Introduction: Sun Jar (with a Twist)

Picture of Sun Jar (with a Twist)

In this instructable I'm showing how I went about creating a sun jar, but with a small twist of my own, making it ever so slightly more personal. Let's get on with it.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

For this instructable you'll need:

--- MATERIALS ---
- 1 mason jar, preferably with a hinged glass lid
- 1 solar garden light, with a diameter as large as the lid or smaller
- double sided scotch tape
- orange/red spray paint
- 1 sheet of laser decal transfer paper

--- TOOLS ---
- sanding paper
- regular pliers
- laser printer

Step 2: Sanding

Picture of Sanding

The first thing we need to do with the mason jar is sand the outside of the jar. This will give the jar a frosty look and feel and the light dispersed from the inside of the jar later on will be have a "warmer" feel. For this step I used a 120 grit sanding paper and it did the job perfectly.

Be careful when sanding not to put to much pressure on the jar as it might break and also be careful not to sand the lid as it'll need to remain transparent for the sunlight to come through to the solar light.

Step 3: Painting

Picture of Painting

For this step, I've decided to apply the paint from the inside of the jar. This is a bit more difficult then applying the paint from the outside, but it provides us with a longer lasting paint job as there won't be a possibility to damage the paint in any way which would inevitably happen if it was applied from the outside (scratches, chipping etc.).

For this, I used a darker orange spray paint and applied three coats to even out the color. Be careful to apply thin layers every time so as to prevent color drops which will inevitably show later on. Let every later dry completely before applying the next one.

Step 4: Mounting the Solar Light

Picture of Mounting the Solar Light

In the first picture, you can see the solar light being used. It's a standard garden solar light with a rechargeable AA battery in the housing.

To be able to attach the light to the lid, I'm using a double sided scotch tape cut into four equally sized pieces. These are attached to the light as shown in the pictures. Be careful not to block the solar panel when applying the tape as this will prevent the proper recharge of the battery during daylight.

After sticking on the tape, we are going to attach the light from the inner side of the lid and the solar panel will be facing outwards from the jar (picture 3).

Step 5: The Twist

Picture of The Twist

For this jar I wanted to make something special so I've decided to make an image which combines different events and figures from my life which are important to me and apply this picture on the outside of the jar. This way when the jar is lit up in the evening, this collage will be easily viewable and will remind you of the nice things in life :).

To make the collage I've used stock images which closely pictured what I wanted to capture and combined then using GIMP (an open source image processing software). When you're satisfied with the result and have something similar to the pictures above, you'll need to print it out on a transparent laser decal transfer paper (similar to this:http://www.amazon.com/Sheets-Premium-Waterslide-Transfer-Standard/dp/B008UDKFQS).

After printing it out, cut around your image and try to remove as much of the empty space as possible. Afterwards, follow the instructions for applying the cutout on the jar for your specific type of transfer paper. Mine included simply dipping the paper into water and after a few seconds of this, removing the paper back and applying the thin film onto the main jar.

After applying the cutout, leave it to dry before handling the jar as it is very easy to create ridges in the film (as so happened in my case :) ).

Step 6: Final Assembly and Test

The final step is to assemble the mason jar and the lid and test the finished product. I haven't got any pictures of it glowing in the dark (bad camera at the moment), but will try to provide some soon. For the moment, I can tell you that the sun jar gives out a nice warm light and the image on the jar is being lit perfectly :)

I'm quite satisfied with how it turned out and I hope you enjoyed this instructable and will make one of your own soon :).

Until next time!

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