Introduction: Solar Garden Sculpture 2.0

About: Have been called a "Mad Genius" of Interior Design. Love a challenge, especially upcycling trash. Have more ideas/day than Trump has lawsuits. Diagnosed with Parkinson's 6 years ago. The body goes to hell, …

Make a solar garden sculpture

from reclaimed wood-Version 2.0

The first Solar Garden Sculpture made from remnants of our deck remodel was created not realizing I would turn it into an Instructable. So in order to get documentation, I decided to make another one. Being slightly CDO (that's OCD but in alphabetical order as it should be), I couldn't leave well enough alone. There had to be another version. (At this point I'm competing with myself as to how many projects I can make from one deck remodel). The materials/procedures are similar to the first, but you'll get a very different (and taller) sculpture.

These instructions can easily be adapted based on the materials you have on hand, but you will need the following:

Scrap/used wood. In our case, approximately 40-50 pieces of 2x2's. Also 4 -2x6. cut to 24".

Various scrap (1x4, 2x4 to join base)

Chop/miter saw (overhead arm saw or table saw)

2 1/2" finish nails or #8 2 1/2" screws

Power drill with bits to pre-drill for nails and/or screws

(a drill press would've come in real handy here).

measuring tape


Solar Rope light (50 light variety was plenty) Length averages approx 20'.

White glass/plastic globe (you have flexibility here. I found a round globe with a 4" base at Habitat RE-Store)

Double sided mounting tape

Pipe insulation or a pool noodle

Duct tape

Work gloves, unless you don't mind splinters

Safety glasses

Sand paper (80-120 grit)

Step 1: Make Your Base

Step one

Make your base. Cut 4 -2x6 to 24" length. Lay right sides (clean sides) down next to each other. Using other scrap on hand, lay these pieces perpendicular to the 2x6's. I pre-drilled and used 2 1/2" screws to go through the scrap, but you could use nails and wood glue as well. (I've always heard this called 'sistering', but if there's another term for this technique please let me know). Flip over and sand. You're now ready to build your structure. (Note: you'll be pre-drilling through the wood at any point where 2 pieces of wood join from this point forward).

Step 2: Begin Your Structure

Step Two

Begin your structure from the bottom. Cut 4 pieces of 2x2, 20" long. Sand, and pre-drill approx 1/2" from the end. While you could nail these pieces together, I recommend 2 1/2" screws¸ especially if you plan on moving this piece after completion.

Lay 2- 20" pieces parallel to each other, centered on the base. Attach to base with at least 6-2 1/2" screws. Lay the next 20" pieces perpendicular on top to form a square. Join at the ends.

Next layer, cut 2-19 1/2" and 2- 19" pieces of 2x2. Sand/pre-drill. Attach the 19 1/2" pieces parallel to the 20" pieces, join. Turn 90 degrees and join the 19" pieces. Make sure you're not going flush to the edge with the ends of the pieces as you're getting smaller with each layer. Bring the edges in about 1/4 " .

You should be able to see your tower forming. Each layer will be 1/2" shorter than the one before, so your remaining cut list should be:

2-18 1/2"


2-17 1/2"


2-16 1/2"


2-15 1/2" ETC. Keep going until you get to 7"

Step 3: Finish Off the Top

Step 3

Once you've reached the 7" piece, you want to finish it off as a square to hold your globe. I found a globe at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store with a base of approx 5", so I added 2-5" pieces of 2x2 to my top layer to form a square. For additional grip, I lined the inside of the square with pipe insulation (a cut up pool noodle works great for this). Once I'm ready to assemble, I'll add double sided mounting tape to the underside of the globe for additional grip.

Step 4: Frame Out the Bottom

Step 4

Frame out the bottom layer of your tower Cut 4 pieces of 2x2 to frame out your bottom layer. Join to base. Pre-drill these pieces all the way around and join your bottom layer to this frame. More screws, more better.

At this point, with great care, move your structure to its final home. Make sure it's in a position that will get the required amount of sun.

Step 5: Attach Your Globe

Step 5.

Attach the globe. Attach your solar power source to the structure or staked into the ground. (I staked for this one). Run the solar rope through the bottom opening and bring it through the top. For this project I covered the bottom of my globe with duct tape, cutting a small hole in the middle. I fed the solar rope through this hole into the globe until it could hold no more. I then added more duct tape to keep the rope light in position. Finally, I added double sided mounting tape to the bottom of the globe where it came in contact with the top square of wood and pressed it (gently) into position.

Done! Let the solar panel charge and wait for dark. As this globe was more elongated, and with the space between the layers open revealing sight lines, at night this structure has the look of a glowing jelly fish.


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