Fireflies in the trees

So I’ve wanted to do this little project for the longest time, and I finally got the courage up this weekend. It involved one little part that totally had me intimidated.

I’ve always wanted to hang DIY glass lanterns along the trees in our backyard – I’ve seen it done with mason jars and regular jars and I’ve planned to do it for years. But I knew it would mean I’d have to drill a hole in the bottom of the glass to do it.

Otherwise they will fill up with rain water and I’d have to dump them regularly and I know myself and myself would never do that. So they’d become little mosquito breeding grounds and those guys like me enough as it is.

SO. I knew all along I’d need to drill holes in them to avoid mosquito production and my well being. :) I finally bit the bullet and just did it this weekend. My original plan was to use mason jars, but I didn’t want to put a hole in the ones I have because I use them quite a bit during the fall and holidays. So I took a trip to Goodwill, where I’ve gotten EVERY ONE of my mason jars over the years, and they had none. None!! Well, I did find one itty bitty baby one marked at a dollar, which just annoyed me so I put it back.

You know how I feel about Goodwill prices lately. :)

So I was just going to use food jars and wire, but then while shopping the other day I found some super cute mason jar versions for $2.99 each (Kirklands). For that price it was worth it to just get them instead of DIYing – they had cute wire already and everything. They are SO much cuter than a jar too!

Here’s what I ended up needing to drill the holes:

drilling into glass

The drill bit gets hot so you need to have water near the spot you’re drilling. You can do that by just pouring it constantly, but you need three hands to do that. (Or you can stop constantly to pour.) I found the easiest way was to fill a bucket just higher than the height of the jar.

I picked up a drill bit just for this, and it was pricey at $18, but I know I’ll use it for other things in the future. There are two types of glass cutting bits:

glass drilling bit glass drilling bits

I used the one on the left. From my understanding you won’t be able to use these on tempered glass, so don’t try it on that. (It just won’t work.)

Getting started was the hardest part. I was seriously wondering if I’d be able to even do this because the bit kept skidding all over the place. You need to start at an angle at first, not flat – so the bit can get a grip on the glass. how to drill a hole in glass

This pic was a little later when I had straightened it out a bit more, but it gives you an idea of how I did it in the bucket.

Once you get that grip it’s easy, but that’s the hard part:

how to put a hole in glass

Those half moon shapes are where I started. Once you get those going you can straighten out the bit and put it straight down:

hole to drill into glass

By the way – use gloves, eye protection and if you are not doing this in a bucket of water, I’d use a mask as well. With the water there was no need for that.

OH, and use a cordless drill. No water and electricity please. :)

When you get the bit going it’s not bad at all – you just have to be patient. You don’t want to push too hard, just let the bit do it’s thing. I’d say each time took about 30-45 seconds of drilling once I got a good grip:

drilling a hole in glass

Here’s what you’re left with:

I got overconfident by my fourth one and pushed too hard:

drilling into glass safety

Nice. I was pushing the drill too hard and it pushed through. So just be patient! Patience is really not my thing.

I seems intimidating but honestly it wasn’t bad at all. Having the glass under water was a huge help because I wasn’t worried about the bit getting hot or glass flying everywhere. Overall it was actually kind of a cool DIY.

I’ve had little indoor/outdoor tea lights from IKEA for a about a year for this project:

mason jar lanterns

By the way, I used the wire from the jar that broke to make another lantern with a jar from the fridge. :)

I hung them from the trees along the back:

mason jar lanterns in trees

And waited for the sun to go down:

DIY mason jar lanterns

I have these tea lights in white and yellow and love the yellow out there – I feel like they look more like fireflies or something. :)

I can’t find the lights online at IKEA though. I hope they still carry them because I want more:

jar lanterns for outside

Now I want to do this along the whole length of the yard – how pretty!:

mason jar lanterns in trees

I want them everywhere. ALL THE JARS.

Of course we have to turn on each light but that’s no biggie –- we won’t use these every night. I’m pretty much in love with them though:

mason jar lights in trees

I’ll be making more but will be raiding the fridge for jars to the do the rest.

I love how they turned out and love that they’ll have very little upkeep – I’ll probably have to clean them every month or so, but they are secure (I made sure not to hang them too close to each other so they won’t bang together during storms) and will drain easily.

I knocked two things off my list – a project I’ve been wanting to do forever and a DIY that I’ve always been too intimidated to attempt. :) Here me roar.

The possibilities are endless now that I know how to drill through glass. Have you ever tried it? I’ve seen tutorials on cutting wine bottles and that looks interesting as well.

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