Ask Maria “What To Do With All Those Bottles!”

Dear Maria,

Do you have any ideas for those orange Rx bottles? My husband is on many medicines and I hate to throw these bottles away. I use them to save buttons, razor blades, needles etc., but I wonder if you have other ideas. Thanks.

Maria C.


Make sure that the pill bottles are washed thoroughly before reusing. Empty pill bottles are great for holding small items including change, paper clips, tacks, brads, nails, screws, nuts and bolts, fishing supplies, toy doll accessories, beads, glitter, sequins, postage stamps, spices, toothpicks, needles, camping supplies, safety pins, straight pins, and so much more.

The plastic can be painted. Just use a paint made for outdoor or plastics. Sand the plastic to give the surface teeth for the paint to adhere. You may need several coats to achieve a smooth surface, then seal with a finishing spray. You can also use pigment and alcohol inks to color the caps. If you don’t want to paint the top of the cap, then use a sticker. You can also make a paper sleeve measuring around the bottle (add 1/4”-1/2” for overlap), then measure the height of the bottle. Cut your paper, wrap around bottle and glue overlap.

The first thing that came to mind when I read your question was a cute gift I got for my neighbors who watched our home and took care of our dogs while we vacationed in the British Virgin Islands. I paid a pretty penny for a metal cup that contained an “Island Survival” kit. It was a small pill bottle containing 2 aspirin, one fish hook, and a match. It was so cute I couldn’t resist buying it. However, I could have made it for pennies!

I used spring themed decorative papers to wrap cleaned pill bottles and put a K&Company flower sticker on top.

You could make all kits of fun kits with your pill bottles. A sewing kit with a little white thread, a sewing needle, a button, and a thimble. A sweet tooth kit with some candies. An on the road emergency kit with some change, a handy wipe, a list of tow trucking companies. Have fun with it. We have holidays coming up! Make a leprechaun kit full of small green items like a four leaf clover, gold coin, and little rainbow. Or get hopping on some Easter basket goodies by using pastel decorative paper sleeves around the pill bottles and fill with jelly beans! Your question inspired me to gather all my empty medicine bottles and make Easter basket goodies (sleeved bottles with flower sticker on top) instead of buying plastic eggs!

To the joy of crafting, Maria, Craft Expert at

We welcome you to ask our Craft Expert, Maria Nerius any questions you might have about art, crafting, and creativity. Maria has been a craft professional for over 25 years designing, writing, and teaching art and crafting with a hardcore passion for handmade. Send us your crafting questions.


  1. says

    What a cute idea – I love the survival kits. I imagine one for new parents with earplugs, some chocolate kisses, movie tickets, and a voucher for free babysitting.
    All kinds of great ideas coming to mind depending on the size of the bottle, thanks for the suggestion. =)

  2. Barbara says

    I use my vast amount of rx bottles for seasonings. First I take inventory of every seasoning I have, then I create a spreadsheet on my computer and my first column is a number, the next column is the seasoning (being careful how I enter it, such as Pepper, white; Pepper, black; Pepper, flaked, etc.), then I sort the list in Alphabetical order by Seasoning name, then I write on my seasoning bottle the number that corresponds to that seasoning, then I can store them in numerical order in my spice cabinet and have my list taped to the inside of the cabinet door. It’s so easy to put everything away since its numbered. When I’m looking for a specific seasoning, I just look at my list and go straight to that bottle. I’ve been using this system for the past 6 years and it’s so simple. It saves so much time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *