DIY Solar Powered Mason Jar Lights / Lantern Craft Tutorial

JAR CRAFTS Published September 30th, 2013 166,230 views
5 Frosted Multi-colored Mason Jar Solar Lanterns

Step by step DIY tutorial on how to make the best, affordable multicolored mason jar solar lights; a solar powered mason jar craft idea you definitely want! The making of these mason jar lights is very fun, educational, and rewarding. Following this DIY tutorial, you’ll be able to create these beautiful multicolored lights in no time!

This is a very easy and inexpensive project, and not only do they provide countless hours of personal enjoyment, they also make great gifts– especially to anyone who might have a deck, patio, or garden where they live.

You can find solar powered lights for your yard at about any hardware store, as well as Walmart in the gardening center, and that’s exactly what we are going to use!

6 Frosted Solar Powered Sun Jars

Check out our Frosted Solar Powered Sun Jars tutorial!

The ones made of plastic instead of metal are going to cost anywhere from $1.98 to $3 dollars each. If you pay anymore than that, you are at the wrong store!

The basic function of a solar-cell powered light is to transfer energy from the sun into a small battery which is capable of powering a very bright, but very energy efficient bulb throughout the night.

5 Frosted Multi-colored Mason Jar Solar Lanterns

Solar Jar Instructions

After purchasing your solar light, remove the top/cap from the assembly. It contains the photo cell (on top), chip, small battery, and bulb.


Depending on the kind of light you purchase and the size of its top/cap, and depending on the type of jar you are using (e.g., regular mason jars as pictured above), you can go about this project a couple of different ways. We’ll start with two methods if using a regular mason jar with metal or plastic lids.

Solar Powered Mason Jar Lid

Solar Jar Lid

Solar Powering Regular Mason Jars – Method 1

The first way is that you purchase a light where the cap simply twists off of the portion that goes into the ground, and then size that piece up to fit inside the ring of a mason jar lid by taping around the solar cap until it is snug. Then simply add glue to make sure it stays inside your mason jar lid (e.g., see photo on your right for example).

This is the preferred method of making the solar lids.

Solar Powering Regular Mason Jars – Method 2

The second way is that you will have to carefully take apart the plastic cap and remove the cell, battery, chip, light, etc., and then drill a hole in the top of the lid that is large enough to fit the dangling components through. The cell itself is usually square and after it’s connected components slip through the drilled hole, it can rest and be glued on top of the hole, creating basically the same thing you see here, except using the inner-portion of the lid itself as the housing instead of the original store-bought top. This can be done, but it can be time consuming and frustrating.

Glass Jars

As mentioned above, purchase the solar lights with the tops that twist off of the stake portion, then simply glue the entire solar cap to the lid of your glass jar, making sure that the cell is exposed through the glass so that the sun will be able to charge the battery properly.

You don’t need any particular size of light, just make sure that the top portion can fit into your jar and then be glued onto the glass lid of the jar.

If you intend on frosting your jar (with glass-frosting spray paint), and you definitely should if you want the same kind of glow as seen in the photos, be sure not to frost the lid where the solar cell is going to be, or your cell won’t be able to charge.

How Solar Lights Function

These devices operate a couple of different ways. Some operate on a built-in timer where they assume darkness at a certain time, some get activated when they know they’ve been delivering a charge to the battery, but suddenly that power intake is decreasing (it believes the sun is going down), and others simply contain a photodetector / photosensor that detects light.

Send photos of your finished project to!

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  • Mark

    I can only find the glass frosting in clear. So I’m wondering how you got the different shades?

  • Misti

    I believe the bulb of the solar light itself was painted to achieve the color.

  • Chance Sanders

    Definitely what Misti said… the frosting is ‘clear’, and then you simply add a drop of neon/semi-transparent paint (from the kids crafts area in tiny little connected paint tubs) to the actual light bulb of the solar unit.

  • Shelly

    To achieve the frost you add color to Elmer’s glue and role it inside. Tip it upside down to drain the excess, then dry.

  • Stacey

    Im a little lost as to wear the different colors come in? It explains all but how to achieve the different colors

  • Paula Morgan

    You could also just use the clear frost spray, and then use a color changing solar light.

  • Elizabeth Kitting

    Michaels has Martha Stewart frost paint in at least the blues and the greens the last I looked

  • VB

    Also try Gallery Glass paint (faux stained glass paint-Hobby Lobby). I would think any glass paint would work as well. I would paint, twirl and lturn upside down to drip then to dry on some sort of old rack or popsicle sticks.

  • JED

    I searched solar lights to be fitting with mason jar at Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowes. None of them fit under the cap. Can you tell me how did you fit solar light on the cap? What kind of solar light did you use? Name of brand please. Thank you.

  • Mark Giblin

    For those in the UK, Elmer’s Glue is your bog standard PVA glue, for those who don’t know what PVA is, remember the glue you used to use in school art lessons? 😉

  • Joquena

    Wow a whole site devoted to jars! How fun :-)

  • richard

    frist wash jar while wet put in freezer when frosted pour in beer an enjoy . the frosted jar way

  • Megen J. Saylor

    elmer schools glue and good coloring frosts the jar just fyi

  • cj

    Wouldnt the humidity mess up the elmers glue?

  • kathy

    LOVE the brilliant vibrant colors! Please where can I find the children’s craft “neon/semi-transparent paint” in little connected tubs to apply to led bulb? Brand name? Does store like Michaels carry it?

  • kathy

    LOVE the brilliant vibrant colors!!! Please where can I buy the “neon/semi-transparent paint that comes in little connected tubs? Brand name? Would Michaels carry?

  • kathy

    Never mind – found them. “Scribbles” Neon Paint Pots. Available at Jo-Ann Fabric.