Sun jar Glass beads

unschool plus: how to make a sun jar

The original Sun Jar was designed by Tobias Wong, but diy versions have been all around the web for years. I'd had a vague interest in making them, so when solar garden lights started becoming smaller and cheaper last fall, I got some and experimented.

Yesterday I saw an ad insert featuring solar lights at The Dollar Tree. You can't get much cheaper than that, so it seems a good time to share this version with you. It's the fastest, easiest and now, cheapest way I know to make a sun jar.

For each jar, you need:

  • a solar garden light (the kind that sits on a stake)
  • a small canning mason jar with a clear lid (Ikea SLOM jars work great)
  • glass frosting spray
  • clear silicone adhesive
The most critical part to keeping this project easy is finding the right solar garden light. Look for those in which the solar unit is a single, compact piece on the top of the fixture. I used these, by Westinghouse:
You can use other types, but it may involve deconstructing the solar unit a bit. This type of light, besides being small and inexpensive, makes it all very easy.
Make a mask with newspaper and painters tape, and spray the inside of the jar with frosting spray. A few tips: spray outdoors, away from wind, and in a well-ventilated area; shake the can thoroughly before spraying; and keep the can moving slowly and continuously. Finally, use a light touch—the paint doesn't show up well until it dries, so have faith and add a second coat later if you need to.
Unscrew the solar light unit from the bulb and stake. If you're lucky, it may fit right into the jar lid. If not, use a few blobs of the adhesive to attach it to the top of your jar.
Run a bead of silicone around the edge of the light unit to secure it—
—and that's it! You have a solar jar. You may have to remove a protective tab (orange with an arrow in the photo above) to let the battery connect. Close your lid, and place your jar in full sun to charge.
I made a lot of jars last year, thinking they'd be good Christmas/Solstice gifts, but the winter sun is really too weak to give good charge to the solar cell. They're much better from this point on: the longer, brighter days translate to more glow time in the evening.

This year I thought I'd add simple hangers. 12 gauge aluminum jewelry wire, wrapped and twisted around the top of the jar, worked perfectly. Each light needed about 30-36" of wire.

The nice thing about aluminum wire is that it bends and twists easily. The problem with aluminum wires is that it bends and twists easily. In other words, it's easy to work with but also easy to mangle. I prefer to think of it as a deliberately rustic style.

loop the wire around the jar

aluminum wire is soft enough to twist with your fingers

it can be finished off with pliers

Youngman Youngman LED Solar Powered Glass Bottle Light Hanging Patio Lamp Flame Effect Garden Yard Hanging Lamp (Set of 5)
Lawn & Patio (Youngman)
  • Size of each jar approximately 2.5dia. x 8.5 H.
  • Size of replaceable rechargeable included battery one 2/3 AA Ni MH.
  • ON-OFF button on the underside to facilitate you turning the bottle lantern OFF when not needed.
  • Package Includes:1 set of 5 pcs Solar Powered Bottle Light(white/blue/green/purple/rose)
  • Absolutely NO WIRING and easy to install; Environmental and safe
Yankee Candle Yankee Candle Sun and Sand Fragrance Spheres
Home (Yankee Candle)
  • Up to 45 Days of Fragrance
  • Fragrance: The finest quality ingredients infused with essential oils to create true to life scents
  • Glass: Lab-tested to ensure the appropriate strength and consistency
Eve's Temptation Sangu 100% Hand Painted Wood Framed 4-piece Hot Sale Under The Lights Trees For Abstract Oil Paintings Gift Canvas Wall Art Paintings For Living Room.
Home (Eve's Temptation)
  • Size: 10x20Inchx2, 20x20Inchx1 (25CMx50CMx2,50CMx50CMx1).
  • Subject: Street with Yellow Leaves
  • Materials/Milieu: Thick Canvas, high quality oil or Acrylic colors. The depth is 2/3Inch (1.8CM).
  • 100% hand painted. Actual painting may be slightly different from the product image.
  • Gallery wrapped and stretched with wooden frame on the back. Ready to hang. Edges are painted. A perfect wall decoration for living room and bed room.
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