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DIY Outdoor Lighting for the Deck

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Make your Own Solar Table Lamps

Summer days when you able to sit comfortably outside are so appreciated and we try to squeeze out as much time outdoors as our schedules allow.  Its so enjoyable to sit outside on the deck visiting, drinking wine and enjoying the fresh air. These  solar powered table lamps light the deck so you can enjoy another hour or two.  The lamps cast enough light to play cards although reading is not possible.
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DIY Outdoor Lighting, DIY Solar Lights, Solar Light Ideas

DIY Outdoor Lighting Tutorial

These lamps are so easy to make.  To make a set yourself you will need.

Unwanted table lamps

Plain yard solar lights

Dollar store wire mesh waste paper baskets

Paint of your choosing.

Updating the Lamps

These lamps don’t plug in so the first step is  removing the plugin cord.  The wiring in these lamps and most others enters the lamp from the bottom.  Take the bottom cover off of the bottom  of the lamp.  Cut the wires inside the lamp short enough that they no longer show. Place the bottom of the lamp back on.  These lamps had simple felt bottoms so we reattached them using crazy glue.
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DIY Outdoor Lighting, DIY Solar Lights, Lamp Disassembly, Solar Light Ideas

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Leave the upper part of the casing (where the light plugs in) intact.  This will hold your little solar lamp.  Because of the width of the top of our lamps Hubs had to widen the shade brackets a little so the solar lamps would fit.  He did this with a simple set of pliers and a little pressure.    Don’t over extend them, just move them a little bit at a time until the solar lamp fits.  If your solar lamp is smaller you maybe able to skip this step.
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DIY Outdoor Lighting, DIY Solar Lights, Solar Light Ideas

Fit the upper part of the shade brackets and the light part of the solar lamp back onto the lamp.   You need to keep the lamp shade bracket for the shade to attach to.
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DIY Outdoor Lighting, DIY Solar Lights, Solar Light Ideasa

Making the Lamp Shade

You can make the lamp shade out of various things, an old metal fruit basket,  a metal bowl or a colander even.  You need a shade that covers the lamp workings and for our lamp these dollar store wire waste baskets were the right size.

The solar panel for the lamps are located on the top of the solar light.  Hubs needed to remove as much metal as possible from the bottom of the waste paper baskets to allow the light to come through.  This is how he cut them out.
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DIY Outdoor Lighting, DIY Solar Lights, Solar Light Ideasa

Hubs cut these out using a small dremel with tiny cut off blades.  Depending on the basket you find, you may be able to cut them with tin snips.  The central piece he cut out using a simple drill.

Painting the Lamp

Paint the entire lamp stand right up to the solar light any way you choose.  This lamp was originally very dark brown and it took two coats of chalk paint to make it white.  I then sprayed it with three coats of polyurethane.   Make sure to let them dry for a couple of days before any rain gets on them.

The baskets and the lamp brackets were spray painted metallic grey to match the top of solar lantern.
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DIY Outdoor Lighting, DIY Solar Lights, Solar Light Ideas

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This last photograph is taken when the daylight is dwindling but its not yet dark.  Hopefully it gives you an idea of  what they look like at night.

DIY Outdoor Lighting, DIY Solar Lights, Solar Light Ideas

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Yeah for June.  Love the start of Summer.

 

DIY Outdoor Lighting, DIY Solar Lights, Solar Light Ideas

 

 

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22 thoughts on “DIY Outdoor Lighting for the Deck

    1. They were too small for our living room and hadn’t made it to the thrift store yet. It took me awhile to figure out how to put a shade on them. Thank you for commenting.

    1. Thank you for sharing and commenting Marie. The best part of these lamps is their versatility, because their is no cord you can place them anywhere.

    1. Hi Elise: I had not considered their use for indoors. I will have to think about where I could put them indoors.

    1. Hi Debra: The lamps make the deck look more like part of our overall living space. Thank you for your feedback. Enjoy your week lady.

    1. Right on Carolann. These are the first solar lights I have placed in my yard. I really like it in the early evening when they first turn on. I should probably add a couple more into the flower gardens. Thank you for commenting.

    1. Thank you Sam. They are a nice addition. I am almost done the deck I just need to finish two more chairs and add a couple more potted plants. Thank you for commenting.

    1. Hi Michelle: They lengthen the evenings by an hour or so. Hubs is especially in love with him. He laughs because he never knows what I am doing until its done.

  1. It’s awesome that you have the classic looking lamp frame without it needing to be plugged in. It might be a fun party trick to leave some of the bottom wire exposed, so you can make people wonder how the lamp still works if the wire is cut!

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