DIY Patriotic Solar Table Lamps

There is always an onslaught of lamps and lamp shades at the thrift store.  I can never seem to “not” look, just to see if anything catches my eye.  I love that lamps are useful.  They light our way.  That’s why I hate to see the jumble of lamp shades and light fixtures, slightly abused, no longer matching each other, and just plain sitting there waiting for someone to buy them before they head to the dump.  

Old lamps painted red, white and blue and turned into outdoor solar table lamps - Patriotic Stars and Stripes Solar Table Lamps - StowandTellU.com

So I’ve gone stars, stripes and outdoors-y on a few lamps for this month’s junk revision challenge theme: patriotic.

Be sure to check out the rest of the challenge which is featured at the bottom of this post because you never know what patriotic ideas lurk behind your pile of junk, bwahahaha!!  Oops, wrong holiday.

Anyway, I mimicked the stars and stripes of the USA flag for these solar lamps, but with a few adjustments other flags could be made in much the same way. A stencil of the flag symbol, a couple of straight lines or waves, you get the picture.

There are 2 ways that you can stencil the stars onto the lamp shade.  I’m going to show you both, but I ended up preferring method #2.

thrifted-lamps-lamp-shades

Do you notice some of the stains and crinkles in the lamp shades?

Supplies

Lamp base

Lamp shade – white or off-white – with socket frame

Wire cutters

Craft paint in red and blue (to make stars and stripes)

Stars – either foam stickers – or – a printable

Flat tipped thin craft paint brush

Pouncing sponger or small paint brush

Painters tape

Clear coat spray that works for the outdoors

Solar lights (one for each lamp)

Step 1) Finding and prepping the lamp shade.

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Try to find lamp shades that are white or off-white and as plain as possible. Also make sure they are the socket frame type

I had to remove some trim from one of them, which turned out to be a torchiere, so it had to go upside-down, as well.  I gave this one a paint wash with white chalk paint to freshen it up.

I did not have to give the other two lamp shades a coat of white paint.

If there is a little yellowing on the shade, you can definitely use a primitive star pattern for that folk art look.

Upcycled table lamps are painted to look like the American flag and turned into patriotic outdoor solar lamps - Fourth of July solar lamps - StowAndTellU.com

Note, even if the shade had a few stains, you can lay the design out so that the blue or red covers the stains.

Step 2) Making the stars and stripes pattern.

Old lamps painted red, white and blue and turned into outdoor solar table lamps - Patriotic Stars and Stripes Solar Table Lamps - StowandTellU.com

There are two ways to make the star pattern. I prefer method #2, but here are both:

Method #1 – Using foam star stickers.

Patriotic Solar Lamp-Tutorial

I taped off sections for both the stars and the stripes,  In the star section, I placed star foam stickers, and then used a pouncing brush to apply the blue craft paint.

Then I used a small paint brush to apply the red. Once done, I peeled off the star stickers and the tape and let dry.

Method #2 – Using a star printable.

how-to-make-starr-stripes-lamp-shade

I found this Americana star printable from Worldartsme.  I printed it as “2 on a page” to get the star size I wanted, and then I cut out one of the stars.

I taped off two sections on the lamp shade for stars with blue and taped off the rest to be red and white stripes.

I laid the paper star onto the lamp shade and traced with a pencil. I didn’t do this perfectly by any stretch of the imagination.

Using a flat tipped, thin craft brush, I traced out the stars with the blue paint, and then filled the rest in. Not shown here, but it helps to start in the center and work outwards.

Lastly, I painted the stripes red, allowing drying time between phases, then removed the tape.

I gave all of the shades an outdoor, matte clear coat spray.

Step 3) Turning a lamp into a solar lamp

lamp-frame-used-solar-lamps

I basically followed this DIY outdoor table lamp tutorial from Houzz.

upcycled-solar-lamp-shade

The only thing I did differently was that I didn’t fully remove the wiring, but I did cut it down so that it no longer showed.

A few helpful tips:

Old lamps painted red, white and blue and turned into outdoor solar table lamps - Patriotic Stars and Stripes Solar Table Lamps - StowandTellU.com

I had a couple of minor bleed-throughs, so make sure if you are going to try this, to smooth the tape well, or use the “expensive” painters tape, or try using masking tape which adheres very well to fabrics.

diy-americal-flag-solar-lamps

Try to use heavy lamps as the lighter ones will tend to blow over if it’s windy.  You can also try this method for weighting down a lamp base.

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Although these have a clear coat spray, they will weather if left to the elements, just like anything else. Placing them under a porch overhang when not in use would be recommended.

Old table lamps are painted red, white and blue and turned into patriotic outdoor solar lamps - StowAndTellU.com

Cute idea for a summer party? What do you think?

Old table lamps are painted red, white and blue and turned into patriotic outdoor solar lamps - StowAndTellU.com

Old table lamps are painted to look like the American flag and turned into patriotic outdoor solar lamps - StowAndTellU.com

I used a lighter red and blue color on the middle one and a darker red and blue on the two others.

The lamp shade on the left has more of a texture, and it was yellowing. These defects only add to the “wrinkled old flag” look. Which is pretty darn cool, if you like that sort of thing.

You can see where the trim was cut off, also.

But I say, whom at your Fourth of July party is going to point that out? 😉

Upcycled table lamps are painted to look like the American flag and turned into patriotic outdoor solar lamps - Fourth of July solar lamps - StowAndTellU.com

And how festive would this be on an outdoor patio, during the day?

Create a patriotic, outdoor, nighttime ambiance by turning old lamps and stained lamp shades into solar powered table lamps - StowandTellU.com

Thank you so much for checking this out ~ Amy

Please, scroll on down to see what else has been made from junk for love of country!

Junk revision challenge takes place once a month by diy bloggers who upcycle old and vintage items and furniture - StowandTellU.com

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16 Responses to DIY Patriotic Solar Table Lamps

  1. Claire June 6, 2016 at 8:21 am #

    These lamps look amazing ! I also love that you have turned them into solar lamps for outside as well. Really good tutorial as well. Thanks

  2. Tammy June 6, 2016 at 8:54 am #

    wow … what a fun solar lighting idea so creative these really came out grea! Pinned

    • Amy June 8, 2016 at 12:17 am #

      Thanks for pinning, Tammy 😉

  3. Kim Jones June 6, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

    I would never have thought to do the solar lighting!!! Very clever and love the look of that! Cute, fun lamps for partying!

    • Amy June 8, 2016 at 12:16 am #

      I might give a few away as gifts, too. Thanks so much, Kim!

  4. Sharleen Wolfe June 6, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    WOW these are amazing.. I love them..

    • Amy June 8, 2016 at 12:15 am #

      Thanks, Sharleen xo

  5. Lucy ~ Patina Paradise June 7, 2016 at 1:06 am #

    Amy you are the lamp shade repurposing queen! lol Great idea to use them as solar lamps. I especially love the one with the two stars one above the other. It looks great with your outdoor seating area!

    • Amy June 8, 2016 at 12:14 am #

      I think that one is my favorite, too, Lucy, thank you 🙂

  6. Keri June 7, 2016 at 6:39 am #

    Amy, these lamps are so cool!! They look great and what a neat idea to turn them into solar lamps for outside. Awesome upcycle!!

    • Amy June 8, 2016 at 12:11 am #

      Thanks so much, Keri!!

  7. bert June 7, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    where do you find the solar lights to fit in the lamps?

    • Amy June 8, 2016 at 12:08 am #

      Hi Bert,

      I bought mine at Meijers, but the have the same ones at Wal-Mart and most other large department stores.

  8. bert June 8, 2016 at 9:11 am #

    Thank you so much for the quick reply !!! and I hate to seem like a ninny—lol—-but are these the solar lights that come on the stakes to put in the ground? and you just removed the stakes?
    Do you think you could do the same with a floor lamp?

    Thanks again……….

  9. Joan June 8, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

    What a great idea. Now I need a solar lamp, I didn’t even know I needed one 🙂

  10. Feral Turtle June 9, 2016 at 7:49 am #

    This is so clever Amy! A great design too. Maybe one of these days I can copy you and make one with a maple leaf! Pinning!

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