20 Creative Ways To Repurpose Solar Lights Into Beautiful Home & Garden Decor

Solar lights can be one of the least expensive and most versatile ways to light your yard or garden at night, with many styles and varieties available from places like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar for between $1 and $3 each. As such, they make an excellent alternative to other kinds of lights for DIY projects that will be used outside, where batteries can be too quick to drain and outdoor outlets are often hard to find. By using solar lights for your DIY projects, you can create beautiful ways to illuminate dark exterior spaces and add visual interest to your yard or garden all night long. We've compiled 20 ways to use solar lights around your home and garden, including outdoor chandeliers, jack-o'-lantern lights, glowing planters, and more.

Outdoor solar lights for your yard come in a number of useful formats, from simple puck lights to ornate garden stake lights that resemble small street lights. They can also be found as string and rope lights, which are perfect for some projects. Because they take their energy from the sun, they will need to be kept in a bright spot, but they can be a great eco-friendly way to add extra lighting if you want to save on energy bills and battery costs. 

Illuminated fairy garden

Use any jar to make the perfect illuminated fairy garden. Just add tiny natural elements like pebbles, moss, sticks, and figurines to the bottom of the receptacle, and then insert some solar-powered twinkle lights at the base. Place the lantern in your garden amongst plants, or use it as a softly glowing and whimsical centerpiece on an outdoor dining or side table. You can also attach a larger solar light to the lid of any jar to add even more light to the interior. 

Solar chandelier

Any regular chandelier can be transformed into a wireless outdoor option with a few modifications. Just fill the cavities where the bulbs would normally go with silicone and place solar lights inside, holding them until the product has hardened and lights remain in place. You can leave the solar lights visible or put them inside the glass shades of the original chandelier. Alternatively, make a stunning hanging patio light from wood shims and a tomato cage. For a simple DIY, turn over a hanging wire planter from Dollar Tree and add crystals and a wired-in-place solar light.

Tall lantern light

A great alternative to expensive tall solar lights is to make them yourself using affordable elements from Dollar Tree. Twist off the stake of one of its popular solar lights and use it to top off its small metal LED lantern candle holders. Remove the bottom disc light and insert the solar one. Dollar Tree's broomsticks add height when you glue them to the overturned bottom of the lantern. Cut the broomstick to the desired height and use them along your sidewalks, in garden beds, near your driveway, or around a swimming pool. 

Jar lights

Glue some solar puck lights to the inside lid of mason jars for beautiful hanging jar lights. Just use an empty jar suspended with wire or twine wrapped around its lip. You can leave them empty for a more vintage look, fill them with pebbles or sand, or paint them partially with matte paint. You can also create a colored glaze made with Mod Podge and acrylic paint for some extra visual interest. Hang them along your fence or from a tree, or use them on a porch overhang for a soft glow. 

Solar lighthouses

Create adorable lighthouses for your yard or garden using solar lights, terracotta pots, and hot glue. Stack the pots on top of each other to your desired height, then glue them together in a tower shape. Use a saucer as the very top piece. Glue a solar light to the top of the structure, then paint the exterior of the pots to resemble a lighthouse with stripes, windows, and doors. These garden accents look especially adorable when used in a grouping of lighthouses of different widths and heights.

Jack-o'-lantern lights

Transform a stake solar light into a cute Halloween piece by adding a plastic pumpkin over the top of the light. Cut a hole in the bottom of the plastic jack-o'-lantern and slip it over the stake and light. You can also try this hack with other spooky Halloween decorative items like Frankenstein heads or plastic skulls. Use them to line your driveway or front path for trick-or-treaters to find their way. Alternatively, detach the stake and glue the solar light at the bottom of the plastic figure to use as a hanging or table light.

Glass pebble table lights

Make a perfectly sparkling outdoor table light by placing a solar light in a small glass fish bowl filled with marbles or glass gems. The gems will hold the solar light aloft inside the bowl and filter the light to create a subtle, colorful glow. Use this lantern on a patio or picnic table or as part of a centerpiece for outdoor gatherings and weddings. For a more neutral look, use amber or white colored marbles or gems that allow light to pass through instead of colored ones.

DIY solar ghost

This adorably spooky DIY uses Dollar Tree laundry baskets, zip ties, and a plastic strainer to provide the base for your ghost. Tie the baskets one atop the other and top off with the dome of the strainer, fastening it all together with the zip ties. Weave a string of solar twinkle lights around the exterior of the strainer and baskets, then cover the framework with a white tablecloth or sheet and some white mesh. Add felt stickers for the eyes or draw them on with a black marker. 

Glass lanterns

Use any glass lantern to create a cute solar light fixture. Just affix the solar light to the base of the lantern with a few dabs of hot glue. For a polished look, paint the top of the solar light the same shade as the lantern finish. Use these as a cute way to light patios and outdoor steps. Or hang them from a fence or tree limb anywhere you need extra light. Place them on a table with added pebbles, greenery, or shells inside for a stunning centerpiece addition. 

Paper party lanterns

Paper party lanterns can be picked up inexpensively at many party supply shops. While many use these with conventional or battery-operated bulbs, they also work with a variety of solar lights. Just string a solar light inside with some wire attached to the top of the globe. Or wrap a string of solar twinkle lights around the wire interior of the lantern. These lanterns come in a variety of fun colors or designs, but you can also use paint to add hand-painted details. Use them for your next outdoor gathering.

Upcycled dish mushrooms

These adorable upcycled dish mushrooms are gorgeous and whimsical all on their own, but they reach a new level courtesy of the solar lights inside them. Use an upside-down glass vase or tumbler as the base with a solar light affixed with glue to the bottom. Adding more glue, attach a transparent bowl over the top to create the mushroom. The light will filter through the clear glass and stay lit at night. This hack works with clear plastic or glass dishes, so it's a great opportunity to repurpose old or unused bowls and vases. 

Glowing planter

For this DIY, you will need two semi-transparent planters, some LED rope lights, and glue. Wrap the lights around a smaller planter in a spiral until the entire surface is covered. Then, set the lighted small planter inside the larger translucent option, hiding the rope lights and creating a soft glow. Fill the inner planter with dirt or stones, and add your favorite plants or greenery. These planters work great as a way to add a little extra light to a dark porch or front step, as well as make excellent glowing pieces when placed in a garden. 

Potted lights

Using a planter and some flower foam, insert two or three garden solar lights for a lovely potted lighting element that is perfect for illuminating stairways and other dark spots in your garden or yard. Cut your stakes to the desired heights and insert them into the foam, then cover them with decorative stones or moss. You can even add flowers or other greenery for a lusher look. The weight of the stones in the bottom will keep them from being too top heavy or tipping over in high winds. 

Tin can lanterns

Any empty tin becomes a beautiful lantern with just a few modifications. Fill a can with water and freeze it, then make a decorative design using a hammer and nail or ice pick. The ice will help the can keep its shape while you work, preventing smashing or denting during the process. Add two holes near the top to create a wire or twine hanger. Glue a solar light to the interior bottom before hanging these rustic DIY lanterns from your porch, fence, or tree.

Solar sconces

Any wall sconce for holding candles can be easily repurposed to be used with solar lights. Add hot glue inside the cavity meant for the candle, then stick the end of the solar light inside, holding it until dry. This is a great way to repurpose indoor decorative taper candle holders for outdoor use. You can also paint the lighting elements and the sconces the same shade for a seamless look. Hang the sconces on the exterior of your home, a fence, or a garden wall. 

Twig lamp

For a lovely outdoor accent light, attach natural materials like bamboo or wood sticks around a solar light. Use a wire candle holder as a frame for a segment of wooden placemat or twig fencing secured with twine. Or use a glass cylinder with a solar light inside, and then add loose twigs with hot glue around the exterior. This rustic and textural lantern is perfect as an outdoor centerpiece or when placed on a side table or porch railing. You can also attach a twine hanger to its top to make a beautiful suspended version. 

Lighted terrarium

Create an adorable, hangable terrarium from a Dollar Tree glass bulb vase, some rocks, and a small solar light glued in place on the top. Fill the bulb with plants and other natural materials, then hang the creation from a pole or tree limb in your garden. The small lights will create a cozy glow and illuminate the plants in the terrarium. Or, use them as part of a nature-inspired centerpiece for your next outdoor gathering. They would also make cute place cards and take-home souvenirs — keep this in mind when creating a dream backyard wedding

Glass candle centerpiece

Fill some simple glass column vases and top them off with a solar light for a perfect outdoor centerpiece. Add colored gravel, sand, glass gems, or sea glass to create color and texture. An assemblage of vases at different heights is perfect for achieving this goal. You can also add dried flowers with some clear Mod Podge on the exterior of the vases for even more visual interest and beauty. Allow them to charge during the day, and they will cast a warm glow over your nighttime table for hours.

Solar hanging plant

Any hanging basket arrangement, real or faux, can become illuminated with the addition of solar stake lights. For a real flower basket, simply place the stakes in the soil or rocks. For artificial arrangements, use a half globe of Styrofoam or floral foam as a base for the lights and flowers. Place the flowers around a single or group of solar lights for beautiful arrangements that will light up at night. Hang them from a post or pole in the garden or from a porch overhang to create ambient lighting. 

Planter box centerpiece

For a beautiful planter box or long centerpiece, add several solar lights to the center of a wooden box filled with pebbles and stones. The stones will help hold the lights in place, as well as offer a spot to insert other natural elements like moss, greenery,  and small plants like succulents. You could also make this box a small, whimsical fairy garden by adding cute figurines and painted stones. For an even lusher version, add taller plants or flowers that will light up at night after charging all day.