Would you like to create original pathway candle light for an outdoor party or leading to the entrance of your home on a DIY budget? Then I have just the DIY outdoor lighting project for you. How to make outdoor candle lights using plastic bottles, yes… you read that right… plastic bottles.
I got the idea for today’s post when I was at the Go Further With Ford Trend Conference in Dearborn Michigan last week.
You are probably thinking what does the Ford Trend Conference have to do with recycling plastic bottles into something useful like outdoor lighting? Well a lot! I was invited to attend the conference along with 269 other bloggers from all niches. To say it was a great conference is an understatement. I learned so much and had an equal amount of fun.
The conference was about how Ford is looking at the future to make their cars, company, and the world better – technology as well as sustainability wise. When I first arrived I was expecting to see the prototype for a George Jetson style car – you know the one that folds up into a briefcase.
I didn’t see that, but what I did get to see and do was drive a car that parallel parks for you. Wish I had that when I took my drivers test when I was 16? I got to drive a Ford Focus – Ford’s first all-electric vehicle on the Test Track, a shiny red 2013 Mustang, as well as race the clock in a Ford Escape, plus get driven off road by a professional driver. That was a little scary – but fun!
I also learned a lot at the 4 Trend sessions and a DIY dinner party at the Detroit area TechShop.
But what I saw first hand that made me smile is how Ford is using recycled materials in their cars – from used plastic bottles in the seat padding to recalled tires to cushion the field in the Detroit Lions Stadium that the Ford family owns.
That is me sitting on the 50 yard line on top of the turf – under it is a layer of the shredded tires that were recalled from Firestone.
Ford is also researching how to use shredded retired U.S. paper currency into plastic parts as well as recycled denim as sound deadener (yes that is a word)
All this got me thinking how I like to try to help reduce waste and use items destined for the trash into decorative stuff.
The plastic bottles reminded me of the outdoor candle lights I made and that were in my book, Instant Decorating. I thought it fitting that the project get a 2012 update when I got home from the conference.
Here is my updated version. They complement the tuna can lanterns I use in my backyard. These are shorter and will line the front walkway of my house. They are even easier than the tuna can lantern to make. I chose to place them on dowels so they would be raised from the ground like walkway lighting usually is.
You could also just place the plastic bottle section right into the ground – no dowel needed. Lots of options. I like to use them during the holidays to line my walk. Another option for holiday lighting is to save glass jars and line your walk using them with candles to light the way to your front door.
Use battery lights if you are going to leave the lights unattended. A votive or tea light style will fit perfectly. If using real candles use a tea light that has a metal casing and place it in some sand to buffer it.
I found these battery style tea lights at Walmart. I wanted to use battery votive size, but they were sold out. I will pick up a few on my next visit.
How to Make Outdoor Candle Lights Using Plastic Soda Bottles
- 1 Plastic bottle – I used 20 fl. oz bottles
- 1 – 7/8” diameter dowel cut 12-inches high
- Rust-oleum Hammered Brown Spray Paint
- Wire – I used 20 gauge craft wire, but any wire will work
- CitraSolv or Goo Gone
- Wire cutters
- Painter’s tape
- Coffee filter
- Craft knife
- Battery Operated Candles – tea lights or votive size will work
- Optional: Sand
1. Cut the plastic ring off the bottle and remove label. If there is any label residue – soak in soapy water and remove with your fingernail. CitraSolv will get the sticky residue off. Make sure to wash off the CitraSolv right after the label is removed or it may dull the finish.
2. To remove the stamped on numbers on the bottle use CitraSolv or Goo Gone. I think nail polish remover may work also, but test it first to make sure it won’t dull the plastic.
3. Use scissors or a craft knife to cut the bottle using the painters tape as your guide.
4. Place cut bottle on top of dowel that it is cut to the height you want. Wrap the wire around and around to cover the mouth of the bottle. Leave the end sticking out. Once covered to your liking– cut the end and twist it with the starting end of the wire that you left sticking out. Then gently push the twisted ends into the wrapped wire to hide.
I only wrapped the bottom section of the bottle’s mouth. You can go all the way up, especially if you are going to be using sand. It will look better.
How to Spray Paint Outdoor Walkway Candle Lights Once Assembled
- Fold the filter in half, and then in half again. Snip the tip off and when you open the filter there will be a hole in the center.
2. Wrap the bottom of the bottle with tape and them place a coffee filter over it. Use tape to attach the filter to the bottom to make sure the plastic is covered so it will be masked when you spray paint.
3. Spray the dowels and wire. A few light coats are best – let each coat dry before applying the next. When dry, remove the coffee filters and tape.
How to Install DIY Outdoor Walkway Candle Lights Outside A Home
Place the dowel end of the candle light in the dirt along your walkway. I made a small hole with a shovel and then placed the dowel in. To wedge it in deeper – I kept pushing it in and moved the dowel in a circular motion. Then tapped the dirt around the dowel to secure.
Now I have practically free stylish walkway lights for the front of my house. Makes me feel good that I am designing with the planet in mind and doing my part in trying to recycle and reuse items that normally would end up in the trash.
DIY Outdoor Walkway Candle Lights – When Lit
DIY Outdoor Walkway Candle Lights – When Unlit
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