Hello Thursday Readers!
I have a super cool tutorial for you, especially for all the parties that will be coming when the weather gets nice and warm. They’re called sun jars and I think they’re super cool as the idea is that you can leave them out in the sun to charge so that they can glow through the evening’s darker hours. I love that they are reusable as well, and they are super pretty. I’ll admit, they do take a little deconstructing that requires a couple of tools, but it is all pretty straightforward and I will link you to the full tutorial from Life Hacker so that if you you would like you can see an expanded version of my simple explanations.
You will need a few things before you get started. You will need 4 Mason jars that have lids that can be locked down and hermetically sealed – you can buy these at any hardware store for a pretty reasonable rate, and most of the lids for jars like these are pretty uniform, which is the important part. You will also need glass frosting spray paint (those who read my posts know that I love this stuff, and you can find it at hardware and craft stores), you will need sun lamps – the kind that you stick in your garden that charge during the day and glow at night. You can find these at hardware stores, and I’ve seen them at dollar stores, so take a look around and find the cheapest option for you.
There are a few tools you’ll need to aid in assembly: Pliers, a large, flat head screwdriver, a small Phillips head screw driver, packing tape, and possibly some snips that will cut metal, depending on which lamps you buy.
Your first step is to frost the jars. On the outside. But you will need to keep the lid clear, so please aim carefully or you can cover the lid with plastic wrap to avoid getting any frosting paint on it. Please follow the directions on the bottle.
Next you will need to take apart the original lamps. The original poster used some lamps from Lowes which you can find in the lighting section. They’re the “Portfolio Solar Black Pathlight” item#190519. Taking apart the solar lamps is much simpler than you might think. Use a screw driver or a skinny chisel to gently pry the solar panel loose from the aluminum housing. The wires and important stuff are nearly dead center so as long as you don’t shove the screw driver in deep or jerk it up hard, you’re very unlikely to damage anything.
Once you have the panel pried away from the housing you’ll see three glue-like smudges underneath. These smudges are some sort of silicone-like paste used to cover the screw heads. We didn’t bother to scrape it away, just push the head of a small Phillips head screw driver into it and start unscrewing. It isn’t very thick and scrapes away when you pull up the screw – see below!
Gently wiggle the electronic guts free from the aluminum case. The guts are pretty simple and sturdy, if you need to gently pry with the same screw driver you used to pop off the solar panels, everything should be fine.
This may look complicated and like delicate and dangerous work, but it’s not, really. just be careful not to damage any wires and you’ll be fine!
Unless you want to have to resolder everything, you’ll need to cut the aluminum housing to keep everything intact without the hassle of repairing all the wires. We used a small pair of snips to snip the aluminum and then two needle nose pliers to pull the metal apart and slip the panel and guts free. If you don’t have snips you can use two pairs of pliers to gently flex the metal back and forth until it snaps.
This is what your finished, disassembled product should look like.
Once you have these, you will just need to secure them into the tops of the Mason jars. You can be more secure than using tape, but tape seemed to work just fine and was pretty easy. So I would stick with that. You can glue or caulk it if you’d like, but me? I’d stick with this easy and cheap and clean alternative, so long as everything holds together okay.
Now here’s the coolest part. If you’d like your glow lamps to be coloured, you will need to attach a filter. All you need for this, are plasticized labels from water bottles like Aquafina for blue and Gatorade for the orange/red tint. As long as the label is very translucent, you shouldn’t see a drop in the lamp brightness, either, which is super awesome. All you need is a 1″ square from the label and tape it over the light, though you’ll just need to tape it down very securely so you don’t get any white light escaping out of the sides.
There you have it! A super cool diy that looks really complicated that isn’t really that complicated at all. Have fun!