I've had this gargoyle night light sitting around for years, but never got much use out of it, since it takes a specialty bulb which I never seemed to have available. I brought this lamp to our vacation home in Brazil, and here it collected dust for a few more years without the proper bulb.
So I decided it was time to upcycle this lamp into a solar powered night light. Electricity is expensive in Brazil, but sun power is plentiful and free!;-)
This lamp isn't quite bright enough to read by, but it's certainly bright enough to light the bathroom at night for those middle of the night trips, without having to turn on the light. I've found that if I put the lamp outside in the morning, by sundown, there is usually enough of a charge to last through the night.
If you don't have a gargoyle lamp like this one, any small kitschy figurine night light will work.
Here's how I did it.
• Rotary tool
• Wire cutters
• Hobby knife
• Gargoyle lamp
• Solar garden light
• Masking tape
• Copper metallic paint
Step 1: Disassemble Lamp
The first step is to strip all the electrical components from your lamp. With this particular lamp, there was a plastic tube running from the base to the socket that just slid right up, exposing the wires, and a nut holding the metal fixture that holds the socket in place.
You can start from the top down, or from the base, by clipping the cable with your wire cutters. (Since one of the reasons I disassembled this lamp was to use the cable with the built in switch, I chose to snip the cable at the socket).
Usually lamps like this have a knot in the cable under the base, to prevent the cable from coming loose. If so, untie the knot, and pull the cable out.
Step 2: Prepare Solar Lamp
What first gave me the idea to use this gargoyle for a solar night light is the fact that the hole for the lamp fixture was almost exactly the same diameter as a solar garden lamp tube, so once the original wiring and tube are removed, the solar lamp fit perfectly, just needed to be shortened a bit. This is where the rotary tool comes in handy.
Cut the tube to the desired length. I cut mine in half. Next step is to trim the spike, so it will fit through the hole in the base. The original lamp spike, which would be used to stick in th ground, works nicely for mounting the lamp in the base.
The original nut that came with the gargoyle lamp works nicely for holding the plastic spike in place.
Step 3: Paint Solar Lamp Shade
To give this lamp a more vintage and less plastic look, I decided to throw a coat of metallic copper paint on the lamp shade portion of the solar lamp. Not sure how long it will hold up with regular sun exposure, but it looks nice for now.
To prevent from getting any paint on the solar cell, apply a few pieces of masking o painters tape, and cut clean around the edges with a hobby knife or razor blade.
Step 4: Assemble Parts
Once your paint is dry, you can assemble the parts, and that's pretty much it! This project took less time to complete than it took to photograph and document;-)
Enjoy your new night light, and hopefully you can give an old unused lamp a new lease on a greener life;-)