Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Light in jars

I have become perhaps just a bit too obsessed with canning jars lately. They've become to me what legos and wooden train tracks are to my boys -- a giant collection of toys to arrange and rearrange creatively (and perhaps even a bit neurotically).

Here is one of my latest crazy projects: solar canning jars.

It's possible (I discovered a few months ago) to buy solar light lids for mason jars.  I love solar powered anything, and I love mason jars, but I'm not one for buying stuff, so I just filed this information away for future consideration.  Well, actually, I didn't just file it away: I told everyone I knew that I was just a little lustful for these babies.  And as it happened, the tell-everyone-you-know strategy paid off yet again.  Whoop!

My daughter, in cleaning out her dad's home, came across a stash of never-opened solar garden lights --not the kind for canning jars, but at least this got me halfway to the goal.  She handed them over to me, and I brought them home.  

And of course the internet is a rich source of DIY information for crazy projects.  Want to convert a garden solar light to a mason jar light?  Do a quick web search and come up with 37,700 results!  For example, this cool site shows how to deconstruct a damaged garden light and reconstruct it in your canning jar lid.  (As someone whose garden lights were all wrecked by soccer balls and frisbees several years ago, I wish I'd thought of this sooner).

I chose a simpler route: glue.   I glued a wide-mouth ring onto the underside of the light.

Screw the lid onto the mason jars and put 'em in the sun:

 And at night, I have lights I can carry around the house.  These are just fabulously fun!

Over the week that I've had these, I've figured out a few more things.  (1) The rechargeable batteries in this set are so old that they seem to have died; newer batteries definitely work way better.  Also, (2) the windows in my home are so danged energy efficient that the lights charge better if I charge them outside during the day instead of on my window sill.  (3) These still work at night if you turn them upside down, but then they look like candles.  Cool!


  1. Wow! That's way cooler than my coffee on the go drinking! Color me jealous!

  2. Definitely awesome. My parents gifted me a solar lid for an old mason jar I have. I never thought about carrying the jar around my house. Of course, the jar only works well if I have really charged it (not possible in the winter up north here).

    My parents have huge windows and get lots of sun, and their jars stay on all night. They affectionately call them their firefly jars.