You can add some decorative flower lights to your garden with some cheap solar garden lights and pony beads. You just need your outside grill and some patience to wait for the beads to melt.
Step 1: Supplies Needed
- Solar garden lights. I purchased mine for 97¢ at Walmart.
- Pony beads. I purchased clear with sparkles. I bought a 1 lb bag at Michael's for about $4.50 with a 40% off coupon. It will make about 4 flowers.
- Baking pan. You can buy these at the dollar store. They do not need to be nonstick. I used an 8 inch round cake pan at first, but it didn't cover the top part of the solar light very well. If you don't mind seeing it, use the small pan. I then bought a pizza pan and it covered the top of the black solar light much better.
- Sockets. I used 1/2 inch and 1 inch sockets.
- Tin can. I used a tomato paste can.
- Aluminum foil
- Gas grill. You could use your oven, but the smell of melting plastic is overwhelming.
- Shish kabob stick (optional).
Step 2: Design Flowers
Have fun arranging beads to look like flowers. I placed the 1/2 inch socket in the middle of the flower. The socket was the same size as the stem on the solar light. If your socket is slightly smaller than the stem, use the next size up. Otherwise, you may have to file it to make it slightly larger to fit on the solar light. On two of the flowers I did not add the socket. These ones I made to float on a pond or pool, so you don't want any holes.
Step 3: Melt the Beads
Heat up your grill. I melted them on low. If you get hot spots on your grill like I did, rotate your pan. Check on your beads often. They can start melting in 5 minutes but can take about 20 minutes to finish. If your grill is too hot, your pan will turn brown and the beads will start to bubble. Turn down your grill at this point. I had the grill too high with one of my flowers, but I was still able to use the flower. It did change the color slightly in some places.
Step 4: Blend the Colors (optional)
If you want to blend the colors a little, use a shish kabob stick to drag the melted beads into the next color. Remelt the beads to remove most of the lines you just created.
Step 5: Let Cool
Remove your beads from the grill and let cool. As it is cooling, you will hear some crackling. It should be cool within 10 minutes. Once it is cool, it will pull itself away from the pan.
Step 6: Remelt to Form Flower
I used a can and socket to form the flower shape. I used a 1 inch socket because it was a little larger than the base of my light. You want enough room for the light to fit into the flower base. I also just used the can on some flowers, it gives you a wider base, but you don't have as much flower to cover the black top part of the solar light. I added some foil underneath my can because the first time I used it, the insides melted and black char transferred onto my next flower. Also, place aluminum foil over top of your can and socket. Then you use this foil to help shape the flower. If you keep the foil spread open at what will be the top of the flower (the flower is upside down in the pan), the flower will be more open. Place the beads back on the grill on top of the mold you just created. Keep an eye on the beads. It may take up to 10 minutes to remelt. When they are melted, you can use an oven mitt to help shape them into the shape you want.
Step 7: Remove and Let Cool Again
Remove the beads and let cool. I would remove the socket at this time while it is still hot. Use your oven mitts. If it cools before you remove the socket, you may need to use a hammer to help unstick it. Gently tap it until it comes loose. Once it is cool, remove the foil.
Step 8: Assemble
Assemble your flower. The lights will pull apart at the base. Insert the flower onto the light base and reattach stem. Decorate your yard. You can line a pathway, arrange them to look like a group of flowers, or add them to your pond. I cut the end of the light off and glued it to the flower for my pond flowers. I need to find something to help them stabilize, but in the mean time, I'm using the kids' ring toss toys. If you live where it rains, you may want to drill some small holes in the base of the flower for drainage. We don't get rain very often where I live, so I skipped this step. Enjoy your lights when evening comes.