Monday, July 9, 2012

Solar Light Crafts: Ideas & Inspiration!

What is a solar light?
Solar lights are outdoor garden lights that collect and store energy from the sun during the day. The collected energy then powers a light bulb at night.

solar light mason jars vintage atlas & ball glass top  .. handmade : pint size decoupage - set of four purple lace wedding decor

How do they work?
Solar lights are made up of solar cells, a small battery, and a light bulb. 
The solar cells transfer and store the sun's energy into the small battery. The battery then powers the light bulb. The result is an energy efficient bulb with bright light. No electricity required. All of the energy that powers the bulb at night comes from the sun during the day. Very cool!

Where can I get me some?
Solar lights are available at most hardware stores and can also be found in the gardening section of Target and Walmart. They cost about $5 each, give or take a buck or two. 

What things can I make with solar lights?
The most popular projects with solar lights have been mason jar lights. These jar lights are wonderful for adding a magical glow to your garden at night. Some folks use them as table centerpieces. They are also popular for use at outdoor weddings.  

How do I make them?
Once you buy your lights, simply remove the top cap part, which houses the cell, battery and bulb. The cap part will usually pop right off the base very easily. Then you can either simply put the cap into your jar (that's it!) or, you can mount the cap to the top of your jar with some adhesive. The thing you need to remember is that the cap's solar cells need sunlight so that they can collect the sun's energy, so if you mount the cap to the top of your jar you will usually have better results. If you just put the cap inside the jar, you may need to occasionally take it out to allow it to charge in direct sunlight. 

What's great about these projects is that they are both easy and inexpensive. But don't stop at mason jars! Solar lights can be used in all different types of containers, and throughout all seasons of the year! Think creatively! How about a plastic Halloween Jack O' Lantern (the kind your  kids use for trick-or-treating), or on the bottles on a bottle tree, or throughout your snowy winter garden? Read on...

solar light mason jars vintage atlas & ball glass top  .. handmade : pint size decoupage - set of four purple lace wedding decor
Vintage Atlas & Ball glass mason jars with solar light by usedandabused via Etsy

Here's a great DIY solar lamp tutorial from Creative Cain Cabin

DIY  4 -- Solar Bottle Caps - Solar Light Bottle Lid -  Solar Lamp

Add solar lights to hanging baskets...they work in the winter too!

Crystal Birdbath Solar Light
Crystal birdbath with solar light from gardenknicknacks on Etsy

Solarama / solar powered diorama light : Brontosaurus under a tree

Solar powered Brontosaurus light by Solarama via Etsy

Old electric insulator with solar light from SomewhereElseFarm

mason jar solar light hangers 4
Hanging jar solar lights by usedandabused via Etsy

iron planter outdoor solar lantern


upcycled glass jar
Pretty hand painted solar light jars by SwirlyShirley via Etsy

Decorate jars for different holidays or seasons

Simply put your solar light jars inside plastic trick or treat pumpkins and hang!

Cute plastic trick-or-treat Jack O' Lanterns with solar lights. Idea from Pipkin House

Here are some ideas for creative containers for solar lights:
 Mason jars and canning jars
Painted, decoupaged, or decorated jars
Decoupage ideas: tissue paper, old sheet music, book pages, newspaper, maps, family photos printed from computer

Jars decorated for the different holidays or seasons
 Bottles - both glass and plastic, vintage or new
Decorative birdhouses
Wire bird cages

Paper lanterns
Paper luminaries
Plastic Halloween Jack O' Lanterns
Inside glass garden art

What do you think?
How would you use them?

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Article copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2019 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author. For any link corrections please leave correct info in comment area.