Salvage an Old Outside Light




Introduction: Salvage an Old Outside Light

About: I'm 25 married, a firefighter, and a full time student. I just bought a house, that I love to work on, and love my new workshop!!! I'll build just about anything.

My outside house lights were good at 2 things: producing blinding light and scaring the neighbors with their hideous 1980's styling. I knew something had to be done, but if your like me, you wont want to spend much cash, and you'll try to salvage what you can.

No problem!

All you need is some rattle can, and 3 or 4 hours. When you done you'll have an outside light that you and your neighbors will love.


~Old lights(der!)
~Spray on glass etching                                                                                     $10
~Rust-Oleum Primer                                                                                           $5
~Rust-Oleum Flat Black Paint(or whatever you want for a finish)                             $5
~Bucket, Water, Car Wash Soap, Towels
~Drop Cloth

Project Time:

~3 to 4 Hours

Step 1: Disassemble

This step is very straight forward assuming you have some mechanical skills. If you don't, reconsider committing to this project.

TURN OFF THE POWER and remove the light from its wall. break down the light as much as possible, and be sure not to lose any screws or nuts.

I had to use a shop vac to suck all the bugs and spider webs out of the lights.

Remove as much debris as possible to prepare for washing.

Step 2: Washing & Staging

Do whatever it takes to clean and dry all the parts(including the glass).

I used a small amount of car wash in a bucket with some water and a wash cloth to scrub the parts.

After cleaning and drying, line the glass out on a drop cloth. Make sure you have the back side of the glass facing up; the back side faces into the light.

Next lay out your parts on a drop cloth to prepared for painting. You may have to prop them up so that you can paint all angles(use pictures for referencing).

Step 3: Painting

Paint glass with spray on etching, and parts with primer then paint.

I found the spray-on etching at Michaels, it took 4  coats to get the coverage I wanted. Make sure you apply it evenly.

Paint the parts with primer first, it took 2 coats and some turning over to get full coverage.

I used flat black paint as the finish but you could use any color you want. Just make sure you get full coverage, and try not to cause any dripping. It took me 2 coats to achieve the right finish.

Make sure you allow 20 minutes of dry time between coats, and you might have to flip the parts over to get the hard to reach spots.

Step 4: Reassemble

Give the parts time to dry before reassemble them.

I waited a day before rebuilding the light. It all went back together without a hitch.

Make sure you install CFLs to save energy.

I had a few spots that needed touching up, so I sprayed some paint out in a bottle and used a model brush to paint it on.

again MAKE SURE the glass goes in with the spray-on etching facing inside.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Enjoy your new lights!

Refinishing my lights instead of buying new ones saved me about $180, and saved the landfill about 20 pounds of trash.

I like the new defused glow the lights produce, versus the old bright directional light.

My lights look like they came from the streets of London now.

Be the First to Share


    • Origami Speed Challenge

      Origami Speed Challenge
    • Trash to Treasure Contest

      Trash to Treasure Contest
    • Stick It Challenge

      Stick It Challenge



    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is how mine came out. I still have not finished the other one. Great instructable!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    nice job.
    i did this to my front light. i had rust on mine so when after cleaning it, I scrubbed off all the rust with fine steel wool, then used a rust treatment primer.

    I didn't do the glass etching. that's a nice touch. I don't like seeing the curly light bulb.