Introduction: Mason Jar Pipe Lamp

Picture of Mason Jar Pipe Lamp

This is a fun little project to build out of scrap pipe and an old mason jar. Another option is to buy the parts from the hardware store which should run around $50.

This lamp was built from purchased ½” pipe and fittings. The fittings are generally bagged. The pipe comes with labels glued to the pipe which took a while to get off. I had to use a razor blade and then washed the fittings to remove the excess glue and oil from shipping. I used a 24 oz. mason jar with a wide mouth. The depth was needed to accommodate the length of the compact fluorescent bulb. The wide mouth allowed room to attach the pipe flange.

Video of the Build:

Step 1: Tools

  • Drill and bits
  • Wire cutters
  • Screw driver

Step 2: Materials/Cost

Picture of Materials/Cost

Step 3: Build Per This Drawing

Picture of Build Per This Drawing

Step 4:

Picture of

Position and drill a hole in one of the Tee fittings large enough to feed the cord through. I used a ¼” drill.

Step 5:

Picture of

Drill 5 holes in the mason jar lid. The first will be in the center. It should be large enough to allow the threaded light socket rod to pass through. The other four holes should match the flange mounting holes.

Step 6:

Picture of

Assemble the bottom section of pipe as shown. I waited to fully tighten the pipes/fittings until the end.

Step 7:

Picture of

Feed the cord through the Tee fitting. Pull enough to reach the estimated end length (bulb). Be careful to not damage the wire insulation when pulling the wire through the pipe.

Step 8:

Picture of

Feed the cord through the 12” section of pipe. Screw pipe to bottom section. Repeat this process until you get through the flange.

Step 9: ​Paint

Picture of ​Paint

The lamp was painted flat black and Rub 'n Buff added to give it a steampunk look.

Step 10: Lid/Socket Installation

Picture of Lid/Socket Installation

  • Be careful at this point or you will be reassembling the fixture – trust me :). See exploded view for installation order.
  • Feed cord through the rod nut, threaded socket rod, mason jar lid, and socket nut. Push all the parts out of the way so you can attach the wires to the socket.
  • Screw socket rod into socket.
  • Tighten rod nut to secure lid to the socket
  • Attach the flange to the lid using the ¼-20 bolts/nuts. Note that two of the holes are open. This allows for a little ventilation inside the jar.

Step 11:

Add adhesive or a grommet to the cord entrance point (tee fitting). Add inline switch to cord

Step 12:

Picture of

Add bulb. Note that I’m using a low wattage fluorescent bulb to limit the heat buildup inside the jar. Screw on mason jar.

Step 13: Update

Picture of Update

I used a compact florescent bulb to keep the heat dissipation down. However, I'm not a big fan of how it looks in this application. There was a comment on Reddit about this project with a nice suggestion to use an Edison Style LED bulb. The above picture shows an example and here is the link to the product.


imphalblue (author)2014-12-31

A well thought out, interesting and attractive instructable. This is well worth having a go at. Thank you.

mtairymd (author)imphalblue2015-01-01

Thank you

mtairymd (author)2014-12-26

Pics with different color bulbs:

" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

Robhooley167 (author)2014-12-27

Thanks a lot, this has really helped me work out how to fit the lampholder to my copper pipe lamp!

mtairymd (author)Robhooley1672014-12-27

Thanks. Even though pipe lamps are common, I couldn't find a "how to guide" showing the attachment of the mason jar AND socket. It took a while for me staring at the jar and available fittings/sockets to come up with the attachment method. I still think there is a more eloquent method that I probably missed.

ScottH88 (author)mtairymd2016-04-29

this is the first tutorial I have seen as well. Thanks so much. Did you have a problem with the flange on the lid keeping the jar from screwing on properly? I thought these were all standard size, but the edge of the flange just hits the inside of the lid keeping it from the threads on the jar.

mtairymd (author)ScottH882016-04-29


No, I didn't have interference with the flange. Note that I used "wide mouth" mason jars.

ScottH88 (author)mtairymd2016-04-29

yes I used wide mouth as well. I've tried two brands of jars and both do it. I think my flange may be just a hair larger than yours. It's the only thing I can think of :(

Btw, I live in Texas now, but I grew up in Damascus, just around the corner from you ;)

mtairymd (author)ScottH882016-04-29

I just re-read you original post. Just to be clear, the flange should be on the outside of the lid. Review all the pictures in Step 10. The only interference can be with the screws through the flange. Did you assemble it differently?

Yes, right next door to Damascus. The town with the speed cameras!!!

ScottH88 (author)mtairymd2016-04-29

Yep did it your way. I filed the edge of the outer lid down a bit and it fits fine. I have 2 brands of flanges and one seems to be a bit bigger. The small one still needs the file job to fit and is a pain.

mtairymd (author)ScottH882016-04-29

I'm still confused. Refer to the very last picture - top view on the table. Notice that the flange is on the outside of the lid. The pipe flange size should not play a role - it could be 2" in diameter or 6". Only the hole locations in the flange matter with respect to interference. The bolts should be the only thing that can possible hit the threads. The assembly steps listed in step 10 are key. I had to pull it apart 3 times before I realized that was the only way to make it work. Anyway, I'm glad you were able to get it to work. I didn't realize the flanges came in different sizes - mine were purchased from Home Depot.

ScottH88 made it! (author)mtairymd2016-04-29

before and after filing the lid ring edge.

mtairymd made it! (author)ScottH882016-04-30

Ahh....I now know what you are talking about. The closeness in size between the flange and ring might be adding to the confusion. I still think it's the order of operation - step 10. The flange should rest on the top side of the ring. You are trying to pull it through the ring. Follow these steps with regards to the flange/ring attachment (follow other directions for wiring). 1) Flange in your hand. 2) Place ring against flange. 3) Place lid from bottom side. 4) Center lid on ring and tighten the bolts. Although this doesn't provide much clamping force, it is enough to hold up a jar. See attached picture.

ScottH88 (author)mtairymd2016-04-30

Ahhh, i see now. Now i just feel silly! Thanks for all your help, you are too kind!

mtairymd (author)ScottH882016-04-30

No problem. I'm sure the small difference in size caught you. If you are still in the building process, you might want to add the the Water Valve Light Switch as an option. I bought a valve but haven't got around to installing it yet.

ScottH88 (author)ScottH882016-04-29

the ring will not reach the whole thread on the jar if it its held up by the flange

the_tool_man (author)2015-02-04

I liked this so much I made my own using a glass insulator for a shade. Thanks for the inspiration.

willymagoo (author)the_tool_man2015-02-13

really neat

mtairymd (author)the_tool_man2015-02-05

Thank you. I really like the insulator - awesome idea.

ben.arndt.39 (author)2015-01-28

Thanks for some reason i didnt have all steps on the page i was viewing...makes sense!

ben.arndt.39 (author)2015-01-28

how did you connect the pipe to the mason jar/light socket...looks like some threaded piece to reduce from the pipe to the threaded nut of the light socket?

mtairymd (author)ben.arndt.392015-01-28

Refer to the exploded view and pictures in Step 10. The flange screws into the pipe. The mason jar lid is attached to the flange with 2 screws/nuts. The socket rod goes through a hole in the center of the lid. The rod nut is attached to the pipe side of the socket rod. The light socket has threads. You will use that thread to attach the socket to the lid. Hope this helps.

tina47 (author)2015-01-17

simple and good idea! Thanks for sharing

mtairymd (author)tina472015-01-17

Thank you.

tina47 (author)2015-01-17

simple and good idea! Thanks for sharing

morrocoyo (author)2015-01-04

nice!!! great job

deba168 (author)2015-01-02

It looks professional.Great details pics.

jk55092 (author)2014-12-31

That's gorgeous, but it screams for a vintage Edison-style bulb.

mtairymd (author)jk550922015-01-01

I agree. However, I wouldn't want to enclose that style bulb in a jar. I do like the vintage bulbs with vintage cages around them.

Greasetattoo (author)2015-01-01

Great instructable!
Great pictures, too!
Well laid out! Steampunk!

mtairymd (author)Greasetattoo2015-01-01

Thank you.

texhoma creative design (author)2014-12-28

from what I have read about the florescent bulbs are very sensitive to heat failure when they are confined by glass globes or deep glass fixtures. Have you had any bulb failures?

From CFL Facts and Myths

"Can CFLs be used in totally enclosed fixtures?

Yes, but with some qualifications. The life of CFLs will be reduced if they are operated at higher than normal temperatures. Therefore, they can be used in totally enclosed fixtures, including vapor-tight fixtures, as long as you do not use a high power CFL, and the temperature outside the fixture is not too high. I have successfully used 25-watt CFLs (light output equivalent to 100-watt incandescent lamps) in large vapor tight fixtures, but these lamps were installed in a relatively cool area. If the fixture is small, or if the fixture is installed in areas with high temperature, such as Phoenix, the power rating of the CFLs should be limited to 15 watts or less."

No failures yet. Note that I'm using a light equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent lamp in a cool ambient (68F / 20C). In addition, the jar does have some venting (two 1/4" holes in lid) as stated in step 10.

Michael C (author)2014-12-27

$50 worth of material is great, I almost bought this for $138.

mtairymd (author)Michael C2014-12-28

Cool. I've never been to that site - I like the pipe robot!

As for cost, I actually spent ~ $60 since I went to the local Home Depot. However, you can most likely get the price under $50 with some shopping. The pipe prices listed above were taken from McMaster-Carr. Note that you can also download STEP files for CAD from that site was well.

nerd7473 (author)2014-12-26

very cool man, looks steampunk!!!

mtairymd (author)nerd74732014-12-27

Thanks. I thought about adding a valve and a gage to the design to give it more of a steampunk look. I would also like to control the light switch with a valve (use as a dimmer).

nerd7473 (author)mtairymd2014-12-27

epic man!!! I need to make another instructable sometime...

gravityisweak (author)2014-12-27

Great instructable! You couldn't document it any better than you did. I love the look of the final product, however I think personally I would have frosted the jar for a more diffused effect. Also for people wanting to make this, just be sure that your bulb says that it can be used in a fully enclosed fixture. Many of them have warnings against it. Thanks for sharing this mtairymd, this is the gold standard of instructables!

mtairymd (author)gravityisweak2014-12-27

Thanks. I didn't think about frosting. Diffusing the light would definitely help if I switched to a LED bulb as Electrospark suggested above.

357magnum (author)2014-12-27

This is very unique and beautiful good job.

mtairymd (author)357magnum2014-12-27

Thank you

Electrospark (author)2014-12-26

That's great! =)

You could use an LED light bulb, instead. ^^

Keep up the good work! ;)

mtairymd (author)Electrospark2014-12-27

Yes, an LED build would reduce the heat. It would also be an interesting mixture of old and new.

Electrospark (author)mtairymd2014-12-27

It would also be shock proof! :D

Not to forget that CFL's contains Mercury and is dangerous to your health if they breaks. ;)

Robert Chlebowski (author)2014-12-26

That piping is very useful material.
The lamp looks awesome. Are you going to put a shade on it?

Yes, piping is easy to work with and very durable. However, I seem to be the only one in my house that likes the "industrial" design. My "man lamp" has been banished to the basement.

No to the shade. I would prefer one of the metal light cages around the jar.

TJ59 (author)2014-12-26

What a lovely assistant :)
The lamp is very cool too. Everything I've been looking for my own project.

mtairymd (author)TJ592014-12-26

Thank you!

TJ59 (author)2014-12-26

Where did you get the electrical components: cord, inline switch and socket with rod?

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to design and build random things.
More by mtairymd:Puzzle Box - 3D PrintNail Puzzle BoxSnake Cube Puzzle Solution
Add instructable to: