Part Three: How to make easy recycled solar lights for your garden
Solar lights have been around forever it seems and always come out in new styles each year in department stores. Flea Market Gardeners like to make their own solar lights for the garden,… from recycled and discarded materials….art supplies, we call them.
This is an incredibly easy project and could fit into any decor, any season, and any table centerpiece!
Marie Niemann says, “Solar Power! These were a couple of wire candle holders that I found at a thrift store. I cut the tops off a couple of cobalt Blue Bud bottles then set a solar light on the top. The center one is an aluminum cover used to protect lights usually found in commercial buildings. I love how they cast a cool design on the table at night.
I bought the bottle cutter from Amazon. There are also a lot of videos on YouTube with instructions on how to cut a bottle if you’d like to give it a try. ”
Marie says, “Fellow FMGer, Becky Norris had a great idea to use a colored drinking glass for the insert. I have some beautiful red ones that will work. An alternative for those that don’t want to cut bottles.”
Artist, Sue Gerdes from Flea2Fab , made her hanging lights from vintage globes, hanging them from thin chains and simply popping in the top of a solar light. She hangs them high in the trees with a metal rod with a hook at the end. One chain goes around the top and three long chains, joined at the top with a metal ring can all be assembled with needle nosed pliers. Chain and the ring can be found at hardware stores where they cut chain to size!
Do these lights get enough sunlight during the day to light up? Sue says, “Yes, they get plenty of light to charge up. I use the charging batteries that are just for solar lights. Ask for them at any big hardware store, sometimes they are on sale.”
Vicki Burt-Jones tells us, “This is the solar garden light that my husband made. It’s an old chandelier purchased at a yard sale for $5 with $1 solar lights, bought at the Dollar Tree stores. We put them out in the spring, hot glued into the sockets and an LED light glued inside the top (solar). It hangs right over our picnic table. I love it!
The solar lights are just hot glued into the sockets. They’ve lasted through tons of nasty weather and so far…standing strong!”
Sue Gerdes says, I found these beauties in Rapid city when we were in “The Hill’s” and can’t wait to light them up, …see the neat designs? They cost two dollars a piece and vintage too!”
These are the kind that used to be installed over kitchen sinks in the 40s and 50s and you can find them at thrift and antique stores and at Flea markets. Sue paid four dollars for huge ones at Boyd’s Antiques in South Dakota. She says, “I usually pay 2.00 to 1.50 and sometime 50 cents. These here were around a dollar. I have five haven’t unpacked them yet from our trip. I’m going to make some more fairy lights with them.”
Inspiration from one, to another,…the FMG way!
Marie’s and Sue’s ideas were bouncing from one to the other last week and Marie found more supplies to make her version of Sue’s lights.
Marie says, “I found this vase and decided it would make a pretty hanging lamp, but with the clear glass it would need a Bud Light bottle. For this one, I used a round vase and put a blue bud bottle cut off in the center. Looks awesome at night!”
Glitz and glamour
Last month when six of us met for a campout in the hills of South Dakota, we found that Sue comes prepared for anything,,,even Flea Market Gardening! In this case she had Mason jars, the flat jewels or gems we love and solar light she finds at the Dollar Store. She packs these in a cardboard box ready to set our on the picnic table of her site. Instant glamour!
Photos by Marie Niemann, Sue Gerdes, Jeanne Sammons and me! Thanks for the sensational ideas, Sue and Marie! ~~ Sue
More on upcycling light fixtures: