DIY Fairy Lights

Glass jar coated with glow in the dark powder hanging from tree

This is a relatively simple project, at least once you eliminate some of the ways not to go about distributing glow-in-the-dark powder around the inside of a glass vessel.  

Elmer’s glue is not the adhesive for this project.  I tried pouring an ounce of powder in clear Elmer’s glue and coating the inside of a variety of jars with the concoction.  It didn’t dry in any reasonable timeframe. I had my entire kitchen, such as it is, festooned with glass jars in various states of rotation, trying to get an even coating.  Didn’t work.

Here’s what did work:

Goodwill is a great place to look for interesting glass.  Just make sure there is some kind of a rim or neck. When it comes time to tie these up to hang them, a perfectly smooth, straight glass vessel won’t give you anything to tie the twine around.  

The tools that do work for this project:  glass jar and Krylon Laquer

In my case, I went to one of the dumping places in the woods where I’ve found glass bottles dating back to the 1940’s, and picked the most interesting jars I could find.  I did get one drinking glass from Goodwill, but the rest of my glass came from cleaning up my woods.  

Once your chosen glass is clean and dry, spray the inside with just enough lacquer to make the sides sticky.  (Ventilation is important, don’t do this inside or at least open up the windows.) Wide mouths make it easier to get a nice even coating on the inside.  The narrower jars/bottles tend to get a little drippy.  

Go one at a time.

Tip a little powder into the bottle and turn the bottle to move the powder around.  Keep adding powder a little at a time until the entire inside is coated. Tap out the extra for the next bottle and keep going.  

Let dry – overnight should be more than enough, and you might not need that much time.

Use the twine to set the bottles up to hang.  You want them to hang upside down so you don’t get rainwater in them when you hang them in your trees, so your twine work needs to keep that in mind.  

glass bottle with glow-in-the-dark powder on the inside, hanging from a tree

My approach was to start with two pieces of twine maybe 4x as long as the jar I was working on.  I tied them both around the neck of the jar, but put the knots on opposite sides. This leaves you with four individual strings.  Take one from each side of the jar and knot it about half way down the jar. Repeat on the other side. Now take one string from each of those knots and create a third knot (the first was around the neck of the jar) on the opposite side of the second knot…

Yikes.  This is easy to do, but hard to describe. 

Also, my knot-tying approach may not be the best one.  

Use the superglue to secure the knots.  A little drop should keep the knots from coming undone.

glow in the dark bottle hanging from a tree in the dark

I tied everything up again at the top (actually, the bottom of the bottle), and used the excess to tie the bottle to the tree.  This is what they look like in the dark

Dark photo with small glowing jar

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