Introduction: Upcycled Glass Lamps With Mason Jar

There is another studio next door to me that is a glass blowing shop. Sometimes they will throw away their scrap colored glass, so I picked this stuff out of the dumpster. My first lamp made from aluminum & concrete, while being really cool and well received, had a few design flaws I wanted to address in version 2.0 (weight, easy access to the light, portability/shippability, modularity).

For the base, I used a lamination of 3/4" plywood that I salvaged from some old sawhorses I built but wasn't using anymore. The jar that holds the glass is an oversized mason jar that I salvaged from a wedding centerpiece (and another pair using flower vases). The lighting for it is achieved with an LED light strip that sits inside an acrylic tube within the lamp and is switched with a kind of industrial looking toggle switch.

■ Acrylic tube:

■ LED light strips:

■ Wall power adapter:

■ Extension connector:

■ Light strip connector:

■ Toggle switch:

■ Mason jars:


■ Cullah - Where You Do Belong

Step 1: Demo

Picture of Demo

And my favorite thing about this design - I made different "cartridges" that can be interchanged with different glass colors!

Step 2: Cutting & Gluing Plywood Blocks

Picture of Cutting & Gluing Plywood Blocks

I start with an old sawhorse I built a while back and it's been sitting around because I just don't use it anymore. I chop it up in strip on the table saw so I can reuse the material. This is going to be laminated to make the base for the lamps.

I was able to pull enough material out to make 4 lamps. All of these pieces are cut to length on the miter saw.

I use wood glue on all of the pieces and spread it out to prepare for the glue up.

There are 4 sections that I clamp up. I do them all together, but leave glue out between the sections so that they will just pop apart when the glue is dry.

Step 3: Shaping the Blocks

Picture of Shaping the Blocks

Since these are pretty small (too small for the planer) I sand them down flat with my belt sander.

I then square the pieces up and cut them to their final square shape on the miter saw.

I love the look of the stacked plywood.

Step 4: Cutting the Holes on the CNC

Picture of Cutting the Holes on the CNC

I'm going to use my CNC to cut out the hole for both the jar and the lighting underneath. Just a note that the same thing could be achieved by cutting the pieces prior to glue up and using a router & drill by hand to fine-tune the shape of the cavity. I use double stick tape to hold it in place during cutting.

I measure for the lid of the jar to set up the program. I want it to be just big enough to fit the diameter of the lid and to bury the entire height of it so you won't be able to see it.

Sexy sawdust shot. This is the top of the blank where the jar will fit.

And this is the bottom of the lamp where the lighting and electronics will sit including a thin cutout for a bottom panel that will cover everything up.

Here it is after the cut, just need to clean off the sticky tape and fine-tune the shape a bit.

Step 5: Final Shaping & Bottom Cover

Picture of Final Shaping & Bottom Cover

I round over the top corners to soften the shape of it a bit. I then do my final sanding.

Then on either side I drill out a hole using a forstner bit, one for the toggle switch and one for the cord.

For the bottom, I decided to use a piece of aluminum step flashing that I had sitting around because it's nice and thin. I hammer it flat and cut it to size to fit the hole in the bottom.

To finish the wood blocks I use a finish which is a mix of linseed oil and beeswax. It soaks into the grain to bring out the color and also gives it a slight shine.

Step 6: Preparing for Glass

Picture of Preparing for Glass

To keep the lid in place, I mix up a bit of 30 minute epoxy and apply it around the perimeter of the hole and push the lid into place.

I decided to drill out a hole in the lid of the jar because this will allow me to hold back the glass in the jar, while also letting the light pass up into the glass.

To let the light pass all the way to the top of the jar (so it's not just bright at the bottom) I use an acrylic tube. I cut it to length carefully (slowly) on the miter saw.

Step 7: Installing the Glass

Picture of Installing the Glass

Now this is what makes this project, the scrap colored glass!

I start by applying a thin layer of the glass to the bottom of the jar and then inserting the acrylic tube.

It's then just a matter of filling up the rest of the jar around the tube and shaking the jar every once in a while to make sure that the glass is packed tight.

I can then put a lid on the jar and screw it down to make sure it will fit when I screw it into the lamp.

Step 8: Installing the LED (1st Try)

Picture of Installing the LED (1st Try)

For the lighting, I initially decided upon using this LED worklight, which is what the block was cut to fit. I changed my mind, but you'll see why later.

I have to dissect it by pulling the cord, light, driver, etc. out of the old case.

Then it's just a matter of fastening the cord in place and wiring it back into the driver.

And also powering the wiring through the toggle switch and fastening that in place.

Everything can then be tucked away and I hold the bottom panel in place with some rubber feet. These are held on with screws so that holds everything in place, but also gives the lamp a place to sit and keeps it from sliding around.

Step 9: Change of Direction

Picture of Change of Direction

It's at this point where I test the lamps out and leave them on for a few hours to see how the LED lights I chose handle the layout and confined space. They ended up getting too hot for me to be comfortable with so I decided to halt the project. Instead of completely ditching the idea though, I decided to give it another shot and picked up some LED light strips that I thought might work better.

Step 10: Installing the LED (final Attempt)

Picture of Installing the LED (final Attempt)

I pull the whole lamp back apart and luckily the wood base will still work without much modification. To power the light strips, they plug into a connector, so I use some 2 part epoxy to hold this in place in the hole that used to hold the cord.

It's then just a matter of soldering up the connections to the wires and the connector that goes to the light strip.

This is all wired up and connected to the power and the switch. I connect the strip light to the adapter and fasten the switch back in place. I chose the length of the strip to be 4 times the length of the acrylic tube so it can go up and down twice inside the tube (if that makes sense?).

The lights get pushed right down into the acrylic tube and I use a small dab of hot glue to hold the end in place so it won't settle out of the glass over time. The feet are then screwed back in place.

Step 11: Powering Up

Picture of Powering Up

Success! I left these light on for an entire day and didn't get any heating at all.

On the left is the pair that I built with mason jars and on the right is the pair I built with flower vases. Only the mason jars are interchangeable.

Step 12: Glamour Shots

Picture of Glamour Shots

These are particularly hard to photograph because of the light. In person they are actually a little brighter and the light looks more consistent from top to bottom.

Thanks for checking out this build! Be sure to watch the build video for the full experience.


TSJWang (author)2017-02-25


Maker Saga (author)2017-02-20


sickdog74 (author)2017-02-06

Great job! Love the music!

violetsmuse (author)2017-02-06

I wish I had all those cool machines... I followed you because of the music, lol, and I do like the lamps as well. Happy Monday!

hp5551935 (author)2017-02-02

Make that Instructable....dang spellchecker.....

hp5551935 (author)2017-02-02

Very Nice Inscrutable....I like the concept, and am thinking what different things I can use in the light vessel. Also thanks for the GREAT MUSIC that song and have never heard of the artist.

BirgitJansen (author)2017-01-30

Best Demo ever! :-) Love the instructable, love the project!

haha thanks!

CraftAndu (author)2017-01-30

Beautiful project and a really nice video! Voted!

JackmanWorks (author)CraftAndu2017-02-02

Thanks so much!

random_builder (author)2017-01-30

These look great!


mrsmerwin (author)2017-01-30

I may not make this lamp but I am going to remember the look of the stacked plywood. At some time I will be using it. I love the look!

JackmanWorks (author)mrsmerwin2017-02-02

Definitely! Checkout the plywood stools I posted a while back too, I have a feeling you'll enjoy those

LindsayD24 (author)2017-01-30

This is my first time visiting this site and this project is by far the most gorgeous and unique "recycled" lamp I think I have ever seen. It's just beautiful! Would be pretty with glass marbles too. LOVE IT!! I think I have found my new favorite online hang-out!!!

JackmanWorks (author)LindsayD242017-02-02

Awesome! That really means a lot. This place is great, keep an eye on the front page, it's always changing with amazing new content. Marbles is a great idea too!

smartrem (author)2017-01-31

I really like the plywood enclosure.

JackmanWorks (author)smartrem2017-02-02


mlawing (author)2017-01-31

Awesome project; killer article; tasty gifs. VOTED.

JackmanWorks (author)mlawing2017-02-02

Thanks Mike! I'm getting addicted to these GIFs now

irishjim68 (author)2017-01-31

Awesome! Love the look. Standard 12v LED strips can also be powered from a 9v battery to make it completely portable.

JackmanWorks (author)irishjim682017-02-02


maxhirez (author)2017-02-02

Gorgeous! Now I just need to trick someone into opening a glass-blowing studio nearby. (Insert "glory-hole" double-entendre here.)

JackmanWorks (author)maxhirez2017-02-02

ha! should be easy enough :)

DianaR76 (author)2017-02-02

I love your creativeness! Do you sell them?

JackmanWorks (author)DianaR762017-02-02

I do! They're on my store at

JackieM103 (author)2017-02-02

Beautiful! All the woodworking that goes into the base is incredible. Very nice!

JackmanWorks (author)JackieM1032017-02-02

Thanks so much

3DWulf (author)2017-02-02

Nice one!

Love the music in the background as well.

JackmanWorks (author)3DWulf2017-02-02

Awesome, thanks!

shanyh (author)2017-02-02

Beautiful job.

JackmanWorks (author)shanyh2017-02-02


Evelyn348 (author)2017-02-02

love it, looks great. How did you attach the vase to the base?

JackmanWorks (author)Evelyn3482017-02-02

Thanks! Checkout step 6, the lid is stuck in the base using epoxy. Later on the jar is then screwed into this lid.

ChristineC168 (author)2017-02-02



tracywolf3 (author)2017-02-02

Your lamp is awesome but can we all take a moment to appreciate the adorable thumbnail gif you made for this? Too funny.

JackmanWorks (author)tracywolf32017-02-02

haha! glad you enjoyed

About This Instructable




Bio: I've been "making" for 10 years now - Jackman Works was founded in 2009 to showcase my creations and I have been growing it a ... More »
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