Upcycled outdoor light fixture

upcycled light fixture Crawling through junk shops makes me happy on 99 kinds of levels. I’m happiest when I can find something that’s rusty, worn out and pretty much cast aside. Not only are those items generally cheap as chips, the bonus is the challenge of figuring out how to repair them – or better yet recycle them into something that I need. This light fixture is a great example. Picked up a local shop for less than $1, the rusty, crusty lure of it caught my eye, even though it was no longer functional with a missing cord. So what’s a girl to do? Turn it into an outdoor fixture, of course! With a thrift store find and a simple solar light, I made a unique fixture.

industrial light upcycle The missing cord didn’t matter much, since I wouldn’t be needing it – but luckily it had this hoop to hang it from. I promise I cleaned it up as best as could be…. this was truly one of those lovely vintage pieces that had lots of… ummm… patina.

IMG_8328 I picked up a solar light at Walmart for about $3 in the garden section. Did you know those little tubes come off of them? Yep! All you’re gonna need is the bulb portion.

solar light fixture Make sure to pull out this little tab, that’s what make it “go.”
IMG_8327 Then I pulled out my old, reliable hot glue gun. I know, it’s all worn out. I bought a new one, but it just didn’t work as well as this one….
DIY light fixture Fill up the socket hole about 3/4 of the way with hot glue. You could also do this with outdoor silicone caulk – but hot glue works faster.
how to make a light fixture with a solar light Now put the end of the solar light into the socket and twist it in place about 1/4 turn, just to make sure that the glue gets into the grooves of the piece. Typically I don’t suggest hot glue for outdoor use, but the grooves of the socket plus the ones on the solar light will lock it all in place.
IMG_8355 Then just hold it in place for a couple of minutes until the glue dries, hang it up, and it’s done. I love how it looks like one of those lights from the pier – but it’s wireless, solar powered and oooohhh so cheap!
IMG_8366Hanging right above my swing, it gives it the perfect amount of light – which is a good thing when you live in the sticks where things are SO dark at night. Now we can enjoy the swing any time, not just during daylight hours. It’s our favorite place to sit outdoors, and now it’s ready 24-7 🙂

And if you’re looking for more great outdoor ideas, my friend Andrea has listed 26 of the best I’ve seen. Love all her ideas for getting out and having more fun.

Speaking of fun… Lisa has come up with a list of fun things to do with the kiddos – we all need those ideas to keep away the “I’m bored!” blues, huh?

Happy Friday!


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About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.


  1. Clever! I’m curious as to whether the light still soaks up the energy with the fixture around it.

  2. I love this, industrial chic and cheap!

  3. what a fabulous idea! You are so clever!!!

  4. What a great idea and it looks amazing!

  5. Brilliant! So often the solar lights are less than charming and you’ve found a way around that.

  6. LOVE this, Gina!! Pure brilliance. 🙂 I had the same question as Gina above, so I’m glad to hear it still absorbs the light without problem. Something like this may end up on my patio!

  7. Love it!! 🙂

  8. Gina, once again I have to say “genius!” I LOVE this idea and these lights are easy to find in junk shops out where everyone has chickens. I just have to do this.

  9. Love this!! Great idea!

  10. Totally going to look for some cast off fixtures. This is brilliant!! (wish I had a light bulb graphic to insert here…)

  11. What a fantastic idea!!! Looks perfect above your swing!

  12. Ohhh great idea. I am going to a junk market tomorrow and am thinking I would love to do this on a chandelier for my porch!! Thanks so much for the inspiration!!

  13. You are a brilliant woman, Gina. This is so cool! And what a nice romantic glow that light casts, right where you need it. Love it!

  14. Just what Richella above me said.


  15. I love this idea! My house is super old and there are no outdoor electrical sockets so even if a light had a cord I couldn’t use it. This is perfect!!!

  16. Whoa! That is amazing and so adorable! Love it Gina!

  17. This is so clever! Great job!!

    -Erin @ DIY On the Cheap

  18. I love it! Never realized you could use those lights off those little stakes- so smart!

  19. Love this. We spend our vacation time with our five kids in remote northern Ontario, our cabin in water access only, and there is no electricity. We LOVE this. But it’s nice to have a light for seeing around after dark.
    Solar lighting would be so much safer than candles or gas lanterns!
    And super cute, too. Nice job!

  20. Totally awesome. I can’t wait to try this. Why don’t they sell these at the store? Thanks for sharing. Hope to see you at True Aim.

  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  22. I wonder if you could use heavy duty/industrial velcro instead of hot glue? I’m just thinking that when the battery has lost all of it’s charge (which they do eventually), you’d want to replace it, and if it’s glued in, one wouldn’t be able to do that.
    I absolutely love this idea! Those little solar stakes are not real attractive, and they’re so small that they don’t look all that great lining a path. This is a wonderful idea for using them in a more practical, and very creative way!

    • Hi Deboakley,
      I guess you could use velcro, I didn’t think of that! My other lights have been working 4+ years, and I’ve never changed the battery. That’s a great idea, though!

  23. Where is the solar panel located? I love this idea too…just trying to figure out how it works. We have used solar lighting some in the past but my experience has been that unless the solar panel comes into direct sunlight for many hours, they will not charge. I would love to try this idea.

    • Hi Traci,
      The panel is inside the bulb, and apparently doesn’t need direct contact because it’s charging great! But, you could always just unhook it in the morning to flip it over and let it charge if need be 🙂

  24. LOVE this!!!
    hahaha, I have that same old burn the heck out of your finger glue gun!

  25. Just in case you are not tired of hearing it… Fabulous, totally fun idea. Patina… great word. I don’t have anything like that, I’ll have to find some old cans, or SOMETHING!!! 🙂

  26. Pure genius!

  27. love. Love. LOVE!

  28. Definitely one of the best, original ideas I’ve seen in a while! We’ll all be lighting up the night soon…
    Blessings, Susie

  29. Thanks for the “how to”. creative, crafty and clever. Sweet! Found you at Funky Junk. Hope you’ll stop over and visit my place at Quirky Vistas!

  30. I’ll bet a metal colander would would be interesting and let out an interesting pattern of light.

  31. Very ingenious! I didn’t think something like that would work unless the sun could reach the solarpad…but apparently it does! Wow! Thanks. 🙂 wendy

  32. Gina this is brilliant AND those outdoor lights will be on end of season clearance really soon! 🙂

  33. Gina this is a great idea! I already have some light fixtures that I have had laying around for a while which i picked up from a garage sale knowing something great like this would come along!
    Thank you =]

  34. I am going to do this! AMAZING!

  35. Bernadette says:

    Great idea but how will the energy get in if the solar panel is upside down?


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