Up-cycled Solar Lights
I was thinking the other day about how I wished solar lights were more appealing to look at. Or at least, the ones I could afford. Then I happened to catch a picture on Pinterest and thought to myself that I could up-cycle my own solar lights to fit with the theme of my yard. If you have followed me on Facebook, Pinterest or on this website, you know how much I love turning old junk into garden art, so that is what I did here, although I wouldn't call the items I used junk in this case.
As you probably already know, I collect glass dishes for garden totems and I always have a few really cool pieces left over that don't quite work with the pieces I have left, but that are too pretty to just get rid of. This project was perfect for such items and you can make some of your own one-of-a-kind solar lights, or as I like to call them fairy lights. There is something so pretty and mystical about light dancing in a garden at night, don't you think?
What you need to make your own lights will depend on what vessel you will be using to contain the light, but here are some basic guidelines you can use to get started.
- Look for cut glass for the best light reflection.
- Use clear or white plastic lids from whipped topping, sherbet, sour cream, etc. as lids for your containers that can hold the solar light. These lids can be painted, if desired, and are very easy to cut.
- Silicone can be used to help hold lights in place or to make them water tight.
- Make sure the charging part of the light is not covered to allow for maximum recharging.
- Make sure you have completely charged the lights ahead of time and turned the switch ON before attaching them or gluing them to any of your glass.
- Adding glass beads or marbles to the inside of a container can add color and interest to your light.
- I used the most inexpensive, plastic solar light that I could find ($1 each), but you can find them in different sizes depending on the size container you are using. The lights I used look very much like the ones below, I just used plastic ones and these are metal and glass, I think. The solar lights usually come in two sections (the light itself and the post to stick it in the ground). The clear globe over the light can also be removed, if needed.
Here are FIVE examples to get you started. Each one has a daytime photo and then a nighttime photo. Unfortunately the nighttime photos really don't show how pretty the lights are, but I think you get the idea.
The light above is probably the most simple up-cycling you can do. I happened to have a votive cup that went on a candle holder and the opening in the bottom fit perfectly on top of the solar light. The light can recharge with out any problems since it is fully exposed.
Mason jars are really hot right now, so of course I had to make a solar light out of one. There are two ways you can do this. My way, was the super easy way. All I did was cut a plastic lid from a sour cream container to fit the top of the mason jar. I then cut a hole in the center to fit snuggly over the clear plastic part of the solar light. I added marbles to the jar to add color and interest to the light and then just screwed on the mason jar lid. This way of attaching the light keeps the charging part of the light above the lid and makes it very easy to change out, if necessary, but the look may not be what you are looking for. You can also cut a square in the lid the same size as the charging portion and glue the light to the underside of the lid so that it is flush to the lid and does not stick up when the lid is screwed on to the mason jar. I found it a little difficult to cut a perfect square, so I just stuck it on top. You can also buy these awesome solar lids from Amazon to accomplish the same thing.
The light below was made the same way as the mason jar light except I did not need marbles in the bowl since it is cut glass. It already came with a screw on rim, so I just used a cool whip topping lid to hold the light in place.
The above lights were made from globes for light fixtures. They were open on each end and fit the size solar light I had perfectly. I wrapped copper wire around the globe so that it could hang and added some glass beads to the wire for interest, so they look good day or night.