Under the Stars: Mason Jar Outdoor Lights

One of the best things about summer coming to a close is that I know we will begin to spend more time outdoors.Since it will begin to get dark earlier, I wanted to come up with an attractive lighting solution for our tree-lined seating area in the back yard.

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What we have come up with is a one of a kind solution that could have other applications even inside.This mason jar light is quaint and reminds me of a jar of fireflies.Dangling from the branches, they add just enough ambient light to put some glow on your cheeks and sparkle in your eyes… perfect for an evening conversation and glass of wine.

savour… evening chats

Get the rest after the jump…

Mason Jar Outdoor Lights

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Before you start:

If you need help, ask for it.Working with lighting is easier than most people think, but electricity can be dangerous.Let caution be your guide.

Be sure to get the candelabra socket kits with the securing nut.This will pay off in the end.

If you did not find white it is fine.Just be sure to connect black to black throughout the entire project and whatever other color to white for the entire project.It must stay consistent.

If you will be leaving the lights outside you may wish to place a bead of silicone caulk between the socket and lid and also between the lid and ring.This will prevent any water from getting inside.

Wrapping the main line with twine is time consuming.You may be tempted to skip it, but don’t.Executing this step will produce a far superior finished project.Do it while watching TV to make it easier on you.

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What you will need:

  • 12 Jars w/lids and rings
  • Black marker
  • 12 candelabra socket kits
  • 12 7W night light bulbs
  • Plenty of electrical wire (two  colors, black and white would be best)
  • Connectors
  • Needle nose wire cutters
  • Electrical tape
  • Scissors
  • Clear silicone caulk (optional)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Block of wood
  • Twine
  • Household extension cord

The steps:

  1. Using the nut of the candelabra  socket kit, draw a circle in the center of each of the lids using the  inside of the nut as your guide.
  2. With a block of wood  underneath, use the screwdriver and knife to “chisel” out the circle. Go  around the outside edge of the drawn circle.
  3. After you have popped the  circle out, use the side of the screwdriver to push any rough edges inward  on the lid.
  4. Push the socket through the  hole in the lid and secure it with the nut. Repeat for all.
  5. Put the lid ring on now.
  6. With the twine, tie a knot at  the base of the socket and start winding the twine around the wires. Stop  every inch or two to push what you have wrapped downward to make it  tightly wound.When you get about  an inch away from the end stop and temporarily secure with a clothespin or  scotch tape. Repeat for all.
  7. Cut the wire into 3 foot  lengths (12 of them for each color). We’ll call this the main line.
  8. Remove about ½ inch of coating  from each end of the main line wires.
  9. If you skipped step 5, do it  now. There won’t be any turning back once you start connecting and  wrapping with twine.
  10. Slide a connector onto the end  of each wire of the socket. Connect one of the main line wires to each of  the socket wires with corresponding colors. Twist the ends together and  slide connector over connection. Crimp the ends.
  11. For all but the first, one you  will need to connect the socket wire, the main line coming from the last  socket wire and the main line going to the next socket wire.
  12. After each socket wire is  connected, take the time to wrap the main line with twine.
  13. Wrap the loose end of the socket wire over the connection.  Wrap the twine on the main line over the connection and include the loose end of twine that is wrapped around the socket wire.
  14.  Stop about ½ before  the next connection and temporarily secure with a clothespin or scotch  tape while you make the next connection.  Repeat step 13.
  15. Cut the outlet portion of the  household extension cord off so you are left with the plug at one end and  exposed wires at the opposite end.Remove ½ of coating.
  16. Connect the extension cord to  the last main line wires and wrap with twine.
  17. Screw in bulbs and secure lids  to jars.
  18. Plug it in and verify that all  lights are working.
  19. Hang outside on the patio or in  trees using extra twine or wire.