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Picture of Mason Jar Chandelier
After living for close to two years without enough live/work light I decided to make a lighting fixture. One that would meet my specific needs without costing an arm and a leg. I had long thought of putting light bulbs in the hundreds of peanut butter and applesauce jars that I had eaten my way through. I had also collected my fair share of mason jars and thought that they too could make for an inexpensive solution. In the end I chose the mason jars as they don't come with sticky and hard to remove manufactures' labels and I wouldn't have to wait until I ate my way through ten jars of Crazy Richard's chunky peanut butter.

Before I went about an actual design, I searched the web to see if anyone had built a chandelier made from mason jars or similar. I came across several do-it-your-selfers. The best was posted by Our Hiding Place which led me to Pottery Barn's Exeter 16 Jar Pendant Chandelier. It's a really nice design and lists for $399. I was determined to customize mine and make it for less but I wanted detailed step-by-step instructions and I wasn't finding them anywhere.

First thing I did was to determine how much light I needed and what the electrical requirements would be. (Disclosure: I am not an electrician and am not recommending voltage or wiring. Each State has their own codes regarding home wiring. Also, the following instructions will not guide you on how to wire the ceiling leads and wall switch.)

The space where I planned on having the chandelier is over my dining/art table. (I built the table to again, suit my particular needs.) There is an existing electrical port in the ceiling that unfortunately, due to inept design is positioned too close to one wall restricting the width of a ceiling fixture. After identifying the maximum voltage I could then decide on the number of jars and matching bulb wattage. (Voltage, watts and amps are different. Again, I am not an electrician but am lucky enough to have a friend who is one hell of an incredible licensed electrician. If you don't know what you're doing, consult a licensed electrician.)

Based on my space and lighting needs, I decided on 10 jars with 25 watt bulbs. (Before you decide on the jars and the bulbs make sure the bulbs will fit inside the jars.) I tested different jars and bulbs first, before committing to the final design. I wanted to make sure that the heat generated from the bulbs wouldn't cause the jars to break or create condensation inside the jars. For the tests I purchased a simple lamp cord kit from the local hardware store. (It's a cord with a plug on one end and a socket on the other.) I already had a couple of mason jars on hand. My test proved successful so I ordered the rest of the needed parts. (See list on last Step or visit: http://brucekatlin.blogspot.com/ which includes links to vendors' sites.)
 
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LoopyMind2 months ago

I don't see this in the pictures, but it's probably a good and safe idea to tie knots in the cables so that the weight of the jars don't put tension on the wires going into those grounding bars, and literally hang from those, that, or you could loop the wire trough a (metal, rubber) washer once (easier for adjusting the length of the wires if needed).. OR put a big zip-tie on it.. as long as there is slack between the cable going from the bars to the hole.

donald.stockton made it!6 months ago

Gave this a shot. I made a bracket that made it float off the ceiling.

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Could you tell me where you got the light parts that screw into the jars, please. I like the look. You did a great job.

I actually purchased complete pendant light kits from Westinghouse. Home Depot and Lowes have bits and pieces you can put together on your own though.

Thanks. Now to go out and get the supplies.

https://youtu.be/qjif6rXol40 This is a link to the video of the build.

Oh, now that is a nice job.. Kudos sir ;)

katlinbr (author)  donald.stockton6 months ago

Looks fantastic!! Great job.

http://youtu.be/qjif6rXol40 Here's a video of the process!
pborja made it!9 months ago

Hi, I made this lamp, but the mason jars started to smell like amonia. Can you tell me if the ones you made smelled the same? I didnt make two small holes to let the heat go. But I dont know if is this the problem. Can you tell me what you think? Tips please!

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dhague pborja7 days ago

nice work! Well done :)

katlinbr (author)  pborja8 months ago

Pborja: I believe I answered your question but please tell me if you require more info. B

pattiemelt25 days ago

Great 'ible! Now to figure out how to make a solar model to put out on a covered patio that has no wiring!

katlinbr (author)  pattiemelt25 days ago
Sounds like a great idea. Let's do it together. Virtually, of course.
I added a pic of what I plan on building but with added mason jars, I assume u would do the same thing with the grounding bars and lamp cords on this on top of the log, my question is how do u connect the grounding bars to the ceiling wire? We're building a cabin and I've wired all the lights but I've never seen a grounding bar and I'm quite confused on how it wires to the ceiling, your light is beautiful btw
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katlinbr (author)  jolene.newton1 month ago
That's really cool looking plan! The grounding bar (or Bus Bar) wires are gathered together (See Steps 6 & 7) and then connected to the ceiling wiring. Please note: I am not an electrician. PLEASE BE SAFE. I had a certified electrician review my work before I installed it. I hope this helps.
Thank u so much for responding! I did find 2 bus boards at lowes but I did not see wires that came off of them to connect them to the ceiling. The lowes guy said 14 wire should work and to just connect the pos and neg one to each board and likewise to the ceiling, I have 2 brothers who are electricians and can see what I've done after I complete it, they work tons of hours away from town and I hate bothering them so I'm doing as much as possible before I ask one to inspect. Just wondering tho because lowes has told me wrong before if 14 wire is a good choice
teresa.heitz2 months ago

i am going to make a chandelier similar to this and your instructions are so helpful, but i do have questions about the wiring. first, i want to use a plug in type instead of hard wiring. i assume the 2 wires you used for hard wiring could be used for the plug in wiring? also i am a bit confused about the ground bar. you used 9 terminal for 10 lights. does this mean the left over wire is what you used to hard wire? and could i then use those to for the plug in wiring? do those wires connect to the terminal at all and if so, how? thanks so much for information. i am loving your blog!

katlinbr (author)  teresa.heitz2 months ago

Teresa: if you would, email me and then we can get discuss. brucekatlin@mac.com

zdgarner1986 made it!1 year ago

Made this for the dining room in my new home. Looks great!

Thanks for the excellent instructable.

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today me and my wife went to lowes and as always stopped to look for a ceiling fan or chandelier for the dining room. found a hanging light with lampshade on it and got us to coming up with designs of our own. one of which was mason jar chanelier. get home and find this instructable. well done and very informative! thank you and to all the commenters. how are they holding up and how is the heat from the lights?
katlinbr (author)  kdf.inc19691 year ago
Glad to hear that you like the project. Since I posted this instructable I've increased wattage of half of the bulbs to 40w and have of course while hot to the touch if left on for a while, they have not overheated. Just make sure to drill the small air holes in the lids.

Bruce
Well written and nice pictures. I'm going to be doing this with wine bottles...I like the idea of using the grounding bar. Bravo! Wayne
katlinbr (author)  divedaddy031 year ago
Many thx. Let me know if you have any questions.
cassiemaas1 year ago
I'm wondering how this would look if you covered the sides of the jars with torn tissue paper and applied it with Vano Liquid starch. The bottoms would be clear to direct the light downward, but the tissue paper would add color to the fixture.
pmclean12 years ago
I love this and will be trying it!
katlinbr (author)  pmclean12 years ago
Did you start yet?
Soozyk2 years ago
I'm going to make one for my dining room. Great instructions, TY !!
katlinbr (author)  Soozyk2 years ago
Good luck and let me know how it turns out.
zacker2 years ago
these look great!! Great idea too! Would drilling a couple holes in each lid keep condensation down? Id like to use 40 watt bulbs in two or three four jar lamps over our center island...
I am going to make a 4 lamp chandelier to go over my sink. There is no junction box to tie into so it will be corded, do you have any suggestions on how to do this safely? Thank you, your chandelier is brilliantly made and helped me design mine.
so it will be more like a swag ...? it will just hang from the ceiling and the wires will run down the wall to an outlet which youll plug the lamp into correct? if so, you can buy some chain, the thin stuff they use on some lights that hand from a ceiling... then get a colored cord to match the chains color, weave the cord through the chain from floor to lamp. it wont be the best looking thing but it will work. or use that "outside the wall" channel that goes over the wires so you dont see them then run the wires into the wall and fish them over to the closest outlet or switch to power them. Good luck!
katlinbr (author)  candacegeldreich2 years ago
There are a couple of options but as I mentioned several times in the instructions and in comments below, make safety first and consult an electrician if you're not confident about electrical connections.

You can purchase individual lamp cord kits. The ones that IKEA sells are very popular. You can either connect them to a power strip or cut the plug ends off, piggy-back them into one cord. The instructions that this designer used will help you: http://www.sproutingoff.com/?p=206

Good luck and let me know how it works out.
ellenml2 years ago
great instructable! I love the lights, I have been looking for something like this!
bajablue2 years ago
This is really beautiful. Thanks for sharing your project!
To expand on strehlow's comments;

Cast about for a electrical product called a terminal block. Radio Shack probably has them, and many places on line. They come in sizes from one wire to dozens. They insulate the connections and cover some of them cover the connections to prevent accidental shocks.

They look as professional as bus bars, if not moreso. I do like that repurposed bus bars by the way, they certainly are handy.

Find nylon washer and bolts, if nothing else, to raise and insulate your bus bars. Available at hardware stores that have the whole aisle of nuts/bolts/fasteners/wingthingies.

That said, VERY nice looking. Nice proportions. Really well done.

Cheers,

Fin
If the bus bars are enclosed in the box, where is the potential for shock?

Terminal blocks are used to connect 2 wires unless a jumper strip is used.

The lamp cord should have only enough insulation removed to expose approx.
1/4" of wire exposed. Electrical tape is only a band aid.

I do like the lamp.

Joe
katlinbr (author)  smokin joe2 years ago
Joe: Thanks for your comments. I used the electrical tape as mentioned in the how-to steps to prevent the nylon cord from fraying. Additionally, I originally planned on "piggy-backing" the wires but decided on the bus bars as better.
katlinbr (author) 2 years ago
Addressing Fin and Strehlow's most excellent comments, please see my reply:

Safety was my number one concern when building this project. (Electricity scares me). As I wrote in the introduction to the project, I consulted an electrician, as I am not one. Strehlow's comment is correct that, the wired socket pictured is incorrectly wired, (I would have replaced the photos if, I had taken them) I did wire all ten correctly as noted.

Regarding the bus bars being attached directly to the wood: the ceiling is 4' sealed concrete. There are no water sources above however, I agree that the bus bars be place "inside a plastic or metal box within the wooden one" or use Fin's suggestion of using nylon washers to raise the bus bar from off the wood.

Lastly, the screws that attached the sides of the wooden box are accessible, as I puttied them lightly enough for easy location.

Thank you to both Fin and Strehlow for their helpful comments.
yellow21212 years ago
Good timing I was just thinking about building one of these myself. The only thing I was going to do different is drill holes around the lid to let heat escape. Do you notice the jars getting very hot?
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