DIY Solar Lamp: Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Sun Jars


The principle is simple and seductively clever: solar lights that store energy during the day and release light at night. These can be purchased ready-made in a variety of colours (yellow, blue and red) but they can also be built at home.


A simple, less-technical approach involves buying a conventional solar-powered yard lamp and then essentially harvesting it for key pieces to put in a jar. This is simply a way of taking an existing solar lamp design and appropriating its parts to make something more attractive for display around a house or home.


A more electronically-savvy individual can take the more complex route and built a solar lamp from the ground up using small solar panels – though the aesthetic result may not be as impressive.


Whatever route you choose to go, these are fun and sustainable gadgets that make it easy to go green, automate the process of turning on lights at night and can add some colour to your porch, patio, garden or windowsill.


Upcycled Wine Cork Pendants

Wine Cork Pendants

Pull out those wine corks you have been saving and put them to use making fun upcycled pendants!

Fiskars’ new line of stamps by Teresa Collins is absolutely beautiful, and definitely fit to be worn as jewelry.

Wine Cork Pendant Necklaces

Here’s how to make your own:

1. Cut wine corks into slices at desired widths using a knife or small saw. This time I thought to use the bench vise we have out in the garage, but I’ve sliced many corks without one. Just be sure to be very careful keeping your fingers away from the blade and work on a protected surface.

cut wine cork into pendants

2. Sand the cork slices to create a flat surface.

3. Paint or ink the flat surfaces if desired (play around with and without color) and allow them to dry fully.

4. Stamp image onto front of slice. You do not need to use an image that is small enough to fit. Try stamping partial images as I’ve done here, such as stamping inside the wheel of a bicycle stamp or the edge of a doily stamp.Tip: Since the corks are small, press them into the stamp instead of stamping onto the slice. Add a pattern before your stamp by painting onto a texture plate and pressing cork slice onto plate like this honeycomb design.Allow them to dry fully before stamping over pattern.

5. Screw a 5mm eye screw into the top of each slice for hanging. You can hang from a necklace with this loop, or you may need to add a small jump ring to fit over clasp.

insert screws into wine cork pendants

Make a bunch to swap out on a necklace so you’ll always have something fun to wear with any outfit!

finished wine cork pendants


Thanks to paint that dries into a chalkboard finish, your board can be whatever size you desire and placed wherever you like. Store-bought formulas come in traditional green and black. But you can also follow our recipe to mix your own batch in any shade. Cleverly applied chalkboard paint means new places to track appointments, keep lists, and leave messages. Or simply use the surface to draw or doodle, which will appeal to kids and the kid in everyone. Choose from the following ideas or come up with your own homemade chalkboard location.

Tip: Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time.

Wall Calendar

A home office is the ideal spot for a family planner. Six weeks’ worth of squares in a variety of shades can accommodate several schedules. The entire wall is also coated with chalkboard paint for more memos. Start with a base coat of store-bought black chalkboard paint, and then mix in varying amounts of white chalkboard paint for lighter squares.


Mudroom Mural

The bottom half of a mudroom wall is just the right height for pint-size Picassos — when coated with store-bought green chalkboard paint. When inspiration strikes again, the canvas can be wiped clean with a damp sponge. Cork board, available at home centers, covers the wall above the chair rail, providing an area for art displays. The cork was colored with latex paint to match the room



  • Flat-finish latex paint
  • Mixing container
  • Unsanded tile grout
  • Paint stirrer
  • Roller or sponge paintbrush
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Chalk
  • Sponge


  1. STEP 1

    Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps.

  2. STEP 2


    Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry.

  3. STEP 3

    Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.

  4. STEP 4

    To condition, rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge.


31 Things You Can Make Out Of Cereal Boxes


You can turn a cereal box, soda can, and torch bulb into a little flashlight with some basic folding and cutting. This step-by-step tutorial shows you how.

Mail Organizer

Cover cereal boxes with pretty fabrics, add a strip of cotton twill tape and labels, and stack them on the wall for a nifty organizer. The full tutorial is here.

Mini Notebooks

Cut out a segment of the box, fold in half, fill with blank or lined paper, add a button and cord, and decorate with pretty paper along the binding, as done here.

Mini-er Notebooks

Make tiny notebooks from 2” x 4” cut-outs. Great for writing lists or quick notes.This tutorial shows you how.

Gift Tags

Cut little rectangles out of the sides of cereal boxes and decorate with patterned paper. All the details are here.

Drawer Organizer

Line the insides of cereal boxes with patterned papers and arrange them in a drawer to keep your office supplies sorted, as done here.

Business Cards

Print out your info on the inside of a cereal box for economical and funky business cards. Here are the details.


This post shows you how to make mini piñatas by cutting animal shapes from cereal box cardboard and decorating them with fringe.

Desk Organizers

All you have to do is cute up boxes (slanted tops are helpful for storing papers) and cover with decorative paper, as done here.

Thread Spools

You can easily cut out little spools for winding embroidery thread from the sides of cereal boxes, as done here.

Gift Bags

This quick tutorial explains how to make gift bags for any occasion by covering boxes with decorative paper. Punch holes at the sides to insert ribbon for a handle.

Gift Boxes

Use this template to cut out a funky shape from the side of cereal box that turns into a nifty folded box.

13. Wallet


Follow the tutorial and digram found here to fold a wallet — all you’ll need is some elastic and and a hole puncher.

Seed Starters

This blogger made little planters to fill with dirt and seeds. You can also add Dymo label plant markers if you like.


A 4” x 6” piece of cardboard becomes a postcard with some basic line marks on the back. This post explains how.

16. Pencil Case

Pencil Case

Some folding, cutting, and a Velcro closure transform cereal boxes into pencil cases. Read about it here.



These directions show you how to weave yarn through a cardboard circle to create a colorful hanging ornament.

18. Trivet and Coasters

Trivet and Coasters

This blogger made chic modern table decor by cutting up and layering used boxes.


Cut strips 1 1/2” x 6” in size and string a ribbon through a top to create a bookmark, as done here.


Punch holes in old cereal boxes and place a light inside for unique night lighting.This post has more info.


This blogger made decorative globes from strips of old cereal boxes. These could be fun party or kids room decor.


Use cereal box inserts to add sturdiness to a no-sew leather clutch. Follow this detailed tutorial.

Sunburst Mirror

Yes, this is made from a cereal box. Thin strips of cardboard can be arranged in a sunburst design around a mirror — with some patience and this tutorial.

Wall Hangings

Cover boxes with decorative paper and mount them on the wall like this bloggerfor simple decorative art.


Check out these directions for creating 3D painted letters to match your party theme.

Photo Frame Mat

Accent your photos with fabric-covered cardboard mats, like this blogger.

Present Toppers

Use leftover boxes to cerate poofs and bows for gift embellishing. This post has more details.


This tutorial is for a surprisingly easy piece of jewelry. Just roll strips of cardboard and cover in varnish to create beads. String them into a necklace and you’re done.

Cupcake Box

Reuse as a cupcake carrier — just turn into a horizontal box and add tape at the corners to prevent the lid from falling in, like this blogger did.


Use this template to cut out puzzle pieces from an old box. You could repaint with another design before cutting, or keep the cereal box motif


Weave strips of cardboard into a colorful square basket, great for storage. Get the details here.



apieceofrainbow27 (15)Here comes part 2 of the series of paper lanterns. This time they are glowing colored light!

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Materials and tools:

  • glass with straight sides, such as cylinders or cubes
  • white paper : I used Neenah Exact Index Cardstock which worked beautifully to get more
  • of the dimensional effect. There’s a lot of confusion between index vs cover (heavier) card
  • stock, and the ways paper weight is labeled. This paper is the perfect weight, not too flimsy
  • like text paper, not too heavy yet hold its shape nicely.
  • vellum paper : Grafix Vellum Value Pack 8.5″X11″ 40/Pkg -Color Assortment
  •  Use a Silhouette Portrait here- LOVE that little machine! – but it’s easy enough to cut with an
  • X-acto knife
  • double sided tape
  • candles of course!
  •  Free templates, you can download here and adjust them to the size of your glasses

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After cutting them by hand or on your Silhouette, fold those petals up so the blossoms become

three dimensional. This pattern is a little more intricate, so use a spatula or butter knife to help

life them off the cutting mat!

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Tape some colored vellum before taping the paper, so we can have colored light shining through.

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Now light the candles and enjoy your new set of lanterns! The candle light has a warm golden

glow to it, so the velum takes on a warm color, and the yellow is enhanced, the purple turns into

a rose color, and the light pink take on more of the gold / orange. I hope you will try some different

colors and let me know how they turn out!

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Happy creating! xo