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Question: What to craft with Pill Bottles?

11 January 2012 22,155 views 32 Comments

by heather

amigurumi pill bottle

Inspired by our What to Do with Playdough Containers post, reader Devon asked: "What about used pill bottles? I have an elderly relative who is on lots of medication and ends up with lots of leftover empty prescription bottles. I just know there is some crafty purpose for these so I have been removing and shredding the labels and saving them in a plastic bag in the closet. Anyone have any ideas?"

photo: used with permission by oobbles.com

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  • Danielle said:

    I made cute little gifts for my co-workers with m&ms in them: I got the idea here:

    I made custom labels for the bottles and included a “prescription” on a piece of paper. I’ve got the files if you want them. Just email me!

  • Carrie B said:

    Glitter container (a lot of micro-glitter comes in baggies… what’s with that?), mini-eyeglass repair kits or mini-sewing kits. OB-type tampon holders. Safety pin or other small item organizers. Flower seedling (non-edible) sprouting containers. Massage cream or travel beauty product containers (I am a massage therapist and occasionally do this when I want to mix essential oils in, but only after sterilized), puppy treat containers for walks, nature walk specimen containers, watercolor cups, mini-first aid kits for cars, ear bud canister for gym bags, earplug holders for traveling or next to the bed, small ones make great finger puppet bases, and even target practice for BB guns (paste on targets).

    Wash well before use in any case. ;)

  • Carrie B said:

    Do I win the prize? (kidding!)

    Forgot to mention I used to save these too until I thought up all these uses. ;) Now they just get recycled.

  • Jessica said:

    My 7yr old son is in Entomology for 4-H. He uses pill bottle to freeze the bugs he catches and then pins them for display. It reuses what we have and are much cheaper than buying “kill jars” for the freezer. And they keep the bugs much safer than a baggie. I know it has nothing to do with beads or buttons but his displays are true works of art when they are put together!

  • Joanna said:

    Emergency sewing kit, and. . . dang it, Carrie B got all the good ones. LOL

  • Jennifer Land said:

    I had some like this. I filled them with different kind of beads, super glued them shit and put them in handmade stuffed toys so they would rattle.

  • Jennifer Land said:

    I imagine they same idea would make them good little percussion instruments for kids- make sure they are VERY clean and, even though lots of these bottles are child proof, I would still glue them shut for safety. Then you could paint them….. maybe after a coat of primer thats good on plastic. …. let me think….

  • Jennifer Land said:

    I’ve got a thought about hanging bud vases…. under the lip here the cap screws on…. could be wrapped with wire or twine or whatever….. the bottle itself could be painted or wrapped in fabric or wire of jute or whatever you decide. I would line up maybe four or five on a piece of wood and maybe frame them…. this is getting hard to explain….. I am definetly going to have to work this on eout and maybe post some pics

  • Rhiannon said:

    I have placed magnets on the bottle so it can stick to the fridge. Had the kids loosely wrap some beans in paper towel, lightly wetting the toel, then placing it in the bottle magnet. It just a few days you will have a groovy plant growing out of your new fridge magnet. Juat remember to keep it moist. (You can alway decorate your bottle as well.)

  • Michelle B. said:

    A couple years ago (on Valentine’s day, actually) , I used a bunch to make candy “prescriptions.” I used Avery shipping labels to make fake prescription labels with funny names, symptoms, dosage, dr. etc. I stamped hearts on them, slapped them on bottles & filled them with conversation hearts. I only gave them to adults- because I wouldn’t want to confuse children. They went over huge, especially with my single friends.

  • heather (author) said:

    @Carrie B. You win a bottle of saved milk bottle lids I have in my stash!! (just kidding! hee hee!)

  • Janelle said:

    Awesome ideas!!! We go through 8 pill bottles a month in our household and I go through spurts of trying to keep them, then decide I’d better get rid of them unless I know what I’ll do, lol. At least I can build up my stash quickly again :P

  • Cindy said:

    Not a craft, but another possible use…One of the local churches collects them, cleans them then sends them to an African relief organization that reuses them to dispense medicinals. There are probably other groups that do the same.

  • Shannon said:

    I am saving up pill bottles to make this lamp. Not everyone’s style but I love it and I want to put it in my craft room.

    I made some of these ornaments for Christmas, they are so cute.

    Cat toys, add jingle bells, beads or buttons and hours of fun for kitty.

    Here are a bunch of ideas for crafts from pill bottles.

    Pill bottle pincushion

    Pill snowman

    This one uses pill bottles from Target to make a cool wreath

    Hope these ideas help :O)

  • Janet said:

    The long thin ones hold quarters perfectly, I used them when I was saving all the different state quarters for the grandkids.

  • Helen said:

    Geocaching container! Wrap it in camo duct tape and you’re ready to hide it.

  • Sarakenobi said:

    I wouldn’t give them to kids to play with…

    I saw some pretty, erm, fantastic pill bottle chandeliers.. :p

  • mombrud said:

    I have used them to hide treasure hunt clues outside on camping trips. Obviously bottles without child proof lids or for kid old enough to be able to open them.

  • VIE LEWIS said:

    In Austin at x-mass I saw a great tree all decked out with pill bottles , they drilled whole in bottom and put a light in side hung from trees very eco-minded.
    The color looked very cool at night. But you could add glitter and paint them.
    I recycle most of mine ( 9 scrips a day ) they ad up fast/

  • Tena Green said:

    Pill bottles are perfect for freezing freshly chopped herbs for later use in cooking. Most bottles have a seal insert in the top of them to help keep certain types of medications fresh. These ones are best for freezing fresh herbs in. :-)

  • Kathryn said:

    One idea I have seen on a few blogs is for using with magnetic makeup trays as a space saver in the bathroom. They are spray painted and a strong magnet(s) glued to them and used to use them to hold small items, such as bobby pins, small clips and the like (with lids used) and makeup brushes, eye and lip pencils, mascara, etc with the lids off.

    Here are some I like:

    I love the idea of the pill bottle purses on this blog (most are great for holding quarters, which are a necessity if you have use a laundrymat):

    I also like this pill bottle garland (except I would glitter or bling those lids somehow).

    Grinch Chimney Ornament

    Necklace (could double as a money/change holder)

    Tooth Saver

  • Brenda said:

    My medicine comes in the bottles with the flexible tab on the side that releases the lid so I came up with this idea to use my bottles.

    My sewing room has lots of shelving units full of fabric and supplies in it. One set is independent shelves that I placed on the wall using “L” brackets and holds shoe box size plastic containers which contain items like zippers, ribbon spools, trims, laces, etc.I spaced these shelves farther apart than I should so I could add underneath. Some people use baby food jars for this idea but I had lots of medicine bottles so that’s what I used.

    I took a scrap piece wood and screwed pill bottle lids to it. I placed them all in rows putting the longer ones in the back then working my way to the front making sure to leave enough space between for the bottles. I then screwed the board to the under side of the shelves being sure that the screw didn’t come through the top side.

    I remove the label from the bottle and put all my small items that fill my drawers; tailor’s chalk, buttons, snaps, hook-n-eyes, seed pearls, anything that is small and troublesome to store. Once the bottles are full I screw them To the lids. The bottles are far enough from the shelf that you are still able to press the tab on the side to take it off.
    NOTE: when removing the prescription label make sure to roll the label beginning with the name side so that your name will not show once you place it into the trash. Always ensure to hide your name – this is a great way for people to steal your prescriptions and sell them.

  • Amanda said:

    It may not be crafty but a great use for these bottles is to print a label with vital information like name, dob, etc. Place label on the outside and on the inside have a list of current medications, physicians phone numbers etc. I am a nurse and we did this free of charge for the community. It is especially good for the elderly who sometimes have trouble remembering this information. We encouraged them to keep the bottle in the same place at all times so Emergency Medical Personnel would be able to retrieve it in an emergency.

  • Starlett Lanning said:

    I use them in my craft room for storing all the tiny things we use in scrapping, jewelry making and sewing.

    I also use them to store change in my vehicle. Although we have the coin dispenser built in, it never hold enough for me. I can also use the change to replenish.

    They are great for small bathroom items.

    When I had children at home, I would pack small fruits,cut up pickles, and other things in them to include in their lunch boxes…they fit nicely and don’t take up much room.

    In our workshop, we use them for washers, nuts, small screws, etc. Attach the lids to a board and hang the board on pegboard or something.

    After a paint job, I drain the last of the paint into them, label with color and store for touch ups.

    In my garden, I use them to store seeds for the following seasons. Label with a picture of the fruit and they are cute as can be!

    I am terminally ill, and take 37 pills per day, so I use the smaller bottles to separate morning, noon and night time meds…one dose per bottle. I label the tops with a graphic letter to indicate which time of day the bottle holds. “Normal” pill boxes for one dose won’t hold all my meds.

    If you wear glasses, they are perfect for a repair kit.

  • Crystal said:

    I throw them in the dishwasher, toss the lid and put them in my daughter’s table top sandbox.

  • Audra Mendoza said:

    I am saving our Medicine Bottles for all the things little ones can get there hands or put in there mouth in a garage when out working with dad like boys love to do! if you have a work area on the bench or on a wall take a 2×4 or thinner get a drill to drill holes in the wood the same size as the bottom of the pill bottle put them through through the top and then you can add nuts, bolts, washers, screws all sizes, tacks anything that will fit in them you can store secure the cap back on till it clicks and u are now safe from the kids if them go to help dad! Make sure you secure the board someplace safe on a wall or bench as well! That is my plan for ours!

  • Sandy said:

    I donate them to my veternarian’s office to help defray the cost of meds for our pets. I peel off the lables and they do the rest…

  • Lori said:

    I used to reuse them for crafts until I had way too many. Now I take my empty bottle back to the pharmacy. They won’t use them for someone else, but they will refill it with my medication and re-label it.

  • Tena Green said:

    I turn mine into mini water wick pots for use in my green house.

  • Marlene T. said:

    I use them in my sewing kit for needles. This will also work for sewing machine needles or to stack bobbins in.

    Another idea I had was to spray paint them in silver or gold, put jingle bells and/or beads/dry beans inside before gluing the lid on and give to the kids as musical instruments for singing xmas carols.

  • Marlene T. said:

    I just had an idea that reminded me of another craft idea. This one would work better I think.
    If you have large pill containers (My aging parents, siblings and I all have many medications so I could open a store lol), this is a good craft for Halloween or other holidays like Christmas.

    Halloween: Using a large, clean pill container, draw or paint using a black sharpie or black acrylic paint, cover the bottle except for two large eyes (you can make different shaped eyes). Place a glow stick inside (activated), and put inside bushes or other yard areas that are well seen. It will look like cute or scary little monster eyes hiding in the shrubbery lol.
    I don’t like to scare the little ones so I usually just make cute looking eyes.
    You can paint the whole bottle with acrylic paint then just scratch off the eye design you want to use when it’s dry. You can use a q-tip or a sharp object to do it.
    The old version used toilet paper rolls, cutting out the eyes, but this is more durable.

    If you are using a Sharpie/Permanent marker, Draw your eye design first, then fill in the parts that you don’t want to show. You can make one, two, three or more eyes on the container for a “Monsters Inc” look.
    You can even string them along the top part of the bottle; cap holding string in place and put up on a window or the eaves of your home. So many different ways you can do this!

    Hope this gives you some incentive. I have about 300 empty bottles that I need more ideas for!

  • Angela J said:

    The Humane Society can always used old prescription bottles donated to them to send home with their animals if medicines are needed…… not a craft, but a good recycling idea :-)