We recently gave two homemade sun jars as gifts and I was lucky enough to have some inkjet printable Shrinky Sheets from the Readymade store to make the gift tag with. My lovely assistant, Scott grabbed some sunny clip art and created the tag. We made it big, printed it, and then I cut it out:
We baked according to directions while I really really wished I had a window in the door of my oven, watching shrinky plastic shrink is the coolest. The final product had curled itself (always a risk when shrinking larger shapes) but it emerged just fine:
I knew the color would intensify (there is a note about that in the instructions) but I didn’t expect it to darken to such lovely shades of orange. The text is still readable, and it makes a lovely substantial gift tag. I only wish I had thought to include the recipients names on the tag, your name in a shrinky plastic tag would be pretty cool.
While I’m speaking about sun jars I was lucky enough to encounter the real object — for those just tuning in the Sun Jar is a lovely rechargeable light in a jar made by Tobias Wong, mine is a DIY version made using these directions for the home-made sun jar at Instructables. Ok, I was lucky enough to encounter the real thing during a visit to stunningly be-decked home of Paola, who sells the Sun Jar at mirror mirror, her online boutique of wonderful things.
The real Sun Jar is very well made, the frosted finish feels etched, and there is a molded white plastic cup inside holding all the little bits that collect solar energy and power the LED light. This means you don’t get any shadows of wires or dark spots when the jar is on, which you do with the DIY version. And this is something I didn’t realize – the real Sun Jar is waterproof so you can leave it out on a porch or a deck all year long and it will be fine. I’m pretty sure my DIY version could stand up to some outdoor time but I wouldn’t risk it in day-long rain. After adding up the cost of the materials for the DIY version and comparing the quality of the light with the finished product I have to say the price tag on the real thing is worth it.
Another thing which I’ve been coming across is using strands of small LED lights to replicate fireflies in a jar. You can see one for sale on Etsy, and two (slightly technical) blinking versions at Instructables – first and second. Doing a little Googling turns up a little battery powered blinking light kit made especially for this. I’m definitely going to make myself a firefly jar, how sweet.
Molly at A Foothill Home Companion recently wrote to tell me about a similar project she made – glow in the dark stars suspended from the lid of a jar to create a gentle night light for the windowsill of a bedroom. It’s simple and lovely, thanks Molly!