Picture of Giant Sun Jar

I love my solar lights, as I've documented here and there on this site, particularly those that I put in jars and bottles.  I've had this oversize glass cookie jar cluttering up my counter space for years, and when we decided to get rid of it, I figured I'd repurpose it instead of sending it off to the Goodwill.  With a quick trip to the dollar store, a bit of cutting and soldering, and some liberal application of silicone caulk, I built a giant sun jar with the power of SEVEN normal jars!

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Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

To build your own Giant Sun Jar, you'll need:
  • Several dollar store solar lights
  • A big jar of some sort
  • Various LEDs
  • Speaker wire
  • Silicone caulk
  • Epoxy
  • Solder
  • Glass frosting spray

Step 2: Harvest and Prepare LEDs

Picture of Harvest and Prepare LEDs

If you don't already have some LEDs lying  around, or if you want some specialty LEDs, you can harvest them from electronics.  I have a good supply, but I wanted a couple of color changing LEDs, so I took them out of some keychains I got at the dollar store.

Whether you get them from old electronics or have them on hand, you'll probably need to diffuse them by buffing with sand paper, or use hot glue to do the job.

Step 3: Extract Components from Lights

Picture of Extract Components from Lights

Solar garden lights are great, but when you're building sun jars from them, you don't need the whole thing.  I usually save all the components, but really all you need for this instructable is the battery and clip, circuit board, and solar panel.  Trim everything else away and either save it for a future project, or recycle it.

Step 4: Change LEDs and Add Wire

Picture of Change LEDs and Add Wire

Almost without fail, solar lights come with a white LED.  It's a simple matter of a snip of the leads, the addition of some speaker wire, and swapping out the white LED for a different color to change all that.  Make sure you're soldering positive to positive, and make sure you test before you call it done!  Since there will be so many of these, it wouldn't hurt to wrap the exposed leads in electrical tape or heat shrink tubing.

lumpytrout1 year ago

Thanks for posting these great lights, I've started collecting the parts and hope to make a few custom modifications. If my experiment works I will post some photos.

depotdevoid (author)  lumpytrout1 year ago
Awesome, I can't wait to see the results!
Tweinzerl2 years ago
GASP! I love the shape of your jar and had a brilliant idea for one so I started looking for one just like yours! $54.95 on Amazon! A little too pricey for me.
depotdevoid (author)  Tweinzerl2 years ago
Jeez, that's expensive! I've search the local thrift store, if I was looking for a new one!
Tweinzerl2 years ago
Ok..don't everyone rush out, especially in my area, but those red, white, and blue light at Walmart will go on clearance soon. I have seen them for 50 cents before! I plan on stocking up!
Ninzerbean2 years ago
I love my sun jar you made me. It's very happy sitting outside at night glowing away.
depotdevoid (author)  Ninzerbean2 years ago
Glad to hear it!
Love this.
depotdevoid (author)  Marcaine Art2 years ago
mikeasaurus2 years ago
This looks great scaled up, and great tip about harvesting LEDs from cheap Dollar Store electronics.

I agree, you should make an even larger version of this; huge lawn art. Creepy-awesome.
depotdevoid (author)  mikeasaurus2 years ago
It's definitely on my to-do list. Hopefully it will be harder for local foot traffic to steal from my yard than my normal jars!