If you’ve been following along lately you know that I am slowly hacking away at finishing our basement into my workshop. Two things you need to know about this situation before I proceed with this tutorial: #1 I am doing everything as inexpensively as possible with little to no regard for how things might “look” and #2 There is little to nothing here that I am doing conventionally and I know well that some people might think it looks “weird” and I’m ok with that! Anyway, my basement needed one thing first and foremost before I could start work on it at all. LIGHT! Up until I started in on this job I had three bare bulbs wired up down there because we had to have something but they were really adding to the creepiness factor. It was time to light this basement up like a Christmas tree! Problem was though – I had no budget to do it! So, I went to the drawing board to make my own jar lights.
I have a certain amount of “extra” electrical wire laying around from when I ran all of the electrical in our home during the renovation and I’ve been recycling it into various projects by stripping it down to the bare copper wires. I love copper, it is so pretty! I also have a whole pile of leftover jars (some Mason, some not) that my grandma left behind in her passing so I went through them all and came up with enough matching jars to do the whole basement! I may have went a little overboard but this basement has been so creepy for so many years that I wanted light, upon light, upon light! All in I put ten new bulbs down there in only 400 square feet of space! I love it!
To make the jar lights I wrapped one copper wire (this is 14 gauge so it is really easy to work with) around the head of the jar as low as I could and as tightly as I could by using my wire pliers and twisting the wire around itself. From there I cut a six inch piece of wire and made a loop on the opposite side. After installing the keyless lampholder to my round electrical boxes that I installed across the ceiling, I put a bulb in it and then grabbed my new jar light cover. I simply looped the copper wire over the top of the electrical box, tightening the jar right up completely over the bulb and then using the little loop I made to “tie” the wire off by looping through it and giving it a couple of twists. All done!
Step 1: All Finished...
Note #1: Yes, that is a mix of 12-2 and 14-2 wires that you can see there, my lights are on a 15 amp breaker, I had some extra 12-2 laying around so I used it here instead of buying more 14-2. Also, the reason I did not drill the wires through the joists was because we are not going to be finishing this ceiling so I didn’t see any reason to weaken our floor joists by drilling unnecessary holes.
Note #2: These jar lights and everything you see in this tutorial were up when our electrical inspector did his last walk through. Our basement will remain what is considered "unfinished" and he passed these lights without even a second glance or mention.