The options for outdoor lighting are not as varied as the selections for inside use, especially when trying to light a small portion of a deck or patio. Electric alternatives can be used, but they are expensive and cannot be moved. Consider something environmentally friendly, mobile and stylish. Make a solar lamp using inexpensive options that are designed for a yard or garden, and transform an ordinary indoor fixture into something practical and impressive.
To make a stylish solar lamp for an outdoor living area you will need a portable electric light fixture of your choice, a solar-powered light, wire cutters, electrical tape and clear latex weatherproof caulking. If desired, the existing lampshade can be used. After a few simple changes, it will work just as well as it did with a light bulb in place.
Optional Supplies and Directions
If the base of your lamp is wood or another porous material, it will be necessary to seal it to avoid moisture damage. If the surface is smooth, sand it to roughen it up. Coat it with a new layer of stain and exterior sealer or a coating of exterior paint. It will not have to be put away because of the threat of rain.
The lampshade is something else to consider when weatherproofing your outdoor solar lamp. Cover a paper shade with peel-and-stick shelf liner in a design of your choice. You will need weatherproof vinyl adhesive tape to cover the edges. Colored electrical tape is ideal. Simply use it to edge the peel-and-stick paper after it is applied.
For safety reasons, the electrical cord and plug will have to be removed to avoid accidentally plugging in the lamp with the solar light in place. Make sure that it is unplugged, and either untwist or snip off the electrical cord at the base.
Next, remove the solar light assembly from the stake. Save the stake for replacing a broken one. They are often broken off when bumped at ground level. You can never have too many replacement parts for landscape lights.
After the cord and solar assembly are removed, take off the lampshade and temporarily place it on the socket to determine if it fits. Chances are it will not fit securely. Surround it with a bead of clear latex caulking to hold it firmly in place.
As the caulking dries, alter the lampshade to fit the solar light. If necessary, snip the wire halter and bend it to accommodate the new piece. It should fit snuggly around the sides. Use black electrical tape to hold it in place.
Using Your DIY Solar Lamp
Keep your solar lamp in a sunny location during the day to power it up for nighttime use. When it no longer stays lit for more than a few hours at a time, replace the rechargeable batteries. The entire solar top will also be easy to replace. It might not illuminate an entire deck, porch or patio, but it will be a stylish and useful addition to your outdoor living area