Make a Portable Solar Lantern

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Introduction: Make a Portable Solar Lantern

This is a simple thing you can do with a set of solar path lights to turn them into portable lanterns.

You will need :
- A set of solar path lights
- Some small Chinese lanterns
- Some small gauge wire (stranded, not solid)
- Your Brain

Step 1: Gut Your Light

Break open you box of path lights and get out the good parts. These are the bits with the batteries and the solar panel. The model I got was fairly easy to pull apart, a screwdriver behind the plate popped the top off.

With a set of cutters, make 2 small notches in the opening where the solar panel lives.

Step 2: Lets See What's Inside

Now we can work on the core components.

Unfortunately the circuit board is heat melted on. I could drill it out, but you can also see that the battery holder is integrated into the base.

So we will just make do with what we have.

Step 3: Attach the Lantern

I found these lanterns in Chinatown (San Francisco). Just ask around. The small ones do exist and I got them for about $1 ea.

Now, we can't just add a panel and battery to the lantern, but we can add the lantern to the existing light.

Just thread some wire through the conveniently located holes, and tie the lantern to the base of the light.

Step 4: Put It All Back Together

Now, thread some wire through the structure and past the solar panel (using those notches) so we can hang it somewhere.

Voila! we have a nice shade for our bright LED.

Because we are using a paper lantern, we now have something that collapses flat for storage, for transport, to save space, or just impress your friends.

Step 5: The Finished Lantern

That's it, We're done. Pop the base back into the top and your lantern is complete.

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    8 Discussions

    Solar powered lantern? Sounds like a Polish joke... Cool instructable though, would be neat for an outdoor party. ~Ryan

    1 reply

    Does this polish joke go something like Finnish one? In that joke some goofy villagers try to gather sunlight inside thick bags and this way light up a house with no windows:)

    Thanks for this instructable! I just came back from SF Chinatown with six smallish red lanterns (2 for 3 bucks) not quite sure how I'd light them. This inspires me! I'll use a mini-solar light from Target. :-)

    I like this one. Very good idea. I just might make something like this for the summer music festival where I usually goes camping.