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Hanging solar mood lights: here's a nifty way to add a little drama to your yard ...

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With everyone worrying about a little of everything, I thought it would be nice to have a whimsical project to brighten everyone's day, or night, as the case may be.

This idea came to me when one of the local big box stores had a sale on solar walkway lights. My wife had always wanted a set of these lights for the driveway but the cost had stopped us. I never felt that solar lights put out enough light to work along the walkway but as driveway markers they would be just right. Long before the lights made it to the driveway I started thinking what else I could do with them. I thought the soft glow would be perfect in the woods next to our house. It's just a small patch of woods and nice for wandering and sitting in for some quiet time. I decided that putting the lights in the woods at ground level (on the stakes that came with the lights) wouldn't be as nice as having them at different levels. The idea of Hanging Solar Mood Lights was born!

Hanging the lights would require some modification. The lights we bought had a lip that stuck out over the edge of the top. Any solar lights could be used and this project is perfect for yard-sale finds. I have since added several that I picked up at local yard sales and wish I would have thought of this before. I would have snatched up every one I saw in the last few years.

I wanted to hang the lights and to do that I needed to figure out a way to do that and still leave enough room for sunlight to reach the solar panel on top. Almost any material could be used from wire to braided fishing line. I had some light, decorative, chain left over from another project. (Doesn't being a pack-rat come in handy!) I cut three, 9" pieces and set them aside.

Since the lights already had a lip on them I just drilled three holes around the edges, spaced more or less evenly. I say more or less because this isn't rocket science and you need to work with the tools you have. I don't have a micrometer or a desire to drive myself crazy with complicated math formulas, so I eyeballed it. Amazingly enough it worked just fine. If your lights don't have a lip just epoxy rings to the edges.

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Next I needed to attach the chain to the light. I used thin wire split rings but any wire would do. When I ran out of split rings I made them out of paper clips, which probably would have been much easier to begin with. Instead of wiring the chain right to the slit ring/wire, I used hobby store jewelry clips. I did this to have a little more "give" in the wind. Again, probably not necessary, but I had them on hand.

I used another ring to tie the ends of the chain together. In this case it was a 1-1/4" brass ring I found at a yard sale. Any type of stiff wire could be used, like a coat hanger wire.

I made tree hangers out of wire coat hangers since I didn't want to ruin or mar any trees. Make a bend at one end, large enough to go loosely around the branch where you want to hang your light. Too tight and the wire will eventually grow into the branch. Make a small hook at the other end of the wire to hang your new Solar Mood Light.

That's it! Repeat that for as many lights as you have.

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Author:Vanaman, Eric
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2009
Words:622
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