One of the most beautiful things about crafting green is the end result of our labor: awesome crafts that are unique, upcycled, and built with our own two hands. Add solar power into the mix, and the project is elevated into the realm of clean, green, renewable energy – something that reduces your carbon footprint even after the project’s complete!
With a little bit of know-how, you can create decorative, solar lighting accents for the garden. Case in point: the charming solar street lamp project below. Inspired by the clever Sharon Keen of Keen Inspirations, the project will have your backyard solar-illuminated in a weekend or less.
What You’ll Need
- Pendant light fixture
- Solar light stakes
- PVC piping – reclaimed, if possible
- Low VOC permanent glue
- Duct tape
- Zero VOC spray primer
- Low-VOC black spray paint in a matte finish
- Zero VOC primer
- Old frisbee
- Large flower pot or container
- Gravel or cement mix
Assemble the Lamp
1. The DIY solar street lamp project begins with a hunt for two used lighting fixtures (try the thrift store or your local Re-Store):
- A traditional pendant lighting fixture, the type with several curved “arms” to support the lights. You’ll be flipping the fixture upside-down to form a typical street lamp frame shape to hold the multiple globes.
- A ceiling globe fixture, featuring multiple globes.
2. Remove all the old wiring. Detach the lipped “cups” that held the globes from the globe fixture. Sand the bare pendant fixture and the cups. Spray them with primer and follow up with a coat of black matte spray paint.
3. Attach the cups to the ends of the arms of the pendant fixture. Super glue may be enough to hold them firmly in place. If not, nuts and washers can help secure everything down.
4. Detach the stakes from the solar lighting and fit the lights into the cups. Fit the globes over the solar lights and secure them into the cups. Attach a short length of PVC to the base of the fixture, narrow enough to slip easily into the pole structure.
Make a Pole
5. To give the pole some architectural interest, use PVC pipes with two or three different widths, and then use PVC adapter pieces to fit them into each other. Duct tape and super adhesive helps hold them firmly in place.
6. For the “base” of the pole, you can cut a hold into an old Frisbee and slip the pole through it. Extend the pole about a foot below the base. Use a plastic primer on the PVC structure, followed by a coat or two of black matte paint.
7. The easiest way to secure the street lamp in place is to “plant” it in a large flower pot or plastic container. A cement mix is best, but gravel works in a pinch, too. Once secure, dig a hole and lower the pot into it until the base is level with the ground.
If you pick a spot for the lamp that gets plenty of sunshine during the day, the solar lights will automatically switch on in the evening and off in the morning. Simple as that.
Got Any Tips?
If you can think of any creative alterations or suggestions for the project, let us know in comments. We’d love to hear them.
All photo and content credit via Sharon Keen