Thursday, February 16, 2012

DIY Mason Jar Light Fixture

Note:I am new to writing tutorials and taking pictures for them, so I didn’t get pictures of some the steps. I am sorry in advance. I am willing to answer questions if something is not clear or pictured.


Thanks to Pinterest I found pictures of mason jar light fixtures. I LOVED them! Apparently, Pottery Barn sold a light fixture with mason jars (here is the one they sold for $399!!) that people reproduced for much cheaper. Here is a picture of the Pottery Barn version.

There were 3 blogs with DIY tutorials that were very helpful. I thought this tutorial was the most helpful with supplies to purchase and electrical instructions. This blog was helpful for some electrical instruction as well and also a picture of one fixture using wood. They also show how to make a wooden box. I also used Kara Paslay’s tutorial for some help. After reading all three blogs, I came up with my own idea and list of supplies.

The first and most important item was the piece of wood. I envisioned a piece of barn wood from the same collapsed barn that we made this from:


I talked my Grandpa into going down to the collapsed barn, and we went to town collecting wood. With the help of his chain saw, we came home with quite the stash of amazing wood. We have collected some of the nicest wood from this place. In another post, I will show the amazing coffee table that he made from wood from this barn. Amazing! I will treasure the memories of this day and the times spent creating with my Grandpa. He loves to work, and is so creative with using scraps and odds and ends! Here are pictures from that day:





We picked our favorite piece of wood from the wood pile. We used his table saw to cut out a space for the wiring. We made numerous cuts with the saw, and then he chiseled out the wood. I didn’t get pictures of this step, but it worked out perfectly. He then used satin Minwax Polycrilic to seal the wood. The piece of wood ended up being about 54” long. We determined that we could hang about 7 jars. We took into account proper spacing so the jars wouldn’t touch each other and what we thought would look the best. Here is a picture of the wood with the sealant and space for wiring:


With a list in hand, I headed to Home Depot and Wal-Mart for the rest of the supplies. Here is a list of what we needed:

Home Depot:

21 feet of 18-2 Lamp Cord-Go to the electrical section, and they have bulk lamp cord. They will cut you the length that you need. I used about 26 inches of cord for the short lights and 32 inches for the longer lights you will also need some extra cord to connect the cords.

7 Keyless Lampholders/Sockets-this is what I ended up using. They are on the same aisle as the switches and such. They are box sold loosely. I think it was simpler that using the keyless socket as far as the wiring part and it also felt more secure as far as holding up the jar.

Electrical tape

Wire Nuts-I wasn’t sure about the size, so I bought the bag of miscellaneous sizes.


7 Mason Jars-Quart Sized

Krylon Gray Spray Paint-I have found that Wal-Mart has the best price.

Other items you will need:

-Wire stripper and/or exacto knife

-Supplies to attach the fixture to the ceiling


Step 1- Cut your lamp cord to your desired lengths:I wanted four jars that were longer and three that were shorter. You will need to leave some extra cord to tie and knot and connect some wires (approximately 6-8 inches).


Step 2-Spray paint the cord. The cord will take about 24 hours to dry

Step 3-Drill holes for lamp cord. I used a 5/16 drill bit for the holes. For my 54.5” board, I started the first hole at 7.5 inches and spaced the other holes about every 6 9/16”. Drill a total of 7 holes.

Step 4-Drill Holes in Jar Lids using the same drill bit used in Step 3. Use a smaller drill bit and drill 4 smaller holes to let heat out when the bulbs are turned on.


Step 5-Feed the cord through the Jar lid.

Step 6-Attach cord to the keyless lampholders. Separate the lamp cord about 4 inches with an exacto knife. Un-screw the lid of your lampholder.  You will see two little “cone-shaped” pieces of metal (one is silver and one is brass). These will “pierce” the wire to make the connection. I know very little about electrical, but I learned that you connect the HOT wire to the BRASS and the NEUTRAL wire to the SILVER.

Neutral wire has a ridged casing:


Hot wire has a smooth casing:


Insert the wire into the lampholder and screw down the lid very tight. This will puncture the plastic casing and make your connection:







Step 7- Split and Strip the Ends of Each Cord. Use an exacto knife to split the lamp cord about 1.5 inches. Use a wire stripper or exacto knife to remove about 1 inch of the plastic casing on each cord. (I waited until after the cord was knotted to do this step and it would have been easier to do this before)

Step 8-Feed Cords up the Drilled Holes. You want to determine at this point how low you want each jar to hang. Tie a knot on the end of the cord, so the cord will stay in place.


Step 9-Connect wires to the extra lamp cord and split and strip each end about 1 inch. I cut about 6 inch pieces of lamp cord. Split and strip each end of the cords. Use a wire nut to connect the hot wire of the 6 inch piece of lamp cord to the hot wire of the knotted cord. Do the same with the neutral wire. Remember-Hot to Hot and Neutral to Neutral. Repeat until you reach the end. The only exception is that for the middle cord I didn’t use a wire nut. I just twisted the wires together. These wires will be connected to the wires in your ceiling. (I wish I would have taken a picture, but I forgot. Some of the other blogs I posted showed some pictures of this step.)

Step 10-Test the lampholders to make sure they work. I am no electrician and neither is my dad who helped me. However, he has been in construction for 35+ years and knows some basics about electrical. He helped me at this point. We took a cord  with a plug on the end from an old lamp. We wired our fixture to the cord and plugged it in. We screwed in a light bulb to every lampholder to make sure they were wired correctly. We found that some of the lampholders didn’t have a proper connection. We needed to screw the lid on tighter to pierce the lamp cord. Eventually, they all lit up and we were ready to hang the fixture.

Step 11-Attach wiring and fixture to the electrical box. You probably want to call an electrician at this point. My Dad was able to do it, but I would NOT have been able to do this by myself. I will say that this fixture weighed about 22 pounds which is a proper weight to hang from the electrical box. We did not have to drill into our ceiling which was great! It worked out well, but it took 3 of us to finish. My husband and I held the fixture up while my dad did the wiring and installation.

Step 12-Attach light bulbs and mason jars. I did not buy the “wide-mouth” jars, so regular light bulbs would not fit inside my jar. I had to purchase these:


Step 13-Stand back and admire your finished light!!



I spent a little less than $40 on this project. It helped that I didn’t have to buy the wood, but I like that price much more than $400. This light fixture will definitely be coming with us when we move!! I LOVE it!


Sarah Moulton said...


Stef said...

I think its so awesome you guys did this! Yours turned out great. I sent the pic to two of my friends who love mason jars :)

plumbing said...

Been looking for that idea... though I gotta need some materials to do that.

Unknown said...

I've seen these fixtures all over, but I love the look of yours! And great tutorial on how to do it - Thanks!!!

The Abe Green Family said...

Thanks, Jami! I would love to see a picture of your fixture when you are done :)

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

You did an amazing job! It's beautiful!

Elaine Shandra said...

Love it! Usually I find the store bought versions to be nicer than the DIY versions turn out, but not in this case :)

leanne @ because (i think) i can said...

Very nice!! It looks really great. Your instructions were over my head, but I'm sure my hubby could follow along :) I'll have to pin this to remember it for our kitchen! Thanks!!

Leanne @

The Abe Green Family said...

Thank you Sharon and Elaine!

@Leanne if you guys make your own please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be more than happy to help with any questions you may have if I can :)

JuneA** said...

A great project, thanks for the tutorial!

TerriblyLovely said...

Just found this through Pinterest while looking for dining room lighting ideas. Definitely going to use this to make our own, but will be painting the jar lids to look like oiled metal (dark grey/brown color) and using filament bulbs for an old-world style. Great job!

Unknown said...

I absolutely love this and my husband and I are going to follow your steps to make our own tomorrow. We were just wondering what The silver piece in the middle of the wood is? Is it another supply we need to get or could we drill through the wood the same way the other 6 are?
Thanks so much for sharing this! I'm all for pottery barn knock-offs! Love the store, hate the prices!
-Sara Adams

The Abe Green Family said...

Hi Sara,

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I have been out of the blogging world for a while busy with my family.

The metal piece in the middle is a jar lid. We used it as a washer to attach the fixture to the ceiling. You could you a small washer for this as well, but we didn't have the correct size. We just used what we had, and I liked the look.

Are you done with your fixture?

Sarah McCoy Photography said...

You did a beautiful job! I'm going to make one of my own but I have one question. Approximately what is the height of the piece of wood you used and how deep did you hollow it out?


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Allison Shallenberger said...

rYI'm in awe on how beautiful a light fixture can be. Using jars and hanging them is so cool! It turned out great! The materials you used are just domestically found and this tutorial is very easy to follow. The instructions are very manageable, even people not used to DIY can do it.

Leyo said...

I wonder, Yours is very good, turned out to be great it.Light fixtures

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