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DIY Project: Sun Jar

July 25, 2009
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With Jamie and Nolan out of town for the better part of the week, I decided to pull the trigger on some long-planned DIY projects.

The first was building a sun jar. Basically, a solar-powered lamp that doesn’t look like ass. I first read about these on Lifehacker, and thought, “hey, I can do that”. And I must say, I’m quite pleased with the result:

Click through for instructions on how to build your own.

Building your own sun jar is actually ridiculously easy. To do so, you need:

  • A solar light (I opted for the $4.96 Portfolio Solar Black Pathlight from Lowe’s)
  • A glass canning jar ($4.97 at Wal-Mart)
  • Frosting spray (I found a Valspar Frosting spray at Lowe’s for about $4)
  • A flat-head screwdriver
  • A small phillips-head screwdriver
  • Packing tape

Step 1: Getting the Goods

First things first. You need to get the solar cell and light assembly out of its aluminum housing. Bust out the flat-head screwdriver and pry the solar panel loose from the housing. This will take a small bit of effort thanks to the adhesive securing the panel, but it comes off easy enough. And because the wiring is all in the middle, you don’t have to worry about breaking anything.

Step 2: Ditch the Housing

The aluminum housing is just a hair too big to fit into the jar lid, so it has to go. Fortunately, it’s really thin and a pair of wire snips can make short work of it. Or if you’d rather, you could cut the wires and solder them back, but why go through the extra effort?

Once you’ve removed the aluminum housing, take the solar panel and light assembly, shove them into the jar lid, and secure them in place with packing tape. It may not seem like it’s holding real well, but the pressure from the jar seal will keep it in place just fine.

Step 3: Frosting the Jars

Frost the outside of the jar (you want the inside the be glossy and reflective still…and besides its just easier to frost the outside. Be sure to leave the top of the lid unfrosted. After all, that’s where the solar cell does its thing.

Step 4: Let it charge up, and enjoy!

Your sun jar is now ready. It’ll automatically charge up during the day, and turn on at night. No maintenance, nothing to recharge, and it looks pretty friggin’ cool. Not bad for $14.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2009 9:10 pm

    That is really awesome!

  2. Matt permalink*
    July 26, 2009 9:11 pm


  3. July 5, 2010 11:00 pm

    merci pour cette merveilleuse idée, à très bientot!
    bonjour de france, miette


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