Intro: Nalgene Chandelier
Need a waterproof outdoor lighting solution and don't want to spend alot of money? Grab an old Nalgene and an old vanity light and go to town!
Problem: I needed a light for the inside of my Canvas Tent. It had to be able to suspend from a 1/2 inch metal dowel (used to suspend the apex of the tent) and preferably be waterproof (in the event of a leak).
Solution: While on one of my frequent stops to the Recycling Center's Budget Shop (aka old junk store), I encountered a decent looking bathroom vanity light ($0.35 usd). I held onto it for a number of months until I found the perfect use. I also had a brand new Nalgene water bottle from the same store ($1.00 usd) which I assume was given away solely for the fact that it's purple (I would never carry a purple bottle, even in Vikings country). With the help of an old extension cord and some twist wire connecters, I was in business.
Process: First I disassembled the vanity light to see what I was working with. I drilled three holes midway up the bottle to accommodate each of the fixtures (the closer to the 'top' of the bottle the better; easier to tighten the bolts). I made sure the holes were equally spaced apart so the chandelier didn't lean to one side.
I then drilled two holes in the top of the chandelier (bottom of the bottle); one directly in the center just wide enough for the dowel, and one slightly off to the side large enough for the extension cord.
I then assembled the final product. The light fixtures bolted on with the original hardware, and I used appropriate nuts and washers (including a rubber washer on the outside) to hang the bottle on the dowel. After that, it was a matter of matching up the wires, connecting them with the twist connectors, shoving them back into the bottle, and screwing it closed. I ran the other end of the extension cord into an outlet on my one framed wall.
Outcome: I never ended up having any leakage issues, so I was never able to tell how water tight any of the seals are. If you were so inclined, a little bit of silicone caulk could work wonders. I made a second one of these with only two fixtures, which now adorns my friend's kitchen (in a real house!). That one has an eye-bolt on the top where the dowel is on this one, which allows it to be strung up in many different ways. Both lights work great, and are perfectly safe (more so than many lamps I've seen on the market).
I'll be happy to field any questions, and thanks for reading