Indoor Decorative Solar Lights

Picture of Indoor Decorative Solar Lights
I had several solar garden lights left over from the original Solar Shrub project, so I decided to hack a few of them for some colorful indoor decorative lighting.

Typical solar garden lights pack a lot of electronics into a small cheap device. Most contain a solar cell, a Ni-Cad battery with charging circuit, a photoresistor, a booster circuit for the LED, and the LED itself.

Of course garden lights are normally plain white boring lights. I decided to add some color to them by replacing the LEDs and wrapping the electronics in a decorative frosted container.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Most of what I needed was right there in the garden light. All I really had to do was disassemble the light, replace the white LED with a colored one, and mount the whole thing into a frosted plastic cup.

Here are the materials I used:
  • 1 - Solar Garden Light with round solar cell (Lowes #379421)
  • 1 - Frosted plastic drinking cup
  • 1 - AA battery holder (Radio Shack #270-401)
  • 1 - Red LED
  • 1 - Blue LED
  • 1 - Yellow LED
  • Speaker wire
  • Tie wraps

Step 2: Disassembling the Garden Light

Picture of Disassembling the Garden Light
Solar Shrub 040.JPG
The garden lights I used had three screws holding the cover to the base. I removed the battery and screws, then cut the wires connecting the solar cell to the circuit board. Next I had to pry the solar cell from the base with a screwdriver (being careful not to crack the cell).

Step 3: Wiring Up the Board

Picture of Wiring Up the Board
The garden light circuit board contained battery clip wires and a white LED. I desoldered the battery clip wires and replaced them with the red and black wires of the AA battery holder. Then, I replaced the white LED with a colored one. And finally, I tie wrapped the wires and battery holder together so they could hang down from the solar cell and point up into the plastic cup.

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?


PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!