I don't through away items until I know for sure it has out lived it's usefulness and a great example are Old solar Yard lights. I came up with two ideas and I have already published one https://www.instructables.com/id/Restoring-Plastic-Solar-Cells-like-New/ I thought of my second project because I found that cheap solar garden lights have poor quality of plastic which does not stand up very well to the Sun's UV rays. All had oxidation on the solar cells and by restoring the cells they operated like new again. However the cheap lights the sun's UV rays damaged the plastic so much some globes total disintegrated with the slightest touched leaving the cap that contains the perfectly working solar cell. I came up with the Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container to utilize the working solar caps.
Before you make your Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container you need to know how will it be used as a solar light and storage container. I will show you how I use mine and give you other ideas I plan to do later.
Camping: We like to Trail Ride and mine comes in very handy. My solar capes are removable. I pack extra camping items and solar caps as well so not to damage them on the trip down. During the day will use the bucket to haul water to my horse and at night it makes a nice soft light for the picnic table.
Picnic Table: My Trail Rider friend made hers water tight to protect eating utensils, napkins, plates, salt & pepper from moisture and BUGS. Using the bucket solar light at night the soft light does not attract unwanted bugs around the table.
Gardening: I have a spot plan for another Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container which is near some steps that are difficult to see at night. Will store my hand garden tools in the bucket.
Fishing: I left my Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container on the picnic table all winter, that spring it was full of water and realized the water hadn't really effected the quality of light. We like to fish so my next one will be used as a Minnow Bucket or for just tackle. For Night fishing the solar lighting is a added bonus, NO FLYING BUGS swarming the light.
Seasonal Decorations: Another bucket will be for Halloween, Will buy a Orange bucket from Home Depot then paint a Jack O Lantern on it. I'm looking for red & green buckets for Christmas, Valentine, St Patrick.
If you like my project enough to make your Bucket Solar Light & Storage Container I would love to see how yours turned out. This is a Super Easy Project for EVERYONE.
Step 1: Tools & Materials Needed
Drill & drill bit
Suggestions for Decorating
Paint that will stick to plastic & paintbrush
Decorative Stickers that can weather the outdoors
Bucket of your choice, with lid
3 to 5 Used or New solar yard lights, Depends on your size of Bucket & Solar Caps
If you use old solar caps the cells may have oxidized you might want to restore the solar cells.
Here is how I restored my old solar cells. https://www.instructables.com/id/Restoring-Plastic-Solar-Cells-like-New/
Velcro for removable solar caps or Silicone adhesive for a water tight seal
Brick for weight if you don't use it as a container. On windy days it will get turned over which could damage the solar cells.
Step 2: Construction
Arrange the solar caps on the lid then mark where the lights will drop down and then drill the holes. It does not matter if the LED are flush or drop down like the photo below you will get the same amount of light.
Velcro if you want solar caps removable.
Silicone adhesive if you want a water tight bucket for storage. After all the holes for solar caps are made put caps in place then put a bead of silicone around the outside edge. That way if you should need to replace the battery it will be easier to cut away the silicone and won't damage the battery area.
Drain Hole with a Caution Reminder: If you want your bucket to have a drain hole be sure to drill very small holes. Because when I had mine hanging for about a month had WASPS build a nest inside the bucket. When container is on the ground or on table you can't drill holes small enough to keep ANTS out. If you need your Stored items to stay dry or sanitary don't make drain hole.
Decorate your bucket
Use your imagination just remember what ever you use to decorate it has to withstand the outside elements