How to Make a Solar Chandelier

How to Make a Solar Chandelier

By Erin Huffstetler | 05/11/2017 | 2 Comments
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Turn a thrift store chandelier into a solar chandelier for your garden or patio. I made this one from a $5 chandelier that I found at Habitat.

Chandelier - Before

Here’s what it looked like when I bought it. Well almost. It also had ugly sconces.

Converting it to solar was actually pretty easy. Let me take you through the process.

How to Make a Solar Chandelier

Solar Stake Lights

What You’ll Need

A chandelier
Solar garden lights (the cheap ones are perfect for this)
5/16″-18 wood insert nuts (one for each socket)
5/16″-18 machine screws (one for each socket)
Spray paint (optional)

Note: Since writing this post, I have discovered that not all 5/16″ – 18 wood insert nuts have the same outside diameter as an E12 bulb socket. The ones made by The Hillman Group (Part #3020) and available from Lowe’s (UPC 008236709421) or Amazon.com, fit perfectly, but the ones made by E-Z Lock (Part #400-5) are too wide.

What You Do:

Remove the bulbs and snip the wire that runs through the hanging chain. Then, paint your chandelier, if you want to give it a color makeover.

Closeup of Socket

In an ideal world, the solar lights would just slip right into the sockets, but we didn’t find that to be the case. After a bit of brainstorming my husband came up with a really good way to attach the lights.

Wood Insert Nut

He screwed a wood insert nut into each socket.

Socket with Wood Insert Nut

Drill a Hole in the Bottom of the Solar Light

Then, he drilled a hole in the bottom of each solar light, and screwed the light into the insert nut with a machine screw. Just be careful not to over-tighten the nut or screw, so you don’t crack the socket.

Solar Chandelier Closeup

This proved to be a really nifty solution because it’s sturdy, and it’ll be a cinch to replace any solar lights that go out.

Bottom of Chandelier

If you plan to hang your chandelier out in the open, I would recommend dropping a bead of chalk at the top, where the wires used to come out. You may also want to add a few drainage holes to ensure that it doesn’t hold water. These extra steps aren’t necessary, if you’re going to hang your chandelier on a porch, patio or other covered area.

Also, while I opted to leave my solar lights unpainted, you can certainly paint them. Just be sure to tape over the solar panels first.

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