solar patio lights made of mason jars, easy upgrades around the home for the whole year
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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May: Portable Patio Lights

For wire-free outdoor illumination, try these DIY solar lanterns, which give off a warm glow well after the sun sets. This easy project uses wide-mouth mason jars, with each lid's metal insert replaced by a piece of plexiglass to allow the sun's rays to power the solar cell through the lid. We coated the interiors of the jars with Rust-Oleum's Frosted Glass Spray (about $9; rustoleum.com) to give the lanterns a hazy, aged-patina look, and glued the solar-cell assembly of a mini pathway light from the home center (about $4 each) to the underside of each lid. Once assembled, leave the lights in a spot where they'll get direct sun, and you'll never be left in the dark again.

See the full step-by-step instructions.
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