Back home in Georgia, when the hot sun went down, fireflies were everywhere. They’d zip around and make a light show that rivals the one at Stone Mountain.

Catching “lightning bugs” kept us young’uns busy for hours many a summer night. We’d poke holes in the top and watch for hours.

Here, in New England, my kids don’t get that same opportunity. We might see a couple every now and then. Not enough to fill a Mason jar.

So, we re-created that bit of nostalgia today and brought a little piece of my childhood to the next generation.

I’m giving y’all the green light to go ahead with this fun summertime project.

Below is a photo of what you’ll need to make Fireflies in a Jar.



Clip the top of the glow sticks and carefully pour the liquid into your jar.



We used about 6 to 8 glow sticks per person. But, I recommend using a few more than that for a better effect.


Pour in a little glitter.



Gently shake.



This is what one of our jars looked like. This one actually needed a little more glow stick juice. The light gets brighter the longer you wait. But, the light only lasts for a few hours so, make your Fireflies in a jar shortly before you need them.




This is what ours looked like when we went to the basement. No photo enhancements at all, this is exactly what they look like. I used the close-up setting on my camera, fyi.

Now, here’s how you can make these same memories with your loved ones.

Fireflies in a Jar

What you’ll need:

Plenty of glow sticks in a variety of colors (8 to 10 glow sticks per person OR a few more if you’d like) – The short, chubby glow sticks ended up working best because they have more juice than the slender ones and the juice pours out more easily.

strainer (may not be needed)

sharp scissors

mason jar or clear jar with a lid (the less writing on it – the better you’ll see the “fireflies”)

Note: you can also clean out a peanut butter jar and use it – it’s plastic so you don’t have to worry about breakage.

latex gloves (this is a MUST)


old clothes (a MUST also)

Warning: This Fireflies in a Jar project should be made by adults or with ADULT SUPERVISION! You are dealing with broken glass inside and liquid chemicals. (The glow sticks package says that the chemicals are non-toxic and non-flammable and may stain clothing.) 

Note: Fireflies in a Jar should be made in a light-filled, airy space.

First, we clipped the top off the glow sticks (without shaking them) and poured the liquid inside the Mason Jars. We used about 8 glow sticks per person. I recommend using a few more for a better effect.

Be careful, there is broken glass inside the glow sticks. You can use the strainer to try and catch the glass but, we couldn’t seem to get the liquid to fall down into the jar very effectively. I just made sure I got the broken glass out for the kids (mostly just the longer pieces – not the tiny chards).

Next, add a little glitter to your jar. We used maybe about a 1/2 cup – you may have to play around with this. When we went to look at them later in the night, the one with more glitter didn’t glow as much as the ones with slightly less.

Gently shake around. The light will get brighter after a couple of minutes.

Go to a dark place and enjoy!

The light will last for several hours but, can be prolonged if you place the jars in the freezer – not for more than a couple of hours. Note: We found that when we put them in the freezer and thawed them, the light effect seemed to be a little dimmer.

So, I’d recommend making these right before you need them and not putting them in the freezer unlesss you have to.

This was fun and makes a great sleepover project.

Perfect for nighttime and July 4th fireworks. You have your own personal little light show. (The plastic peanut butter jar may be better for this.)

I hope you’ll give this a try this summer with your family. Light up the night with Fireflies in a Jar.

Y’all come back real soon. Love, Cindy 



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