Before summer started, I saw something on Etsy that I LOVED for over $100. Not my kind of price, but I was sort of fairly (kind of) certain I knew how to make it. I did a little internet magic research and found the cheapest, easiest way to go about it. I’m talking about a mason jar light, by the way.
This crafty lady’s design was a little more intense (and tool-intensive) than I was shooting for. Whereas this bright design required parts I didn’t want to pay for
What to do! Of course, I took the best of both and winged the rest in true ecstatic instant style. Please keep in mind I’ve never messed with electrical stuff before.
This is what I used for just ONE light. My chandelier was made up of 6 of these bad boys; 6 mason jar with lids, and 6 Bottle Lamp Kits. I realized later I could have gone cheaper, but at the time I was just happy to find everything in one box. I’ll leave a broken-down ingredient list at the end.
These parts will all be connecting into the wall. I almost bought a wall plug and a bundle of lamp wire, but it turned out cheaper if I bought a 15′ extension cord instead. Also included is an octagonal outlet box, a cord switch, and wing clamps. I knew I’d have 7 individual wires per wing clamp so I got a larger gauge.
Because I’m not solvent enough to own a real drill, this is what I used to punch holes in the lids. Jane Goodall, eat your heart out. I made the holes large enough to fit the nipple from the light socket. I wanted mine to be a soft silver (aka brushed nickle) so I primed and spray painted all my socket pieces and lids before beginning.
This is the proper way to have everything strung on your wire. Since all of my wiring had a plug on one end, I had to pre-string everything. Before I could pre-string, I had to draw a diagram because my mind broke trying to figure this out. It should be: the lid ring, the lock nut, the nipple, the lamp nipple (I could have skipped this if I had made my initial lid holes smaller so disregard the size of the hole in the photo. All subsequent holes were about the size of my pinky finger), the lid with hole, and the socket cap. Split the end of the wire about three inches.
The ribbed wire should wrap around the silver screw and the smooth wire should wrap around the brass in the shape of a backwards question mark. The knot shown is an underwriter’s knot and protects the wires from fraying. Then slide everything together with the socket shell and jar and voilà:
One light done, five to go!
A few minutes in the mirror deciding on how the lights should hang and a trusty pair of wire cutters later, we have everything strung through the push-thru holes in the outlet box and clamped. Ribbed wires should clamp to ribbed and smooth to smooth. Strip each wire down about 3/4 of an inch to make clamping easier. I tried bundling everything with a twist tie, but what I really need is a strong zip tie (perhaps even a small hose clamp?). There is going to be some serious weight on this puppy.
I threaded the wire that will go into the wall through this chain (every 4th loop) and attached the last loop on the chain to the push-thru tab on the outlet box (for lack of anything better). That will allow me to attach a chain loop to a hook in the ceiling and protect the wall plug from undue stress.
Everything gets shoved into the outlet box and the cap is put into place. That’s it, folks.
- I still need to get a strong clamp for the bundle in the outlet box.
- I need to spray paint the white cords, chain, and the outlet box with the nickle color.
- On the small jars I used 7.5 watt “night lights” that are rather pudgy. They don’t put out much heat and they diminish the glare of the piece. The lights in the large jars are 60 watt and seem to be rather warm so I’d like to find an alternative to avoid over-heating of the glass.
- This thing is rather weighty (I’d estimate about 25 lbs) and should be attached to something reliable (Read: Sheetrock WILL NOT WORK).
What I’d do different:
- I’d use a drill to make the lid holes.
- I’d buy my materials raw rather than pre-packaged.
- I’d have an idea of where to put it before I started!
- I’d get switchless sockets. This means all the lights would be on all the time, but I’m thinking a simple dimmer feature would fix this.
Ingredients in retrospect:
- 30′ of 18-2 lamp wire – $9.00
- 1 wall plug – $1.83
- 2 12-20 gauge wing clamps – $0.48
- 1 octagonal outlet box w 1/2″ push-thru – $1.81
- 1 octagonal outlet box cover – $0.93
- 1 chain – $5.97
- 1 small hose clamp (for the wire bundle) – $0.72
- 6 mason jars – free
- 6 mason jar lids – $1.95
- 6 nipples w lock nuts – $1.97
- 6 lamp sockets w covers – $22.98
- 6 lightbulbs
- White primer – $3.24
- Nickle spray paint – $3.24
Total cost: $54.12
I had some of this stuff already so I went to Lowe’s to find the price for this list. If I had used raw materials I could have saved about 10 bucks 😦 sad day.
P.s. I’d be interested in trying this with beer bottles for a patio look.