FFf Eclectic Red Barn: Fall Mason Jar Lamp

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Mason Jar Lamp

mason jar, mason jar light, mason jar lamp, fall mason jar light
Mason Jar Light

What a cute and versatile little lamp! Just change the ribbon and it will fit into any holiday setting. I like to turn on low energy lamps in the evening to add warmth to our home and this fits the bill.

Here is the tutorial on how to create this Mason jar lamp.
It is a little long, but I tried to be thorough in describing how to create this lamp, including how to re-wire the lamp.

 You will need the following materials:
  •  Mason or Ball jar with a large enough mouth through which to insert the lamp.
  • Lamp – you can purchase these at a craft store like Michael’s or A.C. Moore. They cost between $4 - $5. I always make sure I have a discount coupon with me.
  •   Potpourri – rose hips, fall flavor, whatever your preference or fits the holiday.
  • Glass and tile drill bit – Ace Hardware and other stores that sell tools sell either Vermont American or Black and Decker in a set of 4 for around $15-$20. Note that these are not the same as a masonry bits. See photo below.  I believe a diamond bit would also work, but I have not used one.
  • Wire Strippers
  • Two small twist-on wire connectors; you may have some in your junk drawer from a previous home improvement project.
  • Ribbon At this point, if you are thinking you don't want to use a drill bit and rewire a lamp, you can simply add potpourri to the jar and insert a tea light on top of the potpourri. This does require you to take it out, turn it on, and put it back each time, but it still looks great.     

    Directions for wiring the Mason jar:
    mason jar for light
1. You will need a Mason jar. If you don't have one, a Ball jar would work. This one is a quart jar. 

2. You need the drill bits to make a hole in the back of the jar.
If you purchase a drill bit set, it usually will come with 4 different sizes. See picture below. This is recommended since you should start with the smaller bit to make a small pilot hole. Start by drilling a small indentation into the glass. Stop and apply a small amount of 3-in-1 oil on that spot; continue to drill the hole adding oil as necessary for ease of drilling. Please wear gloves to protect your hands. Also, do not press hard while drilling and be careful when the drill finally breaks through since it has a tendency to jerk and may break the jar. Once this pilot hole is done, redrill using one of the larger bits that is large enough for the lamp cord to fit easily. Yes, you can simply buy one larger bit, but the drilling goes much slower. Now if you are lucky enough to have a husband that has a drill press – the drilling is done quite easily because he does it.

drill bits for glass and ceramic
Drill Bits Vermont American®
drilling a mason jar with Vermont bits
Drilling a Mason Jar
3. Now for the lamp. Obviously, the lamp plug will not fit through the hole; you will need to cut the cord. Remove the bottom paper from the lamp. See picture below.
Pull some of the cord back through the base of the lamp because you will need to strip it and reconnect it to the other side of the cord. Cut the cord as shown in the picture. Caution, make sure the lamp is unplugged before cutting! 

lamp kit - michaels or a.c. moore
Lamp Kit
lamp with felt bottom removed
Felt Removed From Bottom of Lamp
cutting lamp wires, using wire cutters
Cutting Lamp Wires
 4. Once the cord is cut, you will need to split the two wires on each of the two pieces of cord so that you can strip off the insulation. Use a utility knife to do this, but be careful not to cut through the insulation to the copper wire. See pictures below.

spliting lamp wires
Separating Lamp Wires
separated lamp wires
Showing Separated Lamp Wires
5. Once the cord wires are separated, use the wire stripper to strip ¼ to 3/8 of the insulation from the four wires. See pictures below.

splitting lamp wires, using wires cutters to split end of wire
Splitting end of Lamp Wire
split lamp wires
Split  Lamp Wires

 6. Feed the plug end of the cut wire into the hole in the jar; pull through so you have plenty of room to reconnect the cord wires. Then pull the cord back through the hole in the base of the lamp. See picture in the group set below.

7. Grab two ends of the separated wires (one from each side of the cord, of course) so you can connect them, put them together, and then place a wire connector over the two wires and twist it on securely. Place the remaining two wires together and twist on the wire connector. At this point turn on the lamp to make sure you reconnected the wires properly; of course you did. Unplug the cord. See picture in the group set below.

feding lamp wires into mason jar
Lamp Wires Fed intoMason Jar
putting together stripped lamp wires
Stripped Wires Joined together
putting wire connectors on stripped wires
Adding Wire Connectors

8. Now you need to push the wires and connectors back into the base of the lamp so that they are out of sight. 
wires inserted into bottom of light kit
Wires Inserted into Bottom of Lamp Kit

  9. At this point I like to glue a piece of felt or stiff paper stock to the bottom to cover the wires. See picture below.

 10. Place glue on the rim of the lamp base and then mount to the bottom of the Mason jar. This can be a little tricky, as you must lower the lamp back into the jar while pulling the slack out of the wire at the same time. Center the lamp carefully and allow drying.See picture below.
light glued to bottom of mason jar
Lamp Glued to Mason Jar
bottom of mason jar with glued lamp
Bottom of Mason Jar with Glued Lamp
11. Once the glue dries, add potpourri to the jar around the base of the lamp. I used one that had little pumpkins in it.   
fall potpourri with little pumpkins
Fall Potpourri with Little Pumpkins
12. Add a ribbon around the top of the jar and turn it on. You can change the ribbon and potpourri to match any holiday such as Christmas. 

mason jar with lamp, mason jar light
Finished Mason Jar Light
mason jar, display of mason jar, fall mason jar, wiring a mason jar
Mason Jar Displayed

 Well, that's all of it. Sorry it is so long, but there is a lot to explain. Enjoy!


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