DIY Solar-Powered Mason Jar Luminaries

DIY solar mason jar

This is one of those ideas that seemed like a really simple one UNTIL I started working on it.

It actually turned out to be a bit harder than I anticipated…but in the end I was very happy with the results.

So I hope you will hang in with me while I attempt to show you how to make one of these fun mason jar luminaries.

I’ve been wanting to do something like this all summer long. Just haven’t found the time. But when I saw these solar garden lights on clearance for .97 cents each, I couldn’t resist.

It was time to take action! Better late than never right? Besides, these will be just as enjoyable on cool autumn evenings as hot summer nights. :-)

mason jar luminaries

The reason my seemingly simple project turned out to be more complicated than I anticipated centered around the fact that the size of the light was smaller than I anticipated and didn’t “fit” the mason jar opening. Somehow I had to come up with a way to connect the light to the top of the jar without covering up the little solar panel on top OR the light on the bottom.

After searching and searching…I found a tip on The Happier Homemaker that at least got me pointed in the right direction. She mentioned using paper clips to suspend the light from the rim of the jar. But that’s about as much detail as there was. I was on my own after that.

After a few different configurations…here is what I came up with.

You’ll need 3 paper clips, and then you’ll want to shape them so they each end up like this.

 

Then you’re going to use those paper clips to suspend and balance the light on the rim of the jar. Stick one end of the paper clip into the light (you might have to loosen the screws a little bit.) Use all three and space them evenly around the edge.

mason jar luminaries

 

Turn over and place light inside the jar, with wires hanging over the edge.

mason jar luminaries

 

Yay!!  You did it! The hardest part is over. :-)

Just a few more steps and you’re done.

Put the ring on over the wires. This might take a little “persuasion” from your hammer.  Just a few light taps should do it. Then bend the exposed wire the best you can up under the bottom edge of the lid.

mason jar luminaries

 

At this point you can wrap with some ribbon, or some burlap or a length of fabric to cover the exposed wires. I decided to wrap mine with jute. Super easy, no glue (or anything else) required, and all the wire is completely covered!

 

Now set your jars in a sunny spot and wait for darkness to fall.

mason jar luminaries

 

Then bask in the glow of your efforts. Now wasn’t that worth it? :-)

mason jar luminaries

 



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Comments

  1. says

    Looks great Jillee!! I was laughing reading it because you have no idea the frustration I went through trying to get that light hung with paper clips. You did a significantly better job of both rigging it up and showing it than I did! I’ll be doing it your way for sure next time! :)

  2. Gloria says

    I saw Rebecca’s post about making these and I have been looking for ‘cheap’ solar lights that would fit in the jar rings. Question – if you leave them outside, does the jar fill up with water if it rains? LOL I’m going to start looking now for some solar lights on clearence. Thanks for all your clever ideas – love your blog

  3. Patti White says

    I have these on my front porch. I used the wide mouthed jars. I found a light that fits very snugly into the jar and then I just put the ring on. The lights I used had a metal band around them, some just slipped right off, but others had to be coaxed very strongly(had to get the husband’s help on a couple). Even though they fit so snugly, a little rain did manage to get into the jar. I love my mason jar solar lights! It helps to take the jar ring when you go shopping for the lights.

  4. Rebecca Wethman says

    what a great idea! Now to find the lights on clearance, the hunt is on. These will look great on our front porch. just found your blog this week and am really enjoying it.

    • says

      These are really awesome. They might also be cute if you placed a fake bug or butterfly inside the glass…just for fun, like a lightening bug or some small but pretty thing…eg, flower, etc. Thanks for the great idea!

  5. Lori says

    Thanks for sharing the creative idea for repurposing solar lights. I was also wondering about keeping out rainwater. More important, I wanted to keep out bugs. What about cutting out some netting material, the kind you get for clothing at the sewing stores, and placing it over the jar opening before attaching the screw band? Maybe someone can come up with a way to get the band on so that it can be removed in order to clean out any tiny gnats that might get through the netting or to replace the netting itself. Maybe redesigning the paper clip part would allow for the clips to be completely inside the jar with a part of the paper clips taped (the clear, wide packing tape style, cut to size) to the inside rim. That way the screw band can be opened any time. Or, you could even buy a sheet of clear acetate (craft store?), cut into circles and fit that over the top of the Mason jar. That should do a fairly decent job of keeping out both the bugs and the rain even if you stick with the original paper clip design. My thoughts, anyway.

    • says

      I don’t think rain water would be a problem since the solar lights are OUTDOOR lights to begin with….so if they get wet…it wouldn’t hurt them. Unless the jar filled up so much that it touched the light….but that would have to be a LOT of rain water. :-)
      I don’t have an answer for the bugs. Bugs bug me.

  6. Lynda Lowery says

    This would be great for those solar lights that the bottoms have broken on. I put 1 solar light in the middle of every pot I have on the deck and in front of the house and garage so my plants light up at night around our property. Love doing that much better than in the ground. Sometimes the bottoms break but the light is still good. Great idea…..going to do that today!

  7. Christie says

    I”m going to make a set of these for our vintage camper – perfect for when we’re camping away from a power source!

  8. Jeanne says

    I used wide mouth pint jars and put Dollar Store glass beads in mine. Light diffuses thru the beads, making it not quite so harsh (and a pretty color). It looks even cooler when the Oregon Sunshine (aka rain) pools in the bottom a bit. I don’t have trouble with bugs getting into it, but we don’t have lots of trouble with bugs. Giving to all my RVing friends this year for Christmas!

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