This post originally appeared on the All Things New Again Blog last July. I thought now was a good time to re-run this tutorial since this is a fun and easy project to spruce up your yard for summertime. If you make a solar chandelier, please post a photo of it over on our Facebook page so we can all see how awesome it turned out! HAPPY SUMMER! ~ Courtney
- Spray paint (optional)
- Solar powered lights
- Super glue
First, you need a chandelier. I scored this one for free (Woo Hoo!) on Craig’s List from a lady who was updating her lighting. You can also look for nice chandeliers at thrift stores or yard sales. If you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area, that is also a good place to check. (Sometimes, we even have a few pretty chandeliers that need a little TLC at the Top of the Shop here at All Things New Again in Leesburg, VA.)
Next, you need the solar lights. I found these big beautiful goblets at Home Depot for $4.99 each. They were the most expensive solar lights in the store, but they were also the prettiest. Hey, the chandelier was free so I splurged!
It turns out these big beautiful goblets were way too big for my chandelier. (It also turns out they glow all different colors, which is so cool I didn’t want to return them to the store. I stuck them in the ground in my backyard and enjoy the light show every evening.)
I ended up buying little 99 cent solar lights that only glow one color, but they fit the chandelier perfectly. I found them in the garden section at Walmart. I have also seen them at the $1 Store. You may have to try a few different types of solar lights to find the ones that fit best with your chandelier.
Once I had my supplies, it was time to get to work. I unscrewed all of the light bulbs. Then I unscrewed the bottom of the chandelier, pulled out all of the electrical wiring and threw it away.
I really liked the little hurricane glasses on this chandelier, but it turned out that they would not fit with the solar lights. I ended up not using them after all. But since they are so pretty (and I’m such a hoarder), I held on to them. Who knows? They might be just perfect for a project down the road.
UPDATE: The little hurricane glasses are still out in my garage somewhere waiting for the perfect project 🙂
After all of the electrical parts were removed, I spray-painted the chandelier red and distressed it to reveal just a little bit of the original gold. It would also look pretty to skip the paint and just leave the chandelier’s original patina, although I am not sure if this would get rusty outside in the rain.
The solar lights popped right off the stakes—no problem. After I glued the first one on, I realized I had forgotten to unscrew the top of the light and pull the little tab to activate it. Doh!
I used Loctite Super Glue for this project. (And I only glued my fingers together once!) The package says this stuff is waterproof and so strong you can glue a broken plate back together and run it through the dishwasher. My chandelier has been outside for about a month now and the lights remain firmly attached after several thunderstorms.
Once the glue dries, you are ready to hang your masterpiece. I don’t have an overhang in my yard so I hung mine in a tree. I don’t think it gets enough sunlight to keep the lights fully charged all the time. Every few days, I move it down to the deck to soak up some sunshine and get it glowing again. I think it would do better in a sunnier spot, but my yard is mostly shady. This is the best place I have for it.
UPDATE: By the end of last summer, all but one of my lights had popped off the solar chandelier. I do not believe this was an issue with the glue being outside or getting wet in the rain. I believe it was due to trauma from my chandelier banging into the tree during a few heavy storms (and one time when I was re-hanging it). I am going to replace the lights and try again this summer. It only costs a few dollars and it makes me happy to look outside and see the chandelier–even if I don’t have the ideal spot for one in my yard.
Now I’m on the lookout for a little café table and chairs to paint red and put under the tree. Won’t that be the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine in the evening just as the sun is going down and the lights are coming on?
UPDATE: I’m still on the lookout for the cafe table! In the meantime, we enjoy sitting on my upcycled chaise lounge chairs. Our backyard–like the rest of our home–is a work in progress, but that is all part of the fun, right?