How to make mason jar lights

with 52 comments

Making mason jar lights is really, really easy!

Step 1: Find the right mason jar for your light

The size of your socket/desired lightbulb will determine the size of your jar. Normal lightbulbs, energy bulbs, Edison bulbs, etc fit best in quart-sized jars (32oz) at a minimum because they have room to breathe inside the jar (you don’t want the bulb to be close to/touching the glass due to heat issues). You can also use gallon jars (64oz) or even larger vessels, but there’s a point beyond 64oz where your lightbulb may look dwarfed, so let your aesthetic preference guide you. Smaller bulbs with small sockets may fit well into pint-sized jars (16oz), and if you’re stuffing Christmas lights into the jar, you can really choose whatever size you want!

Step 2: Gather your materials

For this project you’ll need:

  1. A mason jar (shock!)
  2. The socket you want to put the jar on (it’s okay if it’s on your wall or ceiling)
  3. A plastic or metal ring that fits your socket (to secure your jar lid to the socket)
  4. A nail or wood screw
  5. A pen, pencil, or marker
  6. A hammer
  7. Scissors
  8. Pliers
  9. A flat-tipped screwdriver

Step 3: Trace your socket

Trace the circumference of your socket on your jar lid. If your socket’s on a wall or ceiling, use the ring that’ll screw onto your socket to trace instead for easy tracing! You should have a circle like this one after tracing, matching the size of your socket:

Step 4: Punch holes in your lid

Use your hammer and nail or wood screw (or another similar object) to poke holes in the lid, along the circle.

Step 5: Add holes for venting

With your hammer and nail-like helper, poke additional holes around the center holes to allow heat to escape the jar. This is a critical step – without venting holes, you risk getting your jar too hot!

Step 6: Remove the center of the lid

Use your hammer and flat-tipped screwdriver to knock out what’s holding the center of your lid steady – the metal between your punch holes. Once you get 75% around the circle, you’ll probably run into the following dilemma:

This’ll require you to resort to other means of removing the center piece. Gloves are highly recommended for this, since the sharp edges of the lid can easily cut your fingers. How you remove this last bit is really up to you – you can rip it with your hands, rip it with pliers, or even use scissors to cut it off. Scissors are the most civilized option, demonstrated below:

Step 7: Insert your socket

After putting the rim of your lid over the lid itself, go ahead and fit your socket through the lid. Hopefully, the circle you cut allows you to push the socket through with little difficulty – and allows the “teeth” of the lid (the sharp, pointy, deadly metal spikes) to grip the socket for some support.

If the socket doesn’t fit, don’t worry! That’s totally normal, and it’s why you have the pliers. Simply use the pliers to bend the metal back where you need to to get the socket to fit through.

If the socket fits through the circle without even touching the lid, that’s probably okay too, depending on the size of your socket ring (see next step).

Step 8: Attach your socket ring

Go ahead and screw your socket ring onto your socket. The ring should hold your lid tightly to the socket. If your lid’s a little loose, that’s fine, if your mason jar’s going to be hanging (thanks, gravity!). If your jar’s not hanging, though, and instead coming off a wall, tightness will matter a lot more.

You can verify in this step how well the socket ring grips your lid. If your hole’s too wide, and the socket ring barely grips it or doesn’t grip it at all, you’ll need to use another lid and make a smaller hole. If your hole matched your socket diameter really closely, though, you probably won’t have anything to worry about.

Step 9: Add your lightbulb

Easy enough…

Step 10: Add your jar!

Just screw on your jar, and you’re done!

Where to use

Mason jar lights are easy, beautiful transformations for existing hanging lights or light fixtures in your home. You can easily replace a fixture with a mason jar using the method above; almost every light fixture fastens to a socket with a socket ring.

You can also use mason jar lighting outdoors – they’re great for strand lighting, stuffing small Christmas lights into, or using with candles on flat surfaces!

Written by Brian Nunnery

June 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm

52 Responses

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  1. You can also glue or tie burlap to the outside, to create a warmer and softer light source. :)


    September 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm

  2. Came across your blog searching for how to make a mason jar light, and just wanted to let you know, I am going to make these soon! I plan to hang 3 jars on a ballast above my kitchen island! I’m going to use aqua-tinted mason jars! :D


    September 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    • I have three of these over my sink-aquarium bulbs last longer and are long and slim. I used all three colors of 2 quart jars-blue, green and amber. Had to find the rare amber one on ebay. They have a chain following the cords up to the ceiling (the cord threads through the chain links) and are plugged in in to a socket above the window. Canot see at all the cords. They hang at three different legnths. Love them.

      Delores Stevens

      March 27, 2013 at 6:27 am

      • Can you post a picture of them?


        June 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm

  3. Thank you so much! This is a great tutorial. I’m moving into a cute, but very old apartment next week, and these will be a perfect way to make the place feel cool-shabby, rather than just shabby-shabby. Cheers!~


    October 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

  4. Can you give us the manufacturer and part no of the socket in the picture?


    October 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    • Can not find socket. Would you be so kind as to supply us with the manufacturer and part number?


      March 13, 2013 at 9:50 am

      • Ikea sells the socket and chord kit for 3 measly bucks!

        Patty Hayes

        June 9, 2013 at 6:36 pm

  5. You can get the sockets from IKEA for $5.00 – but they don’t sell Black cords any longer.
    HOW DO YOU make these lights & jars SAFE too hang outdoors under a patio???
    What is the highest bulb watts I can put in an en-closed jar?


    November 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    • Mason jars are meant to withhold high temperatures. Just make sure to put the vent holes in the the lid.

      Teri Head

      September 21, 2013 at 9:49 am

    • I just bought some with black cords a week ago.

      Karen Bennett

      July 2, 2014 at 11:39 pm

  6. Where did you get the light socket? I’m having trouble locating one let alone the 10 I need?


    November 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

  7. […] The lights hanging above and around the set were mason jars with a typical light bulb inside. They were hanging from the actual power cords used to power the bulbs. The jars were extremely lightweight and did not cause any strain to the power cord. They got the instructions on making these from here. […]

  8. How would you make a fixture with multiple jars/bulbs that uses only one plug?

    Jennifer Clark

    January 7, 2013 at 8:01 am

  9. you can get the sockets and cord at lowes or the cord is called so or sjo probably 14/2 is best to use.that way you can make it as long as you need and adding more will need a inline slice for each.then add a plug or hard wire it and your done.


    January 7, 2013 at 11:33 am

  10. Doesn’t the jar get too hot and burst if left on too long?


    January 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm

  11. Sorry, I read the instructions a little more! LOL!


    January 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm

  12. My light gets really hot and i just dont feel like this is safe. Can anyone help?


    January 10, 2013 at 6:32 pm

  13. I’ve noticed a lot of people worry about this but rememeber; Mason jars are made to withstand high heat for long periods of time ( pressure canning?) so don’t be too worried about them breaking from the heat.


    January 10, 2013 at 7:31 pm

  14. I am working on making a mason jar hanging light with 4 lights. Could you please tell me what kind if electrical wiring you used in these pictures? I really like the look if it. Your instructions are very easy to understand. Thank you for any information. Stacy Esquimaux

    stacy esquimaux

    January 17, 2013 at 7:35 am

  15. Suggest using the 15 watt energy-saving fluorescent bulbs! Solves the heat and the too many kilowatts problems

    Alan Graham

    January 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm

  16. […] Mason Jar Light Tutorial […]

    • Use a nail to knock 5 small holes in the lid around the socket, this will allow the heat to escape.

      Ed Linden

      February 7, 2013 at 11:02 am

  17. Thank you! This looks very do-able and I appreciate the clear directions and photos. Off to give it a shot!


    February 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm

  18. […] How to make mason jar lights […]

  19. Thanks for the info, I will be making them…


    February 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm

  20. Great Idea. I love it. This is going to be my new deck lighting. Thanks for the tutorial.


    February 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

  21. […] pour les lampes de la photo sont en suédois, mais je vous ai trouvé un tutoriel en anglais ICI. Tout le matériel pour ce projet est facile à trouver en […]

    • Where can I fine the socket?


      April 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm

  22. if you take the lid out of the ring and place it on a wood block it is easier and safer to punch the holes in the lid instead of it being screwed onto the jar..

    Penny gum

    March 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm

  23. A suggestion for color: it would look good if you could find some heat safe / fireproof paint (one or more color) to put inside the jar before you make the light. One kind of funky design is to put a blob of paint in the bottom of the jar and roll it around the side or just let it sit and slide down the jar sides with you giving it an occasional roll or tilt.This is if they make paint like this!

    susan nash

    March 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm

  24. At the very least, use a compact fluorescent, and a chain to hang them by the base (NOT BY THE LIVE CORD, EVER!!!)


    March 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

  25. I love this look and want to make a fixture for my kitchen. Can you tell me how I can hardwire this?


    April 10, 2013 at 9:46 am

  26. Does Anyone out there sell these?


    April 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    • I’ve seen a lot of them on Etsy


      July 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm

  27. How do you attach light to ceiling when your done building?


    April 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    • I am wondering the same thing.. They do not show where or how you plug these cords into outlet and how it looks all plugged in …


      July 26, 2013 at 5:04 am

  28. HI;
    buy a hole saw at the hardware store and save some swearing, I’m just sayin’


    May 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm

  29. The largest wattage bulb that I personally would ever put in a Quart Mason type jar, is 40 watt…but then again as I said, this is just me personally. I prefer to be rather safe than sorry.

    Sockets with and/or without an attached power cord, can be found at most(if not all) hardware stores…Waldo mart is NOT a hardware store, it’s a department store. Same goes for Sam’s Club & Costco type places.

    There is a lip on 90% of the mason type jars just below where the lid screws down….if you are worried about hanging the jar by the cord, fasten a chain, or a separate wire around this lip & hang the jar from that.

    The configurations you can do with these jars are as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach….there are the normally clear jars you will find at most grocery, department, & hardware stores, and there is also blue jars you can buy as well.
    At antique shops you can also find green jars that could/would be aesthetically pleasing to the eye and to whatever decorating scheme you can imagine.

    Thank You Mr.Nunnery for posting this. I believe it to be a very cool idea & one that could enhance any decorating project.

    JAMES R.

    July 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm

  30. if the glass gets hot from them being ledt on to long just dont put cold water on the outside of the jar, i fyou do the glass will crack.

    kc stinson

    July 19, 2013 at 4:43 am

    • The jar isn’t going to break from the heat of the light bulb. These are the same jars used in processing food in pressure canners at extremely high heat. Just don’t splash with very cold water.

      Loretta B.

      September 18, 2013 at 7:25 am

  31. […] Link to the tutorial: Mason Jar Lights […]

  32. […] You will find a tutorial on how to build a similar mason jar light fixture on […]

  33. […] Create your own pendant lights with mason jars! We like the tutorial at In.Gredients. […]

  34. […] Mason Jar lights […]

  35. Loved your instructions. My husband made these, We used old mason jars of different sizes, but bought new lids and painted them black to match the cords. Then he purchased several different kinds of Edison bulbs, kind of expensive but worth it for the way it looked. I painted 2 louvered doors with oil paint ( we did two chandeleirs for 2 arbors). 5 jars of different sizes hang from each louver, all the cords are hidden above the louvers. They look really cool. I had the idea but were not sure how to do the jars until I read your instructions.Thanks. Elisabeth


    September 25, 2013 at 12:08 am

  36. I put the blue and green colored stones in the bottom of mine, just a thin coat, to give off a nice glow of color when it is on. It is a very nice affect. Wanted to share the idea

    jolynn farr

    July 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm

  37. I found some moderately cheap chrome colored sockets here (if that helps)
    I am currently looking into purchasing a few.


    July 17, 2014 at 11:31 pm

  38. Reblogged this on myyarnhoard and commented:
    I really want to mamake these, just need to put down my knitting for a change!


    October 12, 2014 at 9:36 pm

  39. Reblogged this on stammam1.


    October 27, 2014 at 11:09 am

  40. […] storage? Think again! You can create your own unique lighting with unused and unloved kitchenware. Try using mason jars, vintage tea cups, old bowls, or milk […]

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