I don't through away items until I know for sure it has out lived it's usefulness and a great example are Old solar Yard lights. I came up with two ideas and I have already published one http://www.instructables.com/id/Restoring-Plastic-Solar-Cells-like-New/  I thought of my second project because I found that cheap solar garden lights have poor quality of plastic which does not stand up very well to the Sun's UV rays. All had oxidation on the solar cells and by restoring the cells they operated like new again. However the cheap lights the sun's UV rays damaged the plastic so much some globes total disintegrated with the slightest touched leaving the cap that contains the perfectly working solar cell. I came up with the Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container to utilize the working solar caps.

Before you make your Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container you need to know how will it be used as a solar light and storage container. I will show you how I use mine and give you other ideas I plan to do later.

Camping: We like to Trail Ride and mine comes in very handy. My solar capes are removable. I pack extra camping items and solar caps as well so not to damage them on the trip down. During the day will use the bucket to haul water to my horse and at night it makes a nice soft light for the picnic table.

Picnic Table: My Trail Rider friend made hers water tight to protect eating utensils, napkins, plates, salt & pepper from moisture and BUGS. Using the bucket solar light at night the soft light does not attract unwanted bugs around the table.

Gardening: I have a spot plan for another Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container which is near some steps that are difficult to see at night. Will store my hand garden tools in the bucket.

Fishing: I left my Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container on the picnic table all winter, that spring it was full of water and realized the water hadn't really effected the quality of light. We like to fish so my next one will be used as a Minnow Bucket or for just tackle. For Night fishing the solar lighting is a added bonus, NO FLYING BUGS swarming the light.

Seasonal Decorations: Another bucket will be for Halloween,  Will buy a Orange bucket from Home Depot then paint a Jack O Lantern on it. I'm looking for red & green buckets for Christmas, Valentine, St Patrick.

If you like my project enough to make your Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container I would love to see how yours turned out. This is a Super Easy Project for EVERYONE.

Step 1: Tools & Materials Needed

Drill & drill bit

Suggestions for Decorating
     Paint that will stick to plastic & paintbrush
     Decorative Stickers that can weather the outdoors
     Stencils etc.

Bucket of your choice, with lid

3 to 5 Used or New solar yard lights, Depends on your size of Bucket & Solar Caps
        If you use old solar caps the cells may have oxidized you might want to restore the solar cells.
        Here is how I restored my old solar cells. http://www.instructables.com/id/Restoring-Plastic-Solar-Cells-like-New/

Velcro for removable solar caps or Silicone adhesive for a water tight seal

Brick for weight if you don't use it as a container. On windy days it will get turned over which could damage the solar cells.
if you haven't already found a red bucket, see if you have any Firehouse Subs around you. they sell red pickle buckets for $2, money goes to a burn charity. The bucket smells like pickles! but it is red. I soaked mine in baking soda and water for days....but if you have charcoal briquets, may work faster.
This is a nice use of these lights. I did almost the same thing on accident and was plesantly suprised. I had bought a used white 55 gal barrel and was going to use it as a rain barrel. It was missing one of the caps and I had put a extra light in the hole to keep out bugs untill I hooked up the system. That night I looked out and the whole barrel was lit up from the inside from just one light. Now no matter what I do with it, the light is staying. I like the horse design you put on the outside, I might do something like that, thanks for the idea.
Sorry for the delay. I just realized I had not thanked you for your post. Glad you liked my bucket. I have another idea I am working on for those used solar lights, You might like it also.
So how does it look at night?
Sorry for the delay with my reply, been very busy. The solar garden lights I used are cheap and they give off a bright enough light to see objects of about a 3' radius. I probably could have put 1 or 2 more solar lights on the lid to put out more light. The solar lights really did better than I thought they would because the white buckets are more of a solid white.
Oops! missed the picture above. Way cool!
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Bio: I like making something from nothing so I don't through away items until I know for sure it has out lived it's usefulness ... More »
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