Wednesday, June 3, 2015

DIY Lamp Post

Good Morrow' Mates,

Another day and another project. I actually did most of the projects I'm posting about during one very busy day. I have those days where I can't stop working of stuff and then I spend two weeks on Pinterest while eating cookies.

As you remember in the last post, we had an ugly satellite dish hanging out in our yard. One of three to be exact. I had originally planned to remove two of the dishes and use the remaining poles for a clothesline. Then we decided to create a brick patio right next to them, and I couldn't quite get over the idea of looking at laundry while trying to relax on my patio. It just seemed wrong. So, I went back to the drawing board.

One dark night I was chasing after a dog, and I realized it was really dark. We have a light back there, but it's quite bright. So either we're attempting to land a jet or you can't see your hand in front of your face. As I'm walking around trying not to fall, I ran into the satellite dish and a light bulb went on. Well, I wish that was literal, because I couldn't see a darn thing. The pole was destined to be a lamp post from then on. The two satellite dishes on poles are exactly along what will eventually be a path to the eventual brick patio. Two lamp posts to light the path. Perfect.

As I brainstormed how this would work, I decided to just take a look around Lowe's and see what I could find. I figured I could find a decorative lantern, somehow mount a solar light inside of it and then use some sort of plumbing flange system to attach it to the pole. As I'm cruising around the store checking things off my shopping list, a bird feeder caught my eye. It ended up being absolutely perfect. So, without further yapping, here is how to create your own lamp post.
DIY Lamp Post


A post. I was lucky enough to already have one, but this would be easy enough to add yourself. You would just need a piece of metal pipe, some concrete and a hole.

A lantern. I used a bird feeder, but an outdoor lantern would work as well. You can even find some that are already wired to be solar.

Solar Light. For now I got a simple solar path light. I'm thinking I'm going to upgrade it later to brighter spot light once I find the perfect sized one.

Optional: Spray Paint

Depending on what kind of lantern you find, you may need to attach it to the pole. I would suggest using some plumbing hardware. Hardware store associates can help you pick the right sized item.

Approximate Cost: $20.00-$30.00


1. Post & Paint

I removed the satellite dish from the pole with a socket wrench. I was left with a bare boring metal pole. It cleaned up well with some soap, water and a wire brush. The wire brush is necessary if you have any flaking paint. I used Rustoleom spray paint in Ocean Breeze to make the pole pop.

If you remember, this was the before. 

The pole without the dish. Beat up and flaking black and green paint.

Pole spray painted and ready for a lamp!

2. Hunt for a Lamp

I had plans to use a decorative outdoor lantern as the lamp for my post. I figured I'd either find a lantern, retrofit it with a solar light or buy all in one solar light lantern online. Before I did any ordering online, I decided to look around Lowe's for ideas. I happen to be picking up bird food when I saw this bird feeder. It worked out very well. Bird Feeders generally come apart for easy cleaning which makes spray painting even easier. Also, the cap came off the top which is a perfect place for a solar light. Finally, there was already a recessed area under the lantern that just so happen to fit my pole almost exactly. I took my bird feeder apart to give it a new paint job and to remove the handle on the top.

If you had a pole that didn't fit perfectly on your lantern (chances are you don't), you can follow a trick my mother in law uses with her bird houses and feeders. Go to the plumbing section of the hardware store and look at the different fittings. There is going to be a piece that will fit the top of your pole and then screw into the base of your lantern.

3. Paint

I almost didn't paint the bird feeder because it's not a terrible color and was a fun combo with the aqua pole. I finally decided that if I had to pick a different lantern for my other pole, I want to make sure they matched. Since everything unscrewed easily, I had a pretty easy job painting. I just started at the bottom and worked my way to the portions of the lamp that will be seen first.

4. Reassemble and Mount

After the paint is dry (and do wait until it's dry..unlike me that was way too excited to get the project done and smudged my paint job), put everything back together. Mount the lamp on to the pole either by setting it on the pole or by using the plumbing fitting I spoke about before. Add your solar light. Ta Da! You have a lamp post to light the dark nights. Because the night is dark and full of terrors. (Game of Thrones reference)

My solar light fit right inside the top hole and no additional modifications were necessary. However, if I use a brighter solar spot light in the future, I will need to move somethings around to get to fit and reflect properly.

 As you can see here, the pole fit perfectly in the bottom of the bird feeder. I won't be so lucky when I go to add a lamp to the top of the other pole. It's much (much) wider.


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