Converting Old Tea Light Lanterns into Romantic Solar Garden Lights

I've been looking for some accent lights for my back yard for a long time, but was never quite satisfied with what was available on the market. What I found was either cheaply constructed, or priced more than I was willing to spend. Even some of the more aesthetic designs were constructed of cheap plastic that will not age well when exposed to the elements. In most cases the light that was generated was pure white, or some other unnatural color. I decided that the only way I was going to be happy, was if I custom made the lights myself, and I discovered along the way, that it was not as hard as I thought it would be. You can up-cycle old tea light lanterns using inexpensive, off the shelf materials, to create solar garden lights that give a high quality ambiance to your outdoor living area. Purchasing a similar new item would cost about $15, but it ended up costing me about half that to construct.For the circuitry I started with the Westinghouse 472218-08 8 Piece Concord Solar Light Set, Black (Amazon in 2015 for about $2.50 a piece). I purchased 7 tea light lanterns at a garage sale for $0.25 each. I bought the LED tea lights at a craft store for less than $0.50 a piece. Since the batteries that came with the path lights were only about 600 - 700 mAh, and as such would only last a couple of hours on a full charge, I purchased better ones at a battery store for about $3 each.You will need to modify your lanterns to accept the electronics you will be installing. In this step, I have illustrated what I did so as to demonstrate some of the simple alterations you may need to make.For the tea light lanterns I purchased, I needed to create a platform to install the solar panel onto. I used two nylon anchor nuts that are used for installing license plates onto automobiles. I cut the anchor nuts in half, and hot glued them to the inside corners of the top of the tea light lantern. I also bent the handle of the lantern out to make room for the solar cell.Lastly, I drilled two holes in the base for wires to fit through. One hole was drilled in the corner for the wires between the solar cell and the circuitry. The other hole was drilled in the center for the wires between the circuitry and the LED candle.Glue the solar panel to the top of the lantern, and glue the wires along a corner of the lantern. Hot glue can be used for the wires, because you only need a little adhesion to hold them in place, but I suggest an epoxy type glue for mounting the solar panel to the lantern.Install your newly up-cycled solar powered garden lights in your yard, and enjoy your hard work. With the better batteries, mine last at least several hours, and some even last until the sun rises the next morning.

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Best Solar Garden Lights 2019 Our Picks for Hanging, Path, Table and Wall Options
LIGHTING your garden can be a minefield, which is why you'll do well to invest in some of the best solar garden lights.Powered by the sun's light during the day, these style of lights will then illuminate when the evening comes.A great alternative to mains-powered lights, you won't have to worry about having them plug into a mains outlet, which means you can pop them pretty much anywhere, quickly and easily.They're also environmentally friendly and free of charge to run.Most solar-powered lights promise around eight to 10 hours of illumination, but we'd say you're likely to get between four to six, which is usually all you'll need in the summer.The drawbacks? Well, as they charge up during the day, it means you will need to pop them in an area where they can get the sun's rays in order to do so.Granted, that can be a pain if you want to pop them in a shady area, so if that's the case, look for a design that has a separate solar panel - the panel goes in the sunny area, while the lights can stay in the shady spot.Problem solved!You'll also want to think about what parts of your home you want lit.Are you looking to illuminate your eating area, or highlight borders or pathways?Maybe you want some extra security with lighting by your front door, or are you purely looking for it to provide a fun, decorative touch?Whatever you're after, we've found a mix of solar-powered lights to keep your outdoor space well-lit and looking its best.We all know that a cushion or two can add a bit of colour to your garden but how about using your lighting to do the same thing?The Solvinden globe pendant lamp comes in a few designs, from stripes and spots to a retro flower print, and are ideal for stringing up over your dining table or seating area.Go for one design or mix and match colours and prints to create a colourful feast for the eyes.A hook at the top makes it easy to hang them from a tree branch or outdoor structure.A lamp for your garden you say? Yes, with this Eva Solo design you can really take your indoors outside and make it feel like a living or dining space.With concealed solar panels inside, the lamp features a frosted glass shade and an aluminium base, and gives you up to 20 hours illumination after the sun goes down.It also has an on/off switch and comes in two different sizes, so you can pop the larger lamp on the floor and the smaller one on your tabletop to create that magical night-time glow.Need some extra lighting by your front door or close to the house?A wall light is ideal for this and with a solar-powered design there's no wiring involved.This classic lantern-style light would look good with one placed either side of a door, or a few spaced out along a back wall - and it comes with a two-year guarantee as well.You can't go wrong with some solar-powered stake lights for lighting pathways, borders and driveways, and this set of 12 are a smart buy.Made from plastic and stainless steel, they're easy to assemble and the slim design makes for an elegant finish.You'll need to buy the LED bulbs for them separately but we think the price and design make them a winner.Add more stars to your outdoor space at night with this string of solar-powered stars.Hang them on trellis or fences, along parasol or table edges, above doorways or in bushes or trees for extra sparkle in the evening.The string has 30 white stars and is 7.9 metres long, with a separate solar panel - so you can place the lights in a shady area and they'll still be charged by the panel (in a sunny spot).If you want a neat finish to your outdoor lighting, then this solar-powered strip light will do the trick.Warm white LED lights will highlight the edge of a border or path perfectly.And the lights are five metres long, with an extra metre for the cord.If you enjoyed our roundup of best solar garden lights, you might find our piece on cheap garden furniture sets of interest.Looking for more great household goods? Read more home products reviews Check out our full range of product round-ups and recommendations on the main Sun Selects page.This article and any featured products have been independently chosen by The Sun journalists. All recommendations within the article are informed by expert editorial opinion. If you click a link and buy a product we may earn revenue: this helps to support The Sun, and in no way affects our recommendations.
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