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DIY Sun Jars: Homemade Solar Lanterns

>16 April 2012
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I visited a good friend of mine today, and she showed me one of her latest projects: sun jars.

Basically, they’re solar lanterns made from mason jars.

Her children have had fun using these sun jars to go to bed with instead of turning the lights on in the house at night. What a great idea!! She said they last about 8 hours before needing to be recharged, and are a great alternative to a night light.

There are several how-to tutorials online, like this one at Life Hacker, but some of them get quite technical and complicated. All my friend did was spray the inside of regular mason jars with frosting spray, disassembled solar garden lights (she used this set of 4 for $12 at Harbor Freight), and inserted the bulb and solar cap into the jar, gluing it to the rim. I wish I’d taken a picture of them so you could see what I mean. It looked very simple.

*UPDATE: She emailed me a picture to share with you. Yay! Here’s what hers looks like.

I just loved them!!

They’re cheap to make, and are completely sustainable, running on nothing but sun power. Plus, I’ve seen some cool colored ones that would look really neat on a patio at night.

I’m definitely gonna have to make some of these for us to use around the house at night. They’d be great for camping, or just hanging around the house, too!

Have you seen these before? Do you think it’s something you’d be interested in making yourself?

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  • April said:

    I absolutely love this idea! My kids would completely flip out. Gonna have to do this!

  • daisy said:

    What a faboo idea, especially for those of us who prepare for hurricane season! Thanks, Kendra!

  • Debbie@ouroldhomestead.blogspot.com said:

    Love this idea!!! Thanks for sharing…I will definitely be making some as backup lighting and just for fun. Wouldn’t it be neat to have Christmas themed ones for Christmas time?

  • Dana said:

    I completely love this and am saving it to my must make folder!! I am thinking that not only will these look great outside our house but they would make awesome gifts too!!!
    thank you so much for posting this!!!

  • Beth said:

    SA-WEET!!!!!!!!! I am soooo doing this. One of my first small steps to unplugging!!!

  • Bobbi said:

    What is ‘frosting spray’, lolol. Maybe I know it by another name? lol

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    LOL… frosting spray is a spray paint that you spray on glass to make it look frosted. Know what I’m talking about? ;)

  • Missy Steiger said:

    My girls are excited to know that we’re going to make these. Thanks so much!

  • Carol said:

    I mentioned this to my husband and we plan to try this. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  • Aroha said:

    I want to make these now……beautiful……thank you for sharing.

  • Marilyn said:

    Do you think you could use the sheeting used to “frost” bathroom windows to make them opaque? It could be placed on the outside of the jar!

  • Vicki said:

    We run an extension cord from the house to the chicken coop when the days get shorter, to encourage the hens to keep laying eggs. This sounds like a much better (and safer) idea. Will give it a try. Thanks!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    I hadn’t thought of using them for the chicken coop, Vicki! I also run an extension cord. Great idea!

  • Brian Wood said:

    I made a few like this using empty peanut butter jars. They’re a lot of fun. I’m thinking of attaching handles made from wire hangars so the kids can carry them around like lanterns.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    That’s a great idea, Brian!

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