July 7, 2011

Glow-in-the-Dark Firefly Jar

We're very fortunate to live in an area of the country where lightning bugs are a fun part of Summer evenings.  I have so many childhood memories of running around in the backyard after dark collecting fireflies in a jar and I'm so glad that my kids get the chance to do the same thing now. 

Unfortunately, we often have problems at the end of the evening when they have a jar full of fireflies and it's bedtime.  They don't want to part with their glowing, flickering jars of light, but I don't really want a jar full of bugs in the house (especially when it'll be a jar full of dead bugs by morning).  When I came across these cool, glowing jars on Pinterest, I had an a-ha moment that would solve our problems.  I made a jar that would continue glowing even after we let the bugs free and came inside.

By using glow-in-the-dark paint, painted fireflies "glow" with the lights out!

Here's what I did:

1.  Gather your supplies ~ glow-in-the-dark acrylic paint, a sharpie and a jar with holes in the lid ( I used a plastic jar so I didn't have to worry about it breaking and drilled small holes in the lid)

My jar was from a 40oz container of peanut butter

2.  Paint small ovals on the INSIDE of your jar using the glow-in-the-dark paint.  Add a second coat if it needs more coverage.

3.  Using your Sharpie, add the lightning bugs' antennae and wings on the OUTSIDE of the jar.  

4.  That's it!!  On the next nice evening, take your jar outside and fill it with flickering fireflies.  When it's bedtime, let the real fireflies loose and bring your jar inside.  We put ours near a bright light while we brush our teeth, then put it next to our beds to watch the glowing lights as we fall asleep.


  1. What a great idea Laura. Unfortunately we would have to make do with the fake ones since I haven't seen any lightning bugs in ages ;-). I bought a larger container of "elastic" glow in the dark paint 'cause we had wanted to make glow in the dark shirts for our oldest's space birthday last year. We ended up settling for explorer packs for every child to take home Instead ;-)., so we could give it a try. Have great day - maks :-)

  2. what a great idea! now i want to run to the store and get some glow in the dark paint!!!

  3. Brilliant! I will be making one for my daughter!

  4. I love these!! I am going to make these with my son this weekend. Thank you!!!!

  5. I love seeing Pinned projects in action. You're brilliant!

  6. This is genius! We are also very lucky to have lots of fireflies, but we have the same issue where the kids want to keep them, and I insist on letting them go. Thanks for linking up with Fun for Kids Friday : )

  7. I'm your newest follower coming over from For the Kids Fridays. I LOVE THIS IDEA! We just did a Firefly craft at our house making fireflies out of Band-Aids. I hope you'll stop by to say hello and follow back. :)

  8. How cute! The other day my son wanted me to buy him a jar of fake lightning bugs. What a great substitute. We are certainly putting this on our craft list.

  9. Cute! I saw those jars on Pinterest too and we made some. I love how yours are fireflies though, darling!!

  10. We've been playing around with glow things. Very cute idea! I posted your link on our Facebook wall. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Play-at-Home-Mom/174614952594331 :-)

  11. Wonderful Idea - great to add to a camping or bug theme!

  12. Very cute idea! I wish we had lightening bugs where we live. I loved catching them as a kid.

  13. I am loving this idea. I can see a whole set of different sized jars for storing little items in a playroom or kid's room that would also serve instead of a nightlight. This would be much more fun. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Love this!! I just linked back to it on my FB page!:)

  15. LOVE IT! Such a great idea, and one I will be doing soon. My boys thank you. ;)


  16. We are fortunate to have fireflies where we live too! I love this idea, so clever. Found you through Craft-o-maniac. I'm your newest follower!

  17. This is sooo clever! Love the idea of no fly away lightning bugs.. bet the kids had a lot of fun with this! Hope you will share with my Pink Hippo party @ http://pinkapotamus.blogspot.com/2011/07/pink-hippo-party-37.html

  18. Such a cute, simple idea. Love it!

  19. My son would love this! I would love it if you linked up to my Tuesday Confessional link party going on now. There is also an awesome giveaway to go with the party, so you should check it out. http://www.craftyconfessions.com/2011/07/tuesday-confessional-linky-party-and.html
    I hope to see you soon!

  20. WOOOOHOOOOO!!! Your post is featured tonight at Sun Scholars! Stop by to grab your A++ button, and share some more of your amazing ideas with us at For the Kids Fridays!


  21. I have to make this for my kids. We jut moved to Utah from MI and there are no lightning bugs, they miss catching them so much. thanks for the wonderful idea. I'm now a follower of yours.


  22. I seriously LOVE this! We don't have fireflies in FL and my girls love seeing them when we visit my fam up North! THis would be so great to do with them! :)

    Would love to invite you to link up your idea(s) at my weekly child centered linky party - The Sunday Showcase


  23. Thank you so much for linking up to my Tuesday Confessional link party. You were featured so grab a button and get your brag on! http://www.craftyconfessions.com/2011/07/tuesday-confessional-kid-friendly-posts.html.
    I can't wait to see what you come up with for this week's party!

  24. Hi We Featured this sweet jar in our blog http://sewstylishboutique.blogspot.com/
    we would love it if you would come and grab a button.
    Rose and Heather

  25. So great ideas and tutorial! i love it, and i linked up to my blog. thanks for sharing.

  26. This is really well done. And totally neat which is way up my alley. LOL! Definitely going to try this as soon as I get my hands on some glow in the dark paint.

  27. This is so cute ! I love this idea !
    My husband is at the store and I just called him right now so he can get the materials !

  28. Wow what a great idea. Unfortunately we live in California and we don't have fireflies. My kids love our insect theme so I will incorporate this into that unit. What I'm going to do is use the kids fingerprints for the bodies. Thank you for sharing. God Bless. Mrs. Valerie

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