DIY Outdoor Lighting for the Deck
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.
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 have simple felt bottoms so we reattached them using crazy glue.
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 overextend them, just move them a little bit at a time until the solar lamp fits. If your solar lamp is smaller you may be able to skip this step.
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 lampshade bracket for the shade to attach to.
Making the Lamp Shade
You can make the lampshade 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 wastebaskets were the right size.
The solar panel for the lamps is located on the top of the solar light. Hubs needed to remove as much metal as possible from the bottom of the wastepaper baskets to allow the light to come through. This is how he cut them out.
Hubs cut these out using a small Dremel with a tiny cut off blade. 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 lampstand 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 the solar lantern.
This last photograph is taken when the daylight is dwindling but it’s not yet dark. Hopefully, it gives you an idea of what they look like at night.
So looking forward to the summer days outdoors.
The solar lights are part of our deck makeover that includes various inexpensive upcycles. I also updated our patio furniture and made a cafe sign. These inexpensive updates will make our tired patio usable for a couple more years.
Ombre Chalk Paint Patio Chair Makeover
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!
What a great idea. I want to make one for my deck. Thank you so much for sharing.
Great idea Leanna. You know I love solar lights!
This is such a great idea! An inexpensive way to add a lot of character to an outdoor space!
I can’t believe how easy it looks–and that they are solar powered! Now I want to do some for my back deck!
What a smart idea!! Pinned 🙂
This is a wonderful idea. What a great way to recycle
Love how these fit so beautifully into your ourdoor space Leanna. They seriously look so good and it must create such a lovely vibe at night
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.
You never cease to amaze me with your cleverness!!! Such a great idea and I bet they look just beautiful at night for you and hubby to enjoy your new deck area!
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.
I love that lamp! What a great idea. I love lighting so this is super dreamy for me!
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.
This is an excellent idea. It adds a nice ambiance to the space.
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.
What a fabulous idea for old lamps. I have several and I am working on living more eco-friendly so I love to reuse.
Hi Elise: I had not considered their use for indoors. I will have to think about where I could put them indoors.
This is a brilliant idea and they look so pretty! Pinned and shared
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.
These solar lamps are so, so cute and functional, too! What a brilliant idea!
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.