Introduction: DIY Solar Address Numbers
My daughter and son-in-law live in the country because they love animals. No, the horse is not a house pet; meet Wrangler; he nudged the door open while I was in the house and walked right in. I called to my daughter who was outside and told her he was in the house. Meanwhile I grabbed my camera and took these pictures.
When I visit them I always have a difficult time finding their private road in the dark on my way home from town. I do not like it when people tailgate on a country road when I am trying to find the turn off. I wanted to feel safe and confident that I could know in advance where the turn off was; so I did not have to drive slower making the car behind me impatient and careless when passing.
I had purchased these solar lights and had a container I was going to make into a solar address project . Unfortunately I did not have enough time to do it while I was visiting. I made this one for my son-in-law (because he is so wonderful!) and for me when I visit. I was motivated to get started because of the contest here at instructables. I thought my original idea for this would be fun to share. I did not know if my idea would really work until I tried making one. After making this one I was delighted it worked marvelously! This project is cheap, quick, easy, and functional. Follow through and I will show you how I made this one. Let's get started.
Step 1: Author's Notes
I have not had any experience painting numbers on plastic.
The first time I painted the numbers I failed to tape the edges good; resulting in a bad paint job. I also used enamel paint which did not adhere to the surface. I used alcohol and cotton pads to remove the paint, ( I did this shortly after the paint had dried) I sanded the surface and cleaned it with the alcohol. I purchased Krylon paint that did not need to be primed or sanded. I did not have a small enough paint brush to apply the paint so I sprayed some paint into a plastic container and used q-tips as a brush.
I have little experience in using glue on plastic so I used water proof calking. I do not know how well it will secure the lights over time. When choosing adhesive choose one that will allow you to re-move the lights for re-placement later on.
There is another thing to consider. I am also not familiar with the life expectancy of a plastic laundry soap container but I would think it would last at least a year. Correct me if I am wrong. It will be in the full sun because of the lights. I chose not to paint the jug because I loved the bright green color against the black numbers however painting the jug might prolong its use.
This project could be made using glass or other materials. I did not use glass because it would require a more complicated method to attach it to a stand, wall, or post. I wanted to make a simple lighted address light that anyone could make using house hold materials that would normally be discarded.
I don't recommend using cardboard for the template if you will be spraying the paint.
A person could use a dark colored jug and cut out the numbers in the plastic jug to allow the light to filter through the cut out numbers for a different appearance.
Step 2: Tools and Supplies
This is what I used:
1 Gallon plastic laundry detergent jug
Several solar yard lights
Krylon black paint for plastic no sanding or priming
Small paint brush or spray paint the numbers
Cotton pads or painting rags
Rubbing Alcohol or paint remover optional
2 sided tape or fold tape so it is sticky on both sides.
Fine grade sand paper
Drill and bit optional this is used to make a hole to put the solar lights bulb through
Heat gun or some type of label remover. This jug had a really tough label to remove
Step 3: Charge the Solar Lights
I knew that I wanted to test the jug to see how well the lights worked before I started my project; so I charged the lights first.
Step 4: Clean Jug Remove Labels and Sand the Surface
Clean and dry the plastic jug and using the heat gun peel off the label. Lightly sand the area that will be painted. I sanded it because I wanted to make sure the paint would stick especially after the first fail.
Step 5: The Address Number Template
Draw the numbers on the paper and cut them out. My husband used graph paper.
Step 6: Tape the Address Numbers to the Jug
I taped the back of the numbers with magic tape folded so it was sticky on both sides. The second time I stuck the numbers with the tape; I made sure the paper laid flat against the jug for a better application.
Step 7: Paint the Jug
Paint the numbers on the jug using a paint brush or lightly spray and allow it to dry for 15 minutes
Re-coat with a second application and allow to dry completely.
Step 8: Have a Cup of Coffee or Tea While You Wait for Paint to Dry
Step 9: Remove Paper and Clean Surface
Remove the paper and touch up the mistakes using alcohol and Q-tips.
Step 10: Drill and Glue the Solar Lights to the Jug
I tried different ways to see where I wanted to glue the lights. I thought that the spout of the jug looked cool so I left it as is. I added another hole by drilling one and used the opposite end of the jug for another light.It just dawned on me a better way to attach the lights to the container. I would drill a hole in the top of the lid and glue the lights to the lid rather than the rim. This will give it a wider surface to adhere the lights and could easily be removed by throwing away the lid and replacing it with another one and glue the new lights to it.
Drill the holes to allow the solar bulb to go inside the jug.
Sand the area to be glued.
Glue the lights to secure.
Turn off lights and admire your work!
Step 11: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
This project was so much fun to make. I can't wait to hear from my kids when they receive this in the mail. I know it will keep them and every one that visits them safe and that is what is most important to me. It will make a nice decoration for the road. I am sure anyone would love solar lights like this. One could place a jug in the landscaping, porch, or make a smaller one for the front door. Horse owners could make a smaller version of this to protect them and their pets while they walk or ride after dark. It is a good project to re-use, save money and the resources.
I wish to thank instructables and contributors for making this a delightful place to share ideas and creations. Thanks so much for stopping by and if you like this project please click the vote button at the top right corner; and thanks for your support.