Mason Jar Lighting Ideas

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When John Landis Mason patented his glass jar with a threaded neck and screw-on lid in 1858, he probably didn’t envision the explosion of home canning his invention would spur, or the later popularity of crafts made with the jars bearing his name. Indeed, John Mason died impoverished, having sold his patent rights away to other companies. Several competitors entered the glass jar business soon after Mason, including Ball and Kerr. Original glass jars from the late 1800s are very desirable collectables now, but there is no shortage of inexpensive, glass jars to be found in any supermarket or discount store.

Mason jars are so versatile, with a wide range of uses not only in the kitchen, but also around the house in the form of various crafts and decorating projects, especially lighting. The jars have a vintage, rustic appeal that lends itself to many decorating styles. Whether you love country, lodge, Cape Cod, shabby chic, eclectic or green decorating, you can use Mason jar lighting accents to spark up the glow in your home.

Mason Jar Candle Holders

Starting at the simplest level, Mason jars make wonderful candleholders. While the most obvious method is just sticking a candle in a Mason jar, you can also decorate them in many ways to complement your décor.

  • For the ultimate in rustic appeal, cut a strip of burlap large enough to wrap completely around your jar. Glue the burlap to the jar, trimming it to fit around the neck. Tie a length of raffia ribbon around the jar, and finish with a large bow. Set a votive candle inside for a warm glow.
  • For a little touch of sparkly glamour, you can glitter your jar. Use a cardboard box to hold the glitter to avoid a mess. Just brush a thin coat of white glue all over the jar, then roll the jar in the glitter until it is completely covered. Use your fingers to push glitter into any bare spots. Let the glue dry, and then set a candle inside for a glittering light.
  • Create a hanging candleholder with heavy florist wire. Use wire cutters to snip a length of wire long enough to wrap around the jar neck. Shape the wire into a circle, but don’t close it or put it on the jar just yet. Snip two more pieces of wire, each 3 to 4 inches long. These will become handles. Position them across from each other on the wire circle, and bend their ends very securely around the wire. You can now fasten the wire circle around the jar neck, keeping the loop handles pointing upward. Cut one final piece of wire, around 8 inches long, and fasten each end to one of the wire loops. You will use this to hang the candleholder. Use needle nose pliers to securely close all wire fastenings, making certain your jar cannot slip free of the wire. Put an inch or so of colored sand in the bottom of the jar to hold the tea light securely, and hang the jar where you want a rustic touch of candlelight.


Mason Jar Lamp

If you can screw on a lid, you can make a Mason jar into a lamp base. Mason jar lamp kits are available for sale at larger hobby stores, or you can order one from online vendors or Amazon.com. Fill your large Mason jar with whatever small items you would like. Some ideas are:

  • Glass beads
  • Buttons
  • Seashells
  • Fabric scraps
  • Pinecones
  • Silk flowers
  • Coins
  • Wrapped candies

Once your jar is full, simply screw on the lamp kit lid. Screw a regular household light bulb into the socket, attach a lampshade harp and shade to the top of the lamp, and voila! You have a lamp ready to use.

Firefly Mason Jar

For a look that is reminiscent of a childhood spent chasing fireflies, you will need a large Mason jar, a string of LED lights in white or yellow, craft moss and a small craft butterfly or fairy figure.

  • Push the moss and the lights into the jar, keeping the wire hidden with moss. Try to spread the lights evenly throughout the jar, using the moss to keep things in place and cover the wires. You want to see the glow of the lights without seeing the actual bulbs.
  • Keep the battery pack at the very top of the jar, where you can easily access it, and where the lid of the jar will hide it.
  • Use a length of florist wire around the neck of the jar to attach a faux butterfly or fairy if you would like. LED lights should run for several hours before the batteries run down.
  • For a similar firefly look without moss, paint the outside of the jar with opaque white paint. This will allow the glow of the lights to shine through without their wire being visible.

String Light Mason Jar Chandelier

Make a chandelier that will provide romantic ambience for an outdoor party or dinner for two. You’ll need a metal canning rack, a chain hanger, such as you would use to hang a plant, six Mason jars, and six LED string lights.

  • Attach the chain hanger’s hooks around the canning rack, spacing them evenly so the rack will hang straight, flat and secure.
  • Fill each of the six jars with battery-powered LED string lights, and then screw on the jar lids.
  • Set the jars in the canning rack, and hang the chandelier from an overhead hook.

Use Mason jars to craft a variety of unique lights for a warm glow that will bring your rooms to life after dark. Small touches of light create big impact, and add romance and beauty to your home.

Last Updated: August 1, 2012
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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