• Sensational recycled solar lights in the garden

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    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's brilliant blues

    Marie Niemann’s brilliant blues

    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.”

    How to:

    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!

    Vintage globe solar light

    Lovely vintage globe solar light

    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.”


    Forest-y setting for these solar lights used to glam up a camp spot last August

    Forest-y setting for these solar lights used to glam up a camp spot last August


    Pebbly textured solar globe

    Pebbly textured solar globe


    Sparkle in the dark

    Sparkle in the dark


    Vicki Burt-Jones's spectaculer solar chandy

    Vicki Burt-Jones’s spectaculer solar chandy

    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!”


    Future projects!

    Beauties found in the 'Hills!'

    Beauties found in the ‘Hills!’

    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!”

    Marie's vase and bottle light, inspired by Sue Gerdes' designs

    Marie’s vase and bottle light, inspired by Sue Gerdes’ designs


    'Art supplies' for the lamps

    ‘Art supplies’ for the lamps

    Easy...one, two, three

    Easy…one, two, three!


    Marie's inspired vase lamps

    Marie’s inspired vase lamps

    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!

    Table top solr light centerpiece

    Table top solar light centerpiece


    Sue takes lights along when camping, pretty day or night...

    Sue takes lights along when camping, pretty day or night…


    Ball jar, filled with flat gems

    Mason Ball jar, filled with flat gems

    Photos by Marie Niemann, Sue Gerdes, Jeanne Sammons and me!  Thanks for the sensational ideas, Sue and Marie! ~~ Sue

    More on upcycling light fixtures:

    Re-purposing old light fixtures in the garden   Part one: Fairy lights and Globes

    Upcycling vintage light fixtures for the garden   Part two: Hanging lamps


    Share and Enjoy


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.