DIYdiy projects

diy project: whitney’s mason jar lights

by Grace Bonney

growing up in the south, i have a special place in my heart for mason jars. i enjoy them filled to the brim with icy sweet tea, but this fun project from d*s reader whitney gaylord may be my new favorite way to enjoy them. unlike most of our other diy projects, this one will require a bit of professional help (installing anything involving electricity is no joke) but the majority of the steps are easy to handle and will require only a quick call to your local electrician (home depot offers these services, too) to install the final project. click here for the full instructions or just click “read more” below – thanks to whitney for sharing!

mason jar lights

what you’ll need:
-vintage mason jars
-hanging lamp kit with low wattage bulbs (try your local lighting store, home depot or lowes)
-ceiling light plate

1. punch holes in each mason jar lid, large enough to fit the light bulb cords through (appx. 1 inch). as always, be safe and use gloves and a steady hand when punching holes. to punch the hole you can use either a hammer and nails (which you’ll need to then widen for the cords) or a larger tool that you can tap through.

2. unscrew the lid, insert the bulbs into each jar, feeding the cord through the holes in the lid. whitney suggests using a lamp kit that includes tension clasps to keep the bulb from sliding.

3. tighten the lid back on the jar and adjust the bulb to its desired height (using the tension clasps).

4. using a store-bought ceiling light plate- drill holes into the plate to pull all of your cords through (depending on how many jar-lights you will be hanging). pull the lights through, allowing enough cord to hang the lights at your desired height, and then tie a knot at the top to keep them from falling back through the ceiling plate.

5. contact your local electrician to install the lights into your ceiling- we do not suggest trying to install these yourself unless you’re a trained electrician.

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  • Love all the ideas. I’m new to the DIY stuff though, but can’t wait to get into it. I love Mason jars and love the chandelier idea. But I, too, am having a hard time finding a hanging lamp kit. Any help? Thanks! =)

  • Should I leave my jars with the cloudy look that is on the inside of the jar or should I try to clean it up? Wasn’t sure which way would look the best. What is your thought on this?

  • These do look wonderful in the blue mason jars! I have made 2 using pendant light fixtures and drilling a hole into the lid of the jar to attach the fixture to. Unfortunately, THEY GET EXTREMELY HOT!!! I had to take them down in fear of them exploding. The lids are pretty small and the fixtures that you find in the stores are pretty large in comparison. Therefore, I was unable to drill holes into the lid. I am currently researching how to drill into the bottom of the jar. Wish me luck!

  • I made two and they get hot too…i bought 25watt bulbs to see if that would help but still get hot…think i might try and punch a bunch of holes in the lids

  • I’m using it with a 40W chandelier bulb for looks. I drilled about eight 1/8 or so holes in the top, and a 1″ hole in the bottom using a diamond hole saw (for tile). It’s not much more enclosed than a normal shade. So far it’s working well (about 2 hours), I can touch it without a problem, just a little warm. We’ll see how it goes, I can always put a CFL in it…

  • I found the hanging light cords for these at Ikea for less than $7 each. I put LED bulbs in mine but they are really bright. Wondering if regular low wattage bulbs get too hot?

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