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How to make a Mason jar night light with Lauren Elise Crafted

Posted by Melissa Massello  March 27, 2014 09:04 AM

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mason_jar_crafts_night_light_DIY.jpgPhoto: Mason Jar Crafts (Ulysses Press)

In this post-Recession age of upcycling and Pinterest projects, Mason jars might just be the new duct tape: a versatile base easily transformed into everything from coffee mugs to bar shakers to chandeliers. All around town — notably at Diesel Cafe and Bloc 11 in Somerville, Darwin's and Puritan & Co. in Cambridge — Mason jar lights feature prominently in hip interior decor.

In her new book Mason Jar Crafts (Ulysses Press), author Lauren Elise Donaldson shares more than 30 innovative projects using this heirloom kitchen essential, with more than 150 step-by-step photos — and she shared with DIY Boston one easy and whimsical spring lighting project to update any room of your home: how to make a Mason jar night light.

Instead of living with the ordinary plastic cover that comes with the light, replace it with something more your style — something you made yourself. This project involves drilling a hole in the glass. Take the time to follow the safety instructions laid out in this tutorial. This project can be dangerous, but if you take the right precautions and equip yourself with the correct tools, this project is fairly simple.

Difficulty: Moderate
From the book Mason Jar Crafts (Ulysses Press)

When drilling into the jars, be aware that this can cause cracks. The drill bit gets hot and exposes the glass to extreme temperatures. In some cases, the entire jar can shatter. In case this happens, you need to be protected, so always work with gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask. Follow the steps outlined below and proceed slowly. Steady drilling and water will keep the temperature down and preserve the glass.

Depending on your specific brand of automatic night light, vary the size of the hole that you drill into the bottom of the jar. To determine sizing, take the automatic night light, remove the plastic cover, unscrew the bulb, and measure the diameter of the plastic socket. In this project, the size we needed was 7/8-inch. Buy the drill bit that corresponds to that diameter. See the Resources (page 126) for suggestions on where to buy diamond drill bits.

kerr_mason_jar_night_light_DIY.jpgPhoto: Mason Jar Crafts (Ulysses Press)


  • Half-pint size Mason jar

  • Drill

  • Marker

  • 7/8-inch diamond drill bit

  • Gloves

  • Safety goggles

  • Dust mask/particulate respirator

  • Watering can or hose

  • Sandpaper

  • Automatic night-light with bulb

  • Foam mounting tape


1. The metal lid needs to be removed for this project. The metal band is optional.

2. You'll want to complete this project outside or in a garage since you'll be handling glass. Set up your workspace ahead of time and make sure you are prepared before proceeding. You'll need your Mason jar, a drill, a 7/8-inch diamond drill bit, gloves to protect your hands, safety goggles for eye protection, and a particulate respirator to fully cover your nose and mouth. Also set up a water source. In this example, a watering can was used so that water could be repeatedly applied to the point of contact between the drill and the glass. A light stream of water from a hose would be effective as well. The water is necessary to keep the drill bit cool while you are working. Without it, the difference in temperature could cause the glass to crack. The water also prevents the glass dust from escaping into the air. You do not want these particles to get into your lungs, hence the use of the water and respirator as a safety precaution.

3. Place the mouth of the Mason jar down. You will be drilling into the bottom of the jar. Mark the spot where you wish to begin drilling with a marker. You'll want to position the hole as close to the back edge of the jar as possible.

4. Put on your gloves, goggles, and respirator before proceeding.

5. Pour water onto the bottom of the jar. The surface is concave so it will pool up. At the marked spot, begin to drill. The drill bit may slip around on the slick surface. This is normal at first. Eventually the bit will start to cut into the glass. Power up the drill as you initiate contact with the jar and keep a firm, steady hand.

6. Drilling through glass is a slow and steady process. Apply light pressure with the drill and keep the bit rotating at a slower speed. The quicker you go, the hotter the bit can get, which could potentially crack the glass. Drill for about 30 seconds and then stop, remove the drill, and pour water over the hole. Then continue drilling some more, another 30 or 45 seconds. Stop again and spill water over the hole. Continue with this pattern. You will notice that the dust catches in the water and turns murky white. This is a good thing because it is not escaping into the air. By frequently washing down the surface of the jar, you will be removing the dust and increasing the visibility of your work area.

7. Continue drilling until you have punctured a hole all the way through the glass.

8. Wet down the surface of the jar to clean it. Safely dispose of the glass displaced by the drill. Run sandpaper along the inner face of the hole to smooth any sharp fragments.

9. Remove the plastic cover from your automatic night-light. Unscrew the bulb from the socket.

10. The plastic socket is a bit small for the hole. To prevent it from jostling, wrap foam mounting tape around the outside of the socket. The tape will form a wedge between the night-light and jar and keep it steady

11. Insert the socket into the hole from the bottom of the jar. Screw the bulb back into the socket from inside the jar.

12. Plug your Mason jar night-light in to an electrical socket.

For more fun project ideas from Lauren Elise Donaldson, check out her blog

Excerpted from Mason Jar Crafts: DIY Projects for Adorable and Rustic Decor, Storage, Lighting, Gifts and Much More written & photographed by Lauren Elise Donaldson, Copyright © 2012 by Ulysses Press. Used with express permission of Ulysses Press. All rights reserved.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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