Home DIY: Solar Fence Lights

DIY Solar Lights Video

(Picture Gallery At bottom)

The idea to create lighting for our backyard came from a random family BBQ at our friends house. They have created this beautiful backyard that only pictures could do it justice and it was capped off with a really cool lighting system along the fence that made it an awesome space for night time use. Over the course of the following week Roseanne and I stared off into our own backyard with aspirations of transforming it from a dark shrubbed up mess into a more livable space for us and Brett Favre (our dog).

I had previously been flipping through pinterest looking at furniture and other items that people had used steel piping to make. After a while it hit me, I can make the lights I want for the backyard out of the same type of piping and make it so that I don’t have to run electrical wires from the house down the fence (which honestly was the most attractive part of the idea). So on a weekend we went off to Lowe’s and I built 1. When the first one turned out good, we went back and bought the rest to put a light on every other post down both sides of our fence for less than $150 (12 lights total).

Below are a couple things to consider and the build instructions. If you have any questions head over to the contact page and drop us a message.

Black Iron or Galvanized Fittings??

This really boils down to your budget and how many lights you are building. If you are looking to do this as cheap as possible your best bet is to build them using Black Iron fittings because they are good amount cheaper than Galvanized. The downside is that Black Iron fittings are more prone to rust over time so you’ll need to be sure to completely cover them when painted. Galvanized fittings have the opposite going for them. They are more expensive but less prone to rust. The links below are for the black iron fittings that we used to build our lights.

If you are looking to purchase the fittings at your local hardware store, it is our experience that Lowe’s has a much better selection of Black Iron fittings compared to Home Depot. Not an endorsement, just an observation.

We have compiled a list of all the material you will need to complete this project with links to the amazon listings:

*Item List Notes To Know*

  • Of the list above, you can absolutely get a lot of these items cheaper at your local hardware store. We provided the list for convenience and pictures of what you need.
  • Using Black Iron fittings, each light should roughly cost you $10. Galvanized will be $3-4 more per light. 
  • We used the cheapest light Lowe’s had. There were roughly $2 each
  • Quantity is based on your needs. We did 12 lights for $140 total.

Assembly Instructions

Step 1. Clean the iron pieces with soap and water or galvanized with soap and water

Step 2. Apply threadlock adhesive to the male end of 90* fitting and screw into the baseplate as tight as possible.

Step 3. Measure and cut light tube roughly 3mm longer than the nipple on the bottom of the light housing.

Step 4. Mix up your 2-part epoxy and coat the inside threads of the 90*. Next coat the bottom half of the tube piece that you cut off while avoiding any epoxy getting inside the tube.

Step 5. Use your finger to insert the tube into the fitting in a twisting motion. This twisting motion will help spread the epoxy and create a stronger bond. *Note* ensure that your tube sticks slightly above the top of the fitting and is pointed either straight up or outward. This will ensure that your light doesn’t hit the fence post when mounted.

Step 6. If Black Iron fittings, plug the back hole with remaining epoxy or a silicon adhesive. Let sit for 1 hour to ensure that tube epoxy is set and solid.

Step 7. Paint the base to any color you choose. This is your chance to personalize your lights and make them pop on your fence. It is important to not that if you build the bases using Black Iron fittings then you would need to ensure that you cover the entire piece in an effort to “seal” it up against moisture and rust. If you use Galvanized fittings this is less of a concern.

Step 8. Mount to fence and fit lights.


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