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Published on February 29th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans

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Make Your Own Solar-Collector Night Lights

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Whether you have a kid, or you’re tired of encountering your darkened hallway walls at midnight, or you simply like the ambience of soft lighting and you don’t want to leave a beacon burning all through the night… an energy-saving night light is a must have.

It’s true that you can get a perky nocturnal hamster and make a hamster-powered night light, but a somewhat simpler project with equally impressive results is a self-crafted Sun Jar…

Make Your Own Sun Jar

Invented by Tobias Wong, the Sun Jar is essentially a Mason jar containing a solar cell, a rechargeable battery, and an energy-saving LED lamp.  Placed in a sunlit area by day, the solar cell inside the Sun Jar charges the battery with solar energy and uses that energy at night to power the LED lamp.

At night the frosted jar gives off a warm, soft glow, making it perfect to use as a nightlight.  Several Sun Jars grouped together are also a wonderful natural lighting alternative for the garden, as the Mason jar is airtight.

A Sun Jar is not difficult to make, and is a wonderful project to do with children.  They also make great energy-saving, earth-friendly gifts.

  • Dress them up by covering the outside with patterned a light paper or fabric, or by selecting a colored jar or a colored LED lamp for the inside.
  • If you’re not feeling especially crafty, you can always find premade Sun Jars online in several places, including Uncommon Goods.



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  • Colleen

    I like this idea. Very creative. This sounds like loads of fun and it could be very pretty.

  • messenger

    Excuse me but can someone explain to me what’s so GREEN about this “sun jar” thing? Why is it featured on a Green living site?
    Not that it does not make a wonderful project for kids, but how much energy and chemicals are used to create it? I mean, it’s basically the guts of a solar garden light with a chemical rechargeable cell inside of a frost-sprayed glass jar, right? Why not just use the garden light itself if you must waste the earth resources like this at all?

  • http://www.EcoInsomniac.com EcoInsomniac

    What a great idea. I love the instructables website. Thank you for the great article and neat idea.

  • ryan

    Where does one get the small solar panels for these lights ?

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