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Ways to Reuse Empty Pill Bottles for Crafts and More

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Creative Ideas for Reusing Empty Pill Bottles

Creative Ideas for Reusing Empty Pill Bottles

What to Do With Old Pill Bottles?

40-50% of Americans take at least one prescription drug every month. This adds up to a whole lot of pill bottles, many of which you cannot toss in your regular recycling bin.

A lot of people don't want to throw them out so they explore other options. Many locations offer recycling and/or donation opportunities. There are also a lot of great ways to reuse bottles at home. Take one or two of the simple reuse options or start saving up a pile of bottles for a pill bottle craft project.

Warning: Make sure that bottles are well cleaned before any use, particularly if they will contain edibles, even if it's just another medication (i.e. extra tylenol to keep at work).

12 Ways to ReUse Old Pill Bottles

  1. Store spare change. The bottle will fit right in the car, a purse, or a desk/nightstand drawer.
  2. Store small office supplies. This can include paper clips, rubber bands, and more.
  3. Store small craft and/or sewing supplies, such as beads, small buttons, and thread bobbins.
  4. Create a glitter shaker by punching holes in the top.
  5. Store small tools and repair supplies, such as nails and screws.
  6. Create a sewing kit. Fill the bottle with a small spool of thread, a button, a needle, and a safety pin.
  7. Create a cat toy by filling the bottle with small beans or bells.
  8. Store any number of other small items, such as headphones.
  9. Soak/store reeds for musical instruments.
  10. Reuse with other medications, such as vitamins or Ibuprofen to keep at work or in your purse.
  11. Donate. Some veterinary offices and local humane societies will take washed bottles with the labels removed to use for their animal prescriptions.
  12. Recycle. Check with your local recycling center to see if they have a special method for collecting pill bottles. If they do, make a box at home for your bottles so they don't clutter up cabinets or counter space in between recycling trips.

Make Rainbow Crayons Inside Old Pill Bottles

Create rainbow crayons for your kids with pill bottles, broken crayon pieces, a tin can, and a small plan of boiling water.

The process of creating and pouring the layers is a little time intensive, but otherwise this project could not be more simple.

These would make great party favors or gifts to include with Valentine's Day cards.

how-to-reuse-recycle-empty-pill-bottles-crafts-ideas-and-more

Make a Glowing Garland From Old Pill Bottles

There are a surprising number of light fixture/garland tutorials out there for pill bottles. They range from attaching pill bottles to Christmas light strands to creating chandeliers.

If you're ready to take on a more complex lighting project, start saving up your bottles! You'll need a whole bunch of them.

Additional Ideas

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Comments

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on March 29, 2016:

Been having a blast working with this project. Thanks again Rose!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on March 17, 2016:

Who knew? (I didn't.) Pill bottles of every shape and size are stored in zip lock bags just waiting to be introduced to this hub. How exciting! Love these ideas and can't wait to get started on some of them. I'm a recycling mama.

Thanks Rose.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 26, 2015:

Linda, my best recommendation is Goo Gone. Good luck!

Linda W on September 26, 2015:

How do you get the DARN sticky label off the vials!!!!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 20, 2015:

Thanks so much, Kristen!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 20, 2015:

Clever ideas, Rose. Pretty awesome too. What a thoughtful way of reusing those pill bottles for decorative purposes. Voted up!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 16, 2015:

Thanks, tlcs! I appreciate the feedback.

Trudy Cooper from Hampshire, UK on February 16, 2015:

Wow! Very creative way to use old pill bottles. Very interesting statistics on American's one prescription drug each month too! Makes me wonder what the statistics are in the UK. Good read.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 15, 2015:

Sounds good, Jacobb!

Jacobb9205 on February 15, 2015:

Wow great ideas! I liked the money one I'm going to try that put a different coin or even note in each pill bottle i've finished. I use omega 3 fish oil pills :)

poetryman6969 on February 08, 2015:

The pill bottle sculpture look very interesting until I realized what it was made of and thought about the poor suckers who took all those pills!

Still, it's darned creative!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 07, 2015:

this pill bottles make good lightnings, very clever hub

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 06, 2015:

That's awesome, Suzanne! I'm glad that you enjoyed. :)

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on February 06, 2015:

This hub caught my eye as I'm right into upcycled crafts lately! What a great idea to recycle all the pill bottles around the house. I use them a lot for beads, safety pins, money and medicines that have fallen out of their packets. The cosmetic magnet board also looks like an intriguing project. Keep 'em coming! Voted beautiful.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 15, 2014:

Thanks so much, Audrey! It's great to hear that. Have fun with your old pill bottles. :)

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on April 15, 2014:

I love all of your creative ideas for hubs. I've had so much fun with trying out the instructions. And oh boy - now pill bottle uses. Been wondering how to reuse these for years. Thanks so much! UP,U,A,I and sharing!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 28, 2014:

Thanks, tirelesstraveler! Of course you can link, I appreciate it. :)

Judy Specht from California on March 28, 2014:

Great ideas. Do you mind if I link this to my hub on leftovers odds and ends? Some of these ideas tickled my fancy. Love the dog video.

Jesus_saves_us_7 from Seeking Salvation on July 15, 2013:

cool ideas. great hub.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 10, 2013:

Thanks, Josh! Pill bottles are perfect for holding change. Taking them on the road for toll money is a great idea. Thanks for sharing that here.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 07, 2013:

Glad that you enjoyed that!

Karen Shiley from Washington on January 07, 2013:

What a great idea for earbud storage. I can't believe I didn't think of this myself!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 22, 2012:

Thanks, Danielle! I'm so glad.

danielleantosz from Florida on December 22, 2012:

Great ideas! Sometimes I find articles about upcycling and all the suggestions are lame, but you really had some great ones! I like the cat toy idea.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 11, 2012:

That's awesome, Sharkye. :) Best of luck rounding up pill bottles!

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on October 11, 2012:

This is a great hub! I don't take any pills at all, but my grandmother does. It might take me awhile to save up enough, but I definitely want to make that chandelier! Thanks for the inspiration and ideas! I use two of hers already as needle cases in my sewing box, so I need only a million more!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 23, 2012:

Jackie, that wasn't my intention for this article...at all, but it's an interesting take!

jackiemac from orange county, ca on September 22, 2012:

This is fascinating! The nerdy part of me can't help but think about how culturally relevant the use of prescription medication is, & how creating art out of it is such a cool & interesting commentary to make! (not sure if this was at all the intention lol)

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 20, 2012:

Thanks, creativespirit63!

creativespirit63 from Omaha, Nebraska on September 20, 2012:

What inspiration! Thank you!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 07, 2012:

Thanks, Kalux!

Kalux from Canada on July 07, 2012:

What a cute idea! This will come in handy, can't believe I never thought of it. Thanks!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 05, 2012:

There's no need to feel guilty about that. If you don't have a use for something, it's silly to hang on to it for that "what if." There will be lots more empty pill bottles!

geraldhakks on July 05, 2012:

These great ideas now make me feel guilty for throwing all our empty pill bottles away.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 06, 2012:

ElleBee, you're right that there are a number of practical uses for pill bottles that aren't too hard to brainstorm on your own. It is amazing what creative ideas people have come up with for them, though!

ElleBee on June 06, 2012:

These are so cute! I probably could have come up w/ the sorting change idea or something else mundane on my own, but I definitely never would have come up with things like the garland or the chandelier! So neat!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 06, 2012:

Thanks katlupe! I did a lot of research about this topic. Isn't that garland fun?

katlupe from Upstate NY on June 06, 2012:

I loved these ideas! How did you ever come up with so many? The light garland idea is excellent!!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 06, 2012:

Aw, that's fun. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

Sarah Thom on June 06, 2012:

I loved the crayon one. Sort of a nostalgic feeling with that though. My family would melt old crayons down to become a big mixed cookie sized crayon :]

I think my favorite though has to be the giant chandelier pill bottle. :P

DragonflyTreasure from on the breeze......... on May 30, 2012:

WOW Some great dieas I would never thought of!!

Voted up ?

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 29, 2012:

Thanks so much, Au fait! Bave fun with your pill bottles

C E Clark from North Texas on May 29, 2012:

You have so many cool hubs! Decided to check this one out because I have a gazillion pill bottles. Like your recycle ideas. Especially the decorated pill bottles and the message in a bottle for Valentine's Day. The chandeliers are really interesting too! So many great ideas as always!

Voted you up, interesting, and useful. Will share with my followers.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 10, 2012:

Thanks so much Eileen!

Eileen Goodall from Buckinghamshire, England on April 10, 2012:

Fab ideas - pinned and enjoyed, voted up.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 09, 2012:

Thank you!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 08, 2012:

Thanks so much, Better Yourself!

Better Yourself from North Carolina on April 08, 2012:

Love this hub! Such cute ideas and what a great way to recycle. Thanks for sharing!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 08, 2012:

You're very welcome! I know, right? There are so many creative people out there.

suebee62 from South Carolina on April 08, 2012:

Thanks for sharing. Who would have ever thought that empty pill bottles could be used for so much...very creative....

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 31, 2012:

Thanks so much!

gramarye from Adelaide - Australia on March 30, 2012:

Great hub! Voted up and pinned

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 29, 2012:

Thanks!

Reve from Dhaka on March 29, 2012:

This idea has been amazing. Thanks for sharing this creative idea of reusing bottles.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 27, 2012:

Thanks! You're right that the blue ones would be pretty when they're decorated. I could see them not working well for bead storage, though. I think that the coloring has to do with the light level required for different medications. Don't quote me on that, though.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on March 27, 2012:

Thanks for some great ideas. I save and recycle as many pill bottles as I can, but between the two of us, there are more than we can use. I never discard the blue ones we get from the vet. I love the idea of decorating the bottles and think the blue ones would be especially pretty decorated. I know there is a reason for the bottles to be colored, but they were unsuccessful for holding beads for my jewelry making because the colors don't come through. I have a couple of old clear ones that are in use, though.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 27, 2012:

Thanks iamaudraleigh! Those self-adhesives are great and will work perfectly for pill bottles.

Vicki, that's great! Good luck with your bottles.

Sojourner McConnell from Winchester Kentucky on March 27, 2012:

This was perfect timing on finding this useful hub. I have removed all the labels off of the old bottles and was looking for a way to use them. Thanks for a great hub!

iamaudraleigh on March 27, 2012:

Randomcreative, this hub has so many great ideas!!! I especially liked the photo entitled, "Look for self-adhesive pearls and rhinestones to avoid glue work". I needed good ideas on what to do with my pill bottles! Voted up and shared!!!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 27, 2012:

Thanks so much onlooker!

onlooker on March 27, 2012:

So many creative ideas for storage. I especially loved the glitter shaker and light fixture ideas. Thank you and Happy Birthday!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 26, 2012:

Thanks PegCole!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on March 26, 2012:

What great ideas and that dog video at the end was hysterical!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 24, 2012:

Haha thanks RTalloni! A number of people have shared great additional options for pill bottles, and I'm glad that people are checking out those ideas, too.