DIY Garden Lights

          DIY Garden Lights


          DIY Garden Lights


          Okay, this was not perfect the first time around. In fact, it took me about a week to get the DIY Garden Lights right…. lucky for you, I will share my mistakes and save you some time,

          your welcome!


          recycled glass project


          So I have these super awesome glass toppers that belong to missing bottoms. They were in the recycle bin at work ready to be carted off and somehow managed to hitch a ride home with me.

          The hubs is baffled by how common the occurrence of junk dispersal happens via my car, just like those pallets that jumped in the trunk the other day….( wha…how did those get in there? )


          recycled glass


          I put them in the garden shed with the intention of creating some sort of garden art out of them and for the last month or so, would walk past… stop, point a finger at them and say out loud

          ‘I’m gonna do something with you….’

          …. yes, I talked to them and just like my plants, they understood, yeesh.


          glass garden art


          They got a soapy scrub and a dry…then I went around the house gathering up other glass vases for this project, ( gardeners tend to have a few… tons of the them ) and I began building my glass sculptures.


          glass art


          recycled glass art


          They looked great! But what if…. they lit up at night?

          Now THAT would be cool.

          My first attempt was to fill the glass vases with water thinking that if I dropped a glow stick in it would give the sculptures a nice soft ambient glow.

          Attempt #1


          It looked like…. well, a glass vase with a glow stick floating in the middle. Sorry no picture, it was SO bad…. I didn’t bother taking one when I realized how bad this idea sucked.

          I walked away frustrated that I just spent the last 20 minutes cracking neon bracelets for nothing, humpf.

          Attempt #2





          I got this idea that all I needed was glow paint. THAT was the thing that would create my Pinterest worthy project! But after stopping by all the local hardware stores and discovering they were sold out…

          yeah, cause like, Langley has a huge glow paint loving public…?

          I finally found Glo-Dust at Canadian Tire and feeling like I was winning, I headed home for my DIY Garden Lights take 2.


          glo dust


          glo glass


          I did my Mop & Glo application where you run the cleaning solution around the glass then sprinkle on the dust. Like I used on my glitter jars for the heads on my Dragonfly Garden Art ( so cool ! ) …as you can see they turned out awesome!


          glitter jars


          They looked great during the day… the frosted look of the glass was eye catching.


          glo garden art


          frosted glass


          But when the night finally came… and I headed outside with my camera, all I was met with was darkness. Boo! I ran back in and got my flashlight to see if they would work at all. After intense close up light, they would glow for a few seconds, but only in the small area I hit…. back to the drawing board.

          Good thing about Mop n Glo is that it washed right out with a little scrubbing with no harm to my beautiful glass.

          Attempt #3

          Third Time’s a Charm right?


          So now we are into Day 4 as I had to drive to the next town over to get the glo-paint from Home Depot. Another soapy scrub and dry then I was ready to paint. I did several coats but this time on only a few jars… yep, getting smarter by the minute!


          garden art


          Didn’t do a lick, not a little glow or nothing. It looked good during the day like the other frosted glass though. I figured I needed more coats and perhaps a final coat of white to help give it a solid background.

          I was dying to see how these would look if they would just glow for pete’s sake…so thought I would just try and stick a top from a small solar light inside the jar… and it looked pretty good! Hmmm…..


          DIY Garden Lights


          When I went to apply more coats to the glass the next day, the humidity from the ground the night before caused the paint to separate from the glass and the entire application was easily peeled out in one full clump. Nice.

          Another soapy scrub and yet another dry….. am I ready to give up yet?


          Attempt. #4


          DIY Garden Lights



          Well, now… that only took a week!

          I learned a few things in all these trials…

          First: glo product ‘anythings’ don’t work in the garden so don’t waste your time or $$ on these products.

          Second: Mop n Glo has a surprisingly pleasant and lingering scent.

          Third: sometimes the simplest method is the best… K.I.S.S.


          epsom salt craft


          I combined Mop n Glo with Epsom Salts


          solar lights


          Charged dollar store mini solar lights in a spot near the garage


          garden lights


           and combined the two for a magical display in the garden.


          glass top


          Now these obviously are temporary but they are perfect for that

          evening garden party

          and could easily be used in winter when the nights are really dark for guests arriving to a holiday gathering.

          Not to mention they are portable, so you could put glowing lights in

          every spot of your garden for a special evening event!


          Epsom salts and solar lights


          And because they won’t permanently ruin your pretty glass jars, you can disassemble them for other uses.

          My mother-in-law, Gloria, was out visiting us while I worked on my lighting experiment throughout that entire week ( and peeking out the window every night to see ‘did it work?’ ) I’m happy I was able to pull it off with some ounce of pride still left after all my failed attempts!


          DIY glowing garden lights


          Have fun with this one, and don’t spend a week trying to figure it out.

          Peace Love Garden


          30 Responses to DIY Garden Lights

          1. So glad that you figured out what to do… This has saved me time and effort… I have tried the glo paint.. I saw all the outside pretties on pinterest and wanted to re-create it… Didn’t happen for me either… Thanks so much for sharing.. Gotta try this..

          2. Hi Shelly, thanks for the great idea, I have a collection of glass light fixtures from renovating our house that I have saved to make some kind of light in my garden. Thanks again, Maureen
            ps are you in Langley, BC?

          3. You can always get those $ store small lights that look like mini candles. They will flicker a little and give off enough light. Just remember to turn them off when you are done…lol

          4. hi I have an awesome idea for you to try: my neighbor bought the solar powered string lights with cover like butterflies ans drangon flies. when the cover is off a bare bulb, even/flexible spacing between lights. the solar panel is at the end so you can position that to gather sun and her lights glow all night 🙂

          5. Thank you for sharing your attempts!! As a diy’er I often have failed attempts and it’s reassuring to hear that others have this experience too. Your end result is lovely.

          6. LOVE EM !!! What is the actual purpose of the Mop n Glo ? Also, what types of jars do these tops come from? I’ve been looking for similarly shaped glass tops for different craft projects myself. You did a lovely job!

          7. Shelly, I have to say not only do I love this but that you also included the “failed” attempts for those of us that would try something different because we have it on hand. Also soo good to know that you also talk to the “stuff” that beckoned you to get it in the first place lol. My husband also teases me about that one. Peace and smiles wonderful lady.

          8. Shelly, this is a beautiful project, I love it because it’s very original, and that fact that you went through the fails makes it all the more an awesome idea, thanks for sharing I’ll be giving this a try =)

            • Lol, thanks Gwendolyn! As bloggers we can’t always pretend our projects work out perfectly… showing the fails helps others from wasting their time too!

          9. I have to admit this is one of the best articles I’ve read in a while. You had me chuckling out loud while my son was suppose to be doing his school work… Oops! I love the humor in it all the way through and the fact that you shared each step, to include the failed attempts. I’m still laughing since it is a lot like my own project attempts and die-hard attitude. I refuse to give up once I set my mind to do something it can see in the imagination department. I am all for the K.I.S.S. projects. lol

            Thank you for the idea and the giggles, I needed them today. After this last cold front passes through TX, I will be in my yard with my own (tons of) to do craft collections to try your idea. 😉

            Have a fun blessed day.

          10. I love how you express all the different ways you tried and failed and finally succeeded. Most people just say this is what worked but you made the journey for all of us fun to go along the creative path with you. I can’t tell you how often I do the same thing like keep trying and trying. I hope to see another of your creative projects soon. Carol from

          11. The lights are great- Thanks for sharing your” trial and error”. I love lights all over the garden-just sticking here and there. The frosted look is so pretty.

          12. At Christmas I used a Mason jar with the Mop& glow/Epson salts then put a flame less candle inside put on the lid and decorated the rim of jar with Christmas trim and jingle bell. Put on the bathroom sink vanity to give a soft glowto help those not sure where the light switch was.

          13. i recently make 50 mason jar solar lights for an evening bridal shower. I used frosted spray paint on the inside of the jars ( for a more permanent look ) and then lightly sprinkled glitter over the tacky paint. The jars looked great with the solar light glued to the lid. Everyone was fighting over them.

          14. I so enjoyed your article on the glow lights. Got a chuckle or two. So glad to know I am not the only one with failed stuff. Unlike you, mine can’t be fixed very easily. I just kind of try to go around what didn’t work with something that blends the mistake into the new . Sometimes it works and sometimes not. Can’t wait to see what else you have on your website. Thanks.

          15. I have used a string of outside Christmas lights with different color bulbs and then I put telephone insulators to over the bulbs. Looks very nice at night in the garden

          16. When I was a kid, my mom used to frost the windows with a mixture of epsom salts and BEER! I don’t know the proportions, but she could get it to look like Jack Frost. Mixed it, I think she let it sit, then painted it on with a brush.

          17. Shelley, your delicious sense of humor makes your awesome project that much more fun for the reader. Bless your heart for sharing your mistakes, it makes you all the more endearing.

            I can’t do that in my garden just yet, the furdarlings would be far too interested in them. 😉 One day though. <3

            Blessings & Joyous Howls ♪ ♫ ♪
            Camille & Menagerie

          18. I took a solar light and put it in put it in pieces of lead crystal bought at a thrift store. The patern from the cut glass is beautiful on a patio table.

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