DIY Mason Jar Light

This year I had a jar break during canning. Thankfully, the bottom popped off in an almost clean break! Rather than ditch the jar, I decided to upcycle it into a DIY mason jar light.

Why do Canning Jars Break?

There can be a lot of reasons for your canning jar to break during the canning process.

  • Jar was too cold. If the glass isn’t piping hot before you put it in the hot water bath or pressure cooker, the sudden change in temperature can cause it to crack or break. My rule of thumb is that the canning jars should be too hot to comfortably touch for long with my bare hands.
  • The jar has an imperfection. There might be a hairline crack, or a small chip in the jar that you don’t even see. It could also have a manufacturing weakness that makes it unstable.
  • The jar is just darn old. Older style jars are often best retired and turned into cool projects or recycled. The jar that I am turning into a diy mason jar light is an old Atlas jar with the rounded shoulders. Probably one I got second hand at some point.
atlas mason jar rough and tumble farmhouse

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What if I don’t have a jar with out a bottom?

Lucky you, none of your jars broke this year! If you still want to make a canning jar light you easily can.

The first option is to just use a solid jar. No need to remove the bottom. The only difference is, you’ll need to punch small holes in the lid of your jar to allow a place for heat to escape.

If you do want a jar with no bottom, there are methods on YouTube you can investigate for removing the bottom. Amazon also has some options for a “glass bottle cutter” that you could invest in for around $25.

Atlas Canning Jars

This particular jar that I have was likely made sometime before 1964. The Hazel-Atlas Glass Company made canning jars from 1910-1964. I have a couple Atlas jars that I have used for canning, figuring they would eventually just wear out on me like this one did. I didn’t realize that Atlas jars, depending on their age and condition, sell anywhere from $10-60 per jar. Some from 1910 sell for over $200.

I have a few jars sitting on the shelf right now with tomatoes in them. It’s amazing to me that these jars are sixty years old and still trucking. Though now that I know their value, I’ll likely retire them for decorative use or storing dry goods.

atlas mason jar bottom
The bottom of the jar. I love the HA logo for Hazel-Atlas.

Supplies to make a DIY Canning Jar Light

For this project you’ll need round up:

  • Mason Jar
  • Canning lid with ring
  • Sharp knife, electric drill, screw driver with a hammer, or other method of making a hole in the canning lid.
  • Pendant light cord (make sure you get one that can be plugged in, not one that has to be wired)
  • 20-40 watt bulb

How to make a DIY Mason Jar Light

Prep the Mason Jar

If your mason jar is bottomless, you might need to clean it up a little. I used a 220 grit sandpaper to carefully sand down the rough edges of the lamp. Be sure to do this outside over a garbage can or similar. Wear a mask and gloves. Gloves will prevent any cuts to your hands while you smooth out the glass, and the mask will prevent you from inhaling ay glass particles. Rinse it clean after.

sanding canning car lid rough and tumble farmhouse

Put a Hole in the Lid

There are multiple ways you can do this. If you have a nail and hammer, you can puncture holes in a circle until you make a clean cut. If you have a drill with the right attachment, you can make a smooth hole to size.

making a hole in the mason jar lid

I used a very sharp knife and a sauerkraut masher to puncture a rough circle in the lid. The metal isn’t too thick, so you can be creative with whatever you have around. After that, I was able to slice through the punctures with the knife. Then I used a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the hole a little larger. Be careful, the lid can be sharp.

Make sure the size of your hole isn’t too large. Looking at your light socket. It should be larger on the bottom where the bulb is going to screw into. The upper part of the socket is going to be a thinner cylinder. Make your hole just big enough for that cylinder to slide through. A snug fit is best.

It’s not a bad idea to do a test run on an old canning lid so you don’t waste a new one.

Put it all together

Pull the cord through the lid, starting on the bottom of the lid. Then push the socket upwards through the canning lid. Make adjustments as necessary to the lid for the right fit.

Place the lid on the jar with the socket inside, then screw down the ring.

Screw the bulb into the canning jar.

If you are using a jar that has a bottom, be sure to punch additional holes in the jar lid to allow for heat to escape.

Your new light is ready to hang!

Interested in Canning?

Check out my ultimate canning resource guide! This master list has every topic of food preservation covered with videos, articles, and how-to’s for preserving your harvest.

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mason jar light rough and tumble farmhouse

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