DIY Upcycled Lantern Solar Lights

Have you been embracing the world of solar lighting? It sure has come a long way with everything from solar string lights to hanging outdoor porch lighting. I keep leaning toward solar because a) there’s no wiring required. That keeps it simple. B) There’s no flame from a candle or oil lamp. That keeps it safe. C) It doesn’t rack up your electric bill. Say no more, right?

Did I mention my favorite reason of all?  E.A.S.Y!

Of course, we do need to count on our buddy, Mr Sun.  But he hangs around most days anyway. So I’m guessing he won’t mind.

Here is a pretty basic project using thrifted lanterns upcycled into solar lamps.

With a few small adjustments, these lanterns now light up my patio with a subtle glow.  

DIY upcycled lanterns as solar lights - stowandtellu

DIY upcycled lantern solar lights

Thrifted Lanterns -DIY upcycled lantern solar lights - stowandtellu

I started with several thrifted lanterns. Two were intended to hold candles, and one was a broken wall lantern (not shown in this photo).

Ken helped by removing the wiring on the wall lantern, and then cutting wood pieces to fit into the bottom of each lantern with a scroll saw. Although he said a jigsaw could be used as well.

Make candle lantern solar - diy upcucled lanterns as solar lights -

He also used a large drill bit to drill a hole for the solar light tab.


use reflective paint solar lantern -

The inside, top portion of the covered lanterns were painted with reflective chrome paint.

diy lanterns converted to solar -

I painted the bottom wood pieces.  One of them with the reflective chrome paint, as well.

diy solar lantern -

And the wire, open top lantern was painted to compliment the color scheme of the painted vintage metal chair.

upcycled lanterns as solar lighting -

repurposed lantern solar light -

candle lantern repurposed solar light -

How to make solar lights from old lanterns -

Full disclosure, the solar lights on the lanterns with the top cover do not stay lit as long as the one with the open cover.  I have considered using a shorter, squatter solar light. This would enable it to get more daylight. I haven’t tried that as of yet, but I do think it would stay lighted longer.

diy solar lights from old lanterns stowandtellu

Everybody is turning something into a solar light these days.

What do you have hanging around your house that you can turn solar?

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11 Responses to DIY Upcycled Lantern Solar Lights

  1. chris aka monkey August 25, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    good idea and cute project xx

  2. Christine Vandormolen August 25, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    so clever, love this!

    • Amy August 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

      Thanks so much Christine !!

  3. c May 29, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    Good idea! I have a lot of lanterns (they’ve kind of been an obsession with me lately!), so I think I might have to make some of them solar!

    • Amy June 1, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

      I have a thing for old lanterns, too. Making some of them solar has been handy around the yard. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Genie May 31, 2017 at 10:06 am #

    Nice! Great idea.

    • Amy June 1, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

      Thank you, Genie

  5. Carol ("Mimi") June 3, 2017 at 10:50 am #

    Genius!! I have some LED candles on timers in my lanterns But, the solar lights would be even better!

    • Amy June 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

      I like your idea of LED candles on timers, as well. Thanks so much, Carol!

  6. Julie June 4, 2017 at 9:27 am #

    Love these!! Thanks for stopping by the Home Matters Linky Party.

    • Amy June 4, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

      Thanks so much for hosting, Julie

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