recycled mason jar light

Wine bottles and mason jars have unique characteristics that make them ideal for repurposing. With their beautiful glass colors and artistic labels, wine bottles can become instant vases or they can make someone do a double take when repurposed as water bottles. Mason jars can be used to hold anything from dry goods to spare nuts and bolts. They can even be used as simple pots for live kitchen herbs.

But, have you ever considered using a wine bottle or a mason jar as a light fixture? For the Americana-inspired kitchen, mason jars can be used to create simple and unique light shades for bare bulbs. All you need is a bare bulb, a wire cutter and some tin snips for the mason jar lid. Cut the jar lid to fit snuggly just above the light bulb socket and remove the socket by:
  1. Cutting all power to the light fixture by turning off the circuit breaker to that part of the home.
  2. Once you make sure the light switch is off, remove the light bulb and cut the wire just above the socket using wire cutters.
  3. Strip the wires about ½ inch.
  4. Remove the cut wires from the two screw terminals inside the socket and loosen the screws.
  5. Run the jar lid over the wire before reattaching the socket, making sure the threads face downward.
  6. Make a hook with the ends of the two wires and hook them on the screws where the old wires were located.
  7. Screw the wires into place and snap the socket back into place on the light fixture.
Once you have turned the power back on and checked to make sure the light bulb is working properly, screw the mason jar on and your project is complete. You can also:
  • Decoupage the interior of the jar with vintage magazine clippings or old stamps;
  • Paint the exterior for more subdued lighting; or
  • Dot the inside of the jar with glow-in-the-dark paint for a jar of “fireflies.”
As an alternative, you could create a quick lighting fixture using a wine bottle by removing the base of the bottle and attaching it neck-down to a decorative board or wall with an aluminum pipe clamp. You can then either run a light bulb into the wine bottle using the same process as the mason jar shade above, or fill the bottle with a strand of battery-operated Christmas lights, a candle or even a solar-powered garden stake (with stake itself removed). To remove the base from the wine bottle, you need:
  • nail polish remover or acetone
  • matches
  • a bucket of cold water
  • yarn
  • a wine bottle
NOTE: Be sure to take all necessary precautions when working with fire and conduct this project outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
  1. Wrap the bottom of the wine bottle several times with yarn.
  2. Slip the loops off and soak in acetone until saturated.
  3. Slide the loops back onto the bottle where you wish it to cut and light the yarn.
  4. Allow the yarn to burn until almost out, slowly twisting the opposite end of the bottle to keep the flame going.
  5. Dunk the bottle in cold water and listen for a crack. Tap the bottle gently to the bottom of the bucket to facilitate the separation, if needed.
Wine bottles can also be used independently by simply filling them with Christmas lights and leaving them as-is or painting the outside for a soft, decorative light filter.
Garret Stembridge
Garret Stembridge, Extra Space Storage
The next time you have a couple of glass containers sitting around, think twice before you toss them into the recycling bin! There are plenty of ways to repurpose bottles and jars into decorative household features, not only saving these items from the recycling process, but also providing your home with some unique upcycled beauty. What are some ways you have repurposed mason jars or wine bottles? Garret Stembridge is part of the team at Extra Space Storage, a leading provider of self-storage facilities. Garret often writes about sustainable practices for homes and for businesses. Many Extra Space Storage locations, including several in Sacramento, CA, have been retrofitted to reduce energy consumption.