DIY Industrial Style Concrete Pillar Solar Light

Spring is finally in the air, so I’m ready to work on my outdoor decor, with projects like my DIY pillar solar lights. They’re made using those simple stake solar lights that are super cheap. The problem with those metal tubes is that they can blow over in the wind, and if you have rocky ground (like we do) you may have problems getting them in the ground in the first place. And, since we never know which area of our huge yard that we’ll want to hang out on any given day. So, I came up with a way to stabilize the solar lights, make them move-able, and to make them pretty with an industrial twist. If you can make pancakes, you can do this project – it’s really easy and I’ll show you how!
solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting

solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting

First you’ll need just a few things: You’ll need a solar light on a removable stake, you can pick these up at Lowe’s for around $5. You will also need an oatmeal container. I used a medium size one – because it’s almost the exact same height as the metal pole (we’ll get to that in a minute.)

solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting

You’re also going to need some quick setting concrete – I used Quikrete in the red bag, also from Lowe’s. This stuff sets up really quick – which is good and bad. It’s great because your posts will be ready in about 24 hours. The only bad part is that if you’re making multiple posts you’ll need to mix it in small batches. The only other thing you’ll need is some water (which we used straight out of the hose.) I only used a tiny portion of the bag, so I’m pretty sure you could probably make about 20 out of one.

solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting
First, let’s do a little light surgery. Take off the top bulb part and set it aside, you’ll need to pull out the tab that activates the battery. You’ll also notice on the end (not shown in photos) the pointy part of the tube that is inserted upside down in the other end. Make sure the piece is still inserted into the tube, point side in, so that the flat section is down. If you don’t leave this part in, the tube will fill with concrete and your light won’t go in later. (I learned this the hard way.)

Also, tap out the empty oatmeal box to get rid of any lingering particles, so that it’s ready to hold the concrete.

solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting

Next, mix together your concrete, adding a little water at a time until it’s about the consistency of thick pancake batter.

solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting
Now, pour it to *almost* the top of the oatmeal container. Why an oatmeal container? Because it has a waxy coating on the inside and the concrete won’t stick once it’s cured. And also – it’s a great way to recycle!
solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting
 Next, tap, tap, tap  on the sides to get out the air bubbles.
solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting
 Then insert the tube into the middle of the concrete filled oatmeal container.
solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting

Put something on top, so that it holds the tube in the concrete, if you don’t it will just float to the top. You want the tube buried, ya know?

After 12 hours, carefully peel off the oatmeal container. After 24 hours, it’s cured and ready to go.

solar lights, eco-friendly, outdoor decorating, outdoor lighting
Just put the light back in the tube as it goes, and you’re ready to soak up the solar rays and light up your evening events. I think a row of these would look amazing around a pool, too, don’t ya think?
Like this solar light project? You may also like my DIY upcycled solar light.
Thanks to Lowe’s for partnering with me on this post. You can find other great ideas at Lowes.com
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Comments

  1. Great idea!

  2. They would look great around a pool where you might do some night swimming.

  3. A few of these would look great in my garden.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Love this. Must make some
    Thank you!

  6. Great idea! I don’t have oatmeal cartons, but I think I could cut down a concrete tube form from HD or Lowes. I had some of these lights stuck in the ground, but my horses keep knocking them over (and breaking them, grr), I think the concrete would stop at least some of that, lol

    Thanks!

    Patty

  7. What an ingenious idea!

    Judy

  8. Clever, clever idea. I’m trying to think of some other containers to use. We don’t eat oatmeal and even if we did, it would take a long time to get enough cartons to make several of these. Suggestions?

  9. Gina, this is genius! I am making some of these!

  10. These are really cool Gina! What a smart idea!!

  11. Just what I need! Sticking them in the ground at my front steps isn’t working. Sometimes they get run over by the lawn mower and at night they are too low to the ground so instead of lighting the way they make a strange illusion and I can’t see the steps.I will most definitely do this. Thanks for the idea.

  12. I’ve always been apprehensive about mixing & using concrete in crafts or small projects because I’m afraid I’ll not get the consistency correct & the whole project will have to be scrapped. These instructions are pretty straight forward, except I was wondering if I someone can give me an approximate amount of water to add to the dry concrete, so I have a starting point, at least. I love solar lights & can’t wait to try this in the spring! Thanx!

  13. This is so cool! Finally a light that the dog won’t knock over! =) I would love to link to this in my next Outdoor Roundup if you didn’t mind.

  14. I love working with concrete. Thanks for the great idea.

  15. I just wanted to let you know; I plan to do this! This is one of the COOLEST DIY crafts I’ve run across (originally found on Pinterest). I haven’t made it yet, but I will be ;) I think I’ll do it in November for my mom’s birthday, since this upcoming week will be so crazy with everything before this years’ mother’s day. My mom LOVES her garden/pond, and 3-4 of these to go out at her pond would be absolutely amazingly fantastic! I know she would have to love them! I’m so excited about it! I just created my new blog and my first real post was 24-Mothers Day Gifts that don’t Break the Bank! I shared this, and wanted to let you know in case you need any additional kind of credit/linking.

    http://freshlymessylife.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/24-mothers-day-crafts/#more-25

    But your blog is amazing, and I thank you for sharing this!

  16. Just make sure to use a solar light that has a replaceable, solar battery. :-)

Trackbacks

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