I recently came across a Lifehacker post about a DYI project to make Sun Jars and was inspired to try it myself. It is easy to do– in fact my method was even easier than Lifehacker’s– and the results are spectacular.
For this project you need a jar, a solar LED garden light, frosted glass paint and epoxy.
First, a few words about the materials used.
I found these excellent Westinghouse solar garden lights in the Home and Garden section of our local Fred Meyer. The label on the underside of the box calls them “WH Gladiator 1PC Pewter”, the packaging also calls them “Item #474005-41” from International Development Corp. and Westinghouse. I’ve searched Google for all of these keywords and can’t find these lights anywhere, so I just bought a bunch from Fred Meyer. These lights are perfect because they fit perfectly into the lid of the jar so you don’t need to dismantle the light like the Lifehacker post instructs.
Commenters on the Lifehacker page reported problems finding jars for this project. I found quite a few at local stores (Fred Meyer and McDaniel’s Do it Center), and McDaniel’s happily ordered me more when I exhausted their stock. Amazon lists them as in stock, so they’re out there.
[UPDATE] it rained recently and we were dismayed to find that the Fred Meyer jars actually filled with water! The “Fido” jars I got from McDaniel’s, however, did not have this problem. So I definitely recommend getting “ermetic” jars.
First, dismantle your jar, removing the lid and the wire latch. Keep the pieces, especially the small wire loop that keeps it all together.
Paint the outside of the jar with your Frosted Glass paint. You don’t need lots of coats, just one will probably do just fine. You do want even coverage, however, so spray lightly and don’t get too close to avoid pooling the paint on the surface.
While the paint dries let’s work on the lid.
Remove the light from the stick/reflector part, just rotate it and it will come apart. Discard the stick/reflector part unless you can find another use for it as an olympic torch or magic wand or something. Mix your epoxy and apply it to the top of the light assembly as shown in the picture. You should first place your light into the lid of the jar to a) make sure it fits and b) get a sense of what surfaces of the light come into contact with the glass lid. To me it felt like the contact was around the ring of the light, not just the top face, so I applied my epoxy to the edge as well as the top.
After the epoxy is on the light, set it into the lid and allow the two to bond.
When your paint is dry and epoxy completely set you’re ready to reassemble the jar.
If you haven’t already done so, pull the plastic tab from the light assembly, this engages the rechargable battery.
That’s it! You’re done.
Put in the sun to charge and when it gets dark enjoy your new Sun Jar.