This Instructable shows how to turn solar powered pathway lights into solar powered tree lights. It's not always convenient or safe to to run AC extension cords all over the garden to power lighted decorations. Solar powered lights carry their own power source with them and can be hung anywhere they will receive sunshine during the day to recharge. The project was also a way to re-inforce solar energy concepts for one of my children. As basic as they seem, pathway lights demonstrate the storage of solar energy by charging a battery during the day time, and then using the stored energy to provide light at night.
The multi-color pathway lights we used have a small PCB that controls the battery charging function as well as the "random" color changing function of the LED. You can use clear pathway lights as well - whether to use color or clear is a personal preference. All the "tech" is provided by the pathway light. What we are going to do is to disassemble the light, relocate the LED to an ornamental glass ball and attach a wire hanger to the solar module so that the solar light can be hung from tree.
Step 1: Bits and Pieces
Solar pathway lights came from Walmart. The glass balls came from AC Moore craft store and are readily available elsewhere. The paint is Krylon Frosted Glass spray paint which will diffuse the light from the LED to create a uniform glow. The paint is recommended for internal use only. Over time we found that the paint started cracking and sliding but that created even more visual appeal in a way that is difficult to do by intent. You could use glass etching chemicals or sandpaper as an alternative to achieve the same effect as the paint. You can also spray the paint on the inside of the ball which should keep it in perfect condition for a long long time!
All told, cost for a single light will be roughly $5 each which the major cost from the pathway light. The balls work out to about $0.80 each.
Tools you will need are drill with 1/16" and 1/4" drill bits, pliers, side cutters, hot glue gun, sharp knife, Phillips screwdriver and a soldering iron.