Upcycled shades into DIY solar lights

I L♥VE vintage light shades. Whenever I see them cheap at garage sales or the ReStore, I buy them. These shades cost between fifty cents and a dollar each.

I knew I wanted to repurpose them in some way and this is what I came up with.

I bought some inexpensive plastic solar lights ($10.11 for 8 lights) from Amazon and just used the solar lids. The lid has the solar panel, light bulb and battery compartment.You could also buy outdoor solar lights at the dollar store, but they never have them at mine. In the past, I’ve used old solar lids off of broken/weathered lights. It’s easy and inexpensive to replace the batteries if they’ve stopped recharging.

I measured the bottom inside of the shades, then used a compass to mark circles on scrap wood and cut them out on the band saw. They don’t need to be perfect, just approximately the right size, as long as they fit under the shade.

Then I sprayed the wood circles with adhesive and applied some aluminum foil to the circles. You need to spray adhesive both the wood and the foil, then let dry for a few minutes until tacky. As you can probably tell, I also recycled some used foil, instead of using brand new. The aluminum foil helps reflect the light off of the soil under the shade.

We live in a very windy area, so the caps need to be attached somehow. I  applied silicone to the tops of the shades, placed the solar caps on top and weighted them down while the silicone dried. I used silicone so that I would be able to remove the lid when the batteries wear out and need to be replaced.

One of my favorite parts of this project was getting to use an antique compass that belonged to my grandfather!

Place the foil wrapped circles on the ground (foil side up) and place the shade over the circle. The light will reflect off of the foil and light up the shade.

The lights turned out wonderful. I placed them around our yard and near the entrance gate.


They look good during the day and awesome at night!

These DIY solar lights cost me about $8 for all four. $1.26 each for the lights lids and $3.00 for all of the shades. I had everything else in the shop. Plus, I still have four more lids to use in the future.

What do you think? Do you like them?

Vi snakkes! (“See you later” in Norwegian)

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Frugal Fridays


Frugal Hardwood Flooring Find!

A few weeks ago we were shopping for plants and soil at Home Depot and we found the best bargain ever. Well, my hubby, Mike, saw it first and pointed it out. At first, we thought it was mislabeled or the wrong boxes were in the wrong shelf bay… or something. It’s always something.

We’ve been looking for quality (but not too expensive) flooring to replace the ugly blue carpet in our family room. We started looking when we first moved in 11 months ago, but we hadn’t found anything worth buying yet. The rest of our house has the original oak hardwood flooring from 1935 (I posted about it here)and we had been trying to find something similar.

We read the label carefully and then checked the labels on the boxes and were shocked to find out that this was really the price for actual, real oak hardwood flooring:


I took this picture because I fully expected to get to the checkout and have it ring up as a different price! This sign says it was $3.98 sq. ft., but the sign on the samples said it was $5.98 sf. ft. I whipped out my smart phone and checked the price on the HD website and it said this flooring is $5.98 sq. ft.

We got all excited for a second and then thought “Wait! This box covers 20 square feet, so we need 18 boxes for the family room.” So, we counted the number of boxes and there were only 13! Of. Course. Then Mike started looking around and up, and he spotted more of the same flooring at the very top of the shelving!!


Bruce Gunstock Oak Flooring @ Home Depot

Bruce Flooring @ Bruce.com

We found a HD employee to get it down for us. He ran off to get the forklift and we were standing there not so patiently waiting. I mean, it was a great deal and I was fully prepared to park my butt in front of the price sign, so no one else would see what an AWESOME deal it was and try to buy it first.

Finally, the HD guy came back, cleared the aisle and brought down the other boxes. Mike helped him unload the boxes from the pallet and we loaded our 18 boxes onto a cart. Mike and the HD guy were discussing what a great price this was and the guy takes out his little scanner and scanned the box… and the price was right.

We couldn’t believe what a great deal we were getting!

It was actually 99¢ a square foot and it was supposed to be $5.98 a square foot. So, instead of $119.60 a case, it was $19.80 a case. It sounds even better when I say that to cover the entire family room it would’ve cost $2152.80 and we bought it for $356.40!

The last of the ugly blue carpet is on it’s way out! I can’t wait.

What awesome deals have you found lately?

Vi snakkes! (“See you later” in Norwegian)

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