Lighthouse Yard Light




Introduction: Lighthouse Yard Light

About: Ex-Navy, Retired Mechanical Designer, Gadget Addict and Fiction Writer. Love all things mechanical and some electronics, and also wine making, mead making, good whiskey and cigars, looking into getting a Ham …

We needed a small patio light for our apartment ground-level patio, and of course a lighthouse came to mind. (sort of how my mind works as you might guess) I picked various ideas from pictures of lighthouses and combined those ideas that appealed to me. [ approximately 30 inches tall, and easy to build. ]


2' x 4' x 1/4" plywood panel [sides]

1/2" x 1/2" x 36" square dowels (4x) [corner enforcements]

24" x 24" x 1/2" plywood panel [base]

2" x 2" x 12" [base/tower locators]

1" x 6" x 6" (top block) [socket mount]

6" x 6" x 1/4" plywood [deck plate]

5" x 5" x 1" (roof plate) [cut into a 5" circle]

3" x 3" x1" (roof addition) (cut into 3" circle]

1/2" x 1/2" corner trim, MDF white primed (cut into 24 " pieces)

Wide-mouth Mason Jar and lid

Light socket

Electrical cord with plug 8' length

Tite bond III outside glue, (Must be waterproof! ), Exterior Paints, painter's tape, tent stakes(2), balsa stripes and scrap wood for door and window details.


band saw or jig saw (fine tooth blade)

hand drill,


bits for drill.

23 gauge air nailer

Step 1: Tower Basic Form

Cut 4 panels from the 2' x 4' x 14" plywood panel, (24" tall, 16" at base, 5" at top for a roughly triangle shape.) Taking two of the panels, glue and nail (using 23 ga. air nails) one of the 1/2" x 1/2" square dowels (cut to 23") along the 24 " edges, leaving a 1" gap at the top of the panel (5" side). (as shown). Now glue and nail the other sides together to the prepared panels to form the bulk of the lighthouse form as shown. Finish the tower corner with the corner trim, glued and nailed to secure and finish the edges of the tower.

Step 2: Socket Board

Using the 1" x 6" x 6" (top block) [socket mount] measure and cut the board to just fit into the top of your tower. In the center of the board, drill an 1-1/4" hole to allow the socket to fit through the board at dead center. [You use a 1-1/4" hole saw [shown above], drilling half way from each side to leave a clean edged hole in the board.)

On mounting the socket, you can reverse the lamp attachment part on the socket and screw it down from the back as shown, or you can epoxy the socket in the hole.

center it over the socket to check fit. Attach the power cord and make sure the socket/lamp work before preceding. Drop the cord down into the tower from the top, set the top block in place securing it with glue. NOTE: you can nail into each corner of the top plate at an angle so as to drive the nail through the top block and into the ends of the 1/2" x 1/2" corner pieces to solidly mount the block.

Step 3: The Base

Cut the base to 20" square, and paint grey to simulate the concrete base on lighthouses. Center the tower on the base and lightly make a faint line with a pencil around the perimeter. Remove the tower and measure 1 inch inside perimeter line, marking a second line around the tower base area. At the center point of new inside perimeter line, glue and screw a 3" length of 2" x 2" to help locate the tower and to allow screws to be used to mount tower to base permanently later.

Flip the base over and add 4 1" square scrap wood feet near the corners to raise bade off the ground.

Flip base back to the top surface again and now drill two 1" holes in 2 diagonal corners, These are for the tent stakes that secure the base/lighthouse in the chosen location so that they can't tip in the wind. As can be seen from the photos, I'm using a tent stake with a small hook at the top. I drilled an extra hole for the little hooks to make the base even more secure. Now drill a hole to pass the power cord through and you are finished with the base.

Step 4: Some Details and Fun Stuff

Using scrap wood, make a small house for the side of your light house and a door way for the lighthouse keepers. Scrap balsa make great trim for this sort of modeling. The windows are small scraps of 1/4: ply roughly 2-1/2" x 1-1/2" painted black on one side. The window frame is scrap about 1/4" wide and painted white and glued around the edges.

The small entry 'house' is glued on the exterior of the tower and the actual windows and the door are glued on with epoxy after all the rest of the painting is done.

Step 5: Paint the Tower!

Paint the basic tower one solid color using a quality exterior paint. When dry add two 1" wide white lines around the tower to act as the identifying tower codes used on old light houses. Once dry, add the windows and door accents

Step 6: The Lighthouse Top

Using the 6" x 6" x 1/4" plywood [deck plate] drill a 1-1/4" hole in the center of the panel and check fit. Now paint the board black on all sides. When dry, mount it on tower centered on the socket and glue and nail it to the top block.

Take the jar lid, and drill a matching 1-1/4" hole centered in the lid to center the jar around the socket. With the lid slid over the socket, mark and drill holes for screws, and screw the lid to the board.

Glue the Roof plate (5" circle to the jar bottom with epoxy, making sure its centered. Once set, set jar bottom up, and glue the 3" roof addition to the center of the roof plate as shown.

Tape around the middle of the jar to make the window from which the light will show, and add a strip of tape around the jar threads so no paint gets on the threads. Paint the jar sides and the roof parts black as shown and when dry add the bulb. carefully remove the tap from the jar sides to make the 'windows'. and the tape from the jar threads. screw the jar into the lid and you now have a weather tight light fir the yard.

Step 7: Assembly

Set the base on the ground with the 2" x 2" blocks up. Set the tower alongside the base, and snake the power cord through the hole for the cord and take out the slack. Stake the base to the ground firmly. Set the tower on the base and put a screw through the at least two opposite lower sides of tower and into the 2" x 2" blocks to secure the tower and base as a unit. Hook up your power and light your way with a bit of fun.

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    13 days ago

    now take the light and make a TARDIS

    trike road poet
    trike road poet

    Reply 13 days ago

    No, YOU make a Tardis! (and consider making some for other Dr. Who fans for their yards!!!) Could be a fun way to make a few bucks, there are thousands of fans worldwide.


    Reply 13 days ago

    yes i am thinking of doing that but right now i am under 18 so maby in the future i think it wuld be qwite easy all you need to do is make box paint blue add stickers and add light but it wuld be better to add a music sistem to make it sound like the real thing and make the light flash/pulse in time to the sound.

    trike road poet
    trike road poet

    Reply 12 days ago

    Sounds like a future business, all the best to you, your ideas sound like a real marketable product!


    Reply 13 days ago

    (from doctor btw)