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Can you capture the sun or moon? Yes!

Decided I’d try my hand at a different craft, so I put down my knitting needles and started collecting the mats to make this fun project.  I’m going to give these away for Christmas gifts this year.

I’ve seen these jars advertised for $35 at places like ThinkGeek and I wanted one just cause they look so cool.  What would be better is making my own and not spending more than $10 for each jar!

I looked up a couple of tutorials and found this one to be the best.  Took me a couple of days to pull together the bits and pieces.

  1. Jars
  2. Solar Cells
  3. Frost Spray Paint
  4. Glue
  5. Color Cellophane

Jars – I looked at several local stores for small jars with a rubber seal and a clear lid.  Yeah, thought that would be easy, but couldn’t find a thing.  So I found that the Ikea jars were perfect and we have an Ikea in town, so I took a trip to the mall!  Found them for $2.99 each.  Ikea also has several sizes of these jars that all have the same size lid, so if you wanted taller jars, you have options.

Solar Cells – I found great solar cells at Target.  You can buy them individually in the garden section and they are $3 each.  Easily unscrew the top solar cell from the base and it fits PERFECTLY into the Ikea jar lid.  Target sells a $2 yard torch as well, and I bought one just for fun.  It’s smaller and won’t fit snug into the jar, but could still be used and glued into the lid.

Frost Glass Spray Paint – found a can at local craft store.  It was a small can for $9 so I bought it and a few days later when I was at the same store just a different location I saw a much bigger can for $5.  Dang it!

I took the jars apart for the most part, meaning I removed the lids.  The tutorials call for removing the metal hardware from the jars before spray painting, but I didn’t have the muscle to remove the hardware completely.  So I got the lids detached and headed outside for the painting.

Turning each jar upside down and laying on small wooden skewers I gave each jar several light coats waiting about 5 minutes between coats.  The paint dried quickly and painting 5 jars took about 20 minutes total time. If you look closely, you’ll notice the hardware on the bottom of the jar has a nice frost tint to it, and the hardware on the lid is shiny.  Now if I hadn’t pointed it out, would you have noticed?  I didn’t think so, so I sprayed the metal along with the jar!  Frosting the jars does diffuse the light and makes the jars glow.

 

Glue – I had my trusty tube of E600 so I used that.  Any glue that works on glass will be fine.  I put a few drops around the lid and allowed the cells to dry for 24 hours.

I set the jars outside later in the afternoon when the sun was full.  Before it got dark I brought the jars inside and flipped the ON switch on the solar cells and each one lit up and stayed lit for several hours.  Over the next few days I’ve experimented to see how much sun versus how long they stay lit at night and I’ve found that, of course, the longer the jars are in direct sun light, the longer they stay lit at night.

The tutorial suggests leaving the jar in a window that catches the light, but I found it wasn’t getting enough light and would only stay on for less then an hour at night.

To get the color change to yellow or blue, I headed back to the craft store and bought several colors of cellophane. The cellophane was in the basket section and used to make gift baskets and cost $2.99 per pack.

I cut about a 2×2 inch square from the cellophane and folded it several times and using clear packing take, I tapped the cellophane over the blub in the solar cell.  Worked like a charm and gives the light a very colorful glow.

So I’m anxious for our gift exchange and pulling these beauties out fully lit up and glowing for the new owner!

 
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