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Dollar Store Crafts | How to Make Mason Jar Solar Lights

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Dollar Store Crafts | How to Make a Mason Jar Solar Lamp

Spring is right around the corner, and that means it’s time for grilling and patio parties (yay!). How you light your get together can really set the mood and bring the party to life! We have been doing some amazing mason jar crafts recently  and have a couple jars left over, so we decided to experiment with some mason jar lighting. Plus, the dollar store just started selling the solar lights that you can stick in the ground around your patio.
In this tutorial we are going to show you how to make your own solar light with a mason jar. This is an inexpensive and easy way to add charm to any outdoor space.
Let’s get started.

How to Make Mason Jar Solar Lights:

Supplies:

  • Solar light (the stake kind) $1 each at Dollar Tree
  • Mason Jar with lid
  • Some sticky foam tape
Supplies: Solar Lights, Mason Jars, Foam tape

Supplies:
Solar Lights, Mason Jars, Foam tape

Step 1:

Start by removing the stake part of the light. It should just slide right off. You’ll be left with the solar panel and light component. We kept the plastic casing around the LED.
Remove the stake piece of the solar lights so you are left with the top solar panel piece.

Remove the stake piece of the solar lights so you are left with the top solar panel piece.

We kept the plastic casing around the light because it has a metal reflector that helps intensify the brightness of the lamp.

We kept the plastic casing around the light because it has a metal reflector that helps intensify the brightness of the lamp.

Step 2:

Grab the jar and unscrew the lid. Remove the flat part of the lid and just keep the ring. The top part of the solar light should slide through the ring nicely with a little bit of snugness. In order to make sure the light doesn’t fall down into the jar, you’ll need to put the foam tape around the top of the light. This will keep it snug.
Remove the lid from your jar.

Remove the lid from your jar.

Wrap the foam tape around the solar light.

Wrap the foam tape around the solar light.

Step 3:

Once you’ve put a single layer of tape around the light, slide the light back into the ring until the top of the solar panel is flush with the top of the lid.
Squeeze the light into the center of the lid so it's mostly flush with the top of the jar.

Squeeze the light into the center of the lid so it’s mostly flush with the top of the jar.

Step 4:

Screw the lid onto the jar and enjoy your new solar light!
Your first solar light is complete!

Your first solar light is complete!

Dollar Store Crafts | How to Make a Mason Jar Solar Lamp

mason-jar-solar-lamp

Dollar Store Crafts | How to Make a Mason Jar Solar Lamp

Comments

comments

64 Comments

  • Bessie Griffin says:

    Love this

    • Karen says:

      I made these on the weekend and I love them. The only problem is there’s quite a bit of condensation accumulating in the jar. Any advice?

      • Karen says:

        Did you ever figure this out? Mine have a lot of condensation also.

      • sillystring says:

        Putting a desiccant inside may help. Silica packets, salt, baking soda, rice, etc.

        • el Kevie says:

          Try a small packet of silica gel desiccant adhered to underside of lid with removable glue dots or adhesive decorating clips. And apply a thin smear of clear silicone to lid threads before closing the jar.

      • Sharon says:

        Maybe you could drill a very tiny hole on the bottom

        for evaporation purposes? There are drill bits for drilling glass. It would be a bit more work, I must admit.

        • Sharon says:

          Maybe just use the plastic mason jars or use plastic mayonnaise jars instead, if the mouth opening is suitable, or any other jar that does accomadate the solar fixture. Then drill one or two tiny holes for “evaporation” on the bottom for drainage.

      • Linda Doyle says:

        I (stupidly) paid for already made solar lids for mason jars and we would get more than condensation. If there was a rainstorm of any length, the jar would leak up to an inch of water. Good news was that just pouring the water out and letting the jar air dry (or wiping it dry) didn’t effect the usage. Hope you are as lucky!

  • Rod says:

    Great idea

  • Brian Wood says:

    I’m definitely going to give it a try. This looks like a great project and I think I already have everything besides the foam tape. Have you had issues with water leaking into the jar?

    • Linda Doyle says:

      I have (on lids I didn’t make but cost more than $10/lid) and would sometimes get up to an inch of water after a long rainstorm but I just poured the water out and they continued to work. They didn’t appear to be any different than these less expensive ones but I would suggest putting a bit of WD40 on the threads of the lid before screwing them back on because after awhile, the lids rust and you can’t unscrew them.

  • Jack says:

    I would exchange the cheap NiCad batteries in the for Lithium Ion (LI) or Nickel Metal Hydride(NiMH)ones that last longer, hold their charge longer and can take a many more charges than the cheap NiCad.

  • Tracy says:

    How is the luminosity any different than the original light?

  • michael says:

    Hmmmm, the last picture shows the light with solar panel facing the ground? How exactly does that work to power the light? BTW I’m on eastern standard time and can’t figure out what time of the day it would be exposed to the sun LOL.

  • nick says:

    You have it flipped over during the day charging up most likely.

  • Dennis says:

    Well if you let it charge all day long you can turn it upside down and the battery will still light up because the battery is fully charged. and it is dark out side and they don’t work off of MOON light

  • Linda says:

    I can’t tell from the pictures, are the canning jars wide mouth or standard?

    • Matthew says:

      They are wide mouth, which I didn’t know. Regular sized jars the solar light doesn’t fit inside. You can, alternately, just glue them on top of the lid if you already have the regular sized jars. Doesn’t look quite as flush but it also works. On the other hand, I bought the blue vintage jars so it’s a better look in that respect.

      As far as turning over, etc., we are just going to stack them around the house for pathway lights – I’m going to put some small rocks inside the jar so that a strong wind doesn’t blow them over but this will definitely beat just using the stake – they are fine but if you so much as graze them, the stake always breaks and then they are useless. This prevents that!

      • el Kevie says:

        Matthew, just a thought; how about substituting ‘fire glass’ instead of rocks for ballast? More bling is a good thing!

  • Robert says:

    For additional light reflection you can cut out an aluminium foil disk the same diameter as the inside bottom of the jar and double-side tape it to inside of the jar’s bottom. This should help generate more light outwards.

  • Mac says:

    Very awesome, Stephanie!

  • Mark says:

    I like the concept, but I hate to waste a good wide mouth canning jar and ring. I’ll inspect my jars and see if any are cracked around the seal area. This idea would be a good recycling project for the cracked ones.
    I have seen this done using globes from ceiling fan lights, so I might try that too.

  • Brett says:

    The problem is that you cannot leave these out all of the time. You are not properly sealing the jar, water will get into them. My wife tried this project and all of the jars got water in them.

  • Donna says:

    Put a thin bead of cylicone around the edge of the lid. This will keep out water and help hold the light

    • Willy Chee says:

      You might seal the tops with some clear silicone seal applied to the top circumference before you put the metal lid over it. That should prevent any rain water leaking into the jar. Leaving in the rubber lid seal might work too.

  • Angie says:

    GREAT IDEA WILL HAVE TO TRY THIS FOR THE SUMMER NIGHT GATHERS.

  • Jorge says:

    I am going to buy 100 and power my house

  • Strypedgeo says:

    You can also use some spray glue on the inside of the jar… Then throw some glitter in ( your choose the color) and shake it around, that way the whole glass jar has glitter stuck to it. With the light it adds a colored light.

  • Joni says:

    I may have just overlooked it, but what size jar do you need to use?

  • Philip says:

    What size mason jar do you use?

    • Linda Doyle says:

      I used Pint size jars with 2 and 3/4 ” lids (before installation). The solar part I bought were 2″ so (well, you can do the math!) so the ring was fairly narrow but the 2″ solar part fit snuggly and I didn’t need to use foam tape but did you wd40 around the inner threads so I could unscrew the finished top because water did get in (same on expensive remade ones) but I just poured the water out and they worked fine but without greasing the threads, the water would have rusted the lid too much to be able to unscrew them.

  • Amy O'Neal says:

    Any ideas on how to attach a hanger? I would love to hang these around my covered patio

  • Keith says:

    you show the lights upside down. They’ll have to be the other way to get light and charge. So we’re supposed to turn them upside down every day? What gives?

  • Keith says:

    I think it’s a waste of good canning jars. You’ve already bought the lights. Why destroy them and use good canning jars? This looks like a Martha Stuart commercial to me. It’s about as useful as a macaroni necklace for Mom on Mother’s Day.

  • Ben Crapo says:

    Are they 100% water proof as in can I put them in my pool?

  • Kelly says:

    I’m not sure why some people feel the need to post rude comments, but I think this is great idea! The lights themselves can’t sit on a patio table unless some alterations are made to them or they are stuck into a pot or something. This idea is great because you can also decorate the mason jar to match your color scheme. So I love this “Martha Stewart” idea and I also love and wear the macaroni necklace my daughter gave me!

  • Baker says:

    This article is a disappointment! Anyone can buy cheap dollar store solar lights. I thought you were going to teach us something more useful and sustainable that just putting something made in China in a jar. I recently saw a solar skylight made from a soda bottle with some bleach and water in it that was equivalent to a 40 watt

  • Ron says:

    I filled mine 3/4 full a colored glass, also from the dollar store and leave them upright at night. For hanging them just wrap bailing wire around the neck works great.

  • Vickey says:

    I think this would be a good idea for those times that the electricity goes out and you need a little light to move around or to put in different rooms in your house. You’d have to keep them charged of course.

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    A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog
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  • Nicole says:

    One question. Is the foam tape sticky on both sides? Or is it just the thickness that keeps it snug and in place? Love the idea!

  • Becky says:

    I love this idea! We’ve lost our power due to storms, twice already this year. I mean, I lost my freezer and everything in my fridge; it was off that long. The second time the power went off, we got the idea to use our solar lights; GREAT idea!! It’s such a bright light, better than an oil lamp or candle; I actually read by it! We set them throughout the house and everything was very well lit. Just an tip I wanted to share with everyone!! Hope you don’t need it, but if you do it’s great lighting!

  • Laura says:

    You never answered the question asked at least 5 times…

    WIDE OR REGULAR MOUTH JARS?

    Thank you

    • Renee Romeo says:

      Hi Laura,

      I am so sorry for the delay in responding. Preferably wide mouth jars, but you can use either.

      Thank you for your question – and good luck with making these lights.

      Best,
      Renee

  • Tom says:

    Kind of neat for outdoor event. I drilled a hole in a piece of wood to accept the shaft (square or round board). Leave them out most of the time on our deck, move them around to where you like them.

    I live in the Sierra foothills and power is out frequently when we have lots of snow. I bring the lights inside to give us useful light.

  • sandi says:

    Made these and love them. Have a couple hanging and some on the deck. Gave as gifts too to the parents and in laws who both have campers. You can buy hangers for the jars at Pat Catans for a dollar. I put colored stones in some of mine. I also use clear caulk to seal them up.

  • Lorraine says:

    My goodness – so much grumpiness directed at someone who has offered her ideas *for free* to whomever wants them. Don’t like it? Doesn’t match your particular values? Just click to the next site. There are plenty of them out there and, really, it’s not all about you. Thanks, Stephanie, for sharing this.

  • MC says:

    The $1 ones from our local store fit better in the regular mouth jars. My problem is I pulled the backing off of the tape so when I jammed the light in, I accidentally pushed it loose from the silver cover. I think I am going to have to break that jar!

  • Witchy Woman says:

    Love it. Mason jars also make neat terrariums’ and mini fairy gardens.

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