FRIDAY FRIEND FEATURE: Light Fixture Planters

TODAY, I am so thrilled to feature my friend Claire. I met Claire about 3 years ago through my neighbor Jackie when we first moved into our parsoange.  

Claire is also a fan of my Timeless Treasure Trove facebook page and when I asked if anyone had something they would like to feature, Claire emailed me and I am so glad she did.  She works at a local “lighting” store here in Cranberry Twp, PA and she is going to share how she has repurposed some of those discarded lights! What a clever idea!!

Claire says, old outdoor light fixtures are well-suited for conversion to containers for planting.  They are designed to withstand temperature and weather extremes, and do not need to be brought in for winter.  Outdoor light fixtures are also designed to drain any water that may inadvertently find its way in, so drainage holes usually do not need to be drilled for conversion.

Tools you will need:  pliers or vice grips and a wirecutter.

Instructions: For fixtures that were wall mounted, the cap becomes the base of the fixture.  Most fixtures will have a decorative screw-on finial on top and bottom.  Remove both of them, and begin taking out the“guts” of the light fixture.

threaded rod & underside of base (formerly the lid of fixture)

You’ll find an assortment of threaded rods, stems, nuts, and bolts to unscrew.  Keep these, as you will need some of it for reassembly.  If the threaded rod is really short, you may need a trip to the hardware store.

  Guts removed, ready for reassembly

Reassemble by inserting a threaded rod with a nut and washer through the bottom of the cap
(which will now be the base).

Here’s the basic order of assembly, from bottom to top:
Nut, washer, threaded rod, base, fixture, washer, nut.

Looking down into the light fixture now attached with washer and nut

Holding the threaded rod in place with one hand, place the hole in the bottom of old fixture over the threaded rod, and secure in place with a washer and a nut.  Long arms help, or a second set of hands.  Tighten with pliers.

 Assembled and ready for flowers

For fixtures that were post-or pier-mounted, you have your choice of converting as above, or Plan B, below.

Plan B: This version needs something to mount the base of the old fixture on, such as a post or pier mount, because the bottom of the fixture is too narrow and will topple frequently.

old pier-mount fixture and an actual pier mount planter

Remove the “guts” and some of the glass panels. Removing all the glass can cause instability, but if your fixture is sturdy, it may have enough structure to not wobble even if all the glass is removed.  Leaving all the glass will cause too much heat build up for the flowers.

(Note: If you are using lights where you plant on top of the container there is no need to remove the glass.)

 If base is shallow, add a small pot into the center …

…and then surround with spanish moss 

Glass allows for interesting rocks to be used for drainage at the bottom of the container. I laid a layer of screen material on top of my pebbles, before adding soil, to help keep the soil visually separated from the pebbles.  Some containers may need coco matting in the base to help hold soil in place.

Proceed to plant lovely things! Great example of using decorative rocks layered with soil

Thanks so much Claire for your light fixture tutorial. I will definitely be looking for old lighting at yard sales!!!

If you enjoyed this feature today, leave some feedback and show Claire some “love” today!



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