Lately I’ve been making a lot of DIY solar lights.
Just look at them all:
Turns out, homemade solar lights are cheap and easy to make. (Yay!)
So in this post I’m sharing my favorite DIY solar light ideas, plus step-by-step instructions for how you can make them at home.
DIY Solar Light Project Ideas
- 15-Min Mason Jar Solar Lights
- 10-Min Solar Wine Bottle Lights
- 1-Step Solar Topo Chico Lantern
- Solar Flameless Candle
- Solar-Powered LED Strip Lights
- Regular-mouth mason jar
- Regular-mouth mason jar solar lid
- Frosted glass spray paint
- Optional: Mason jar wire hanger
Step 1: Prep the Mason Jar for Painting
Lay out some newspaper. Place your mason jar upside down on top of it. (I suggest doing this outside or in a well-ventilated area!)
Step 2: Spray Paint the Mason Jar
Give your jar an even coat of frosted glass spray paint.
Wait 5-10 minutes for the paint to dry. If desired, touch up any spots you missed before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Prep the Solar Mason Jar Lid
Remove the plastic tab from the battery compartment, turn the solar lid’s switch ON, and unwind the solar string lights completely.
Step 4: Feed the String Lights into the Mason Jar
Feed the string lights into the frosted mason jar.
Now screw on the lid.
Test your solar mason jar by blocking the solar panel with your hand. The string lights should light up!
Step 5: Attach the Wire Hanger (Optional)
Unhook the wire hanger, wrap it around the jar’s neck, then rehook it.
Done! Too easy!
Of all the solar light projects on this list, this solar mason jar lantern is my favorite. It makes a great outdoor solar light, or you can use it indoors as decorative lighting.
I personally use mine on my nightstand right before bed. Not as a reading light, but as a nightlight of sorts. It’s the perfect brightness for right before bed.
Every week or so I leave mine out in the sun to recharge. That does the trick!
Step 1: Remove the Bottle’s Label
Peel off as much of the label as possible.
Spray what remains with Goo Gone.
Scrub off the label and dry the bottle.
Step 2: Insert the Solar Lights
Unwind the solar wine lights and feed them into the bottle.
Turn the switch on the cork ON.
Step 3: Test Your Light
Test your solar wine bottle by blocking the solar panel with your hand. Watch as the lights turn on!
Now you have the perfect excuse to drink more wine. You’re welcome. 😉
I think these wine bottles are the most decorative of all the DIY solar light project ideas on this list. They just have that classy look to them.
3. 1-Step Solar Topo Chico Lantern
Unwind the solar bottle lights and feed them into the Topo Chico bottle.
Cap the bottle with the cork, turn the lights ON…
…and YOU’RE DONE!
I wasn’t lying when I said this was only one step!
You just made a homemade solar lantern — and a trendy one at that — in the time it takes to pick something to watch on Netflix. Go you.
If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly solar electronics project, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. In fact, it was the first project I made after teaching myself the basics of electronics.
This DIY solar candle is a bit more involved because it requires electronics skills. But I walk you through how to make it step by step.
Full instructions: DIY Solar Flameless Candle
Here’s a solar light project for those interested in building solar power systems. (Think solar panels, charge controllers, and 12 volt batteries.)
It’s as easy a solar power system as you can build. And it’s a versatile lighting setup you can put in a shed, garage, RV, van, and beyond.
Full instructions: DIY Solar-Powered LED Lights