(n.) Cabindo: A condo on a lake, among tall old trees. Half cabin, half condo. My first home. This is a running journal of the renovations, projects, and general shoestring budget craziness.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mercury Glass Solar Mason Jar

My porch currently has no electric wiring or light fixtures, so has been in need of non-flame soft lighting.  Solar jars caught my eye, but I wasn't really loving the frosted or firefly versions. I settled on mercury glass, as they seem to have that perpetually good (to me) mix of vintage and modern. Commercially available ones were chintzy looking and small, so I set out to make my own.

I'd scanned a couple tutorials on mercury-glassing and solar jar making. The basic ingredients are as follows:

1. Mason Jar
2. Solar light source
3. Spritzer bottle
4. Metailic spray paint
5. Water (some people use 1/2 water, 1/2 vinegar. I had no vinegar and used a slightly different method)

from Landee see, Landee do

While the ones above are more silver than clear glass (and beautiful as they are), I wanted mine to be more translucent so plenty of light can shine through.

I picked up two old Atlas glass lidded mason jars from Chantilly Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $1 each.

Two solar path lights from Target on sale for $2 each. (similar to below, not exactly)

A spray bottle from Home Depot for $1.

A can of metallic silver paint from Wal-Mart for $4.

And tap water for freeeeee!

My steps were as follows for the glass treatment and light assembly.

1. Lightly spritz the inside with water.
2. Spray the paint inside.
3. Swirl the jar around to mottle the paint and water.
4. Spritz/swirl again if more movement/thinner paint is desired.
5. Set upside down on paper towel for excess water/paint oil slick to drain.
6. Wait to dry, and repeat as necessary for desired coverage.

1. Pop off the stem and stake.
2. Remove the crappy clear plastic part. (what would this be called? Other than ribbed for no-ones pleasure, I don't know).
3. Remove any other protruding or flange-y plastic/metal parts.
- This is so the solar panel and light package will fit inside the opening of the jar.
4. Attach your solar array to the inside of the glass lid with CLEAR adhesive.
- I drew 4 non-connecting thin lines of glue onto the top of the solar piece where it lines up to touch the lid, pressed it together hard, and let it sit for a day.

- Take care not to put too much glue on, or to glue in an unbroken circle. This will make it fail to dry well inside the connected glue circle you've made, and be white instead of clear: looking like snot and blocking the solar rays from your panel. Yum.


When everything is dry, just slip the lid-light into place on the jar and put in a spot where it will receive enough light. And compliments. Your ego Jars love compliments.


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