Introduction: Solar-Powered Glow-Jar

The idea for this Instructable came from something I found called Sun and Moon Jars on ThinkGeek.com.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/lights/994a/

Unfortunately these jars cost much more than I was willing to spend. Because of this, I decided to make my own version, and share it with all of you.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Tools and Materials
~Screwdriver
~Some form of glue
~Soldering Iron (You may not need this)
~Dremel or similar tool.
~Solar-powered garden light
~Glass Jar
~Frosted Glass Finish Spray (You may not need this if your jar is already frosted)
~Paint for use on metal (Optional)
~Safety Glasses

Before you get started. Make sure you know what you're doing, and observe all safety procedures. That means you should probably wear safety glasses and any other appropriate safety attire. Otherwise, you might end up with a piece of plastic or metal in your eye. Trust me, it's not fun.

Step 2: Disassembly

First, you'll have to take apart your garden light. This process will be slightly different for all lights, so I won't go in to great detail here.
Basically, remove the post and stake until you get to just the head with the LED and Solar Cell.

Then, you'll have to remove any screws you encounter until you can get to the internal circuitry with the battery and LED.

Step 3: The LED

Unless you want a white glowing jar, you'll either want to replace or modify the current LED that came built into your garden light.

Replacement:
If you chose to replace the LED, make sure the LED you're using has the same voltage ratings as the one built into the garden light .The LED in my light ran off only a single rechargeable "AA" battery, (1.2v)

Modification:
In this case, the term "modification" is simply a fancy term for "color."
So if you chose to color your LED, choose a suitable Sharpie or other permanent marker, and color away. Try to color the entire LED, leaving no clear space.

Step 4: Make It Fit

Your light probably won't fit in the jar as it is, so you'll have to trim it down to size.
I used a dremel with a cutting wheel to cut away a lot of the plastic until I could make the solar light fit into the jar,
Feel free to use any methods you feel appropriate to cut it down to size.
Just remember, safety first.

Step 5: The Jar Lid

Now, in order for sunlight to get to the solar cell, you'll have to make a hole in the jar's lid.

Measure or trace the solar cell on the lid.
Then, cut out a square of the lid so your solar cell can shine through the top. (or rather, so the sun can shine through onto the solar cell)

If your garden light uses a  CdS photoresistor to measure the amount of light reaching it, you'll have to cut or drill another hole for that.

Step 6: Painting the Jar Lid

You may wish to paint the lid. Now is the time for that.
Paint it any color you'd like. I chose a metallic silver.
After you've painted it, you'll probably want to seal it with a clear sealer.

Step 7: Solar Cell Lid

Now, it's time to attach your solar cell, battery, and LED to the lid.

Align your solar cell with the opening of the lid, and attach it using any glue you'd like. I would recommend either hot glue or Gorilla Glue. Try to seal it as best you can so no pesky raindrops can leak through.

Step 8: Jar Frosting


In order for your jar to glow, rather than just shine a dim light through it, you'll have to frost the glass.
To do this, you'll need to give it a coat or two of a translucent frosted finish spray paint. It may also be possible to do this with a very thin coat of white paint, but it's probably best to stick with the frosted finish spray.

Step 9: Put the Lid On, and Let It Glow


Put the lid on your newly-frosted jar.

Now, all you have to do is find a nice place for your new solar-powered glowing jar.

Comments

author
dave.richardson.108 made it!(author)2015-04-06

Are you frosting the inside,or outside of your jar? I'm having a little trouble getting nice even coverage on the inside.

author
jdoyel made it!(author)2013-02-07

I bought 4 solar powered garden lights and medium sized jars (both from my nearest Right-Aid store and they fit like a glove. :) unfortunately, I'm having some disastrous problems "replacing" the current LED with the colored LED. I think I irreparably messed up the first two. I need some help. What is the best method in successfully replacing the LED? Also, I think the colored LEDs I have do posses a higher voltage of about 2.1v. Does that also dramatically change things? If so, how do I manipulate the garden light in giving more supportive voltage?

author
spark+master made it!(author)2013-08-29

Just cut the leads on old one and solder new ones onto the old ones, you must determine which way it goes first. I had an old tv worked fine one day it popped the full wave rectifier. I cut it out then soldered another one right to the top . The soldered in place fuse went as well, I bought a doubled fuse holder. That is two holders soldered back to back. Put it on the dead one put new fuse in the top one. No solder required. Repairman tried to hump me for 150 bucks over the repair it needed, the month before. He said it had a weak low voltage supply. I explained I could fix simple radios what did he mean. Turns out the solid state 1 piece bridge was cracking open from heat. The part cost 25 cents, he could have charged me another 26 bucks(the set was already apart), he tried to gouge me. It took 5 minutes to fix.

This way of replacing will take same time or less, cut it solder to the stubbs.

author
MdP1632 made it!(author)2013-02-23

The best method of replacing the LED, in my opinion, would be to desolder the original LED and solder a new one in its place. Make sure you match the polarity to the original. If the LED requires more power than is provided from the garden light, you may wish to incorporate a "Joule Thief" circuit such as the one found here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Joule-Thief/#step1.

author
ttaylor10 made it!(author)2012-08-30

How did you get the solar panel off the plastic housing? I can't seem to cut it with anything. Help!!
Oh and thanks for posting this 'ible.. nice work.

author
MdP1632 made it!(author)2012-09-04

I actually left the solar panel attached to the plastic. If you have to remove it and you don't have a dremel or similar tool, you might want to try heating the plastic a little to soften it. Then, while it's still soft, cut into it a little bit, and repeat as needed. Be careful not to melt any wires or break the solar cell. Good luck, and I'm glad you like the Instructable.

author
bad_pissy made it!(author)2012-01-13

You can use pearl white nail polish.I used for my sun jar 2 bottles of nail polish, droped them into the glass jar, put the cover, shake well and then remove the cover and then turn the jar upside down for a few hours, it looks great

author
MdP1632 made it!(author)2012-05-31

Thanks. That sounds like a really good idea. I'll have to try it when I make my next one.

author
RadioactiveBees made it!(author)2011-09-03

would Wax paper work instead of glass frosting?

author
MdP1632 made it!(author)2011-09-03

Yes. Wax paper should work pretty well. Even just a piece of white paper works. I tried it that way initially, but I prefer the look of the frosted glass.

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