Make Your Own TBR Jar!

Ever since I posted about the TBR Jar I made at the end of last year, I’ve been getting a ton of questions and found that a lot of people come across my blog while searching for information about TBR jars. So, today, I thought I’d share some more information about how I made mine. It’s ridiculously easy, and I did something cool that’s going to make it even easier for all of you to make your own TBR jars!

tbr jar.jpg

First things first – you will need:

  1. Some sort of container. I used a mason jar and removed the inside of the lid (it works well and looks super cute). You can also use a mug, a bowl, a vase, a candle holder, a small box, a hat, a pickle jar, a coffee tin… you get the idea.
  2. A bunch of books you haven’t read. The way I designed my TBR jar allows for books on my TBR list that I may or may not own, so it’s up to you whether or not you want to stick with the unread books on your bookshelf or use this as an opportunity to widen your reading horizons (and buy more books).
  3. Paper and a printer or pen. For writing, obviously.
  4. Scissors. Because if you used the whole sheet of paper, this would be a huge jar. (Alternately, you could tear the paper into small pieces or even use mini post-it notes.)

All you have to do is cut the paper into strips – I started with regular 8.5×11 printer paper which I cut in half lengthwise and then into strips about a centimeter wide. And then write things on them.

There are two ways to do this. One: you can write the titles of all the of the unread books you have on the slips of paper. I’d recommend this if you’re really trying to get through all of the books you already own. Or, you can do what I did, which is to write down reading prompts or challenges, such as “read a book with blue on the cover” or “read a book by or about someone with a disability.” This method works for me because I’m a mood reader, and it’s a bit more open to interpretation (I have a ton of books with blue covers, for example). Plus, you can always refill the jar and start over to keep working on your TBR.

Now for the part where I’m awesome: I created a starter kit for your TBR jar, and I’m giving it to you for free! You’re welcome. All you have to do is CLICK HERE to download a PDF with 250 different reading challenges. Print them out, cut on the lines, stick them in a jar, and you’re done! Bonus: if you fold them in half three times, they kind of look like little tiny books all nestled in the jar.

You can leave out any you don’t want and add in any you don’t see. I designed them to be pretty diverse (I like to read out of my comfort zone), but I think a think a themed jar would be just as awesome – just imagine reading 200 different variations on fantasy… or making a jar of all the classics you want to read…

I would love to see your TBR jar creations, so leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram (@advntrsofabibliophile) or Twitter (@biblioadvntrs)!

Happy TBR jar-ing!

12 thoughts

  1. My tbr jar I got from hobby lobby & it has a cork top & i painted it & am using those little origami stars with my books written inside of the papers. Tbr jars are just so cute and a great idea for when you have trouble deciding what book to read next!

    This is a great how-to! 😀

    1. Thanks! I LOVE tbr jars that use the little origami stars! They’re so pretty! I am really tempted to buy some colored paper and redo mine.

  2. Ohh, this is such an amazing idea! I need to try it this weekend because I have so many books on my to-read list, maybe combining them with some challenges could be a really fun way to choose my next book, especially if I’m ever in a reading slump 😀

    1. It’s great for reading slumps (although sometimes it takes me a few tries to find one I’m into)! I’m also just really indecisive, and the tbr jar has definitely cut down on the time I spend deciding which book to read next 🙂

  3. I’ve always wanted to do a TBR Jar! But I don’t have that many unread books in my shelf and I want to save the environment from printing and using up paper so I usually use a “virtual” TBR jar when I want to buy a new book. I use the website and it’ll randomize a number for me and I’ll choose a book from my Book Depository wishlist from there! 😊

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