DIY Glow Jars Tutorial

glowing jars

Aren’t these glow jars sublime?

They take about two minutes to make and cost only 20 cents a piece. How’s that for an enticing DIY wedding project?

These would look amazing at an evening outdoor wedding. Line walkways with them, or place them on tables.

If you like this project, check out my DIY ‘glitterarium‘. And if you want to add even more ‘wow’ to your festivities? Make ice shot glasses to go with your glow jars!

DIY Glow Jars Tutorial

For each glow jar you will need:

  • a jar
  • two Glow Sticks
  • scissors
  • rubber gloves
  • safety glasses

Disclaimer: This is a project meant to be done by an adult – not a child!

Purchase Glow Sticks(I got a pack of 15 for $1.50) and dig a jar out of your cupboard.

diy glow jars

Grab two glow sticks and cut at one end. Make sure they are inside the jar when you cut them. I used rubber gloves because I didn’t want to get the glowing liquid on my hands.

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89 Comments  |  Filed Under: DIY Wedding, DIY Wedding Decor

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Comments

  1. Posted by heather on October 19th, 2011 at 12:55pm

    also fun for halloween decorations!
  2. Posted by Christina on October 19th, 2011 at 2:23pm

    For sure Heather!
  3. Posted by Liz - Image3D on October 19th, 2011 at 6:32pm

    These are so cute and I can see a ton of versatility for these. They would be really cool hanging from trees. And, I could see them in jars and bottles of all shapes and sizes.

    Really cool
  4. Posted by Dom on October 20th, 2011 at 9:04pm

    LOVE this idea!!
    I have shared this on the facebook page for my blog. :)

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Crafted/110593078978875

    :)
    Dom.
    x
  5. Posted by Allysa on October 20th, 2011 at 9:44pm

    HOW SO FREAKING AWESOME IS THIS!!!! Ahh crazy!!
  6. Posted by aroha on October 21st, 2011 at 7:55am

    hy,

    the DIY glow jars, awesome idea had something like that in mind, lol. However, how long do they glow for? If exposed to sunlight will the colours re-charge? I eagerly await your reply.

    Always curious about lighting, lol.
  7. Posted by Christina on October 21st, 2011 at 8:46am

    Only 1-2 hours. When they're done glowing, just refill.
  8. Posted by Laura/Readerwoman on October 21st, 2011 at 6:12pm

    GREAT for jars without lids - I always lose lids - and then can't think of what else to do with the jar! THANKS!
  9. Posted by Fireygoddess on October 21st, 2011 at 9:03pm

    these are brilliant. I'm totally making these someday and will reference you on my blog.
    Thanks
  10. Posted by Amanda on October 22nd, 2011 at 1:19am

    That's not plastic in the glow sticks, it's glass. Be CAREFUL. GLOW STICMS HAVE GLASS IN THEM. THWY ARE DANGEROUS.
  11. Posted by Christina on October 22nd, 2011 at 8:43am

    Amanda, I didn't know it was glass. Sure looked like plastic. I didn't feel any element of danger at all when I was doing this - that said, I did wear gloves because I didn't want to get any of the liquid on my skin. Also, this is definitely a project meant for an adult.
  12. Posted by Gilda Horgan on October 23rd, 2011 at 8:53pm

    Aren't these toxic? When you are done using them, what is the best way to safely dispose of the glass and liquid? You wouldn't want to rinse them down the drain anywhere. When they are in the sticks, they are safer to dispose.

    Hmmm
  13. Posted by Kismet on October 23rd, 2011 at 9:22pm

    The phosphorescent liquid in the jars is non toxic. Meaning, it can be washed down a drain no problemo. (Source, glassblower for 4 years that works with stuff way more toxic than that)
  14. Posted by Christina on October 23rd, 2011 at 10:10pm

    Appreciate your input Kismet!
  15. Posted by Courtney on October 25th, 2011 at 3:47am

    Are you supposed to break them for the glowing before you cut them open? I don't know that they would glow if you don't...?
  16. Posted by Krissy on October 25th, 2011 at 5:15pm

    Cool idea, but I'd be more inclined to try with some glow in the dark paints. Resuable and probably not as messy?
  17. Posted by amy on October 27th, 2011 at 3:55pm

    Okay, now that's just extremely cool. I didn't know the glowy stuff worked outside of the plastic. People are always asking me for wedding tips and that's something that's going on the list.

    Plus, it's also cool for parties and such, but I really like that idea. Dollar tree always has those things.
  18. Posted by Christina on October 29th, 2011 at 2:52am

    I LOVE this idea, however, I would think it would be rather difficult to do for a wedding because you would ave to worry about finding time to set them up because they don't last too long. Other thab that, it's absolutely brilliant and will probably be using the idea just for parties.
  19. Posted by Vixie on October 30th, 2011 at 8:08am

    This is so awesome! I've featured it on my blog: http://www.matinlapin.com/2011/10/my-favourite-things-this-week_30.html - can't wait to try it out!
  20. Posted by Richard on October 30th, 2011 at 8:08pm

    Ok, so after an hour or so they stop glowing. I can deal with that. Will putting them back into a source of light "recharge" them though? Or is it a one-time deal?
  21. Posted by Christina on October 30th, 2011 at 8:54pm

    They don't recharge Richard. Just dump some more glow-sticks in and you're good to go.
  22. Posted by Christina on October 30th, 2011 at 8:56pm

    You'd have to delegate someone to keep an eye on the jars and refill them when they lose their glow.
  23. Posted by Jenni on November 1st, 2011 at 6:28pm

    Love this idea, shame they won't last long and you can't really prepare them in advance for your wedding but fab idea!
  24. Posted by Chelsea on November 3rd, 2011 at 8:36pm

    Very cool idea, but I would use glow paints instead for several reasons:
    The vial inside is glass, as mentioned before.
    The chemicals inside can cause skin irritation, swelling, and in some cases vomiting and nausea.
    The chemical reaction in a glow stick only creates a glow for a couple of hours, then you have to break open more glow sticks, causing more waste.
    Glow paint would be cheaper in the long run, because you would only need a small amount for each jar, and the paint will recharge itself when exposed to natural or artificial light. You could event coat the entire inside of the jar instead of splattering. One tube of glow paint would go a long way! (Plus the paints come in different colors, like the glow sticks do.)
  25. Posted by Adam on November 23rd, 2011 at 12:44pm

    For those asking about recharging and how long they last....
    As mentioned, glow sticks are non-rechargeable, it's a chemical reaction and therefore when all the chemicals have reacted the light will die out (think of burning paper, when the paper has burnt away, the fire goes out).

    They typically can last anywhere up to 10-12 hours depending on environment.
    As its a chemical reaction causing the light (started by mixing the two chemicals together when you break the inner vial), you will find that they glow slightly brighter when they are warm although for a shorter period of time (the reaction is faster). So if they're outside in jars where it's going to be cooler, they won't be as bright but should last longer.
    .....I wonder if there's a safe way to keep the jars warm while in use (a candle would obviously defeat the object).
  26. Posted by Christina on November 23rd, 2011 at 1:38pm

    Hi Adam. Thanks for the info. I've found, however, that they don't last anywhere near 10-12 hours. Then again, I did have them on my front porch where it wasn't exactly warm. I will have to leave them in the house and see how long they last.
  27. Posted by Rachelle on November 23rd, 2011 at 1:47pm

    Take care not to get this stuff on any paint or finished wood surfaces—it is amazingly corrosive!!
  28. Posted by Emily L on November 24th, 2011 at 11:38pm

    These are so lovely. I love the thought of it. But when I think of the total hands-on work involved to get many of them all going at once during your wedding. *shudder* You'd have to pay an extra person for the evening just to look after the fancy light jars.
  29. Posted by Hadley on December 3rd, 2011 at 12:04am

    Hey this is really cool!!!! I hung mine on trees when my friends came over for my b-day a year ago and they loved them!!!!!!!!!! So cool everyone should try it! :)
  30. Posted by melda on December 4th, 2011 at 7:40am

    it's so beatiful
  31. Posted by MBloker on December 18th, 2011 at 2:32pm

    In all technicality the glow sticks to not have glass in them, it is just plastic to separate the two liquids from touching each other, and if it was glass it is not harmful, too small of pieces to even to any damage.

    But on another note, this is a really good idea i was thinking about doing something artistic for my wedding. but i do not know how well it will turn out to work in snow.
  32. Posted by Christina on December 20th, 2011 at 10:02am

    Thanks for weighing in on this Mbloker. These wouldn't work in the snow.. the colder the temps, the quicker the glow fades.
  33. Posted by sandra on December 24th, 2011 at 6:07pm

    can you put the lids back on the jars? Would that make them glow longer?
  34. Posted by Super Single Mom and Her Side Kids on December 29th, 2011 at 5:01pm

    I so love this! It would be great for those summer BBQ's too!
  35. Posted by Denise on December 30th, 2011 at 7:37pm

    We just made these..its been about 15 min and they dont glow anymore??? what a teaser for my 5 yr old ughhhh
  36. Posted by Christina on December 30th, 2011 at 11:25pm

    Sorry to hear that Denise. They don't last long in cold temps. Did you have them indoors?
  37. Posted by Janel on January 13th, 2012 at 3:12pm

    This is a very creative idea!! Kudos to whoever came up with this!! :) Definitely going to try this!! :)
  38. Posted by Angela on April 18th, 2012 at 12:03am

    I read somewhere that if you take a spray bottle with some hydrogen peroxide in it and spray a little bit inside the jar once it stops glowing, it will "re-charge" the glow for a little while. I have not tried this yet but will next time I do this, since they certainly don't last long at all (with cheap dollar store glow sticks anyway).
  39. Posted by Diana on April 25th, 2012 at 12:47pm

    My son received glo-sticks from his teacher for Valentine's Day when he was in first grade. He thought they were candy and bit off the end, sucking some into his mouth and swallowing a tiny bit. We were in the car driving home from school and just a few minutes from home. I had him spit it out into a kleenex and when I got home, I had him rinse with water and immediately called poison control. They said that they are not toxic and not to worry. They said if he swallowed enough, he might get a stomach ache, but he didn't.
  40. Posted by Jessica on June 6th, 2012 at 10:41pm

    LOVE these!! Want to make them for my December wedding to put outside on the deck so we can see them from the reception room (originally was going to order paper luminaries but these are soo much more fun!) Question: if my wedding is a Saturday night when should I make them to ensure they'll last for the 5 hour festivities? If its cold out will they last longer?? Don't want to waste the money if they aren't going to glow very long...
  41. Posted by Christina on June 7th, 2012 at 7:25am

    They definitely won't last five hours - especially in the cold. They don't last long in cold temps.
  42. Posted by Jennie on June 14th, 2012 at 9:46am

    do they last longer if you put a lid on it ?
  43. Posted by Christina on June 14th, 2012 at 2:00pm

    I don't think a lid would make a difference Jennie.
  44. Posted by Alyssa on June 29th, 2012 at 12:16am

    These are adorable! How long do they glow for?
  45. Posted by michelle on July 13th, 2012 at 11:53pm

    My daughter and I tried these with paint instead..takes awhile to dry and you have to use alot of paint. The sticks would be better for a instant glow..either way this is such a good idea. I did mine to give my niece to use in her room as a nightlight.
  46. Posted by shaylee on July 17th, 2012 at 12:40pm

    there is glass because we cut them open at camp in our cabin and glass went every where one girl sliced her foot open! but greats idea for sure will do.
  47. Posted by NanaPatricia on September 28th, 2012 at 4:53am

    a question ... how long can this glowing jar survive ?
  48. Posted by Arlene on November 16th, 2012 at 3:15pm

    You can do the same thing a safer way instead of using the glow sticks get some glow paint and splash it in a jar. This also makes them reusable over and over again. Use different glow paint for a amazing variety of colors. Oranges for Halloween, pastels for Easter, green for St Patrick's Day and many, many more..
  49. Posted by A.L. Designs Jewelry on December 12th, 2012 at 4:42am

    Love this glow in the dark jar seen them on youtube tutorial.
  50. Posted by danielle on December 14th, 2012 at 9:46pm

    hey there i love these !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  51. Posted by Carly Warner on December 18th, 2012 at 10:56pm

    Wow that's AMAZING! and it looks AWESOME! :)
  52. Posted by Ghadeer Joucka on February 17th, 2013 at 11:32am

    I like it sooooo much
  53. Posted by Maureen Shapard on March 7th, 2013 at 12:14pm

    Love all these great ideas!! Is there any way to get these glow bottles to last longer??
  54. Posted by Christina on March 7th, 2013 at 1:19pm

    Thanks Maureen! Unfortunately, there's no way that I know of to make these last longer. However, the warmer the temp, the longer they will last.
  55. Posted by Kerrie G on March 16th, 2013 at 9:54am

    These jars look stunning and would be so perfect for a outdoor wedding for when the sun goes down. Can't wait to try them for a few summer bbqs.
  56. Posted by Erica on April 7th, 2013 at 3:14am

    So thy only last 2-3 hours? Is there any way to make it last longer?
  57. Posted by Christina on April 7th, 2013 at 4:17pm

    No Erica. But the warmer the temps, the longer they will last.
  58. Posted by Emma on May 1st, 2013 at 3:46pm

    these are so pretty! I would love these for my wedding but if it only glows for an hour it's not so practical, I don't want to be making things and getting dirty on my wedding day! :P do you think you can get roughly the same effect using glow in the dark paint instead of glowsticks?
  59. Posted by Gabby on May 6th, 2013 at 1:03am

    But my question...how long did they glow? Doesn't the glow go away?
  60. Posted by Jenna on May 10th, 2013 at 9:11pm

    How about using glow paint? Rechargable in sunlight. Use gloves to flick the glowing paint into the mason jar.
  61. Posted by Amanda on May 18th, 2013 at 1:27pm

    What do you do with the jars afterward? Can they be washed out?
  62. Posted by Christina on May 18th, 2013 at 1:47pm

    Yes, they can.
  63. Posted by Lei on May 28th, 2013 at 10:37pm

    Could I use plastic jars instead of glass? Like a Skippys peanut butter jar?
  64. Posted by Olivia D. on June 3rd, 2013 at 5:23pm

    The reader that said that the pieces are glass is right~I learned that in science class last year. Anyway what an amazing idea!! I can't wait to make those for a party!!:)
  65. Posted by kelly on June 8th, 2013 at 6:43am

    Love it.
  66. Posted by Marie on June 12th, 2013 at 11:00am

    FYI these are nontoxic but they will leave a chemical burn. We did this for a dance. Adults only. I like that u added safety googles. I put my sunglasses on.
  67. Posted by Kaitlyn on June 12th, 2013 at 2:25pm

    How long will the jars glow for?
  68. Posted by Rita DeCook on June 12th, 2013 at 5:12pm

    can't see using these at a wedding. they would have to be done BEFORE the wedding, so there would be no 'glow' by the time the wedding is over. Maybe for Halloween.
  69. Posted by Arpan Sinha on June 20th, 2013 at 1:19pm

    Looks really Awesome..!! Thanks for this wonderful blog.. need to do this project sometime soon.. :)
  70. Posted by Meron on July 16th, 2013 at 11:04pm

    So cool! Just made one and it looks awesome!
  71. Posted by Jacson on September 2nd, 2013 at 11:50am

    These were cooler before I found out they're one-use-only. Aren't all those glass jars kind of wasteful?
  72. Posted by Christina on September 2nd, 2013 at 9:30pm

    They're not wasteful, Jacson. You can use jars you have on hand, then rinse and recycle when you are done with them.
  73. Posted by Morgan on October 13th, 2013 at 7:29pm

    Can you re-use the jar for something afterwards if you wash it out well? I have a jar an want to try it right now, but if I can't use it again; I'll have to wait to get another one :(
  74. Posted by Tara on October 29th, 2013 at 12:40pm

    Once they stop glowing and even while they are glowing you can put a black light near them. After they stop glowing the black light makes it look like they are still glowing it just wont be as bright.
  75. Posted by Mary H on November 13th, 2013 at 11:37pm

    There are glow sticks that can last up to nine or ten hours (or more). You can find them online or in stores that provide emergency preparedness, military, law enforcement, fishing, or camping items. They come in a variety of different colors. Prices vary. A package of ten is currently $12.95 at a local store. I saw the same ones online for $19.99.
  76. Posted by Apophis on November 14th, 2013 at 3:40am

    You know if your not careful of the glowstick brand you buy, instead of the non-toxic 2-3 hours ones, you could end up with the "military grade" 6-8 hours ones, which are BEYOND toxic.
  77. Posted by Natasha on November 14th, 2013 at 4:07pm

    It would be really cute to do some cut outs of fairies in these and do a little girls night garden party.
  78. Posted by Rei on November 26th, 2013 at 1:57pm

    Brilliant! I love this!! Thank you!!!
  79. Posted by Ana Maria on February 13th, 2014 at 9:25pm

    Hm, it's cool... =DDD
  80. Posted by dianne on March 12th, 2014 at 1:40pm

    Love all the great ideas great great things
  81. Posted by Indie on March 22nd, 2014 at 3:10am

    How long will it last?
  82. Posted by Sarah on April 8th, 2014 at 4:11pm

    how long will they glow for?
  83. Posted by Debbie on May 14th, 2014 at 10:59am

    My baby grandson went to be with Jesus May 10 2014. He loved Mickey Mouse. Would anyone have an idea on how to make a stepping stone in the shape of Mickey Mouse? My son and daughter in law want to make a memory garden.
  84. Posted by Shelly Doggett on May 17th, 2014 at 11:29pm

    This is totally awesome.
  85. Posted by hornsby on July 8th, 2014 at 1:18pm

    TK You.
  86. Posted by Patti on July 8th, 2014 at 2:05pm

    They would be awesome at a pool party, in different sizes on the patio and pool deck for a Tiki Bar Theme! I love the ideas!
  87. Posted by Nell Matthews on July 21st, 2014 at 9:40am

    The chemical reaction should slow down at cooler temperatures and thus last longer. Haven't you ever put the glow necklaces in the freezer overnight and then brought them out again the next day? They will have a little more glow in them.

    The warmer the temp, the faster the reaction so the brighter the glow. So, wedding decorators could make them up and put on ice, then bring them out at sunset to warm up and start glowing.

    Love this idea. Thanks so much.
  88. Posted by Kameel on July 22nd, 2014 at 7:11pm

    I love to do these jars for m garden.. But I cant seem to get glow sticks where I live ..or glow liquids? any where I can buy them at? or other options?
  89. Posted by lacey on July 26th, 2014 at 4:26pm

    why use glow sticks to make something that has to be made immediately before use (hard for party hosts) and will only glow once?
    why not use glow-in-the-dark paint that will recharge in the sun?
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