How to Use Dollar Store Bowls to Make Mushroom Solar Lights

4 Materials
$5
2 Hours
Easy

Looking for a fun and unique way to add style and ambiance to a walkway or patio area? These solar-powered painted concrete mushroom lights were very simple to create and offer a whimsical alternative to basic walkway lights. Store-bought solar powered walkway lights are susceptible to cracking and breaking but with a few inexpensive supplies, I created sturdy and unique lights that won’t break or succumb to the elements.


Instead of spending a lot of money on lights that may not last, try these Dollar Store molds to make concrete solar-powered lights that stand the test of time.

DIY Concrete Mushrooms


DIY Concrete Mushrooms

You Will Need:

  • Dollar Store Bowls (One large and one smaller to nest inside)
  • Decorative Glass Beads
  • Solar-powered LED light set (30 lights)
  • Quikrete sand topping mix cement 
  • Small piece of PEX pipe  
  • Styrofoam cup (Tall coffee cup size)
  • Utility knife
  • Spray paint
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Drill and a masonry bit
  • Glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • Heat gun
Mix the Concrete

Step 1: Mix the Concrete

I mixed a Quikrete sand/concrete mix to the consistency of thick peanut butter in a 5-gallon bucket and filled the larger of my two Dollar Store bowls. I spread the mixture with a small garden trowel to try to get some of the air out.

Press Smaller Bowl Into Center

Step 2: Press Smaller Bowl Into Center

I pressed the bottom of the smaller bowl into the wet concrete mixture. Push the bowl firmly down into the concrete and this will get more air out. I placed a board on top to act as a weight. The smaller bowl creates the opening in the mushroom mold created inside the larger bowl for the stem.

Remove Plastic Bowls

Step 3: Remove Plastic Bowls

When the concrete dried, I removed the plastic bowl molds. I used a heat gun to soften the plastic and peeled it away from the hardened cement. If you wanted to reuse the plastic bowls, you could coat them with cooking oil before filling with the cement.

Mark Drill Holes

Step 4: Mark Drill Holes

I made marks across the surface of the dome where I wanted to drill light holes. Depending on how many lights are in the set you buy, drill the correct amount of holes.

Drill Holes for Lights

Step 5: Drill Holes for Lights

I used a masonry bit to make drilling into the concrete easier and drilled each place that I marked.

Attach Glass Beads

Step 6: Attach Glass Beads

I used a hot glue gun to attach a glass bead over the top of the center of each hole. My beads were from the craft section at the Dollar Store and multicolored, but clear glass beads would also look great. Fill in the gaps between the light holes with smaller glass beads for a more decorative look

Mix and Apply More Concrete

Step 7: Mix and Apply More Concrete

I mixed another small batch of concrete and applied a layer over the entire surface of the mushroom top. Cover the glass beads to firmly anchor them to your surface. Reserve enough concrete to fill the styrofoam cup. Let dry for a few minutes.

Wipe Surface with Sponge

Step 8: Wipe Surface with Sponge

I wiped the excess concrete with a wet sponge from the surface of the decorated mushroom. Clean off all of your glass beads.

Pour Concrete into Cup

Step 9: Pour Concrete into Cup and Insert Tubing into Center

I filled the styrofoam cup to the top with the leftover concrete and then inserted a scrap piece of PEX tubing into the center. This will create a tunnel through the stem for the string of lights to go through into the light holes in the top.

Cut Styrofoam Cup Away

Step 10: Cut Styrofoam Cup Away

Once dry, I cut the styrofoam cup away from the hardened cement using my utility knife.

Spray paint

Step 11: Spray Paint 

I spray painted the base created using the cup mold a bright white and then sprayed the glass bead decorated top a vibrant red. Spray the entire surface— even the glass— because you will clean it in the next step.

Spray paint


Remove Paint from Glass Beads

Step 12: Remove Paint from Glass Beads

I used a sponge to clean the beads off with lacquer thinner until all of the red paint was removed from their surface and they were shiny and smooth.

Remove Paint from Glass Beads


Insert Lights

Step 13: Insert Lights

I threaded my strand of lights through the PEX tube in the center of the mushroom base and then placed each light inside the holes that I drilled. The lights should be sitting underneath the glass beads.

Insert Lights


Place Top on Base and Display Outdoors

Step 14: Place Top on Base and Display Outdoors

I set the light-filled mushroom cap on top of the stem and placed it in an area of the walkway landscaping. The solar-powered lights meant no worries about hiding an extension cord or placing the mushroom near an outlet.

The solar-powered mushroom lights add color, light, interest, and flair to the landscaping and were very easy to make. The Dollar Store bowls were an ideal mold to create the mushroom shape and all of the materials are inexpensive enough to make several lights for the outdoor living spaces. The dome shape would work just as well without the stem as a lighted paver that would be flush to the ground.

Have you used solar powered string lights in areas of your outdoor spaces? Share all of your outdoor decorating ideas and get inspiration for your next DIY project at Hometalk!

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
16 Ways to Maximize Storage And Organization In Your Home
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
Fake It Until You Make It! 27 Creative Hacks for High-End Looks
27 Gorgeous Update Ideas For Your Bedroom
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
13 Spectacular Ways To Display Your House Number
29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made
30 Unusual & Helpful Gardening Tips You'll Want To Know
16 Ways to Showcase Your Herb Garden
15 Amazing Things You Can Make With Dollar Store Gems
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
15 Amazing Things You Can Make With Dollar Store Gems
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home

Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Kim
    on Feb 20, 2020

    I may try it but where did the solar panel part go?

  • Sally De Silva
    on Feb 29, 2020

    Cure project !! Would it have been easier to spray the mushroom before adding the glass beads ?

    • Susie from South Alabama
      on Mar 3, 2020

      After the glass beads are applied, he smoothed on more concrete to fill in around the glass, so spray painting had to be done after that step. Hope this helps.

  • Tania Try
    on Mar 2, 2020

    Unfortunately I'm sadly not creative at all. But, I will definitely have a go at this and pray that unlike my many other attempted projects that this one isnt another epic fail. How did the glass go as the base?

    Tania

Join the conversation

4 of 29 comments
  • Cat Chez
    on Feb 19, 2020

    I think I’ll try this. Nice thank you for sharing.

    • ChrisGagnon
      on Mar 1, 2020

      Its one of my favorite projects . if it doesn't turn out perfect the first time do it again because its fun to make. you can make some that don't have the lights and they look great in the day as well and the accent each other.

  • Michelle Gleason
    on Feb 20, 2020

    I think that turned out really cute! I may make a mushroom town!

Your comment...