80 normal jars to use as glasses), he also wouldn’t sell them to me. Um. WEIRD.

They don’t make mason jars like they used to. Apparently there’s a high probability that your beautiful antique blue mason jar will EXPLODE if you put a candle in it! The guy selling the jars said he was sued recently because a jar exploded at a wedding, injuring a guest! Also, he informed me that it’s illegal (at least in the state of Oregon) to sell canning jars for the purpose of drinking beverages. He recommended I buy these “drinking” mason jars from a supermarket – these organizations are too large to prosecute feasibly.

As much as I’d love to have beautiful mood setters like this:


… I don’t want my guests to risk injury! If you’re planning on using mason jars for candle holders, be careful! I recommend using newer jars (but don’t quote me on this – I’m not the expert!). via JenaD Events

This seller also helpfully informed me that certain types of flower food can dissolve the old aqua glass. I told him I was planning on using the jars for flower vases (this, apparently, was acceptable to him).

I thought I had all my ducks in a row (no candles! no drinking from the jars! no flower food!), so I asked my awesome FSMIL to coordinate locally with the seller. Turns out, he’s a complete kook. He yelled at her on the phone, proclaiming about how these aqua-blue mason jars are special, antique… they weren’t meant to be used at weddings! And he wasn’t going to sell them! And how dare she suggest that! Did she know that they could EXPLODE at any minute?? (Aqua-blue floral grenades!)

So- whatever. We washed our hands of this potential bargain; the red flags were definitely going off. But I’m still looking for aqua-blue quart sized mason jars. :(

I really don’t know where to look now. Do you know of someone who wants to sell their aqua-blue quart-sized mason jars to me? :) Or do you know of someplace to find them for relatively cheap?


Mrs. Bear Cub

Wedding Date:
September 2009
Making the Trip
My Dream Wedding
Add a comment


  1. Guest Icon Guest
    guest, Guest @ 5:02 pm

    I am also a Portland bride and had a run in with that crazy craigslist guy. He told me that he would only rent them to me for 50 cents a piece. But I want to be able to keep a couple of my jars. So I had my fiance call and say he wanted them for a project for his grandma and that apparently was not a worthy enough cause either. I have found some at goodwill for $2. But I would just suggest continuing to search craigslist. My mom lives in Eugene and she found a post down there for some one selling them for $2. We bought 30 and the lady threw in 5 for free and she said she had more. So it is possible to find them cheap. Just keep up the search. But if you aren’t able to find them in time, I would definitely suggest painting them yourself.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Lisa, Guest @ 5:08 pm

    Contact me at if you are interested in buying aqua blue jars. I have hundreds for sale.

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    The Old Block House, Guest @ 11:53 pm

    If you’re still looking for jars, you can contact

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Mason Jar Fun « On The Go Bride, Guest @ 8:50 am

    […] to your day. (A note of caution: There are some cautionary tales floating around online about exploding glasses. More specifically, the old, aqua jars exploding. Proceed with […]

  5. Member
    kapearso 1 posts, Wannabee @ 9:17 pm

    @Angela: Angela – I would be interested to know what you’re charging to rent them? I only need 10 more – and am in the Portland area.

  6. Member
    FutureMrsLumsden 93 posts, Worker bee @ 11:36 am

    Here is how I’m doing my mason jars for our rehearsal dinner.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    ksmetamaid, Guest @ 3:39 pm

    We just used @ 20 aqua canning jars at my daughter’s wedding as votive holders. This post concerned me enough to experiment with them in advance. **NO** explosions either time.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    BLUE MASON JARS | Kitchen Appliances & Accessories, Guest @ 1:17 pm

    […] blue mason jars […]

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Jenni, Guest @ 3:47 am

    I know of this jar guy too…I actually get a lot of his disgruntled customers. Yes, watch out for the extremely long craigslist ad. I rent mason jars at a reasonable rate and have been a bride myself and know how hard they are to find for a fair price :)

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    imtheboss, Guest @ 8:00 am

    Heck! I have been looking for jars for my best friend wedding. I thought to make clear mason jars to blue. have found some concise instructions here:

    visit it.

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Sigrid Surface, Guest @ 4:12 pm

    Gaga tweeted a note combined with a weblink to Japan Prayer Bracelets. She designed a bracelet, with each of the sales revenue going to Japanese relief endeavors

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    GreenEcoChick, Guest @ 5:05 pm

    I’ve purchased glass from this guy a few times myself (also in Portland) and he is a little on the crazy side – especially once you see how much glass he has (it’s ALL over his garage, back yard, side of his house, etc.). Even though he advertises EACH week on Craigslist that he is selling mason jars, he will rarely sell them to you. I was just there a couple days ago and ran into that problem. He WILL rent them to you, but forget about buying them from him. He has great prices, but is a little stingy.

    I still have yet to get good, concrete evidence that the mason jars (antique/vintage) will explode/crack or will do so more than newer styles. But, I think a good rule of thumb is why risk it with something that’s SO expensive anyways (and you can use LED lights now which are just as cool).

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Karli, Guest @ 6:01 pm

    Do you happen to know the name of the man you encountered? I just spoke with a man that may be a bit looney & am wondering if it’s the same one.

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Jarfly, Guest @ 6:35 pm

    Hello All! My name is Jenni….the crazy guy’s name is JED and he is the owner of “Jim’s Jars” on craigslist. He is very rude, unprofessional and has tried to “flag me” me for removal on craigslist once or twice because I also rent Jars.

    I receive MANY of his disgruntled customers. His prices may SEEM affordable for rent, but he’ll get ya on deposits and put you through hell as you are trying to rent…he actually stalked me via email for a few months when I first setting up my business. I rent jars, milkglass, tea tins, typwriters…the works. FINAL say to solve all mystery on jars exploding: they DO NOT explode, however they WILL crack on the sides if they are antique and you let a real candle be lit in them for over 2 hours. I’ve seen it happen many times. Use LED lights, solves the problem :) OR get brand new jars, the glass on those can withstand.

    -Thanks Everyone!


  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Jenni @ Jarfly, Guest @ 6:38 pm


    Hi Karli 😉

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    Mason Jar Fun, Guest @ 2:21 pm

    […] to your day. (A note of caution: There are some cautionary tales floating around online about exploding glasses. More specifically, the old, aqua jars exploding. Proceed with […]

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    asampso, Guest @ 2:29 pm

    I recently just purchased a 42 Ball Mason jars, and I am willing to rent them out at a very cheap price if needed. You are welcome to burn candles in them, clean them out and then return them for any sort of decorating purposes. That is what I used them for. They make great decorations :)If you are interested, feel free to contact me through this website and I can email you pictures! I have two different sizes as of right now 30 large quarts, and 12 half pints. :)

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    {diy Projects} Aqua Mason Jars | Becoming the Mrs., Guest @ 7:45 am

    […] to keep our brides safe, so I am including a link to Mason Jars “The Hidden Killer” at  An alternative is to use battery-operated flickering tea […]

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    Julie, Guest @ 9:47 pm

    How about putting glow sticks in them?

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Jahangir ABDUL, Guest @ 11:59 am

    Hello There
    Hope all is well with all of you

    we do anufacture and suppliers of Metals Gift wares , Handicrafts , Accessories etc, From INDIA , ALSo we do make Glass Candle Mason jars , LIDS , and much more , we got more than 3000,items , I am intretsed to appoint a person who can boost our Sales , if you know someone who can Import- Purchase from us in larger volume ,
    container loads, that business will help to feed hundreds of people doing work as a labor , staff , etc

    we also do specialize in Metals Candle holders , accessories ,etc no matter what , we can meet the
    requirements ,

    If you want you can get the share of 5% of the profit , after the business is matured ,

    Thanks and Good Luck to all for their life being Peaceful, Successfull, and enjoy the life like a goof human beings

    Best Wishes and Tons of Happiness

    Jahangir ABDUL
    My india Cell # 91- 98371- 49740

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    Dee, Guest @ 9:47 pm

    Hi, I am a wedding coordinator and know that many theming companies can provide manson jars or get them outsourced.
    Also you are allowed to use battery operated candles that use LED lights to create the flicker as a normal candle does. These look amazing and create the same effect as a normal candle.

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    wendy, Guest @ 7:42 am

    you can use flickering battery operated tealights…same ambiance but with no safety issues!

  23. Member
    buddrbal 2 posts, Wannabee @ 9:06 pm

    That’s true that certain types of glass can’t handle heat. Basically the imperfections in the glass start to expand, and you risk the jar just cracking.
    It’s easy enough to make your own blue mason jars with modern jars though. I did a blog post about this recently. Get tips here:

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Melani Guith, Guest @ 7:17 am

    How about you have one of your friends contact him get the jars and just keep quite about the use and then use battery candles that happen to me ( the no open flame) Sorry

  25. Guest Icon Guest
    Austin Ballard, Guest @ 4:49 am

    I enjoyed your post here about looking to buy these jars for use at your wedding—I see people use these jars for various purposes, though they are much sought after by collectors as well—hence the rather high prices for some of them, especially blue/aqua ones.
    I have about 30, mostly of the blue or aqua variety, small to medium size which I actually use in the pantry to store food in (pickles, preserves, flour)—-The blue/aqua Ball jars are in excess of 80 years old, many over 100 so they tend to be somewhat pricey as a result.
    There is a restaurant near me which the proprietor procured about 100 quart sized blue Ball jars and he made a wall of sorts out of them: he put them on shelves and secured them to it so they could not be knocked out or removed…it makes a very nice translucent screen separating the kitchen from the entry. He told me he had to pay upwards of $2000 for them and it took months to find enough around the area for the project!
    Good luck anyway…ebay can sometimes produce good results for these, as well as flea markets and junk shops.

  26. Guest Icon Guest
    Mary O, Guest @ 3:18 pm

    We just purchased 108 blue Ball Heritage Collection mason jars for $1.55 each from Sears! That included free shipping! Ordered them on Sunday night and they arrived on Tuesday!

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    Lawana Stewart, Guest @ 7:10 pm

    I use the battery operated candles that you can pick up at Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Or better yet The Dollar Tree Store. They are beautiful and no mess to clean out candle wax from the jars!!!

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