Project Spotlight: How to Make A DIY Fillable Jar Lamp

how-to-make-diy-mason-jar-lampYou Can Make a Fillable Jar Lamp Just Like This!

Ok, it’s “how to” time! I made this fillable jar lamp back in 2007 after a lengthy mental debate about what to do with all the collectible trinkets I’ve accumulated – I couldn’t bear the thought of giving them away or selling them on eBay. as miniatures like this are hard to find.

I really wanted one of those “ginger jar” lamps that would make displaying them a breeze but those things are hard to find.  When I came across one of those quaint mason jars it was like the light bulb went on, no pun intended…All I needed was one of those adapter kits and at the time, Lowe’s had them, and the rest is history.

Now it’s almost 10 years old, and this baby still works like gangbusters. I think I have only had to change the bulb twice in all this time. That’s not even the best news – not only was this lamp surprisingly painless to assemble (with a few modifications -the picture to the left is my original version, but since then I have added some trinkets, taken some out, yanno, just having fun) but I’m going to share with you exactly how I made this fillable jar lamp that still lights up the room, so you can too!

diy fillable jar lamp
Ball Pint Regular Mouth Jars and Lids BPA Free, 16 oz, Set of 12Ball Pint Regular Mouth Jars and Lids BPA Free, 16 oz, Set of 12

Let’s Make a Fillable Mason Jar Lamp! Items you’ll need

  • A quart-size Mason/Ball jar with its respective lid
  • Mason jar lamp adapter kit; they are sold locally or online on Amazon and other venues.
  • Small needle-nose pliers
  • Lampshade harp and finial
  • Small lampshade
  • Objects to go into the jar (completely up to you! See below)


Suggestions for objects:

1. If you’ve got your jar and kit in hand, the kit will provide complete instructions so you shouldn’t be left hanging . I’m not an electrician or anything, so please bear with me regarding the amateurish terminology I may use. Your kit should include a socket, base, electric cord, adapter and instructions.

ball-jar-lamp_drill-hole2. Drilling a hole in jar (optional) If you are like me and a stickler for neatness, you may consider drilling a small hole close to the bottom that the electric cord can thread through. It requires some patience and skill, so if you are apprehensive about this part I recommend you skip this step and just allow the cord to thread through the socket base. A lot of diy mason jar lamps I’ve seen follow this, and that’s OK. My ex at the time performed the drill task for me; I knew something like this would go over my head.

Tip: If you drill a hole-be sure to sandpaper the edges; glass is sharp! Also be sure it’s at least 3/4″ above the bottom as the thickness of the glass changes at that point.

This step requires a special type of drill bit made especially for glass-very different from what you may be used to.

3. Thread the electric cord as directed. I was a perfectionist at the time and I wanted to conceal the electric cord part in the jar via a drinking straw, covered in foil. You don’t have to do this part, especially if you just thread the cord through the socket base normally.

mason-jar-lamp-adapter-kit     fillable-mason-jar-lamp
4. The electric cord separates – each end has a golden look to it…wrap them around the corresponding parts around the inside of the socket base. It’s positive to negative or vice versa I think. The needle nose pliers will come in handy for this to secure them.

5. Attach the socket part (this is where you screw in the light bulb) into the base firmly.

6. Attach the harp under the base. This anatomy, which looks sorta like its name (left image above) is sold separately and used to accommodate and support your lampshade.

7. Now comes the most fun part-fill ‘er up! If you have the threaded cord as in Step 2, now is when the part of dropping in and arranging the objects comes in. If you did not do Step 2 it doesn’t matter when. Just that when you are dropping objects in, you want to make sure you have the right amount of slack with the cord when you go to screw the lid back on.

8. Attach the lampshade you have chosen-the shade can be as flamboyant or plain as you want, but the important thing is to choose a shade that is smaller so as to be proportionate to the jar. Mine is about one foot high; a good neighborhood. Secure it with your finial, and then add the final topper;the light bulb.


Bravo… now that’s a lamp!! My cat happened to be all tuckered out for a nap when I took this picture.

Fillable Jar Lamp Tips

  • Wondering why I didn’t suggest you just buy one of those “ginger jar” lamps that all you have to do is open and fill? In my experience they are more expensive and harder to find. You’ll save $$$ and time taking matters into your own hands putting together your very own unique ball jar lamp.
  • Need some ideas on how to locate mason jars per se? Since diy mason jar lamps are still a hot handmade item, the price may have gone up, but don’t despair. You can get them at flea markets for pennies on the dollar – as well as online in multiple quantities.
  • Look for the mason jar adapter kit-not the “bottle” kit so you won’t run into the problem I did in which I had to create a sizable opening in the jar lid for the rubber adapter part to sit in.
  • You can also make a wine bottle lamp using the bottle kit and the directions above still apply – you just may be limited by what objects you can fit in there since you’re dealing with a tiny opening. (or you can just leave it unfilled-if it’s a pretty unique bottle it will make a statement all on its own!)

♥Have fun!♥

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Updated: 2017-03-18 — 00:41

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