This is a derivative of the Instructables/Lifehacker “Create Your Own Sun Jar” instructions. My version requires no screwdrivers or glue, which makes it simpler and easier than their version. Make sure to read all instructions before attempting this on your own.
MATERIALS AND COST:
- Glass Frosting Spray – $5 at Ace Hardware
- Solar garden lamps – $2 each at Sears (5)
- Ball Mason jars – $5 for group of 5 on eBay, plus $5 shipping
- Duck Clear packaging tape – had on hand
- Optional: Dasani bottle wrapper – had on hand
- NO TOOLS REQUIRED!
TOTAL COST: $25 for 5 sun jars
TIP: You can use glue instead of tape. I used tape because these are prototypes. But, the tape is holding up pretty darn well, even in the heat, so I may just stick with tape until it wears out. (STICK WITH…get it? Ha!!)
STEP 1: Materials and Space
Gather all your materials. Set up a workspace outdoors on a sunny, dry day. Make sure you have a surface that you don’t mind spraying on. Check the wind to make sure you stay upwind of your spray.
STEP 2: Frosting
Frost the jars. This is pretty simple. Open your jars and put them on your surface facing down. Start by shaking the frosting spray for about 2 minutes (as per the instructions on the can). Then, spray the jars. Try to get an even coat. You can see on the one on the far left that I overdid the frosting a little. You just need a light coat. In fact, when it goes on, it won’t necessarily seem like it’s frosted. Make sure to get the neck of the jar, but DO NOT SPRAY THE LIDS. In my case, my jars had removable lids, which made this part MUCH easier. Allow the jars to dry without being touched for at least one hour to be safe.
STEP 3: Lights
If you buy the exact brand of solar lights that I did (or look for one that works the same way), it’s just a twist off cap. They make it easy to twist off because there’s an auto/off switch inside. Look for lights that you can just twist off, and you avoid dealing with screwdrivers. (Lifehacker and Instructables went a step further by actually disassembling the cap. I skipped this step, which is what makes my version faster and easier.) You also want to make sure that the lights you get will fit your jars. I went for the smallest ones, which were also the cheapest. And lastly, make sure that the lights don’t have any large lenses over the solar panel, as this will interfere with getting power once they’re inside the jar lid.
STEP 4: Lids
Put a “crown” of tape around the light fixture as shown. (If you accidentally put it on the wrong way, you can always remove the tape and start over.) Then push the crown back, kind of like how you would push a banana peel or candy bar wrapper back. You’ll end up with half the tape on the fixture and half around the fixture in a ring. Then, put the fixture inside the lid, so that the solar panel will face out once the lid is back on the jar. Push the tape down around the fixture so that it forms a seal with the lid. Make sure that all the tape is inside the boundary of the lid, so that you’ll get a good seal on the jar.
OPTIONAL STEP 4a: Colors
You can use clear plastic wrappers or wrapping paper to add color to your lights. Just tape a piece over the LED bulb. Check the Lifehacker or Instructables guides for more details on this optional step. (I did this with one of them just to check it out. It’s dead simple to add this later and/or change it after you add it.)
RESULT: Sun jars!
I tested them out in my bathroom, which is completely dark. With moonlight, I imagine this will be plenty of light for our deck. I’ll probably do up a second batch to light our porch and walkway at some point. 🙂 And, I might use this as a gift idea for this holiday season…