Canning or preserve jars make great pendants

Recycling again...! I truly believe it’s possible to get custom lighting without breaking the bank. The key is designing your own shade using canning or preserve jars.


If you're lucky enough to stumble across vintage canning or preserve jars, you’ll find that its bubbles and inconsistencies only add to the character of the light fixture. Jars like these are available at your local supermarket and secondhand shops. Turning them into pendant lights is surprisingly simple.

Start by scoring the glass so that you can remove the bottom of the jar. This step requires a simple bottle cutter tool, which is available through online retailers. Position the jar on the bottle cutter, and then rotate the jar five or six times, pressing firmly, to create the line.

Hold the jar with the score line directly over the flame of a candle and rotate it several times to heat and stress the glass (left). Run cold water over the jar to crack the glass. If it doesn’t crack completely, use the cutter again to complete the cut.



Use a diamond file and cutting oil - or Dremel Multitool and grinding stone - to smooth the cut edge of the jar. This step will make the jar safe to touch, and will create a better-looking shade.

Apply Rust-Oleum frosted glass spray to the inside of the jar. You will find Rust-Oleum products at your local Builders Warehouse. By applying it inside the light shade, you’ll diffuse the light while preserving the jar’s unique exterior appearance. Simply aim the spray through the jar neck first, then through the cut end.

When the shade is complete, all that’s left is to prepare the lid to accept the lamp holder. If the old glass seal remains in the lid, you’ll need to pry it free, or break it with a hammer and remove the pieces. Use a spade bit to drill a hole wide enough for the lamp holder socket (left). Slip the socket through the hole and install the lock ring (inset). Tighten the ring by hand to prevent damage.