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How To Make a Solar Lantern

Solar lanterns are a nice addition to any backyard  porch  garden or campsite.
By Valentine Cullen ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Monday June 30, 2014

Solar Lanterns are a fun and affordable way to spruce up your patio, garden or campsite. They are easy to make, beautiful, practical and require no maintenance.

Materials and tools you need:

  • Mason Jars - Get pint-size.
  • A Solar pathway light set - The lights featured here were purchased from Harbor Freight discount tool store but you can also find them on Amazon.
Pint size vintage light blue Mason jars and a pack of three Solar Mosaic LED Path Lights
Pint size vintage light blue Mason jars and a pack of three Solar Mosaic LED Path Lights
  • epoxy or any other sturdy waterproof glue
  • needle nose pliers
  • jewelers wire or any wire that bends easily and is not prone to rusting

Optional materials:

  • hacksaw
  • sandpaper
  • decorative fill of some sort (heavy items recommended for standing lanterns, lighter for hanging ones)
Examples of optional fill items. Marbles work good too.
Examples of optional fill items. Marbles work good too.

What to do:


Remove lids from the mason jars. Remove pathway lights from their packaging and do not assemble them.
Cut the bottom off of the solar lights and sand it if you like.
Once you get a cut started it snaps off easily.
Once you get a cut started it snaps off easily.
When finished sanding, grasp the solar light in one hand and the tiled mosaic plastic cover in the other, twist the plastic cover counter clockwise and it will detach from the solar light,
Just twist and you will hear a click and then it will come apart.
Just twist and you will hear a click and then it will come apart.
revealing the orange tab that needs to be pulled out in order to activate the light
Pull the orange tab out.
Pull the orange tab out.
After pulling the orange cardboard tab out,
Pull the orange cardboard tab out and the solar light should be activated.
Pull the orange cardboard tab out and the solar light should be activated.
replace the tiled mosaic plastic cover by twisting (clockwise) it back on.
Turn the plastic mosaic cover clockwise and it will click back onto the solar light.
Turn the plastic mosaic cover clockwise and it will click back onto the solar light.
Fill the mason jars with whatever you like or leave them empty if you prefer.
Examples of optional decorative fill. (Heavy items recommended for standing lanterns  lighter for hanging ones.) Marbles look cool too.
Examples of optional decorative fill. (Heavy items recommended for standing lanterns, lighter for hanging ones.) Marbles look cool too.

Gluing the solar light to the mason jar:



Keep in mind that the two main products featured here (pint size Ball mason jars and Luminar Outdoor Three Piece Mosaic Solar Pathway Light Set) fit particularly well together. Many other brands were paired and did not fit as well. It is a good idea to bring a mason jar with you when shopping for your solar lights. Take the lights out of the box and check the fit before purchasing them.

Leave the solar lights on the mason jars outside to charge for a day before you glue them together. Occasionally a solar light is faulty right out of the box. If it doesn't work, it's a bummer to figure that out after they have already been glued.

The best way to glue a full mason jar to a solar light is to use epoxy.
Wait for the epoxy to get tacky so that it won't run down the jar too much and apply it to the rim of the mason jar. Use gloves to protect your skin from wayward epoxy. Use a fair amount in order to create a good seal. Wipe off any excess glue that might run down the sides of the jar. Place the light on top of the jar and press down firmly. It helps to place a book or something slightly heavy on top and then wait for the epoxy to set.

Empty jars are the easiest to glue. Turn the solar light upside down and apply waterproof glue to the rim of the solar light,
place the jar upside-down on top and wait for it to dry.
Once the glue is dry it's time to make the wire hanger.
Start with a piece of wire approximately five feet long and find the middle of the wire. Starting from the middle, wrap the wire around the mouth of the mason jar underneath the rim of the solar light. Once you get to the other side, cross the two pieces of wire and twist tightly. Continue to twist the wire together until you have enough room to make an adequate handle.
Once the handle is long enough, place it on the opposite side of the jar, cross the strands and twist the wire tightly a few times and then wrap the excess wire underneath the rim of the solar light and back to where the weaving started.
Cross the wires again
and before twisting make sure to thread the wire through the original wrap so that it doesn't ride up when the handle is held from the top.
Test the handle to make sure that the ends are on opposite sides of the jar achieving a balanced hang before weaving the final wrap.
Continue wrapping the wire until you run out. If the wire runs out in a place that makes the handle look lopsided, add extra wire to balance it out.
Make sure to use needle nose pliers to tuck in the ends of the wire so that they don't stick out.
Have fun! Get creative.
These solar lanterns also make extremely awesome gifts.
Solar lights in bucolic Hunterdon County  NJ
Solar lights in bucolic Hunterdon County, NJ
Gnomes in Skandia  MI like solar lanterns too!
Solar lantern in Skandia  MI.
A little light in Skandia  MI.
Solar lanterns on the island of O'uahu with Diamond Head in the background.
Solar Lantern in Bodega Bay  Ca


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