Monthly Archives: June 2014

DIY: Mason Jars as Garden Lamps with Natural Stone Patio

Happy Weekend Cincinnati DIYers out there! Today’s DIY Summer project is an easy one with big rewards!

Mason jars can make a perfect complement to any flagstone patio

Mason jars are the famed vessels used for canning and preserving. Invented in Philadelphia in 1858 by John Mason, the jars, at that time combined with candle wax, allowed producers the unique ability to relatively easily seal and sterilize jams, pickles and all variety of things. Today, with the advent of plastics, industry uses far fewer mason jars to seal products. Instead, these classic, iconic containers are turned into works of art by creatives all over the world – prepare to join their ranks!

Today, we’re going to turn mason jars into colorful, solar powered lanterns for anywhere in your yard, your patio or even interior. There are a lot of variations on this formula – it’s art after all – so feel free to experiment and modify it as you see fit!

Mason Jar Lamps DIY Project


What You’ll Need (for each lamp):

  • A Mason Jar
  • Screw on band and disc lid for jarA Solar Powered Stake Lamp with Screw off Top (often found in the gardening section of your favorite big box store or hardware store)
  • Roll of Electrical Tape
  • Rubber Cement and Pen Knife (optional)

The Process: Remove the disc piece from the top of the mason jar and set it aside. Unscrew the top of the steak lamp (the lighting element and solar panel) and start to cover the outside edge with electrical tape. The idea is to build up enough tape on the outer edge of the lamp to place the element snugly within the screw down band.

For a more secure fit, you can take the disc lid from the mason jar and use a pen knife to cut a hole in the disc the size of the solar panel. Then use glue, rubber cement is probably best here for outdoors, to attach the lighting unit to the disc.

Bam! You’ve got a solar powered mason jar lamp with just a couple bucks and about 15 minutes of your time – now it’s time to decorate it!

Glowing mason jars work great with natural flagstone


This is your chance to add your own flair, and a great way to do that is with glass-frosting spray, available from your local hobby shop. You can also use paints and other decorations to make a jar that’s just as great to see in the daytime as it is at night. Make sure to coordinate your color palate with your stone edging, your garden’s natural colors, your natural flagstone and your personal tastes.

The little things like this can really add a lot to your Cincinnati area home, they’re simple and serve as a great complement to any garden or natural flagstone patio. Also, there are ton of other projects you can do with mason jars, check it out on Pinterest.

DIY Summer: Dress Up That Ugly Concrete Pad with Pavers From Semco!

Is the concrete pad outside your back door causing you extreme boredom? Do your eyes hurt when looking at that bland, white slab plagueing your back yard?

Patio Pavers Cincinnati

Get ready to dress it up with this week’s Summer of DIY tips and tricks! If you follow Semco’s blog, you probably know that we’re always encouraging people to try out natural stone and flagstone. These natural stones are some of the best looking, durable and atmosphere creating pavers you can use – the drawback is that they’re pretty hard to install, especially if you’re an amateur! Today’s tip is a project any home owner can undertake without the need for pros.

This Week’s Tip: Using Pavers to Cover Up that Boring Concrete Pad

Time it Will Take: One Saturday

Check out the video:

How it’s Done: Installing square pavers over your existing slab patio is pretty straightforward. You’ll need some supplies that you can pick up at your local hardware store, and you may need greater or fewer depending on your patio.

Start by measuring your patio. Make sure to get the square footage and make sure that the patio is level before you even go purchase supplies. If it’s not level, pick up some concrete leveling compound and take care of this problem before you lay any pavers! Likewise, if you’ve got cracks in your concrete, make sure to get some weed defense fabric!

Spread a thin layer of paver base all over the concrete, leaving about 8 in. along each edge, then add leveling sand to make the base as smooth as possible. Begin laying your pavers to top of the base from one corner outward. As you go, double check that you’re keeping each paver as level as possible.

After the pavers are laid, prepare some mortar and spread around the outside 8 inches that aren’t covered already with pavers. Break the pavers into the appropriate sized pieces and place around the edges on top of the mortar.

Finally spread polymeric sand all over the pavers using a push broom or very carefully with a regular broom to fill in all the cracks and sweep away all the excess. Wet it down thoroughly and allow it all to set before walking on it.

That’s it – your patio is now a point of pride! Using Semco Cincinnati’s pavers, like those from the Belgard brand, are designed just for this kind of simple installation.


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