Make your own DIY Solar Chandelier Check out Kat's awesome gazebo lights--curbside & craigslist treasure!

You might remember a few weeks back I was crowing about a craigslist win?

thissortaoldlife couch with pillows

Reader Kat from Austin makes my score look paltry.

And, she has been kind and generous enough to let us share her great (and easy) idea here.

This (sorta) Old Life DIY solar chandelier

Kat began with this chandelier she found on a curbside.

solar chandelier before

How come I never find cool stuff on the curb?

A little paint and deconstruction, and it was ready to transform into a solar-light chandelier for her backyard gazebo.

thissortaoldlife solar chandelier stage 1

This is how she did it:

“You can see I tore out all the bulbs and wiring, and I broke off some of the frilly pieces to simplify the shape.

I used two spray paints; chocolate and a gold.  I was trying to get it as close to my pavilion patina so the chandelier would look like it belonged there. Plus the solar lights are brown too. The cups I sprayed gold as I thought they would reflect the light a bit better.

In the center of the chandelier was a doodad that I tore out, and it was the perfect size to hold a solar LED frosted jar ‘candle’ that changes colors.”

The next step was attaching the lights to the chandelier.

Kat first tried using velcro, but ended up screwing the lights into place.

thissortaoldlife SolarChandelier-Lights-6

Kat used the chandelier’s chain to hang it from the gazebo.

thissortaoldlife SolarChandelier-HungUp-6

The gazebo was a CL find for only $200. (That’s right up there with this $50 gazebo find that Whitney and Dustin scored.) It’s made of solid welded iron that assembles with iron rods in the hinges on all sides. Kat hauled the pieces into place and assembled the whole thing herself!

thissortaoldlife SolarChandelier-Gazebo-5

If you’ve never experienced solar lights, they are awesome. I picked up a few lawn lights at an estate sale last month, and we’ve got some in a string of lanterns on our back deck.

thissortaoldlife SolarChandelier-Lights-4

What makes them awesome is that you don’t have to do anything once you’ve put them in place. They charge in the sun all day, and then they turn on (and off) all by themselves. No electricity, and no having to remember anything.

Kat says that her chandelier turns on at dusk and the lights last about 4 hours.

thissortaoldlife SolarChandelier-red light

Here you can see it with the center light turned red.

“It’s been hanging about 3 years now and withstands all weather.  Just this season I replaced some of the batteries and recharged the solar lights as a few were getting dim.  It’s really low maintenance and that’s just my kind of project. ;-)”

Yeah, our kind of project, too!

Kat says this project is a keeper, and she’s got a few other ideas as well:

“I would definitely do this again, and wrapping solar charged string lights around anything metal and hanging it up would be very cool too. 

A friend did this with the colored lights and it’s so awesome at night.  I’m thinking of those metal hanging planter baskets that we all have stashed in the shed……is your brain lighting up with the possibilities yet?”

Have any great repurposing/salvaging ideas you’d like to share?

We’d love to feature more reader projects here on our blog. It’s something we never considered until Kat dropped a casual comment on the Craigslist post and I pounced on her it. :-) If you’ve got a great idea and some photos, feel free to let us know through a comment or by sending us a quick email:

If you’re not a blogger, another great way you can share projects with other home DIY enthusiasts is Hometalk. (And if you are a blogger, this is a great way to get your work to a large audience. Cannot believe what sharing our Adirondack chair post there has done for our stats.)

We’ve recently started posting projects to Hometalk. If you’d like to follow us there, click here.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend! We’re deep in our house painting project. Hope to share more about that in the coming week.

thissortaoldlife house exterior corner

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