July 11, 2011

Solar Firefly Jars

These glowing jars remind me of catching fireflies
 when I was a kid.  We would gently trap them in our
 hands and then put our "prey" into jars to
 watch their little florescent bottoms blink 
off and on in the twilight.

The tiny little bulb of the solar light looks like a
 firefly's tail end to me.  A candle in a mason jar on 
a summer night looks great outside to light a path
or patio but sometimes, due to safety concerns,
a candle is not a good option. 

I am copying this idea from Dawn at
 Creative Cain Cabin blog. 
 When I saw some solar yard lights on sale at
 Hobby Lobby, I decided to give them a try.

  The lights I got were smaller than the ones
 Dawn used so I got a smaller jars also. 

.(In case you didn't click over to Dawn's link, she took the stem off of a solar path light
 and glued the business end of the light onto the top of a mason jar.)

The solar lights were $1.85 each. 
The jars were also on sale for $.65 each.
 The total for each solar jar was $2.45. 

There are three main parts to the lights:
the stem (or stake), the diffusing cone and
the solar light top.   They disassemble easily. 
They also reassemble easily so you can 
play with different looks for your solar jar. 


See the little light near the top of the jar?
Doesn't it look like a firefly's bottom?

I had seen some cute old-timey zinc-looking mason
 jar lids on Etsy so I tried to mimic that look in order
 to cover up the stars on the outside my solar lights.

  I painted a coat of grey on first.  Be sure not to cover
 the solar panel up with paint.

When that was dry, I put on dry-brush coat of pearlized white.
I was actually hoping to find a bottle of silver but I got tired of looking in the bottomless pit I call my "box of craft paints".



After you have painted the tops (if you want to),
 let them sit outside and soak up some sun.
  I left the jars under the tops while they were "sunning"
 so the little bulb would not get damaged .

  Dawn hot-glued her tops onto the jars. 
 I'm still experimenting with the look of the jars
so I have not committed to attaching the tops.  

When it gets dark, the jars begin to glow all on their own. 

Shaky picture of jars in the grass to show amount of  light shed by each type jar I experiemented with.
Here is a solar jar with the diffusing cone still on:

 Dawn had said in her post that the cone could be
 removed, so I tried that since I was not "in love"
 with the look of the cone. The cone does serve 
the purpose of spreading the light which
 you lose by taking it out. 

Here is the jar without the diffusing cone:


I also tried crumpled up (wrapping paper type)
 cellophane in hopes of diffusing the light but not
having an obvious cone  hanging down in the jar.

 The little bulb did not get hot so it never made
 the cellophane in the jar hot either. 

Here is the jar with crumpled cellophane:

I photographed these jars sitting on a white surface
 so you can evaluate the different light patterns that
 are cast by the jars.  \
Outside

Inside

Here are bird's eye views of the patterns...




...and to be fair, here is the fun pattern of the cone
 before it was encased in a mason jar...

Which type jar filler (or not) do you like best?

What is another type "filler" that would diffuse the 
light in the jar but be attractive? 

I'm leaning towards the naked little light bulb that looks
like a firefly's behind. 

               
                                                                      

19 comments

  1. These are terrific. I have seen those solar lights lately really marked down. I have always wanted some to stick in my pots on the deck...but these mason jars would be fun too. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I featured this here at my blog Coffee and their Kisses. Please stop by and grab a button!

    ReplyDelete
  3. These are so wonderful and magical looking - just like fireflies! Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Miss Kitty!
    I saw these on a different post recently and was so impressed with the idea. I think I like the cellophane in the jar --- showing more light?

    I do have an idea though... it would only work if you were to sort of ruin the jar.... and that would be to spray a matte clear varnish on the in or outside of the jar.

    When the jar becomes opaque you get more of a glowing light.

    (I have so many lanterns around here and the opaqued glass ones give SO much more light!)
    Just a thought.
    xx
    Alison

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love your new solar lights. I've done something similar but using an old light globe instead of a jar, and it fits nicely and gives a great glow. You can get new ones at HD for only 1.69 and they have frosted and plain. I plan to make more. They make a great movable light. I like the jars too because you can hang them.

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