Picture of Fast & Easy Sun Jar

There are many great instructables for sun jars, but by the time I decided to try making one myself, I realized that changes in solar garden light design had made it even easier to transfer from stake to jar.

No longer do you need to disassemble the lamp and battery case; the units of these small, compact designs can slip as is right into your jar. This means that the making a solar jar only takes a little more time than you need for paint and adhesive to dry.

Step 1: What you need

Picture of what you need

The most important part of making the Fast & Easy Sun Jar is finding the right solar lights. This clean design by Westinghouse was on sale for much of the summer. I found them at Orchard Supply Hardware for $2 each, but even at the regular price of $4, they're the most economical solar lights available.

You will also need a jar with a glass lid. The tiny SLOM jar from Ikea is only $2.99. You may pay a little more for a jar from a kitchen store, a little less if you can find one at a thrift store. 

Finally, you'll need glass frosting spray, adhesive (I chose a clear silicone adhesive), a utility knife and some painter's or masking tape. A few sheets of newspaper (not shown here) are used in the painting process.
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imjasonc made it!26 days ago

i had to disassemble my light. however, i didnt have to glue it down as the internal enclosure flared out and fit perfectly at the jar neck without falling in. this will allow me to remove the light if i change my mind on what to do with the jar. sorry i dont have the brand of the light,its a generic solar garden light from Lowes around $2.95.


Is it the same as this one?

Cool,What kind of battery shoud I take?

BriAtPOD1 year ago

This is a really neat idea. At #PackagingOptionsDirect you can find these jars in all sizes. You could make a very neat light arrangement by making them in multiple sizes and putting them in an arrangement.


Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/diy-solar-sun-jar-light.html#ixzz314J34yzR

This is a great project
rlg542 years ago
I just came across this, and it looks great. I was wondering about the lights are made for freeze thaw cycles I think, but they are vented. If you put it in an air tight jar wouldn’t it cause condensation? Then add the heat of the sun, pressure build up is ok? I am just asking I will still will make one cause they look nice, so I will find out I guess, was hoping if someone might have tried it out or not. Also could you put cellophane inside to change the colour? Keep making things.
sylrig (author)  rlg542 years ago
Thanks for your comments and questions. I've had mine outside for 2-1/2 years now, and there has been minimal condensation. General weathering has been more of a problem, but I think it might have been different had I taken care to move and clean them more often.

I would think you could use cellophane--or a different type/color of paint, as well. I'd love to see what you come up with--thanks for taking the time to stop by.
JustKay2 years ago
Do you know how to make a colored version?
lewisurwin4 years ago
Wanted to replace the white led from a solar garden light circuit with a pink one. The problem I'm having is these particular LED's are 3.4V, and the battery used is 1.2V (AA rechargeable). Most white LED's are 2-3V so how does this circuit work?! There is also a 370R resistor in the circuit, so I am unsure what to replace this with, as the calculations do not work when the source voltage (battery) is lower than the LED forward voltage.

Please help!
In most of these I've seen, there's a portion in the circuit that is basically a 'step up' transformer. A transistor, resistor, and capacitor create an oscillator that drives a small coil; the output of the coil is around 4V which is used to power the LED. They do it this way (rather than have multiple solar cells and two or more rechargeable batteries) because it's more compact (and probably much cheaper, too). Most white and blue LEDs will operate happily at around 3.5 to 4.0 volts; red, green, and most yellow LEDs typically operate at a lower voltage so you would probably need a slightly higher resistance to use one of those colors.
sylrig (author)  lewisurwin4 years ago
I'm not sure what you'd have to do to replace the white LED. The easiest thing to do would be measure the voltage on the existing LED, then find a replacement with a color you like with the same rating.

I'm guessing here, but there's probably a voltage doubler to boost the 1.2v from the battery to something higher to drive the LED. Measuring a working unit would help tell you that.

You might be able to get some leeway if there is a resistor in series with the LED, but I don't know about this specific circuit or the one you might have. If you can measure that total voltage drop, and the current flowing when the LED is lit, you'll have a better idea what you might plug into the circuit.
rush_elixir2 years ago
hey you can use the stakes as a drip watering system, just add a soda bottle on top and replace the bottom end of the tube with an aquarium triangular shape stone aerator. Your plants will love it.
evanjva12 years ago
For what it's worth, Dollar Tree has solar lights. A bit smaller but they might work.

It's a great idea and will dress up just a plain solar light used when the power is out instead of using dangerous candles.
MrDisco3 years ago
Does anyone know how I can get that deep rich yellow-orange glow? I have all the parts listed but I really don't want a white glow.
purplefiona3 years ago
Fabulous Instructable. I am in the UK and thought I should share that after a bit of searching, I've been inspired to buy "solar bollard" lights from Tesco in the UK - £7.47 for 4, they have THREE LEDs in each one which will make them nice and bright. They have a very similar top part which is one whole piece exactly as described here.


I also found a link to kilner-style jars from IKEA in the UK ; they are called KORKEN.

And finaly a colour changing version which I have yet to recieve and try out from Maplin in the UK;



SzilviaP3 years ago
In a small garden bed or raised bed the poles can make a good frame for a cover to young seedlings against birds until they strong enough. In hot climates it can hold up a shade cloth. In the winter you can winterize individual perennials if you put them around the base of the plant and wrap them with plastic.
grandmadris3 years ago
if they are hollow why not cut the bottom off place into ground and use as a water catcher to water your garden or individual plants would make a great watering holder for container gardens
hbarker2163 years ago
How do you make your lights colored?
sylrig (author)  hbarker2163 years ago
I'm not sure I understand your question. I didn't alter the solar light units in this project, so any appearance of color is probably just the photo. This Instructable might have what you're looking for, though:

Trumpet3 years ago
Here's my results, I've been wanting to do this for a long time.

sylrig (author)  Trumpet3 years ago
Thanks for posting this--it looks great! I really like the square shape--adds a uniqueness that I haven't seen anywhere else.
Trumpet sylrig3 years ago
Thank you! It was a very cheap Goodwill find. My blu-tack has since come off of the lid in this hot sun though, I will need to put it back together using a stronger adhesive.
Kelly C.4 years ago
I turned the stake out and used them as hose guides along my garden path. The glassy part still sparkles in the sunlight and it keeps the hose from ripping up my plants. Try it!
sylrig (author)  Kelly C.3 years ago
Thanks--great idea, I will try this!
tkamka4 years ago
Can you just buy the parts of the solar light instead of the whole solar light? Does anyone know where to buy the parts?
sylrig (author)  tkamka3 years ago
Sorry, tkamka, I thought I'd replied to this earlier. You can just google "solar cell" to find suppliers online, or you could probably find them at electronics stores. It's much more efficient, but unfortunately, it's also more costly.
jennay7924 years ago
As for the glass frosting spray, do you spray it on the inside or outside? tee hee
sylrig (author)  jennay7924 years ago
You can do either. To me, spraying the inside is easier and looks/feels better.
I have a bunch of candle jars with the clear lids (not really sure what you call them) About to try this with those, I like repurposing so it seems like an excellent project...and I have about a million of them lying around. Will let you know how this turns out.
sylrig (author)  Justinepfenning4 years ago
Looking forward to it!
They're called french canning jars, and about 8 dollars to buy them from a canning or kitchen supply. buying them with food or candles in them or used from the thrift store either one will save you money.
sylrig (author)  Justinepfenning4 years ago
I think they're basically the same thing and should work well. I'd love to see your solar lights when they're done. :)
I love this! I'm now wondering if I can buy jars with glass lids with something in them, they're like the ones that you get fruit in liqueur in, aren't they? Eat the fruit then make a sun jar! Double the fun! :D
This is the best sun jar instructable I have seen! I made a few and it was quick and easy! I had a few small round mirror tiles lying around, so I glued 1 to the bottom to reflect more light out of the sides. They are great little conversation starters. I use them for outdoor tables for evening events like BBQs. Thanksnagain for the great instuctable!
sylrig (author)  Pink&BlueDesigns4 years ago
Thanks! I'm planning to hang some outside this summer, as well.
fretted4 years ago
Instead of Painting why couldn't you actually etch the glass with liquid etching found in craft stores like hobby lobby or such then you could color the glass with glass stain no runs or globs

Just a thought

Great instructable anyway !
I etched mine the old fashion way! (Sandblasting) I guess whatever way you want to get the etched effect will work.
sylrig (author)  fretted4 years ago
I've never used liquid etching--sounds like an interesting idea. And I really like the idea of glass stain. I'll have to look into both--thanks!
jrickclark4 years ago
Hey, on that Westinghouse unit, there's also a little mirror piece that you can unscrew from the clear enclosure piece. If you glue it to the bottom center of the jar, it'll reflect a little more light away from the bottom of the jar and back out the sides.

Great instructible. I really like your trick for frosting the inside of the jars, and not disassembling the solar unit. Thanks!
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