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Create Your Own Solar Powered Mason Jar Nightlight from Junk

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It's spring which of course means two things:
  - Rain, snow and snow-shovels have left wornout, damaged and broken solar garden lights in the yard.
  - Garden centers are running specials on new solar lights (I found several stores selling them for $1 each)

I managed to avoid throwing out several broken solar lights by using them to create some neat "Mason jar nightlights"...just charge them up during the day and they light the way at night.
I liked the results and noticed pre-made "Solar Mason Jars" are selling for $24.00 on Amazon and even "Solar Lid Lights" (just the lids) are $12. So I tried a few more variations with a few of the $1 solar lights and put together this Instructable so we can make our own!

This Instructable describes how to create either style of Solar Mason Jar Nightlight (from salvaged or new solar lights)  
We'll start with the "new light" variation, it's a pretty easy project!

What's Needed for this Instructable:
  • Solar Garden Lights - either salvaged or new - you know the type, typically a cylinder on a stick with the solar panel on top
  • Mason Jar, Band and Lid  - I used small Half Pint (8oz) Kerr brand decorative jelly jars, but any canning jar will work.
  • Frosted Glass spray paint - I used Rust-Oleum brand.
  • NiCad batteries - the damaged lights generally have rusty worn-out batteries, typically AA. Even new budget lights occasionally need new batteries. (found these at Harbor Freight store). If you have a charger you can try re-freshening old batteries with that.
  • Something to cut with - I used a Dremmel, X-Acto, Tin snips and even a bench-grinder depending on how well a particular light fit into the jar. 
  • Glue or Hot Glue gun
  • Screwdriver - often required to access dead batteries
Optional:
  • Soldering Iron and Solder - damaged lights will likely need some repair, however new lights shouldn't require soldering
  • Vice or clamps
  • Colored Spray Paint - I had some sparkly blue auto paint around so added a light coat of blue to a few,
    I like the blue color a lot!  Just go light on the paint, I made one that is really just too dark.

Let's make some!

(This Instructable submitted by the Rabbit-Hole Maker Space as part of the Instructables Sponsorship Program.)
 
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deathsxhadow2 months ago
Pageteer1 year ago
Do you have to frost the glass? I don't think I'll find affordable glass frost paint where I live.
mazzmn (author)  Pageteer1 year ago
Hi, no you wouldn't have to, but you would be able to see the tiny led hanging down. You could also experiment with colorful tissue paper or filling the jar with translucent 'gems' used in centerpieces
TheZuke!1 year ago
Perhaps your "1/2 AA cell" is in reality an "N cell"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_battery
mazzmn (author)  TheZuke!1 year ago
Thanks for the tip, I'll have to take a look, that might be it.
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