Make your own garden solar light with wooden pallets
Add some extra glow to your garden setting with an eco-friendly solar bollard lamp, upcycled from a disused wooden pallet. Follow our step by step guide with pictures to make your own!
Making your own solar lamp is simple to do, and this particular project has the added bonus of making the most of disused wooden pallets too.
With a few key tools and some basic DIY skills, it’s relatively quick and easy to build your own solar bollard lamp. Once you’ve got a hang of the making process, you could even make several to spread along your garden path, creating a beautiful, well-lit walkway.
If you love the wooden look, why not try out our other wooden pallet upcycling projects here?
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This project was put together by ManoMano – head over to manomano.co.uk to shop for the products you will need and to discover other inspiring DIY projects.
What you’ll need to make a solar garden light
- Small solar light bulb
- Wood from pallets (we used 22mm thick boards)
- A saw or jigsaw
- A drill driver
- A 3mm wood drill bit
- 6 x 50mm stainless steel screws
- A hole saw adjusted to fit the diameter of your solar lamp head
- A wood stain for exterior wood, or a yacht varnish
How to make a wooden pallet garden light
Take your wooden pallet apart and prepare five boards from the original pallet. Once prepared, saw the boards into four pieces that will be used to make the sides of your bollard, for example, two boards measuring 50cm long and two measuring 40cm long. You can adapt these measurements to the height of the bollard you want, but make sure there is a 10cm difference between the two lengths.
Lay one of the smaller boards flat on the ground and position the larger ones at right angles to its sides. Make sure that the boards at the bottom of your bollard are lined up correctly. Mark the position of the screws with a pencil: you’ll need one top and one bottom placement for each board. Pre-drill your boards with a 3mm drill bit and screw in the stainless steel screws. Repeat these steps for the remaining shorter board, which will serve as the front of your bollard.
To make the top piece of your bollard, cut a rectangular piece of wood to fit the dimensions you’ve prepared. Next, sand the corners of the wood so that they are smooth and splinter-free. Using your hole saw, drill a hole in the centre of the top. If possible, use a tool that measures the same diameter as the solar panel on the light bulb so that the fit will be snug. If you don’t have this option and the hole is slightly bigger than the bulb, you will need to glue it in place and use an outdoor silicone sealant.
Insert the solar light bulb into the top piece of the bollard so that the bulb faces downwards and the solar panel faces up. If necessary, use glue and a silicone sealant to secure the bulb in place.
Line up the top piece of the bollard with the base and mark the position of the screws to attach the pieces together. Pre-drill the holes using a 3mm drill bit as before, then screw in the stainless steel screws to fully assemble the bollard.
Protect your pallet wood for outdoor use. Typically made of fir planks, the quality of each pallet varies, but wooden pallets are not treated for outdoor use, so most will warp when exposed to the moisture and heat of an outdoor environment. To protect your solar light, you’ll need exterior-grade varnishes. Varnishes intended for extreme climatic conditions – such as those used to coat yachts or log cabins – are particularly effective. For something more natural, try linseed oil varnish.