Jelly Jar Lights




Introduction: Jelly Jar Lights

I am working on a solar powered house, it runs on two different voltage systems. The inverter provides 110VAC to the outlets, and all of the lighting in the house is provided by a 12VDC system. I did this to increase efficiency, there are a bunch of losses each time you convert a voltage from one type to another, this way I am pulling straight from the batteries and have minimal loss. In the main part of the house I purchased nice can lighting and converted it at $26 a pop. I needed 24 more lights in the basement and decided I was too cheap to do that again. After trolling Pinterest I came up with this design.

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Step 1: Printed Parts

The parts were printed using PLA, on medium resolution, I used 3 shells and 20% infill. You can use your finished color, or add a layer of paint to finish it. I have found that the rustoleum hammered paint works very well on printed parts as the texture covers the layers well, this gives it a nice finish for a high use area.

Step 2: Assembling the Outer Ring

The top ring of the jelly jar gets press fit into the outer ring, this part is only decorative and can be left out or replaced with something fancier.

The rolled part of the jar lid stops the ring from sliding down.

Step 3: Adding the Socket

The sockets were purchased on amazon, they are cheap and work with a bunch of different bulbs. I designed the inner part to accept the socket with a press fit. There is some variation between the ceramic parts. I found that warming the hole in the plastic with a lighter or heat gun will allow it to be pressed in easily.

Step 4: Final Assembly

The socket assembly simply sits inside the jar ring. When the assembly is screwed to the ceiling it sandwiches the decorative ring and the jar ring to the ceiling locking them in place.

The bulbs that I used I bought at lowes they are 12v 2.5w outside lighting bulbs, they give off an equivalent to a 40W bulb. They also create very little heat. This assembly is surrounded by plastic that can melt choosing a very low energy LED bulb is critical to safety. When on these bulbs are only warm to the touch and feel like holding a coffee cup.

Step 5: Install and Notes

I drilled a 1" hole in the Sheetrock next to a piece of strapping, this allowed me to fasten to the strapping and fish the wires above. The jelly jar simply threads onto its metal ring. I played around with tinting the glass as the bare bulbs are hard to look at. White spray-paint was the easiest on the eyes, but dimmed the output. Frosted glass spray-paint gave a nice in between and is what i will be using on my project.

Low Voltage DC is bound by different rules than high voltage "lines" voltage. As such boxes are optional, if you look at home depot for low voltage boxes you will find that they are the front of the box only and are intended to provide a place to fasten the cover. low voltage DC is very safe and very efficient when used in conjunction with solar power.

I have been thinking of other places that these would be handy

  • lighting a off grid shed
  • lighting on a boat
  • lighting in a work trailer, or utility van
  • lighting in a tree-house or playhouse

I would love to hear your ideas

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    3 Discussions


    4 years ago

    the use of low-voltage on transport cables can cause much greater energy loss than caused by transforming. I'm very interested in the math of your very cool project.

    For reader who don't know what I'm talking about, check


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is such a cool idea, and I really dig the finished look. Well done!

    KitKat Sue
    KitKat Sue

    4 years ago

    I think this would be a cool look, but for those of us without a 3d printer I think you could shape one from wax make a mold and then cast all you need. You could then make them in fun colors or to look like almost any material you wanted. You have inspired me! Now I want to make some for my kitchen. Maybe under cabinet lighting? :)