I saw the idea for a solar chandelier on Pinterest some time ago, but I never could find the do-it-yourself instructions. Here are my instructions and photos from my own DIY solar chandelier project. My twist is that I added my original photos to the aluminum band of the solar light to give it some color. I call the photograph Lava Light.
Start with a discarded chandelier or thrift-shop find. A friend gave me her mother’s gold chandelier that was destined for the landfill. Thanks Meghan! I didn’t think to photograph the old gold chandelier before painting it as I was too impatient to start the project.
I used a gloss white spray paint for metal to give the fixture a new look. The tricky part was making the fixture ready for the tops of the small solar light bases.
Make sure your fixture is NOT plugged into an electrical outlet before continuing the project. Strip the electrical lines out of it. Here my husband is demonstrating snipping the wires. Hey, I can’t shoot this tutorial AND show you my hands at the same time! Do I need to tell you that you must NOT have the light fixture plugged into an outlet at any time during this project?
Next, the sockets needs to be reconfigured to hold the solar light bases. The white shaft where the original bulb was extended was made out of cardboard and came out easily. My husband then cut the internal electrical support with snippers, making room for the solar light base.
The lights were $2 each from Target.
Once removed from the stake, a little hot glue set the bases firmly into the sockets. Keep the stakes for other projects.
Because I’m a photographer, I couldn’t just leave the silver rings around the top of the solar lights unadorned. So, I printed out my original abstract photograph I created using gelatin and food coloring. I printed on Lazertran Inkjet Waterslide Decal Paper for Inkjet Printers on my Epson Stylus Photo 1280 printer .
To release the decal from the paper backing, I simply put the photo into hot water for about 20 seconds using an old cookie sheet to hold the water. Then, I carefully wrapped the printed-to-size photo around the top of the solar light.
I allowed the piece to dry and then added three coats of Modge Podge to protect it from the rain. It has been out in the rain several times and seems to be able to handle the moisture.
I want to give the refurbished solar chandelier a new home in our patio screened area. The patio has screen as a roof so the lights will get direct sun. I have to figure out how to hang it dead center. As an alternative, I could hang it under a tree, provided it gets enough direct sunlight, near an old white Adirondack chair in the garden.
The project cost me $12 since the chandelier itself was a gift and I already had the paint from another project. Try your hand converting your chandelier into a solar light centerpiece. It really is easy and fun.