By: Jackie Edwards
As Fall and Winter creep ever closer to us, it means the weather will become crisper, fresher and the nights longer and chillier. It doesn't mean we all have to stay indoors and not bother with the elements. Far from it, there are lots of interesting projects you can undertake in the garden to keep it looking and feeling like a special place to be all year round.
So how can you save energy, protect the environment, spend quality time with your kids, and save money at the same time? Creating DIY solar lights with your youngsters achieves all of these goals. Here are some fun projects to do with children of any age.
Ghost Solar Lights
For this, you will need a paint brush, hammer, white glass stain, pint mason jars, rubbing alcohol, a small pointed screw driver, 3D gloss enamels in black, and solar lights with stakes. First, you need to put a hole in the lid of the jar to accept the solar light. Next, paint the pint jar white with the stain, and allow it to dry. Then, add a ghost face using the enamel. Bake the jar based on the manufacturer’s instructions that came with the paint. Lastly, screw the solar light onto the jar and put it outside. The ghost solar light is perfect for Halloween night.
Tin Can Lantern
You will need to collect some safety materials for this crafty solar lighting project: safety glasses, pliers, quick set epoxy adhesive, cordless drill and metal drill bits, recycled tin can (with the label removed), a black permanent marker, clear waterproof silicone caulk, galvanized steel wire, and a solar path light. Use the permanent marker to draw the design you want on the tin can lantern. Put on your safety glasses and use the drill to put holes in the can where the marks are. Disassemble the solar light and incorporate it into the tin can by drilling a hole in the bottom of the can. Keep the solar panel at the top. And, use the steel wire to hang the lantern.
Colored Mason Jar Lanterns
This project requires Blu-tack, an Ikea glass jar, tracing paper of your preferred color, an AA rechargeable battery, and a solar garden light. Place the solar garden light innards into the Ikea jar with the solar panel on top of the lid, and keep it all together with Blu-tack. Place a strip of tracing paper inside the jar, then carefully close the lid. Once the ambient light goes below a specific threshold, the light-sensing diode will cause the LED to light up.
Fairy Light Chandelier
You will need an outdoor stake solar light that fits in the hole of the basket frame, wire hanging basket frame with round circle of wire in the bottom, basket-hanging chains, and shells, chandelier crystals, or beads. Place the light so the solar panel rests on top of the center of the upside-down basket. Attach the chains. Affix the crystals, beads, or shells around the basket to create a chandelier look.