Upcycled Outdoor Hanging Lanterns

hanging lantern square


When we moved into this rental house last year, there were quite a few things that previous owners had left behind.  Since we were less than a month away from having a new baby in the house, I didn’t take a good inventory of all the treasures.


solar lantern


After a snowy winter, the Spring thaw revealed solar lights lining all the backyard flower beds.  Unfortunately, they had been left outside for who knows how long and no longer worked.


I had hoped just switching out the batteries would fix them, but when I opened the tops I was met with a revolting mixture of dead bugs and corroded batteries.  Not good.


solar lamp parts


I didn’t want to throw away all those perfectly good bits and bobs though. So I began working out a way to put them to good use.


It wasn’t much of a creative leap to decide to remove several parts of each light and turn them into outdoor hanging lanterns. 


wrap floral wire


I spent a few afternoons outside unscrewing and separating all the parts and cleaning the dirt and bug goo off of them.


Next, I wrapped about a foot and a half of floral wire around the “lid” of each light.


floral wire hanger


I brought the ends of the wire up over the top of each light and twisted them together to form a hook.


finished hanging lantern


When the tops of each light are screwed back on the bases, the lanterns hang very nicely.  I think they have a kind of modern/nautical/Japanese silhouette to them.


add battery-powered tea light


Since I was going to be hanging the lanterns in our backyard maple tree, I didn’t want to use real tea lights or votives for fear of fire.  These battery-powered tea lights sell 3 for $1 at Dollar Tree, and they flicker like real flames.


outdoor lantern from solar light


The lanterns look so nice nestled in the low hanging branches of the tree!


bonus votive candle


As a bonus, the opaque inserts from the original lights…


votive holder


…fit right over a votive candle.


votive candle from leftover parts


Two lighting projects for the price of one!


diy upcycled hanging lanterns


Together with the solar lights in my flower beds and my solar light lamp post, these lanterns provide a lovely homey environment in our yard at night.

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