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Mason Jar Light

Mason Jar Light

Those cute girls from Bower Power (Katie) and Young House Love (Sherry), along with a couple other blogging rock stars, have thrown down the gauntlet and issued the Fall Pinterest Challenge. I decided to take them up on their challenge.

Since I have a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to projects I want to do, I figured this was the kick in the ‘ol buttchocks that I needed. Enter my Pinterest inspiration piece.

 

While Mason jars, particularly the blue ones, have taken the decorating world by storm for awhile now, I’ve actually had a collection of them for the past 24 years that have held everything from rice to sea shells. Way back when, Hub’s grandmother gave them to me. We’d been visiting her farm out in Kansas and I saw a bunch of them in her cellar. I told her I thought they were beautiful and she said, “Take ‘em!”

I’m sure she thought I was a little tetched in the noggin’ for lovin’ her caning jars. I’d feel the same way if my future granddaughter-in-law told me she was in love with all my old ziplock baggies. Not that ziplock baggies have the same staying power as Mason jars, or that I even keep mine. But you get what I’m saying. To her, they were as meaningful as baggies are to me.

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh, yeah. The light. Want to see how mine turned out? Do ya?

Fine. Be like that.

Mason Jar Light Fixture

Pretty awesome, right? I’m super in love with it.

Want to know how I did it? If yes, well then, you’re gonna have to keep reading. If no, then thanks for coming by and checking out my Mason Jar Light. Come back again soon, ya hear?

Are you still here? Okay, I’m going to show you a picture, simply for reference sake, and then you’re going to immediately forget you saw it. Deals?

Kitchen Before

Ack! Brain bleach, Stat!

In my defense, this is just days after we moved in a few months ago. It’s the only before picture that I have to show you the window above the sink. Feel free to forget it’s “realness.” See how there’s a sculptured wood bridge between the cabinets? No? Well, it’s there along with a whole lot of oak cabinets.

One thing this kitchen does not lack for is wood surfaces. It’s a sea of oak. For reference sake, the cabinets below the counter is the actual color in real life. The cabinets look very red above the counter in this picture, but in real life, they are more brown than red/orange.

Here’s a better shot of the window before I started but after I removed the wood bridge and decorative railing.

Kitchen Window Before Light

I also had to patch some drywall before I could move forward. One thing I’ve learned in remodeling houses, is that you NEVER know what you’re going to find once you start taking things apart.

CAUTION: Make sure you have cut the power at the electric box to the light before touching any electrical wires.

I was going to go all Mandi Tremayne (love her!) on you and be all, “Let me explain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up,” but it’s just not my nature to keep things short. See, if you click on my inspiration picture, you will not get to any tutorial. In fact, there’s not any I could find on the internet. Since I’m all about teaching, I thought I’d help a fellow DIY’er out and give you a tutorial.

Here’s what I bought:

Parts for Mason Jar Light Fixture

I could probably be super helpful and look up all the technical names of the parts. Yeah, not gonna happen. Here’s what’s important to know. The parts are all the 1/2” size. I bought them at the local True Value store. There’s a store in my village and the people there couldn’t be more helpful. I swear, every time I go in there, I get a personal assistant to help me figure out my projects. It’s awesome!

There was a Hollywood bar light above the sink that I pulled down. I cannibalized the light sockets from that for my new light. In the inspiration piece, they used the old zinc lids for their light. I only have a few zinc lids and I just couldn’t bring myself to damage them.

Making Mason Jar Light Socket

Instead, I spray painted some regular Mason jar rings and lids with a silver spray paint. I was going to use some acrylic paint to make the lids look more like zinc, but the silver looks fine to me so I haven’t done this step.

I needed a hole in the lid, and my chisel was just the tool. Shhhhh. Don’t tell Hubs because he always gets mad at me for my abuse of the chisel. However, it’s just so happens to be the perfect tool for the job.

I made an X in the middle(ish) of the lid.

Making Mason Jar Light Socket

Then I pushed the sides in to make the hole, like so:

Making Mason Jar Light Socket

If the hole isn’t big enough, just use the chisel to widen the opening. Once the hole is big enough, put the threaded pipe into the hole.

Making Mason Jar Light Socket

Push the metal flaps down until they are flush against the lid. Then screw on one of the locking nuts to hold the pipe in place. You actually want a nut on each side of the lid to hold the pipe in place.

Making Mason Jar Light Socket

One thing I had to figure out was how to connect a 1/8” electrical thread (from the light socket) to the 1/2” pipe thread. Since there is not adapter to go between these two different types of threaded pipe, I had to get creative.

Enter, Magnum Steel.

Magnum Steel

I’d never used this stuff before, but it’s freaking awesome. Although, it’s name totally cracks me up because I’m pretty sure one of my sisters wanted to name their kid Magnum Steel. It’s true. I think she had a lingering crush on Magnum, PI and Remington Steel. Fortunately, good sense and a reluctant brother-in-law thwarted me from having a nephew named Magnum.

The Magnum Steel is a clay that you slice off, knead, and then put in place. It can withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees, so it’s an excellent solution for this area that’s going to get hot from a light bulb.

Magnum Steel

It’s rock hard in just a few minutes, so you have to work fast. I started by “welding” a washer to the end of my pipe.

Making Mason Jar Lid Socket

Once that was dry, I threaded the wires from the light socket into the washer hole, and then Magnum Steel Welded the socket onto the washer.

Making Mason Jar Lid Socket

It’s not pretty, but it is as solid as steel, and it is hidden under the lid section. Next, I put my pipe pieces together. One other thing I had to adjust for, was the two pipe pieces below. They really are meant to be tightened one more turn, but I liked how the pipe on the left dropped down at this position. Having it in this postion, though, made the two pieces wobbly. I solved the problem with a little Magnum Steel.

Mason Jar Light Fixture - Side Arm

Next, I attached the boxes and conduit together. I measured how wide I wanted my whole light (29.25” – width of the inside window frame). Then, I cut the conduit to size and attached the junction box unit to wall. I put in wall anchors for all the screws, just to make sure the weight of the light didn’t pull the light off the wall.

Mason Jar Light Fixture Base

Next, you need to wire the light. Disclaimer: I am not a licensed electrician, nor do I play one on my blog. This is simply how I did it. Copy me at your own risk.

That said, I personally think electrical stuff isn’t that hard. You have to make sure the same colored wires are connected together. I purchased some white and black 12-gauge wire from True Value.

Here’s a mock-up of how it’s wired together:

How to Wire a Mason Jar Light Fixture

I joined the white wire from the sockets together and connected them to the white wire coming out of the wall. Same for the black wires. The old light had a thin copper wire for the ground wire. The ground wire that comes out of the wall was thick, so I joined the thinner one to it and grounded it to the screw that holds on the face plate.

Make sure the connector caps are tight. Use some electric tape to wrap the connections. Shove all the wires into the junction box and screw on the cover plate.

Attach the light bulbs and jars, turn your power back on and you’re in business.

Mason Jar Light - Progress

I originally had jars all the same size, but then I remembered I had a bigger jar. I like that better in the middle.

Mason Jar Light - Close Up

I really wanted to use these long bulbs in all the jars, but they are too big for the smaller jars. I know I have to hide the extension cord on the left, but one project at a time, ‘k? Thanks.

Mason Jar Light

This was not my cheapest project. I’m pressed for time, so I will sum up here. The total cost was around $60 for the light bulbs, pipes, Magnum Steel, various pipes/electrical pieces and wires. The jars, lids and sockets were parts I had on hand.

Mason Jar Light

ps. True Value is not a sponsor, nor was I compensated by them in any way, other than their super amazing advice and service. However, if they wanted to make me one of their Blog Squad members, I’d probably wet myself with joy.

I’m audtitioning for the OMTWI competition. Be sure to check out their site.


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Comments

  1. Wow! This is amazing you have used such a item which i can never think of to use it as lamp. But after going through this i am wondering if you can fix light colorful lights indie a Bamboo stick and hole it to spread the light.

    LT Power Cable Suppliers

  2. WAY TO GO-I just have to have one of these. I copied all this and my honey will give me light above my sink this way.

  3. Totally cool, I really love it!

  4. This is great!! Thanks for auditioning for OMTWI!

  5. Wow! I love it!

  6. Its So Very Cheri :
  7. Amazing!! I would really love to have you link this up at my blog!
    http://cookingwithkaryn.blogspot.com/2011/11/what-makes-you-say-mmmmm-2.html

  8. Suesan this is sooooo incredibly awesome!! I would love to have this in my home. Thanks for writing such a great tutorial too!!
    I featured you today – http://www.flamingotoes.com/2011/11/crush-of-the-week-think-pink-features-29/

  9. An incredible project. mason jars and re-purposing products are always my immediately interested place. The raw, industrial look of the exposed, electrical junctions combined with the vintage glass is just a perfect match.
    gifts for boys

  10. I love it. What a beautiful job. Why not just hide the extension cord in a pipe? (that matches the light)
    you are so talented!

  11. gorgeous! You lost me pretty quick with the instructions, but I admire your hard work, it paid off! Beautiful job.

  12. Wow Suesan! I just found your blog and boy…am I glad I did! This post is so informative and I think my subscribers would really enjoy reading this. I would love for you to come share it (and any of your other amazing posts for that matter) at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on Frugally Sustainable today. And, I really hope that you will put Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on your list of carnivals to visit and link to each Wednesday! Here’s the link: http://frugallysustainable.blogspot.com/2011/11/frugal-days-sustainable-ways-1.html

    Warmly,
    Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable
    Here’s the link: http://www.frugallysustainable.com

  13. wow this is very kewl.
    Would luv for my readers to discover your blog, will you please join our weekly party at
    http://www.passionatelyartistic.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-showcase-tutorial-with.html
    have a great crafting week!
    Maggie
    http://passionatelyartistic.com

  14. You are an inspiration! You saw what you liked and you made your own, and as usual, I think yours is better than the original! Great job!

  15. California Dreaming :

    Love it! It looks great!

  16. I featured this today! Come check it out and grab a button:)

    http://kim-toomuchtimeonmyhands.blogspot.com/2011/11/good-morning-sunshine.html

  17. Hi! Stopping by from bnotp and wanted to stop by and see what you’re sharing. Great project and think it’s a really cute idea.

    Hope you’ll pop in at home haven and say howdy.
    God bless,
    d

  18. Great tute Suesan! Your lights look great!
    gail

  19. Whoa! Great job, Suesan! I love the vintage/industrial feel and blue mason jars always look good! Love this!

  20. WOW this turned out so great. I’m too intimidated to even think about anything electrical. You are amazing!

  21. I just STALKED your Pinterest…You may be overwhelmed with my repins. Thanks for all the “Pinspiration”!

  22. The V Spot blog tweeted about this, so I had to come see.
    So freaking cute!! Wow, you are just an electrician girl. Way to go. Turned out so awesome.

  23. Wow looks great! I love the mason jar lights, I have them pinned all over my pinterest too. This is definitely way, way over my head but one day I hope to do it! Your step by step directions are great for when I finally take the leap.

    Stopping by from Check Me Out Saturdays! 🙂

  24. frugal-interior-design :

    What an incredible project. I love mason jars and repurposing items so was immediately interested. The raw, industrial look of the exposed, electrical junctions combined with the vintage glass is just a perfect marriage! A super job and thanks for sharing your diy tutorial!

  25. Amazing!

  26. Sew Country Chick :

    That looks so cool! I have an old collection of Mason jars and would love to do this but I’m not that handy!

  27. Wow! Fabulous! I have never heard of Magnum Steel so thanks for the tip!!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

  28. I am just amazing at all the cool things people are doing with Mason jars. This is no exception! You are so creative and handy. I am a new follower from House of Hepworths. I am co-hosting the Terrific Thursday blog hop and I would love for you to link up at http://www.messforless.net/2011/11/terrific-thursday-blog-hop-week-40.html

  29. I think this is so cool! Visiting from Beyond the Picket Fence Linky Party!

  30. Jenfier Harrod :

    My sweet daughter is having a link party today at her blog:
    http://www.ladybugswithzoi.blogspot.com
    Please come and share!

  31. Mandi, nothing – not even unreturned email messages – can diminish my love and devotion! Glad you like the light. The bigger jar in the center made all the difference!

  32. Jenfier Harrod :

    I looooove this! MAson Jars are so homey.
    http://www.garlicmom.blogspot.com

  33. OH MY HECK.

    I am the WEINER who never answered your email about your FAB lighting. I ANSWERED IN MY HEAD!

    And then I NEVER typed it. I do this all the time. I am so sorry.

    Can we still be VBFF? Will you forgive me? I am so sorry! It turned out so freaking awesome!

  34. Karah @ thespacebetweenblog :

    I love this use of ball jars. Your light looks great!

  35. Awesome Tutorial! Pinned it! thx

  36. What a great idea. I never would have thought of this. The light turned out great. Thanks for sharing.

  37. ReMadeSimple Kristina :

    Great job on these! I love ball jar lighting it adds a cool affect to your kitchen.

  38. Wow, when you do it, you do it up right! I would never try anything that complicated! Good for you, it looks great!

    Carol

  39. Gayle Page-Robak :

    Your Mason jar lights are fabulous…such a beautiful and creative project with excellent tutorial. Awesome! I have joined your followers list and Pinterest, and invite you to join my followers list; as well,I hope you will grab a blog button. Hugs, Gayle
    http://atastefultouch.blogspot.com

  40. That’s an extremely cute idea!

  41. Gorgeous! I’ve never seen that magnum steel stuff, but will have to search it out. Love your new light! Great job! Thanks for sharing.

  42. I now realize that I will not be making any such light any time soon, but I love, love LOVE mason jar anything (as you see from MY pinterest boards). Sigh… fantastic.