Ideas for Wood & Solar Light Crafts

sunflower, solar power image by Lisa Hendrickson from

Solar-powered light is a very environmentally friendly way to go. It also saves money by allowing you to turn off a few electric lights and use solar lights instead. As of 2010, many solar light options are available, including solar panels and simple solar-powered light posts. Though these light posts usually light up driveways and front yards when night falls, you can combine them with scrap wood, old wooden posts or even driftwood to create original lighting designs, indoors and out. If you want to use solar lights indoors, place them in windows for several hours each day so they can charge.

Solar Candelabra

This craft can be modified to fit any decor or style. You need three fence posts cut to different sizes and three solar light posts in the same style or three complementary styles. Solar light posts come in dark, utilitarian finishes, graceful copper-toned styles, traditional brass finishes and brushed metal finishes. Choose styles that complement your existing decor or outdoor landscape. The fence posts can also be in any style you like, so long as they are thick and sturdy. One post should be tall, one medium and one rather short. Paint, carve or finish the fence posts any way you like. You can stencil them with colored wood stain, carve and paint them like totem poles, sand them smooth and varnish them for a natural look or wrap them in artfully coiled and twisted weather-proof pieces of wire. Drill holes in the top center of each fence post and slip the solar light posts into them. Set the posts together or around an area in any configuration you like.

Solar Light Tubes

This craft works well for people of all skill levels. You need some panels of thin wood and several solar light posts. Cut the panels of wood into long, narrow strips about 6 inches wide and several feet tall. Pencil a design onto the panels. You can use leaves, flowers, vines, smiley faces, peace signs, animals or anything else that strikes your imagination; just make sure the designs you choose have very few spirals or complicated patterns unless you have carved wood before. Use a rotary tool or jigsaw to cut your designs out of the wood. Sand and stain the panels as desired and glue or nail them together to form square tubes. Shove a solar light post into a plastic flower pot filled with sand or gravel to hold it in place and slide the square wooden tubes over top. The light will shine through the designs. You could also glue rice paper or colored fabric to the insides of your tubes to create colored light.

Driftwood Lanterns

This project is perfect for outdoor lighting on porches, in gardens and during late-night summer celebrations and barbecues. You need a few large pieces of driftwood, preferably with lots of natural or carved “arms” and semi-hollow centers. You can paint these to look like coral or with geometric designs or finish them with clear varnish to let the natural grain show through. Create several “sun jars” for each piece of drift wood by removing the light bulb assembly from several solar light posts. Stick the light bulbs to the underside of a glass mason jar with poster tack or industrial double-stick tape. The jars should be wide and squat with hinged lids and an airtight rubber strip around the lip. You can decorate the jars if you like before you install the lights by painting them with frosted spray paint; use stickers to create designs in the paint by putting them on the jars before you paint them and removing them after. You can also color your jars by using a light coat of colored paint under the frosted finish. Hang several jars from each piece of driftwood and set one or two jars in the center of each, as well.