Solar Lamp DIY - Light Your Outdoor Living Space

8 Materials
Solar Lamp DIY - Add style and ambiance to your outdoor living with this easy DIY project. Light up your evenings on the patio. I have been wanting to make a solar lamp for our backyard patio area for a long time. So, I kept an eye out for the perfect base to accomplish my goal. Luke and I stumbled upon a tall candlestick with a concrete base that we thought would work perfectly.
You will need a candlestick or lamp base with a heavy base to support the solar lamp outside in the breeze. a hanging plant basket, a solar yard lamp, and a long screw with a washer, spray paint, sandpaper, a couple pieces of scrap wood, and zip ties to complete our project needs list. You will work with these tools: a pair of vice grips, saw, miter box, and a drill. The first step in our project was to assess our components and come up with a plan that would work the best to provide stability and durability. Make sure you measure everything, so you can be sure to have the proper length screw(s), etc. for your project. Having a solid plan helps the work go together faster. Tools Needed: vice grips, saw, miter box, and a drill.
We removed the glass candle holder. We made a wood block to fill the space between the two metal pieces to give strength, stability, and support to our yard lamp and planter basket. We marked it with an "X" to find the center for drilling a hole for the screw.
Take the stem off your solar yard lamp. Measure the stub on the lamp that the stem fits over. Then, decide how tall you want your lamp to be with the planter basket shade on it. Once you have the proper height, measure and cut the stem.
find a scrap of wood that you can cut (and file if needed) to fit snugly inside the stem. This will add strength to your stem to support the weight of the lamp head and planter basket. You want to cut this wood to a length where your screw will go from the top of the wood and screw into the base of your lamp. This screw is what holds the lamp together. Make sure there is plenty of room for the screw head and lamp stub to fit easily into the stem. Drill a hole all the way through the scrap wood (length-wise). Then, shove the wood scrap inside the stem, it should be tight.
Remove the cross wires from the bottom of the planter basket. This is easily done with a pair of vice grips and a little wiggle and jiggle.
It is always important to test fit any project. Get the bugs out, and make any tweaks and adjustments that are needed, before you put on the final paint and polish.
Set planter basket upside down on top of the solar lamp, to create a lampshade. Decide where you will need to drill the lamp cap to place zip ties for attaching the lampshade.
We had a square cap, so we drilled holes on either side of each corner edge, and threaded the zip ties through. We used white for the pictures for you, so they would be easier to see.
Rough-up the base and all pieces that need painting with some fine-to-medium sandpaper, so the paint will stick well. Spray in short, even bursts at a distance of about 12 inches. Make sure everything dries thoroughly before assembling the lamp.
You can see that we changed out the white zip ties for black ones for our finished product.
Please visit the blog post for the full instructions and story - http://lifewithlorelai.com/2016/08/15/solar-lamp-diy-outdoor-living/

Suggested materials:

  • Lamp Base or Candle Holder   (Home Decor Store, Thrift Store, Garage Sale)
  • Wire Hanging Planter Basket   (Garden Center, Discount Stores)
  • Solar Yard Lamp   (Garden Center, Discount Store)
See all materials

Life With Lorelai
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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Frequently asked questions

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  6 questions
  • Karen Campbell Karen Campbell on Jan 27, 2017
    Why not just put the top you can buy for a lamp Post?
    • Jo Peterson Jo Peterson on Jan 27, 2017
      Because she likes this better? I think it looks great!
    • Dianna Davis -Gorrell Dianna Davis -Gorrell on Jan 27, 2017
      I would think being a solar powered this allows for the light to be absorbed a regular lamp post lamp shade is going to be solid and the light will not go to the solar power batteries as easy I think it's a fantastic idea I'm a grandparent camper I think I'm going to make this to sit at our campsite love the idea thanks for sharing
    • Life With Lorelai Life With Lorelai on Jan 27, 2017
      Hi, Karen. I am sure you could use a lamppost top, but that would definitely be more expensive. You can purchase a solar yard lamp very inexpensively. The beauty of this DIY is that you can take the framework for this project and make it your own! :)
    • M4012092746 M4012092746 on Jan 27, 2017
      This looks great but pretty complicated. I will just look at yours. Thanks for sharing.
    • Life With Lorelai Life With Lorelai on Jan 27, 2017
      Dianna, this would be a great idea for camping -- as long as you can get it sunlight to charge, you will have lamplight by night. And yes, the planter basket gives you the lamp look while keeping the charging area open. Make it and enjoy! :) Let me know how it goes.
    • Life With Lorelai Life With Lorelai on Jan 27, 2017
      M406henry, This is actually a fairly easy DIY project, so go ahead, give it a try. But I am glad you like how mine turned out. Thanks. :)
    • Pam Pam on Jan 27, 2017
      Love it
    • Karen Campbell Karen Campbell on Jan 27, 2017
      Gee I have purchased them for $5.00. Have 2 sitting on outside on window sill and they work all year
    • Jen Jen on Jan 27, 2017
      Great project! Thank you for the idea. 😊👍
    • Lynn Lynn on Jan 27, 2017
      Love the ingenuity & creativity!! Beautiful lamp for those outside evenings!!
    • Wendy Hobson Wendy Hobson on Jan 27, 2017
      Lovely.. too much work though!
    • Theresa Beauchamp Theresa Beauchamp on Jan 27, 2017
      This is probably the best project I have seen in a long time. I am highly impressed. Beautiful, yes indeed beautiful.
    • Darla Darla on Jan 27, 2017
      Pretty. ..very pretty
    • Brenda Brenda on Jan 30, 2017
      Love your idea. It really pretty
    • Baba Baba on Feb 03, 2017
      Very creative!! And very pretty!! Love it!!
  • Sandy Sandy on Jan 27, 2017
    How do you recharge lamp in our house? Can I charge it in a bright front window?
    • Susan Hanson-Holtz Susan Hanson-Holtz on Jan 27, 2017
      Yes if placed by window ir even a lamp or light it will recharge
    • Cesar Cesar on Jan 27, 2017
      yes you can recharge in bright south facing window Great tip also if you live in area where you get alot of power outages you could always fill a sand bucket with solar lights and provide nice clean safe light in your house then next day place them back outside to re charge
    • Kim Kim on Jan 27, 2017
      It is for outside.
    • Chris Cissell Chris Cissell on Jan 27, 2017
      It's intended for outside. That is why it said to use a heavy base to avoid the wind blowing it over...
    • Barbara Barbara on Jan 27, 2017
      Worse case you could pull them inside for a storm and slide them in a vase!
  • Diane Diane on Jan 28, 2017
    Does anyone make these and sell them?
  • Ardale Ardale on Jun 20, 2017
    How cute is that! I've got a pretty but cheap floor lamp made of resin but highly detailed that doesn't work anymore. I think I'm going to turn it into an outdoor solar floor lamp using your inspiration! Since our pergola isn't wired for electric you've also inspired me to be on the lookout for things I can use to make a pair of these cute table lamps as well! Thanks for sharing your great idea!
    • Geriann Rybacki Geriann Rybacki on Jul 01, 2017
      I am going to try to load photo of my circa 1930's floor lamp that I made into a solar lamp Last year! Sigh..... it's on another phone ... I'll try later. It's beautiful!
    • Life With Lorelai Life With Lorelai on Jul 30, 2017
      I would LOVE to see that photo! a 1930's floor lamp -- very cool. :)
  • Becca Hess Becca Hess on Jun 23, 2018

    Why couldn't the same why couldn't the same or similar be done to make it into a hanging lamp? We have a pergola that I'm wanting to hang the light in and somehow make it waterproof so it's there year-round... Possible?

    • Life With Lorelai Life With Lorelai on Jun 23, 2018

      I'm sure you could use the same/similar idea to make this a hanging lamp. You would just nee to be sure that the solar sensors get enough sunlight through the pergola to energize the lamp. I would love to see pictues o yur project when you've completed it. )

    • Ann Ann on Nov 13, 2019

      One idea that I've seen is to buy an old chandelier at a garage sale and remove all the wiring, spray paint it and fill it with dollar store solar lights!

  • Dave Carolyn Whaley Dave Carolyn Whaley on Feb 05, 2019

    I have a black metal similar "Fruit Bowl" that I plan on painting and use drop crystals on making a chandelier for my dining room. I might be changing my mind! Glass Crystals give sunlight a prism effect. What a neat idea for the outdoor patio!! Crystals come in many shapes and color! Metal fruit bowls come in oval too. Could put 2 solar lights in! Do solar lights need a lot of direct sun?

    Carolyn from UP Michigan

    • Life With Lorelai Life With Lorelai on Feb 07, 2019

      The solar panels need to get enough sunlight to recharge. The light s will be brighter a nd last longer with a full charge.

    • Flipturn Flipturn on Jan 13, 2021

      Yes, they do need to be exposed to direct sunlight for a min number of hours pr day in order that they shine after dark.

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  • Bunny D. from Georgia Bunny D. from Georgia on Jun 10, 2020

    Ditto to all the above comments! It’s stunning...just love it!!

  • Sandra Sandra on Apr 09, 2021

    Love your project! A couple of these would look great on porch but I don’t think they’d get enough sun to charge - thinking of a way to use them for my patio instead. Thanks for the idea.

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