Tag Archives | solar

The Solar Bottle Light: Using Water and Bottles To Create Light Bulbs

Solar Bottle Light Bulb

Solar Bottle Light Bulb

I have highlighted before the innovative solar tubes (closet lighting ideas) which brings in natural lighting through the roof during the day. A cheaper and simpler option, a 1.5 liter solar bottle light, is being used in rural and poor areas around the world.

For a lot of people around the world, just turning on one light bulb can be a major expense. Their homes are not well designed, so it can be a dark place even during the day. Now they can have an inexpensive lighting solution during the day (costing $1 to install in the Philippines). A 1.5 liter soda bottle is filled with water and a little bit of chlorine or bleach. A hole is then cut into the roof where these bottles can sit.

The water reflects the sun light in all directions (it is equivalent to a 50-60 watt light bulb), whereas just a hole in the roof works as a spotlight and doesn’t light up the whole area. The Chlorine or bleach prevents algae or bacteria growing in the water.

Creating Light and Green Jobs In The Philippines

Solar Bottles in Uganda 

More posts on the importance of lighting:


Simple and Easy Decorative DIY Solar Jar

Solar stake lights are some of the most common solar powered lights available making them pretty inexpensive. They are simply planted into the soil around the backyard – an alternative would be to fill a bucket or pot with soil/sand allowing you to place them around a deck/porch/patio/balcony.

If you want a more decorative solar light fixture then have a look at this DIY solar jar project by Creative Cain Cabin. They have simply removed the stem of the stake lights, and then hot glued the light part onto vintage Mason jars. And there you have it, inexpensive and decorative solar lights.

DIY Solar Mason Jar

DIY Solar Lighting

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L&L Design Guide: 6 DIY Lamp Ideas and Projects

DIY Lamp Ideas Projects

Looking for some inspiration for DIY lamp ideas? Here we have some of the best looking and creative projects, that are relatively simply to do. From using Lego bricks, to old camera film, here are 6 ideas to try out for your next project.

Wine Bottle Lamps

diy wine bottle lamp

The first DIY lamp project only needs string lights and a wine bottle. The string lights are simply threaded into the wine bottle through a hole near the base. The great thing with this project is that using different wine bottles will give you unique lamp shapes, colors and styles. In order to make a hole in the wine bottle you’ll need a drill with a glass drill bit, which is inexpensive and easily available at hardware stores. For the full tutorial on creating a DIY wine bottle lamp head over to Wit & Whistle

Camera Film Lamp

diy film lamp idea

Claire of Poopscape.com used a $6.99 Ikea lamp and stuck black and white negative film onto the glass shade. The result is a stunning DIY lamp. What makes this lamp so special are the images – they can be tailored to a holiday, group of friends – anything. Check out her step by step tutorial on this simple but amazing DIY lamp idea here at Poopscape (site no longer available).

Mason Jar Solar Lamp

A DIY Sun Jar

We’ve highlighted the SunJar before, which are Mason jar solar lights costing around $25.  If you want to go about it yourself, here is a tutorial on how to create a diy sun jar replica (Instructables.com). There are quite a number of different parts and steps, but you’ll get the flexibility of choosing different styles of jars or even vases.

DIY Lego  Lamps

Lego lamps

All you’ll need here are transparent Lego blocks and an LED light (as they will give off less heat and won’t melt the plastic). There are no instructions on this one. The photos shown here are from a shop called red5.co.uk that no longer sells a kit of blocks and light. The other photo is from Tzuwei Tai, a designer who went out and made his own blocks. There is a range of transparent Lego blocks available from Amazon here, which you can use to put together your own DIY Lego lamp shade.

LED Lamps: Music Box or 3D Display


On another post we highlighted a DIY LED music visualizer lamp, which is a lamp that pulsates with music that is plugged into it. This DIY project takes the LED box lamp, and adds the element of syncing music. The tutorial can be found here.

Or another LED DIY lamp idea is to create or buy an 8x8x8 LED cube. These lamps can also be programmed to display 3D images. A tutorial on how to make and program your own 3D LED cube can be found here.


Clean and Simple Birch Veneer Wooden Lamp

DIY Birch Veneer Lamp

Here is a simple, elegant, minimalist looking lamp. The parts used to form it are acrylic, birch veneer and an Ikea LED strip. While the tools needed to make it are: a heat gun to heat and bend the acrylic, a glue gun and an iron to stick the birch to the acrylic. You can find the tutorial here.

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The Importance of a Light Bulb: Energizer Partners with One Million Lights

A great example of a corporate social responsibility case study is seeing Energizer partnering with One Million Lights, a charity that seeks to “improve the daily lives of children and adults by providing clean and healthy lighting.” In a global population of around 7 billion people, 1.6 billion live without electricity. Instead, kerosene lamps which produce toxic fumes are used to light up their nights. Light is essential for kids to study, for a mother to give birth at night, or for families to do chores and jobs. One light bulb could change a family’s livelihood.

social responsibility case study

So Energizer is donating 11 million hours of solar lighting to communities living without electricity in Latin America, Philippines, Kenya and Ethiopia. These solar lights will provide free and healthy lighting. To raise awareness for this cause they are hosting Energizer Night Race for a Brighter World – a number of night races across the world. A charitable case study | advertising without borders.

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The 3 Different Types of Garden Pond Lighting Ideas

Adding lighting to a pond creates another dimension to a garden’s ambiance at night. Even though lighting doesn’t provide any real benefits to the fishes, they allow you to see what they are up to when the sun goes down. There are a number of areas where lights can be placed to decorate and light up a pond. Here we will go over the three general areas, specific garden pond lighting ideas and also the different types of lights.

pond lighting ideas

Lighting Types – Halogen and LED

The pond lighting ideas outlined below can come in two different bulb types, Halogen and LED. The most common pond lights are low voltage 12 volt halogen lamps. These are inexpensive lights that only come as white bulbs (colored lenses are included with some pond lighting kits). Halogen light bulbs do give off a lot of heat, and consume a lot of energy, making them have a short life span. LED pond lighting is an alternative, which is becoming more and more popular. These are eco friendly lights that have a much longer life span than halogen bulbs. Because they use much less energy, they give off less heat which is ideal for lighting small ponds. Unlike halogens, the LED light bulbs themselves can come in a range of colors. There are also LED pond lights that are preprogrammed to fade to different colors.

The 3 Types of Pond Lighting Ideas

When it comes to deciding which lighting ideas are best for your pond, you will want to decide if you want to create soft and subtle lighting or turn your pond into a garden feature by adding more light fixtures. Do you want to see the whole pond at night or just light certain areas and see glimpses of fish as they swim by – creating a more mysterious and enchanting pond at night.

There are three types of pond lighting ideas:

  1. Underwater lighting
  2. Above water lighting
  3. Perimeter lighting

Underwater Pond Lighting

Underwater recessed pond lights

Underwater lights are the most common lights in creating a well lit pond at night. These are low voltage electrical lights. Usually 35 to 75 watts, the deeper the pond the higher the wattage needed.

The most popular types are kits that contain 1 or 3 lamps that you stake to the bottom of the pond. Another option is to have recessed lights fitted into the bedrock underwater (much like swimming pool lighting).

There are also lights that are fitted into a rock shaped encasing, that blends in with the rest of the pond. These are low voltage lights that are submerged underwater.

Most underwater lights are used for general lighting – they wash a general area of the pond with light. However, there are spotlights that can be used underwater. These are used to provide more focused and localized lighting, highlighting a certain spot underwater, whether that is a rock bed, an underwater statue, etc.

Left: General underwater pond light Right: Underwater spotlight

Lighting Tip: More natural hues of colors (off white, orange, green, yellow) are used for submersible pond lighting, while purples and blues are generally used for decorative above water lighting.

Above Pond Lighting

Another way of adding lighting to a pond is to add lights that sit above the water. Floating pond lights are an elegant lighting fixture to add. These can come as low voltage or solar powered versions. Floating solar lights are a lot easier and cheaper to install, and will automatically come on as it gets dark. These lights generally have the bulb above the water and will wash the surface of the pond with light. There are floating lights that have the bulb on the bottom so the light points down into the pond. This acts as moon lighting, lighting the pond and the fishes from above. Using floating lights along with underwater lights will create soft and subtle lighting for a pond.

Floating solar pond lights

Lights attached to the base of a fountain

Another above pond lighting idea is fountain lighting. If you have, or are planning on installing a fountain that aerates the water, spurting water up into the air, lights can be installed at the base. The lights are pointed up onto the shooting water, illuminating and even changing the color of the water (with the use of lenses or colored LED lights). This creates a colorful water display.

Perimeter Lighting

Lighting the perimeter of the pond adds to the visual display of the pond and also to the safety. Outlining the perimeter of the pond helps in navigating around it at night. There are a number of perimeter lighting ideas.

Simple perimeter lighting ideas would include solar lights. These can come in rock shapes to blend in with the landscape, or solar stake lights that are planted into the soil around the pond. Recessed lights can be installed into the ground and rock bed above the water (either as solar powered or low voltage).

Spotlights shining from above are ideal for larger ponds. These can be attached to a wall or the rock bed, and can shine down onto a particular area or feature in or around the pond. A small waterfall, where the water simply cascades down over a small rock bed and ventilates the pond, can be lit up with simple above ground or even underwater spotlights – turning the waterfall into a feature of the pond.

Stake lights outlining a pond

Pond mister

One Step Further

How about adding a simple pond mister? These are simple devices that create a mystical mist above the water. They are completely safe to life in the pond. These are used only for decorative purposes, and with the use of lighting they create a beautiful water display. Here you can use LED lights that can change the color of the mist.

Where to Buy

Total Pond has a small selection of pond lights, which are available online from Home Depot

Good quality pond lights range in price from $20 for simple floating lights and single submersible lighting kits to over $200 for complete lighting systems for garden ponds.

When it comes to pond lighting ideas, simple and subtle lighting goes a long way in creating a beautiful water feature. Invest in high quality fixtures as these will be able to stand the conditions of pond life.


Design Guide: 10 Simple Wireless Deck Lighting Ideas

Wireless Deck Lighting Ideas It is great to have lights integrated into your deck. It is helpful to plan out the lighting while the deck is being built, but there is always the option to remodel the deck later on to wire and install lights. This can be costly and time consuming. Below are 10 deck lighting ideas that do not require you to modify the deck in any way or add any wiring.

7 Solar Deck Lighting Ideas

Using solar power is a great way to simply add deck lighting. Solar lighting has come to a point now where they provide bright light throughout the night, only needing a reasonable charge during the day. Because they use solar power, these light fixtures do not require any wiring. They are flexible to arrange around the deck and take a short amount of time to install. Here are 7 solar lighting ideas that can be added to a deck.

deck lights

Adding lighting with solar post caps

Solar post caps for decks are one of the simpler solar lights to install. These are light fixtures that simply sit on top of railing posts. The only issue here is to find caps that are the same size as the top of the posts. There is the option to screw them in place to make them more secure.

Posts Lights are simple light fixtures that attach to a side of a post. You will want to take note of the suns location during the day, and make sure the light isn’t shielded by the post. If you are planning on using post caps you can also find matching solar deck post lights.

An Umbrella Light will add lighting around a deck table or a seating area.  Here you will have two options. 1st there are solar umbrella light kits. These are light fixtures that you can attach to an existing umbrella, around the pole, while the solar cells are placed on top of the umbrella to absorb the sun. The 2nd option is buy an umbrella that has solar lights built into it.

Umbrella Lights Another deck lighting idea is to use Solar Powered Wall Lights that are attached to the walls of the house. There are a wide range of styles:  from Victorian lanterns, modern chrome lights, to Moroccan or more decorative wall lights.

Sun Jars are elegant Mason jars that contain a light inside. At night they light up like a little ball of sun within a jar. These can be placed on tables or on the floor around the edges of the deck. (Go here to see more on the Mason jar solar lights).

Outdoor string lights are common during Christmas for their green and red blinking versions. But they can be used year round when bought in yellow or off white colors. Solar outdoor string lights can also come as decorative light fixtures in the form of lanterns, such as waterproof solar powered Japanese paper lanterns. Or globe string lights are a sophisticated option, which mimics lighting from French cafes.

Outdoor globe string lights add decroating lighting to a deck

Advanced: Solar recessed deck lighting. All of the mentioned solar deck lighting options above require no or a little installation work – attaching them to a wall or post, etc. Solar recessed deck lights still require no wiring, but they need to have a groove carved out of the deck for them to sit into – a little extra work to add modern floor lighting.

3 Non Solar Deck Lighting Ideas

A small gas propane fueled fire bowl

Fire Bowls. These can come in table top sizes, or a much larger coffee table size that everyone can sit around. These help in giving off a little bit of light, but also provide heat for those slightly chilly nights. They can be fueled with either: a small table top gas propane tank, gel fuel, or oils. They can have the traditional rocks or a more modern fire glass top layer. There is also the option of a fire pit bowl where you can burn wood and charcoal.

Tiki torches are a great addition to exterior lighting. The dancing flames mimic the ambiance of a tropical resort. The most common kind are the stake versions where you plant them into the ground. These can be planted into buckets of sands and placed on the deck. Or there are versions that have an attachment so they easily be clamped onto deck railings or posts.  There are also mini tiki torches that can be used on table tops to add lighting to a deck. Don’t forget about citronella tiki torches that burn with less smoke and act as a natural and organic insect repellent.

Flameless Candles: Candles are great and all, but they don’t last long and can be messy to clean up. Flameless candles mimic real candles but use a small LED light – some even have wax bases. Some will even flicker, some are even scented. You can turn a group of them on with a remote, and there is no mess to clean up afterwards. (Go here to see more on flameless candles)

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Image Credits: Patrick, Tom