DIY: Upcycled Candle Jar Solar Light

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Introduction: DIY: Upcycled Candle Jar Solar Light

About: Hi! I'm here to be challenged to make cool new things or how to problem-solve. I love learning!

Are you interested in upcycling that cheap, unsightly solar light outside your home? What about reusing that depleted candle jar that beckons you for another light? Well, I may have a solution for you! Turn these items into a rustic solar light that you can enjoy outdoors and rekindle that love for your candle and enjoy every last remaining drop.

Supplies

  • Candle Jar
  • Solar Light
  • Hot glue or Super Glue
  • Standard Wire Hanger (about 12-14 gauge thickness)
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Cutting Pliers
  • Safety Glasses (optional, at your own risk)

Supplementary items to remove wax:

  • Sauce Pan
  • Water
  • Mitten (for handling)
  • Eating Utensil (such as a disposable fork or spoon)

Supplementary items to remove jar labels:

  • Hairdryer
  • Knife or Razor

Step 1: Boil Water

Once you have gathered your materials, it's time to begin with preparing your jar. If your jar is clean and ready, you're way ahead of the game! You can skip to step 4.

But if, like me, you have a bit of wax at the bottom of your jar, begin by adding water to your sauce pan. You'll need enough water to be able to melt the wax all around the sides of your jar. I turned my burner on high to boil the water faster. Once the water is at a rumbling boil, put your jar into the water. Wait about 5 minutes. Meantime, you could pull off the rubber sealer around the candle lid and give it a scrubbing if needed.

Step 2: Melt and Pour

When you get a good amount of wax melted, flip the candle lid upside down and pour some of the melted wax from the jar slowly and carefully using an oven mitt or cloth. If you still had some solid wax, just repeat this step again until you have enough of the wax you'd like to keep and discard the rest. Remember to turn off your stove!

Then, I used a disposable fork to pick out the wick but you can use a regular fork. I waited about 5-8 minutes until the wax in the candle lid began to solidify. You want to wait until it's about the consistency of a firm pudding to press your wick into "new" wax. Now you have a new candle to enjoy!

Step 3: Remove Labels

After you've disposed of any remaining wax (you can spoon out any large solid wax bits once cooled), you could scrub the inside to get all the residue out.

Next, use a hairdryer to heat up the labels and gently peel them off.

If you're using the hairdryer, make sure to consistently move the nozzle back and forth across the labels to avoid starting a fire. It only takes a couple of seconds (depending on heat) and you can start to peal the label, by hand, using your finger nails (careful not to burn yourself!) or a scraper. I almost removed all of it in one go, but had to remove a little bit with a knife. Don't forget to do the same with any other labels on the jar. I had one on the bottom.

  • Did you know? This method can work for reusing or saving some shipping boxes.

Once all of your labels are off, give it a good cleaning to remove any residue remaining. Now let's get to the real work!

Step 4: Cutting Wire

Note: You may choose to wear latex or vinyl gloves to avoid getting splinters.

Take your hanger and, using your cutting pliers, snip about one inch above the bottom long piece so you have two ends with a semi-hook (see the picture if you're confused).

Grab the long wire piece (wire #1) and use the neck of your jar to create a smooth curve. This will be your handle. Set it aside.

I took my cutters and snipped just below the twisty neck of the hanger for both shoulder wires. Fearing I might not have enough wire, I went ahead and untwisted one side for good measure. These two smaller pieces will be what goes around the neck of your jar. I straightened them by hand to the best of my ability.

Next, I used my needle-nose pliers to bend one end of the shorter wires to make a loop (loop #1). I did the same for the other wire strip (loop #2) and hooked them together.

This part is hard to explain: Take your looped short pieces and press the loop against the neck of the jar. With your hands, wrap the wire as tightly as possible to the jar until the non-looped ends cross. This should give you an idea of how much extra wire you have.

Cut all but one inch of excess wire off of one end. Use your needle-nose pliers to turn this into a loop (loop #3).

Tricky part: Wrap your wire around the jar as tightly as you can and feed the non-looped wire into loop #3. Pull it through tightly using the needle-nose pliers, bend to hold in place (to form loop #4), and cut off all the excess. Pinch the wire closely together with the pliers to secure loop #4 tightly so it doesn't slip off the jar. If it does, try this tricky part again.

Note: If you try this too many times, the wire will break off.

As you can see, mine didn't turn out very neat, but it gives it a "weathered" look.

Step 5: Attach the Handle.

Now you want to grab wire #1 you shaped earlier to make a handle. Hook one end to the edge of the wire around the neck of the jar.

You can either hook it to a smooth side or hook it onto the connected loops to make a trio of hooked loops. I used each method for "tutorial purposes". Once hooked, use your needle-nose pliers to pinch it to a closed loop. Do the same for the other side.

And with that, you have a candle jar with a handle!

Step 6: Attach Your Solar Light

Since my dollar store solar light came with a cheap plastic (now cracked) casing, I decided it needed a better home.

Take the solar part of your light and add your adhesive (whether it be hot glue or super glue) to the bottom outer edge of the solar light.

Place the solar light (adhesive side down) onto the top of the rubber seal of the candle lid. Once pressed down firmly, remember to flip the solar light upside down to make sure your light switch is ON. Press the solar light seal onto the jar until it pops in.

Note: I tested both adhesives and they resulted in the same thing when trying to remove the lid... it detached from the rubber seal. So this is a one-time adherence. If you pull it off (like I had to from forgetting the ON switch), just scrape off the old adhesive and glue again.

Step 7: Finished!

And with that, you now have a Candle Jar Solar Light. Congratulations on your new creation!

  • Next time, try this with a Mason jar! The only difference is you'll be gluing the solar light to the outer ring of the Mason jar lid.

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