Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mason Jar Solar Light

I love to use Mason jars in all kinds of ways. I found solar light lids you could buy online to make a solar light out of a Mason jar. I thought that was a great idea but when I wanted to purchase one they were out of them. I went online and found some tutorials on how to make your own but I really didn't like how they looked when finished. They had the solar unit sitting on top of the lid and it looked, well….. it didn't really look like a Mason jar anymore. I wanted a solar lid that still left my Mason jar looking like a Mason jar. So, I explained what I wanted to my husband and he made a solar lid for me that fit inside the jar, no big thing on top of the lid!



                     *Join me for my new link up party, Wow Us Wednesdays.*

First we bought outdoor solar landscape lights, these were on sale for $2.50 each, woo hoo! This is a smaller light, and it fit inside a small mouth jar lid (2 ¼ inches). Of course you can use the larger size for a larger jar.

My husband dismantled the light, only the silver top where with the solar panel is used for this project, and the clear plastic diffuser if you want it.  He measured the solar panel opening, made a template from card stock, and marked around the template on top of the jar lid. Then he made an X from corner to corner. He says using a pencil would work better for a more true line; we used a marker for this photo so you could see it.


Placing the lid on a cutting surface, and with a box cutter he scored the square, then cut into the X starting from the outside in. The lids are soft thin metal so they cut rather easily though it took several cuts before it began to cut through. Once it cut through, he bent the flaps down (to the inside of the lid, this way sharp edges are not on the top of the lid) making sure it created a fold on the scored line around the outside of the square. Then he bent the flap back and forth until it broke off.  Obviously whenever a box cutter is involved with a project you must be very careful to not cut yourself. Do not cut towards a finger, and the edges of the cut lid will be very sharp! Use gloves please! I'm sure there are other ways a lid could be cut, perhaps with a dremel tool grinding wheel?

with diffuser

                       without the diffuser

Now all he needed to do was Super glue the solar panel to the bottom of the jar lid with the opening over the solar panel. With the ring on and the light in the jar, it still looks like a Mason jar! Place the lid in the sun a few hours to charge it and enjoy your light.  




This is a fun idea; use these instead of candles on a table or for outside where a breeze might blow a candle out. How about a night light on a camping trip? Or line a walkway for a special occasion? I thought I would have some fun with it and experimented by placing photos inside of the jar.

I printed these cropped pictures on transparencies in roughly the same size as the inside of my jar, 3 by 10 inches. (I had it done at Kinko's, 75 cents each) I found that a picture with a high contrast of light and dark (like the top pic) worked best. But I also found that printing on regular paper also worked well as it became transparent with the light behind it. I liked the whimsy of the picture of strawberries inside the jar too. Wouldn’t these be great as a centerpiece for a dinner party or night time wedding reception? It would have to be dark enough for the light to be seen of course.
Thanks honey, you did a great job on the lid :)








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Copyright© Family Home and Life 2012 All Rights Reserved

50 comments:

  1. Definitely cool. Using no electricity, no flames to risk the breeze catching it outdoors (we're in high risk for brush fires now so it's on my mind). Dressed up with the strawberry pic, Love it!
    craftythriftydecoratingwifemom.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks Janet! Yes we are in a high risk fire area too. I’m not going to leave mine outside when I’m not using them. I don’t know how they will take the weather.

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    2. An idea to "amp up" the light output:

      Get a larger jar that the solar light mason jar can slip into easily (say, a mayonnaise jar).

      Fill the larger jar part way with water (you don't want the water level to rise to the lid of the mason jar).

      Gently lower the charged Mason jar solar light into the larger jar. The amount of air in the Mason jar should cause it to float.

      Screw the lid onto the larger jar.

      A light in water is MUCH brighter!

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  2. So smart and crafty. I love this! Now to gather all my Mason jars and see what I've got to start with. I think this will be on my "let's do" list for the weekend. Definitely very cool.

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  3. I love the way these look! And your photos are great.

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  4. cool idea! will keep an eye out for solar lights on sale.

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    1. Sometimes at Walmart for $1.00, small ones. Or maybe try a dollar store/$ Tree store.

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  5. Several years ago I designed solar light lids that twist onto Mason Jars. These do sit on top of the jars, but with their being silver, they resemble the old zinc lids. This keeps them looking like an Antique Mason Jar.
    I have tried this method that you describe, but for extended use outdoors, moisture can get into the jar, which is something that customers do not like. That is the reason for having the solar light on the outside of the jar. They are not glued, they're water resistant, and super durable. I've had my Mason Jar Solar Lights (original twist on lid design) outside in my garden for 2 years now and they are still going strong. Many customers have enjoyed them also.
    www.etsy.com/shop/treasureagain

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    1. Treasure Again, I followed your link and looked at your lids. They look great! I really like your lid design with the antique jars; and love the wire handle. Thanks for the info about using them outside for extended periods of time.

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    2. Try this:

      Instead of just using super glue to affix the solar light to the lid, use a thin bead of clear caulk or RTV Sealant available at an auto parts store. This will seal the hole in the lid, and the rubber seal on the lid will seal to the jar. This should eliminate any water getting into the jar.

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    3. Please post a picture so I can see how yours look! I would rather not cut any metal if possible.

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  6. Hi there, dropping by from Debbie's party. I pinned this on Pinterest. Love it!!! I will be trying this out!! I am also your newest follower... drop by for a visit when you get a chance. You may want to follow me back.

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    1. Thanks so much for pinning me! We all love that. I'm headed over to your blog now :)

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  7. Dang...and we just threw away like 6 of these. They were buried under plants and I decided I wanted some on shephard hooks around the garden. I could have used those...wish I'd seen this first. Oh, well...now I know how to do it!!! Thanks SOO much!!!

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    1. Forgot to say I saw this on Debbiedoo's linky party! Will follow your blog! Check me out if you get the chance!!!

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    2. Thank you, I'm headed over to check out your blog now :)

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  8. Hi Connie,I love these and they are very creative too! Thanks for linking up to the newbie party.

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    1. Thanks Debbie for hosting it, it's a great idea!

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  9. What a great idea! I'm a new linky follower and would love if you stopped by to check out my baby design ideas and followed back at www.iheartpears.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you and thank you. I'll do that :)

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  10. That is such an awesome idea! I really need to make a few of these for my deck. I'm your latest follower from Debbie's Newbie party! :)

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    1. Thanks Kathy, thanks for stopping by.

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  11. This is such a great idea! I love the different things that you can do with the light. Thank you for sharing at Saturday Show and Tell! I hope you'll be back this week.
    -Mackenzie
    http://www.cheeriosandlattes.com

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  12. I love this so much!!! You ROCK! I have several old solar lights and mason jars. I want to try this ASAP! I found red, white, and blue solar lights this year @ dollar general for $1. I was shocked! I put them in my flower box under my kitchen window and can see them light up from inside too! Yeay! I want to share this on my FB page and I am your newest follower! Hope you can visit me too! :) Thanks Connie!

    ~ Julie

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    1. Wow thanks so much! A print of the flag would be great inside for Fourth of July decor wouldn't it? I'll try to remember to do htat. I you do please come back and share :) Thanks for following me. Yay!

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  13. What a great idea. I love the looks of the mason jars instead of the plain ole solar light that everybody else has. Thanks for the inspiration! I just found you through Debbiedoo's. I'm your newest follower and a fellow newbie.

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    1. Hi Peggy, now I'm also your newest follower :) Glad you like the light. Thanks for finding me;)

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  14. OH Here you go again with another just very clever idea! I love this light perfect for so many places. Thank you for sharing at Freedom Fridays! I love you have entered my giveaway:)

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    1. Thanks Eveyln, I hopped over and entered! Hope I win :)

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  15. There is something so sweet and "old-fashioned" about these! They would fit right in at your grandma's farm in Arkansas, except the lights wouldn't be solar, I guess! Maybe lightning bugs stopping in to see what's inside the jar! Putting everything inside to glow from within is what makes this so charming.

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    1. Wow! I did catch lightening bugs in a mason jar at grandmas. Maybe that was buried in my subconscious all this time and THAT's where I got the idea! How did you do that ?

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  16. What a cool clever idea!!!

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Looking forward to seeing you again on Friday,
    Beth =-)

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  17. You could, for practicality's sake, use things like plastic peanut butter jars or tennis ball tubes if you were concerned about safety/breakability. Bringing glass on a camping trip is a bit iffy.

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  18. I don't understand the practicality of dismantling a **working** solar lamp to install it in mason jar.

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    1. Practical because they can be used anywhere and not depend on having to be stuck into the ground.

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    2. And they're more aesthetically pleasing too.

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  19. Awesome! Can't wait to get home from work tonight and make one of these...It is ironic that I had just purchased 6 of these type of solar lights at Walmart for 97cents each

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  20. Placing one on a mirror tile would increase the amount of light. For safety you could use recycled plastic containers such as those that pickles or pet treats come in. Gotta try this!

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  21. Generally the outdoor stake type solar lights are waterproof so if you put water in the jar it would diffuse the light more... These would be good to keep in an emergency kit or to hang near a shed (I always seem to get in mine in the dark and have to use my camping lantern) I was planning to pick some of the solar lights up to throw in our 72 hr kits as they don't require batteries and I can wrap the stakes with duct tape for a mor suitable handle. You just put a ton of ideas in my head!

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  22. You sure are talented! What a great idea. You're very lucky to have such a good helper, too!

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  23. Love this idea! So fun and decorative!

    I've just started to follow your wonderful blog! Looking forward to all of your posts!

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  24. great idea! Now to figure out how to get more sun in Michigan to re-charge them! :)

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  25. I'm pretty sure this was the first post I ever read of yours. Loved it then and still do. Thank you for linking to the GRAND Social. Happy New Year!

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  26. Oh these would be perfect for light inside a jack-o-lantern or anything traditionally lighted by a candle that would be a potential fire hazard. Def making these. Thanks a bunch!

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  27. These would be great for anytime the power goes out: ice storms, hurricanes, etc.

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  28. I kind of wonder what it would look like if you put the different colored crystals inside aswell so that it flexs different colors whether the light would be strong enough to really let them shine

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  29. Great idea ~ but mine's even better ~ Jacob used the old blue Ball Jar with the glass insert and then took apart the solar light and only used the solar panel and bulb to light it.

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  30. Thanks! Can't wait to make these for our next camping trip in a few weeks.

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  31. this will let me know how much shine I have left in the jar......when the lights go out....

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  32. Tip: Please realize that the AA battery inside is half dead by the time you get it, and can be easily replaced with the use of small screwdriver. I just did my wife's because she complained that they were not as bright as before.

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